Niš Constantine the Great Airport is expected to welcome a third low cost airline by the end of the year, which is most likely to be either Norwegian Air Shuttle or Eurowings. According to the head of the Tourism Organisation of Niš, Uroš Parlić, the two are interested in launching flights to the south-east Serbian city. "These two airlines operate in the region and it makes sense that they would come to Niš. There are a lot of Serbs living in Scandinavia, so there is demand". The news comes after both Wizz Air and Ryanair announced they would introduce new services to Constantine the Great Airport. "Niš will become a base for low cost airlines because Belgrade is getting busy, especially with the new flights to the United States. This is the case in the region as well. In Romania, the main airport is in Bucharest, while low cost airlines have focused around Timisoara", Mr Parlić said, adding that Niš could serve some 300.000 passengers per year.
Norwegian Air Shuttle maintains services from both Oslo and Stockholm to Belgrade, while Germany's Eurowings, which is taking over services from Germanwings, operates seasonal summer flights from Cologne to the Serbian capital. By November, Niš Airport will offer direct flights to nine cities, operated by both Wizz Air and Ryanair. They include four points in Germany (Berlin, Dortmund, Memmingen and Weeze), and a destination each in Italy (Bergamo), the Netherlands (Eindhoven), Slovakia (Bratislava), Sweden (Malmo) and Switzerland (Basel). As Scandinavia's second largest airline, Norwegian boasts operating bases across Europe, including Oslo, London Gatwick, Barcelona, Copenhagen and Stockholm. On the other hand, Eurowings has bases across Germany. Earlier this year, Niš Airport said it had identified Frankfurt, London, Milan, Munich, Moscow, Paris, Vienna, Verona and Venice as viable destinations. A number of them will be indirectly served through secondary nearby airports by Wizz Air and Ryanair.
Commenting on the developments in Niš, the Serbian Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlović, said yesterday, "We have really been focusing on developing Niš Airport over the past year and a half. A lot has been invested in order for the airport to be operational throughout the year and open 24 hours per day, regardless of the weather conditions. I am certain Niš will develop even further. Both Belgrade and Niš airports are at the centre of our development strategy over the next five to seven years". The Serbian government designated Constantine the Great Airport as the country's low cost hub in late 2014, estimating it would handle 140.000 passengers by the end of 2016, a figure it is on target to achieve based on current trends.
Due to popular demand and the historic nature of Air Serbia's maiden flight to New York, EX-YU Aviation News will begin coverage of the inaugural service tomorrow (Thursday) at 06.00 CEST / 00.00 EST.