Budget airline easyJet is considering expanding further in the former Yugoslavia after introducing a handful of new routes to the region this year. So far in 2016, the carrier has launched new services to the Croatian coast, as well as flights to Tivat and Pristina. Furthermore, easyJet has added frequencies on its services to Ljubljana. The airline says it is now exploring new opportunities on the market. "easyJet is always evaluating new options in the Balkans and opportunities to be more profitable and continue growing, with the primary short-term focus to thicken our presence in our core markets", the airline said. It added, "easyJet periodically assesses the opportunities on the basis of market research. We are currently conducting business cases on several routes and then we will choose the ones that result to prove more attractive for our customers". The carrier recently expressed interest in launching flights from the United Kingdom to Niš, but is also expected to grow further in Croatia, Montenegro and Kosovo.
easyJet launched five new routes to the Croatian coast this year, following on from another major expansion in 2015. During last year, it handled over 600.000 passengers on its flights to Croatia but is yet to commit to resuming services to the capital Zagreb. easyJet offers almost as much capacity as Croatia Airlines from the country during the summer. In addition, in 2015, the carrier was the second busiest operating out of Dubrovnik, behind only Croatia Airlines. Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Commercial Manager, said, "We see a growing demand for short and long breaks to Croatia and we’re continuing to make it convenient for our customers to visit the country".
During the year, easyjet entered the Montenegrin market with flights from Manchester and London to Tivat. The carrier anticipates handling some 34.000 passengers on the two routes during its first year of operations and has seen strong bookings so far. In addition, the airline has introduced new flights from Berlin to Pristina earlier this year and will launch services from Paris in November. easyJet was the third busiest carrier operating out of Kosovo in 2015. In Slovenia, the no frills carrier increased frequencies on its daily London Stansted - Ljubljana service last month to nine weekly flights. Furthermore, MRO company Adria Airways Tehnika has signed an agreement with easyJet for the maintenance of its Airbus A320-family aircraft in Ljubljana, to commence in September. The two-year contract covers work on the aircraft cabin, including the addition of capacity and the installation of new galleys and lavatories.
Unlike its low cost rival Wizz Air, which has played a dominant role in the region, easyJet’s presence in the former Yugoslavia has been limited up until now. Despite the success Wizz Air has had in Macedonia and other markets in the region, easyJet says it is not fazed by competition. “easyJet is focused on its successful strategy to expand across Europe and operates in the best interests of the company and its customers, ensuring the attractiveness of its network. This means the airline concentrates its efforts on maintaining and developing routes which prove popular with passengers. We consider competition only in regards of tactic opportunities that can be complementary to our strategy”, the carrier said.