|Niš rejects Ryanair and Montenegro Airlines over subsidies|
Niš Constantine the Great Airport has turned down both Ryanair and Montenegro Airlines which offered to launch flights to the city in return for subsidies. Niš Airport's Managing Director, Vladica Djurdjanović, says the two carriers approached local authorities with the intention of introducing services over the course of next year. Ryanair is believed to have requested 200.000 euros in subsidies, while Montenegro Airlines proposed a similar incentive model to the one it enjoyed between 2010 and 2013 when it served the city, with the carrier interested in maintaining flights from Tivat instead of Podgorica this time around. However, Mr Djurdjanović says both were turned down. "When we were in discussions with Montenegro Airlines, they asked us - 'how much do you pay' and 'we don't want to pay for anything at the airport'. The same was with Ryanair", the Managing Director notes.
Niš Airport concluded a three-year commercial contract with Wizz Air earlier this year, which saw the low cost airline launch flights from Basel and Malmo to the southeast Serbian city. As a result, the airport charges the carrier just three euros per departing passenger. "We tell other airlines that we have signed a contract with Wizz Air, based on commercial principles, to charge three euros per every departing passenger. We ask for nothing more, so if they agree to these terms, they can fly as well. That's what we told other airlines but they wanted subsidies, like the ones offered in other countries", Mr Djurdjanović says. The airport believes its terms will attract other carriers.
This year will become Niš's busiest, with the airport set to surpass its 2006 passenger record today, despite having no flights for the first half of the year, prior to Wizz Air launching services. During the January - November period, Niš Airport handled 31.346 passengers. It says that while Wizz Air has not announced new routes from Niš for next year, it is hopeful the budget airline will add additional flights from the city during 2016. "We observed the way in which Wizz Air develops its network from a city and it usually starts off with one route. From Niš, two routes were immediately launched which is a good sign. The load factor is very good, there are enough passengers and we expect that Niš will be part of the airline's future development plans. We anticipate new routes, not just from Wizz Air, but other airlines as well", Mr Djurdjanović says.