Low cost carrier Ryanair plans to further expand its operations in Serbia in the coming period but has ruled out flights from Belgrade for the time being due to high costs. Instead, the airline will continue to focus on services from Niš Constantine the Great Airport, from which it currently flies to four destinations. Its expansion from the city will be announced within the next month, Ryanair said. At a press conference in the Southeast Serbian city today, the Deputy Sales and Marketing Manager for the Eastern Mediterranean, Dimitra Apatsidou, marked the carrier's 50.000th passenger since launching operations in September last year. "Probably within two weeks to a month we will finalise our plan for new routes and we will have good news for Niš. We look forward to growing our number of destinations in Serbia and increasing traffic and tourism in the coming period", Ms Apatsidou said. The airline is believed to be in talks with local authorities over flights to Paris, Barcelona and Malta.
Ryanair, which entered the Serbian market through Niš in 2016, anticipates a strong year ahead at the airport, from which it serves Bergamo, Berlin, Bratislava and Weeze. "In 2017 we will handle 120.000 passengers to and from Niš and support ninety jobs. We will continue developing our operations throughout the summer and we look forward to opening additional services in the future", the carrier's Sales and Marketing Manager for Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Israel, Chiara Ravara, said. Ryanair's Chief Commercial Officer, David O'Brien, recently noted, "We have been planning our arrival onto the Serbian market for a long time. It will take a while to judge whether it was a wise decision but considering loads on our flights, we believe that the Serbian market has great potential".
Ryanair recently ruled out the possibility of basing an aircraft in Serbia but has noted its commitment to expanding its operations from the country. As a result, Niš can only be served from cities in which the airline boasts an operational base. "Now that we have opened the doors to Niš, it makes it easier to expand. We are on the lookout for new opportunities", the airline's Route Manager, Luis Fernandez-Mellado, said. He added that Ranair opted to launch services to Niš last year following fourteen months of negotiations and as a result of Constantine the Great Airport's low fees, which amount to just three euros for handling, landing and passenger services. Niš Airport anticipates welcoming over 300.000 passengers this year. Besides Ryanair, it is currently served by Wizz Air and Swiss International Air Lines, while Germania Flug will introduce flights in June. Furthermore, the airport boasts a regular cargo service from Istanbul, operated by Turkish Airlines Cargo.