The national carriers from the former Yugoslavia have forecast mixed passenger results for the year, following a record 2016 during which the four welcomed over 6.6 million travellers.
Air Serbia, which has positioned itself as the busiest carrier in the former Yugoslavia, will this year grow at a decreasing rate and has reduced operations during the summer when compared to last year. However, at the same time, it will boost existing capacity on its narrow-body fleet with the introduction of new slimmer seats. The airline has recorded 7% passenger growth during the first quarter, according to preliminary data. For 2017, the airline has signalled a shift in its business model that will "allow for accelerated growth", according to the carrier. "There is still much more room to grow within what we have. The focus is going to be on internal consolidation and strengthening the business before we go on to any major further growth", Air Serbia's CEO said recently. The company handled 2.62 million passengers during 2016, up 3% on the year before, which represents an additional 70.000 travellers.
Croatia Airlines anticipates handling over two million passengers this year, making it its busiest on record. The growth will be fuelled by the introduction of four new routes this summer season from Zagreb, on top of the four new services launched from the Croatian capital last year. "With a total of eight new destinations in the last 365 days, Croatia Airlines has offered the market an additional 100.000 seats, which is why in 2017 we expect further growth in passenger traffic and a record 2.000.000 passengers", the company said in a statement. The carrier handled 1.94 million travellers in 2016, up 5% on the year before, which represents an additional 90.000 passengers.
EX-YU airlines, passengers carried in 2016
|Airline||PAX (million)||Change (%)|
|Air Serbia||2.62||▲ 3|
|Croatia Airlines||1.94||▲ 5|
|Adria Airways||1.10||▲ 5.6|
|Montenegro Airlines||0.58||▲ 0.6|
Adria Airways carried 1.103.530 passengers in 2016, an improvement of 5.6% compared to the year before. It anticipates for growth to continue into 2017 with additional frequencies on its key routes. The airline handled 227.588 passengers during the first quarter of this year, an increase of 8.3% compared to the same period in 2016. On the other hand, Montenegro Airlines expects for its passenger numbers to decline this year as it consolidates its operations and optimises its network. The Montenegrin carrier said, "Plans for 2017 are based on the reduction of costs and the maximum utilisation of all available capacity, as well as business optimisation on all levels. As a result, and keeping in mind the state of the existing fleet, the company anticipates a decrease in the number of passengers, with an improved average cabin load factor". Montenegro Airlines saw only a 0.6% increase in its passenger numbers in 2016, when compared to the year before. The carrier handled 581.519 travellers.