|Slow start to the year for Belgrade, Dubrovnik and Sarajevo airports|
The airports in Belgrade, Dubrovnik and Sarajevo have all registered weaker passenger numbers during the first month of the year. Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport welcomed 290.580 passengers, a decrease of 5.8% compared to January 2015. The figure was accompanied by a notable decline in the number of operated flights which stood at 4.176, down 7.3%. The result was largely influenced by Air Serbia which has made significant cuts to its 2015/16 winter network. During January, both LOT Polish Airlines and Ural Airlines launched flights to the Serbian capital from Warsaw and Moscow respectively. On the other hand, unlike last January, Air Serbia no longer operates flights to Budapest and Larnaca, following their suspension in late October last year.
The former Yugoslavia's fourth busiest airport, Dubrovnik, recorded its weakest January figures in almost eight years. The airport handled 15.666 travellers, down 0.5%. Over the past few years, the airport has been affected by decreasing passenger numbers during the slow winter months, which have come as a result of Croatia Airlines' suspension of a few year-round routes from the city. However, figures are expected to improve next winter season with the carrier considering resuming flights between Dubrovnik and Frankfurt. The head of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Romana Vlašić, says the city hopes to conclude a three-year contract with Croatia Airlines regarding the service. Despite putting in a weaker performance during the winter, Dubrovnik has seen record figures over the summer months, which has resulted in strong annual growth.
Finally, Sarajevo Airport's numbers decreased 5.7% on January 2015. It welcomed 41.208 passengers through its doors. The decline comes in part due to poor weather conditions, which saw a number of flights cancelled during the month. Meanwhile, Air Arabia has brought forward the launch of its Sarajevo service by two days. The airline will now commence operations between Sharjah and the Bosnian capital on March 18. While it will initially run three weekly flights with its Airbus A320 aircraft, before increasing to daily in July, the airline has already scheduled several additional flights through March and April. The airport is gearing up for a busy summer with Czech Airlines to launch flights in May and a number of airlines increasing frequencies compared to last year.