Europe's largest low cost airline, Ryanair, says it will carry 120.000 passengers from Niš Constantine the Great Airport in its first year of operations. The budget carrier, which on Thursday announced the introduction of a further two routes - Bergamo and Weeze - for a total of four, will operate eight return flights each week from the south-east Serbian city as of November 1. "Ryanair is excited to announce two new routes from Niš to Dusseldorf Weeze and Milan Bergamo with two weekly rotations starting October 30 and November 1 respectively, in addition to the already announced services to Berlin and Bratislava from our first airport in Serbia. The new destinations are ideal for both business and leisure travellers", Chiara Ravara, Ryanair's Sales and Marketing Executive for Italy, Greece and Croatia, said.
The budget carrier also plans to add more routes from Niš. "We look forward to opening additional services in the future", Ms Ravara added, however, she ruled out the possibility of opening a base at the airport for the time being. "Basing an aircraft is currently not an option for us in the near future, but things develop quickly with Ryanair. Of course, this does not mean that Rynaiar will not continue expanding its network from Niš and attributing to passenger growth", Ms Ravera concluded. The airline's Chief Commercial Officer, David O'Brien, recently said, "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".
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. Air Serbia has previously ruled out the possibility of launching flights from Niš following renewed calls for the carrier to introduce services from the south-east Serbian city. The General Manager of Niš Constantine the Great Airport, Vladica Djurdjanović, said, "Niš is not a part of the airline's development plans. Air Serbia has a different business model which includes turning Belgrade into a hub, meaning all flights are introduced from there. As a result, Niš does not fit into their plans, but could be suitable to airlines which cooperate with Air Serbia". Constantine the Great Airport handled 26.380 passengers during the first five months of the year.