Niš Constantine the Great Airport estimates handling some 100.000 passengers this year and for the figure to increase threefold to 300.000 by the end of 2017. The airport, which had no commercial flights this time last year, will be served by both Wizz Air and Ryanair this summer, with additional new routes expected in the coming period. "The average cabin load factor [on flights to and from Niš] is just above 90%, which means there are passengers. All those who were concerned that there wouldn't be enough travellers were mistaken, because the airport is used not only by locals, but also people from other parts of Serbia, as well as Bulgaria, Macedonia and Kosovo", the airport's General Manager, Vladica Djurdjanović, said. Constantine the Great Airport has welcomed some 24.100 passengers so far this year.
Ryanair's Chief Commercial Officer, David O'Brien, who visited Niš on Monday to announce the budget carrier's second route from the city says the airline did not introduce services only to stick around for a single season. "We have been planning our arrival onto the Serbian market for a long time. It will take a while to judge whether it was a wise move but considering loads on our Berlin flights, we believe that the Serbian market has great potential", Mr O'Brien said. He added, "Our arrival will attract other carriers too". Ryanair notes that once it introduces a new city to its destination network, it looks to follow up with the addition of several routes. The carrier expects to handle some 60.000 passengers on its flights between Niš, Berlin and Bratislava during its first year of operations.
Wizz Air, which last month announced its third route from the south-east Serbian city says it is constantly evaluating the market. "We listen to our customers and respond to demand whenever possible. Customers in Serbia continue to turn to Wizz for low fares to more destinations and we remain committed to stimulating business and hospitality sectors with more visitors now able to travel to the southern regions of Serbia", the airline noted. According to Niš Airport's General Manager, local officials are in talks with Maltese authorities over potential services. A sizable number of people from south-eastern Serbia live in Malta. Currently, Air Serbia operates seasonal services to the island-nation from Belgrade and will boost frequencies on the route this summer. On the other hand, Ryanair has its own operating base in Matla.