Pristina Airport has become the latest in the former Yugoslavia to seek direct flights to New York, some six years after operations between the two cities were suspended. Pristina Airport's General Manager, Haldun Firat Kokturk, said the US city continues to be a target destination. "The airport is focusing on opening new services to destinations not directly served from Pristina. This should have a positive impact in covering more of the countries and catchment areas where our diaspora is located, and will generate additional passengers visiting Kosovo either for leisure or business", Mr Kokturk noted. Other unserved destinations also being looked into include Helsinki, Dortmund, Memmingen, Milan, Amsterdam, Rome, and Malmo.
New York was the top unserved destination from Pristina in 2015. Some 13.000 travellers flew from Pristina to the Big Apple (JFK Airport and Newark Liberty) last year. Of those, 10.000 were headed for New York's JFK Airport. Other routes in North America which saw a notable number of passengers departing Pristina included Chicago, Washington and Toronto. In 2009, Scanderbeg Air, a short-lived tour operator that contracted with Sky King Airlines, launched two weekly flights between Pristina and New York with a Boeing 767-200ER aircraft. Services were maintained twice per week between June and September. The majority of passengers now fly to the US via Vienna with Austrian Airlines and via Istanbul with Turkish. Recognising the potential. Serbia's Prime Minister recently spoke of the importance of resuming service between Pristina and Belgrade in order for travellers to transfer onto Air Serbia's flights to New York via Belgrade. He added that Air Serbia hopes to tap into the large "diaspora of Albanians in New York". The service to the Big Apple has proven popular with a significant number of passengers whose journey either starts or ends in TIrana.
Pristina Airport estimates handling some 1.8 million passengers this year with an average growth rate of 11.1%. “We have achieved significant double digit growth in passenger numbers. We are willing to increase flight numbers and extend our network with additional routes, and we are using our incentive plan to attract airlines in order to catch this growth at a sustainable level. We are expecting a very successful next year, especially if visa liberalisation happens in Kosovo”, Mr Kokturk said. He added, "There is huge potential in some other routes and we are cooperating with different airlines to attract them for opening new services”.