Niš Constantine the Great Airport in south-eastern Serbia, which has seen triple digit passenger growth this year, is likely to become an airline base in 2017, General Manager, Vladica Djurdjanović, has said. According to Mr Djurdjanović, the airport currently lacks the capacity to act as a base, however, this is set to change with the completion of a multi million euro expansion project to begin this month. “There is interest from airlines to set up a base but we have to finish a few things first. I am hopeful that the planned investments will be completed next year and that an airline will then base an aircraft in Niš”, Mr Djurdjanović said. He added, “Paris, London and Stockholm are destinations of interest and carriers are aware of this but Niš Airport needs to be ready for an airline to set up a base”.
Last year, Mr Djurdjanović said Wizz Air was considering the possibility of basing an aircraft in the city. “In order for them [Wizz Air] to boost services, certain conditions must be met, such as someplace where they can accommodate their maintenance staff and aircraft, because Wizz Air wants to base one jet at Niš Airport”, the General Manager said at the time. He added, “Once they do so, it will result in at least three to four flights per day, seven days a week. That’s around 25 to 28 weekly flights”. On the other hand, Rynair has said it currently has no plans to station a jet in the city. “We look forward to opening additional services in the future. Basing an aircraft is currently not an option for us, but developments take place quickly with Ryanair. Of course, this does not mean that Rynaiar will not continue expanding its network from Niš and attributing to its passenger growth", the airline's Marketing Executive for Italy, Greece, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia, Chiara Ravara, noted recently.
|Niš Airport following expansion, source: aviatica|
Constantine the Great Airport plans to overhaul its terminal by expanding check-in and boarding space, as well as building a new exterior and fixing the roof. The project is being funded jointly by the Serbian government and local authorities. Furthermore, the Serbia and Montenegro Air Traffic Services Agency (SMATSA) plans to start construction of a new control tower next year and will invest a million euros in an instrument landing system (ILS), which provides guidance to aircraft approaching and landing on a runway during low ceilings or reduced visibility due to fog, rain or snow. Niš Airport has handled over 100.000 passengers this year and the figure is expected to grow to over 300.000 in 2017. Recently, Swiss International Air Lines confirmed it would launch flights from Zurich to Niš next April, joining Wizz Air and Ryanair in serving the airport.