|Belgrade, Zagreb and Pristina airports see busiest February on record|
The main airports in Serbia, Croatia and Kosovo have seen their passenger numbers improve during one of the slowest months in the aviation industry, with all three registering their busiest February on record.
Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport handled 266.660 passengers last month, a small increase of 0.5% on 2015, thus putting an end to three consecutive months of declining figures. The airport recorded a total of 3.898 aircraft movements, down 0.7%. Its slow run over the past few months has been largely attributed to Air Serbia, which has made notable cuts to its 2015/16 winter network. On the other hand, foreign carriers have seen their numbers improve to and from the Serbian capital. The airport processed a record 1.246.689 kilograms of commercial cargo, an increase of 56.8% compared to the same month last year. So far in 2016, Belgrade Airport has welcomed 556.840 travellers through its doors, which is still down 2.9% on the same period last year. This month, the airport will see Wizz Air launch flights to Baden-Baden, marking its first expansion from the Serbian capital in two years. Meanwhile, six companies have filed bids to provide consultancy services in order to advise the government on whether the airport should be put up for concession or sold. By mid-March, a commission will decide whether any of the six bidders meet the state's requirements.
Zagreb Airport saw its passenger numbers improve a notable 7.9% in February, handling 153.077 travellers. The figure was accompanied by an increase in the number of operated flights, which totalled 2.814, up 1.7%. Over the past two months, Croatia's busiest airport welcomed 310.024 passengers, registering a 6% increase on 2015. During February, the Croatian government approved a proposal to name Zagreb Airport's new terminal building, which is currently under construction, after former President Franjo Tudjman. The terminal will open during the first quarter of 2017. Zagreb is likely to see strong growth in March as well, with an earlier start to the Easter holidays expected to generate additional traffic.
Pristina Airport continued to see passenger growth into February. It welcomed 105.368 travellers through its doors, a jump of 21.6% compared to the same month last year. Since the start of 2016, the airport handled 225.899 passengers, an increase of 17.2%. During February, Pristina Airport announced the launch of a new incentive scheme in a bid to attract new carriers and encourage exiting operators to boost flights. The incentives, which come into effect on March 27, will run until 2018. The scheme encourages airlines to launch flights to Pristina, base aircraft there, operate during off-peak hours and offers a 30% discount for handling and landing. easyJet and Adria Airways have announced new services to Pristina this summer. Low cost easyJet plans to launch three weekly flights from Berlin, while Adria Airways will introduce two weekly services to London Luton Airport.