Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport is on course to register its busiest July on record with passenger numbers estimated to reach 600.000 during the 31-day period. Acting General Manager, Saša Vlasaivljević, is confident the airport will welcome up to five million travellers by year's end and see its figures improve 3% compared to 2015. "We are currently at the peak of the summer season and it's our most successful to date since all indicators show July will be our busiest on record, as we expect to handle 600.000 passengers, which will be a first during a one-month period", Mr Vlasavljević says. On July 18, the airport surpassed its 24-hour passenger record by welcoming 20.417 travellers.
The comments come following a mixed performance during the first half of the year, during which Belgrade Airport registered 2.111.690 travellers, down 1.2% on 2015. "Despite the fact that during the first half of the year our passenger numbers decreased, our growth in the second half will be on the wings of Air Serbia's major network expansion. We expect to see a historic summer with numbers up in both scheduled and charter flights and our five-millionth passenger to be welcomed in early December", Mr Vlaisavljević notes. In June, Air Serbia introduced flights from Belgrade to New York, Hamburg, St. Petersburg, Kiev and Ohrid. So far, it has been decided for both New York and Hamburg to remain in the airline's schedule past the summer season.
During the first half of the year, the airport recorded a net profit of over eleven million euros. Its revenues increased 5% to 33 million euros, while expenses decreased 26% compared to the same period last year. The airport estimates its full-year profits will amount to between 26 and 30 million euros. It comes ahead of a planned concession of the airport in 2017. The Serbian Ministry for Transport and Infrastructure estimates the airport's current market value at 251 million euros. The French company Lazard Freres, which is acting as an advisor to the government, will decide whether the airport should be fully privatised or put up for concession, although it is believed the latter is the more likely choice.