Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Belgrade Airport with transfer hub ambitions


Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport says it is working towards becoming a transfer hub in south-eastern Europe by attracting long haul flights and improving its services. Belgrade Airport's Investment and Development Director, Ana Kaludjerović, said, "A number of measures and action plans have been initiated to solidify the airport's position as a dominant transfer hub in south-eastern Europe. The launch of nonstop intercontinental flights to the United States last year, and to China this year, is a strategic step towards achieving this goal and an excellent opportunity for the airport to send a clear message to the market that it intends on becoming the most important transit point in this part of Europe".

The number of transfer passengers using Belgrade Airport has grown over 40% during the last three years, primarily as a result of Air Serbia, which has put an emphasis on shuttling passengers via the Serbian capital. "Belgrade Airport is a recognisable European hub on the crossroads between east and west, boasting developed and flexible infrastructure with further room for improvement. We intend on turning this into our capital advantage over our competitors", Ms Kaludjerović noted. Last month, the Serbian Ministry for Construction, Transport and Infrastructure said it was aiming to attract more medium and long haul flights to the country in an effort to boost tourism and connectivity. It has identified several markets which hold potential to generate inbound, outbound and transfer travel from and to Serbia, including Canada, Japan, India, South Korea and Morocco, as well as further opportunities in the United States and China. Ms Kaludjerović said the airport is coordinating its business strategy with the Serbian government.


In 2015, the number of passengers transferring through Belgrade Airport increased by half a million, with this upward trend continuing into 2016. General Manager Saša Vljaisavljević previously noted, "Air Serbia has made a significant impact on our business. One of the most important events was the resumption of transatlantic flights to the United States. This gave the airport an excellent opportunity to position itself in this part of Europe as the most important transfer point". Air Serbia's CEO, Dane Kondić, previously said, "Compared with many other European airports, Belgrade Airport is an amazingly easy and convenient place to transfer. From the furthermost gate at one end to the other is a ten-minute walk. We’re not there yet, but we’re certainly making progress in being a good alternative to an airport such as, say, Vienna, which has always positioned itself as a transfer airport for people flying into Central and Eastern Europe". For airport operators, connecting traffic offers the only real opportunity to grow beyond the traffic potential of their own local catchment area. Belgrade Airport has invested in its transfer zone over the past year, opening new shops, so called "quiet zones", playrooms for children and recently began work on upgrading some of its restrooms to include shower facilities. The airport has also unveiled plans to make changes to its central duty free shop in the transfer area, as well as nearby shops and cafes to improve traffic flow.

143 comments:

  1. Nadam se da air serbia ima plan i dobru ambiciju da nastavi svoj put, letim cesto i zadovoljan sam kako air srbijom tako i sa aerodrom beograd. Veliki uspeh vidljiv u zadnji 10 godina.

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    1. Air Srbija will be "successful" story as long as guvernment support it with 40 or more mil euro.

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  2. I think it would have been possible to develop some kind of transfer airport a couple of years ago. But with Air Serbia cost cutting, which is having an impact on its network too, this is highly unlikely.

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    1. It already is a transfer airport - sure not anywhere near the likes you get in western Europe but for this region it sure is.

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    2. Any airport you can transfer at is a transfer airport. Ljubljana is a transfer airport too.

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    3. It depends by what margin.

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    4. Agree completely with anon 9.04. Growing transfer traffic at BEG will rely heavily on Air Serbia. Looking at Air Serbia lately, to me it seems they are focusing more and more on P2P which are more lucrative for them.

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    5. Agree Anon 9:04.

      No other operator than JU can significantly contribute to transfer growth. Over last two years JU changed its strategy and stagnated the number of transfer pax.

      At present it's highly doubtful the figures could improve soon. If EY would step out from JU and HU took over, for example, such change could boost transfers in near future.

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  3. Lets go back to the old days mentality. Europe's cities are getting connected with non-stop flights within the continent and now even more with the US. Also, you already have so many airports nearby already being hubs such as VIE, ATH, MUC, FRA, WAW, etc, etc.
    Even neighbouring BUD is no longer a hub. I don't understand this obsession, really.

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    1. I don't think it's an obsession. It's a genuine goal that most airports in the world strive to achieve. Like it says in the article "For airport operators, connecting traffic offers the only real opportunity to grow beyond the traffic potential of their own local catchment area. "

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    2. Budapest is no longer a hub because Malev went bankrupt. Airports such as WAW, RIX, HEL, KBP, OTP, ATH... are all home to airlines that are trying to become major transfer hubs.

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    3. Isn't this exactly why the 787 has been more successful than the A380? The giant hub model isn't popular right now.

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  4. What's the next long hual route we can expect?

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    1. None I guess!

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    2. Yeah I'm sure you know.

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    3. First you will see Beijing go nonstop from April next year.

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    4. I'm guessing Canada though I have little hope it will be operated by JU. The governmental negotiations have been going on for a while and should be concluded soon so a S18 start could be realistic.

      Apart from that, South Korea is dependent on the way concession goes as are further China services (also on Hainan results).

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    5. What about those New Delhi flights? Brnabic said they are negotiating. Can we take that seriously?

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    6. I think those New Delhi flights are not serious. I was surprised that the PM was talking about them a few weeks ago.

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    7. Trust me, next year will be the third consecutive year that Belgrade Airport will get a new long haul destination. Just a bit of patience needed.

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    8. From your lips to God's ears

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    9. ^We heard the same about JFK, PEK... just give up.

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    10. I'm pretty sure Vucic has been on the phone with AirAsia X all day so....

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    11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. I assume that the number of transfer passengers increased a lot when JFK launched.

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    1. It has, especially to the region. Despite the many resident 'experts' here saying how no one would transfer through BEG.

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  6. First on that list of potential markets was Canada. Any updates on the talks with Air Canada Rouge?

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    1. They were not talking with Air Canada Rouge. The government is talking with the Canadian government. They need to change the air service agreement first.

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    2. I could very much see Rouge starting these flights. They also serve the major destinations in the region like Athens and Budapest and are adding more and more B767s.

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    3. I hope this materializes. It would be fantastic to be linked with Canada in addition to USA and China.

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    4. Anybody has any experience with their long haul offering? I flew with their A320 couple of times and the legroom is very very bad.

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    5. My recent experience was much better on their long haul flights. 767 is in 2-3-2 configuration with power plugs between seats in Economy and 2-2-2 in Premium. Seats in Economy are wide and legroom is reasonable unlike their A319 (they don't have A320, only 319 and 321). I had 767 on a 4-5 hour medium haul routes like YYZ-LAS but service does not include baggage and meals as with intercontinental routes.

      Transatlantic service had one full meal and one warm snack served with non-alcoholic drinks, beer/wine is extra charge. One 23kg bag was included in the price. No seatback IFE but there is a free streaming media app similar to Air Serbia offering. Compared to mainline Air Canada, not as many premium movies and your mileage accruement is at lower rate. I also paid for an upgrade and it was even better experience with more legroom, if you are willing to pay for it. Overall satisfaction with Air Canada Rouge (on a scale of 1-10): A319 - 2; medium haul 767 - 6; long haul 767 - 7 (8 for upgraded seat).

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    6. interesting. Based on my A319 experience I would've never chosen them but it seems more or less like their mainline offering, which on its own is nothing to brag about but... Being 6'5", leg room is all I care about.

      Thank you for the detailed answer.

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  7. Such a typical attitude for this region. They want to become a hub between major parts of the world, but they cannot fix their toilets or make a decent sandwich first.

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    1. Well as you can read they are fixing them.

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    2. They are, but have a long way to go still, a very long way

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    3. WC su im solidni no konacno dodaju tuseve. Ne znas uopste kako to mnogo znaci putnicima koji se transferisu na BEG za Evropu ili USA. Dva lega u uskotrupnom avionu prilicno usmrde coveka. EY ako ubaci sirokotrupni napravice dobar posao.

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  8. It is obvious that the number of transfer passengers is significantly up when you pass through passport control since you can see people sleeping on the chairs and the JU transfer desk always full of people.

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  9. Who knows what the new concessionaires will do but it had good predispositions with a lot of regional links.

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    1. If a deal is made with Chinese, I'm sure they would use BEG as a transfer point to the ex-yu region.

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    2. That would be one of the benefits of having Chinese run the airport. Passenger numbers would increase sharply.

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    3. I think any of the five will manage to boost numbers but only the bidders from Asia will aim at growing transfer pax sector more significantly.

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  10. I'm happy that there is a lot more talk about long haul flights in the entire region. A few years ago this was science fiction.

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    1. True, and it is not just talk. We actually have long haul flights now.

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    2. With Zagreb and Belgrade with long hauls, which other ex-Yu city could get them potentially?

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    3. Skopje maybe?

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    4. Dubrovnik most likely, seasonally.

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    5. What about Ljubljana? They also said they plan flights from China next year.

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    6. You forgot Maribor!

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  11. Last evening Belgrade Airport CEO said net profit in first 7 months is 15,9 million euros! +12% on 2016. That's impressive.

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    1. Nice! Would be interesting to see where they are making most of the money.

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    2. He said passenger services, de-icing and VIP lounge.

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    3. Thanks. Interesting that deicing would generate that much revenue, VIP lounge as well.

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  12. Ako Qantas moze od 2020 leteti non stop do Londona letece i do Beograda kad tad.

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    1. Leteo je nekad.

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    2. Of course London-Australia route has equal demand as Belgrade-Australia, so I'm betting their 2nd route will be BEG-SYD.

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    3. Ne Beograd - Australija vec Balkan - Australija preko Beograda.

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    4. I do agree with you Anon 9:35 AM.
      QANTAS or JETSTAR AUSTRALIA will come to Belgrade in next three to five years. With non stop flight's.
      Rodney, Serbia😀🇭🇲🇭🇲🌐🗺

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    5. Male su šanse, veruj mi, ja znam.

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    6. Ma naravno! Nema veze što Qanatas ima tek jednu jedinu liniju do Londona iz Australije, što je ukinuo čak i Frankfurt. Oni će Beograd napraviti svojom drugom linijom u Europi.

      Nema veze što je British smanjio broj letova za 70% prema Australiji, što je Virgin ukinuo svoje letove.

      Nema veze što Lufthansa, Air France, Iberia, SAS i ostali ne lete za Australiju. Ma što su njihovi hubovi spram Beograda.

      Dajte ljudi malo na zemlju se spustite. Posebno Rodney.

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    7. I šta si tu hteo reč?

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  13. I just noticed that LH is changing the time of its BEG-FRA morning departure from 06:15 to 07:15 in the winter timetable, does anyone know if it's always like that? Does it have an impact on the number of potential connections in FRA?

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    1. I think it has always been like that in winter.

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  14. They have the right idea. But they also had years to work on it. Can't wait for a new owner and management.

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    1. When will we know the cincession winner?

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    2. At the end of the year. Bids have to be in by 23rd October.

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  15. Hope they realize that ambition.

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  16. Becoming some sort of a transfer hub depends a lot on your home airline ie Air Serbia in this case. Any future ambition by the airport will be linked to them.

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    1. Unfortunately I don't think they can depend on Air Serbia anymore. Nothing will happen with that airline other than downsizing the network.

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    2. Airlines have ups and downs. Air Serbia literally turned it all around in 2 years. They are stagnating now, in fact, the problem is everyone was expecting them to have 50 planes in 10 years, which was never logical. They are still the strongest airline in Ex-Yu and the way the rise from ashes from the disaster called JAT is impressive.

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    3. Maybe the new manager of the airport should consider bringing in a LCC and offering them BEG as a hub if Air Serbia can't increase their numbers.
      Competition is healthy for everyone but, some special interests may not like that.

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    4. Good idea, someone should tell LCCs like Transavia, Vueling, Eurowings, Easyjet and Wizzair to consider flying to Belgrade. LCC using BEG as a transfer hub is even better idea. Imagine being able to fly FKB-FMM on a single ticket via BEG. Thank you for innovative ideas!

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  17. I think it is in the best position from other ex-Yu airports to grow its transfer passengers.

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    1. While tranfer passengers help an airport they do little in comparison to destination pax for economic impact on the local economy.
      I would rather have 100 pax coming into the airport as a destination and spening on food, lodging, transport etc... such as in Split rather then 100 pax chaging airplanes for an hour and just using the toilets. While you still make money off them it is paltry in comparison to destination pax. That is where BEG is lacking when compared to the others in the region.

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    2. How is it lacking? Last year 3.9 million passengers were point to point. That is still more than any other airport in ex-yu.

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    3. Samo lupetaju.

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  18. Anyone have any idea how August is performing passenger wise?

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  19. Such tasteless boasting from the airport.

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    1. Why? What's tasteless about it exactly? Are they not allowed to say what they hope to achieve one day? Jeez.

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    2. A transfer hub between east and west? Agree Sales pitch not much more. BEG must have forgotten about IST momentarily. A plethora of flights and routes, multiple times a day with modern terminal facilities.

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    3. They have to talk like that, they will get more $$$ and it is understandable, it would be worrying if the would be quite or talked how they have no expectations to be a transfer hub. Go Belgrade Airport, keep slaying.

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  20. So what is the percentage of transfer passengers vs. O&D at BEG? Anyone have any idea?

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    1. I would say arounf 40%/60%. But this is just my estimate, I don't have any official data.

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    2. More like 30% / 70%.

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  21. Introduce flights to PRN and you will see a big jump in transfers.

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    1. Would people with Kosovo passports even be able to transfer through BEG?

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    2. Yes. Kosovo issued passports are accepted at Belgrade Airport.

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    3. *since around 2 years ago.

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  22. I am quite curious to see how the new Beijing route will perform.

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  23. If Athens hasn't managed to become some major transfer hub (other than for domestic traffic), I fail to see how Belgrade will succeed in it.

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    1. Belgrade has a much better geographic location for transferring than Athens.

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    2. Why do people always have to look at some other examples and limit their own development? "If Athens doesn't Belgrade shouldn't either"... Until 4 months ago Athens didn't have year round flights to the US while Belgrade did.

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    3. Also Athens will have no flights to China from the end of September while Belgrade will in two weeks.

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    4. Air China is flying PEK-ATH direct. On top of EK (77W) they have DL doing 2 daily flights to JFK with A333.

      But hey, government-sponsored political project with 5 weekly flights with A332 is better, I know.

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    5. Air China is suspending PEK-ATH on 27th September, like I said. As I said, they did not have year round flights to the US until EK started flying 4 months ago. Also nowhere did I say what is better or not. I was simply saying that you don't have to limit your own expansion and ambitions just because some other city in the region has not done it.

      Read what I wrote before being consumed by hate.

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    6. Correction: PEK-ATH goes direct from 30/9 and Air China suspends the MUC tug on. A

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    7. In what universe ATH isn't an important transfer hub? Aegean's entire network is based on offering connecting flights.

      Just look at their schedule and all will be clear.

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    8. Also, Athens didn't have year-round flights to the US until two years ago when Delta went seasonal. Before that several airlines offered direct flights, Olympic included.

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    9. Sorry, had them until two years ago.

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    10. Do we have any info about how many pax are transfer snd how many are O&D in our regional hubs VIE, FCO, ATH, ZRH etc?
      Many thanks for all info!

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    11. hahahaha. this place is very sometimes. Its AMAZING how many people do not like Air Serbia and Belgrade airport.. i dont understand the hate. all of you know that Belgrade was and it always will be the major hub in the region. and it will grow in the future and people like you will still find stupid comments to crap over that fact.

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    12. Sorry my friends , I'm from Greece and this makes me so mad ! So what if Belgrade has year round flights to New York with air serbia ? I have relatives there and travel twice a year , also we are about 3 millions in the states.My point is that we travel also in the winter and this is absurd air serbia does not care at all for us greek people who do not hate air serbia and we just wanna travel to our people there.And the bottom line is that air serbia does not care having some descent time connections to service the greek market which is huge in the USA.This is my complain and thanks for giving this space in your blog .

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  24. BEG has been developing nicely this year. Passenger growth has been quite healthy this year, several new airlines like Atlasglobal, Transavia and Hainan have launched flights. Wizz has expanded its base operations. Second long haul route, strong bidders for the concession, terminal 1 refurbishment complete... Overall a good year.

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    1. +100

      completely right. Plus profits are at a record high even though they are investing a lot of their own money in renovations.

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  25. This is great news and it will definitely help Belgrade grow even more.

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  26. People are talking about Hainan but I don't see how they will help increase transfer passengers when they have no codeshare with Air Serbia.

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    1. They do have an interline though.

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  27. They should try and attract Thai Air Asia X :P

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  28. The new YM-JU codeshare has also generated a lot of new transfer traffic at Belgrade Airport.

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    1. They still need to reschedule some flights to better link to the waves. We will see if they do that in the winter schedule.

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  29. As an aviation enthusiast I really like the current development at all the airports across the former Yugoslavia. Nice development and hopefully more good news to come for all :)

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    1. It's all good news, the more the airports in the region develop the more developed it will be. Just compare it 10 years ago. BEG barely had 2 million, same as SOF. INI, SKP, TZL have also had remarkable results too.

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  30. Does anyone here know how many transfer pax were in 2016 out of almost 5 mil? I doubt it's more than 700K.

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  31. &AnonymousAugust 29, 2017 at 11:17 AM

    In 2016 there were 1.021.000 transfer passengers (out of 4.925.000 in total).

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    1. So that's around 20%. Tnx for the numbers.

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    2. Any info about how many of those were from the ex-yu countries and how many from the rest of the world?
      Many thanks for all info!

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    3. Thanks!
      I take all that is from JU.
      Do you have the figure for 2013 when Air Serbia started?

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    4. In whole 2013 there were 312.500 transfer passengers in BEG out of 3,543 million passengers. Air Serbia started operations at the beginning of W13/14.

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  32. Good news for Belgrade airport and future concession.

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  33. If Chinese win the concession, I wouldn't be surprised that Hainan buys Etihad's stake in Air Serbia as well. It's evident that EY is focusing on its core business during the latest crisis.

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    1. EY is going to be in survival mode going forward and just trying to save itself. They wont be worried about investing in others.
      With the forcast drop in the price of oil to about $25 in the next 10 years there will be little to no help from the governments in the middle east.

      This drop in price will however help the airline industry.

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    2. +1
      Good analysis. EY despite the (maybe temporary) situation of Qatar Airways can not sustain itself in this market. serious downsizing is needed and I am afraid that it has lost interest in the development of it's foreign airlines.

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  34. Not sure if Wizz is thinking of connecting passengers, but they are the only ones who could actually do it themselves at BEG. With flights to Larnaca and Malta, they coould potentially offer some connectivity. I doubt they would get permission to fly to countries outside EU from BEG.

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    1. Did you try using Wizz for connecting passengers at any other airport they fly to?

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    2. No, however LCCs are heading towars connecting flights. Vueling already does it with IAG partners, Ryan is experimenting. Wizz will not be far behind.

      Keywords 'thinking of connecting' , 'could potentially offer'...

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    3. Cont...

      Perhaps Athens and Rome could work for Wizz with added transfer pax. I'm sure there is plenty of direct flights from Athens to Germany, but then again there are many Greeks in Germany as well. SKG perhaps could as well.

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    4. LCC connecting flights in bases with less than 10 aircraft are wet dreams. What good will the connecting flight do, if some destinations are 2 pw or 3pw.

      Also, Wizz Air only flies from East to West (more or less). Are people from UK going to fly from LTN to connect in OTP to go to MAD/BCN, for lower price than direct flights? Granted, there are some flights (LCA, TLV, etc.) that could be connected, but a huge majority couldn't be.

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  35. Ako je BEG HUB, kako bismo onda nazvali npr. IST ili DXB?!

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    1. Hubs as well.

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    2. If Rome is a city, what is Toyko or Jakarta???

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    3. If UK or France are nuclear powers, what are Russia and USA???

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    4. It's a hub for a small regional airline.

      It's just that some people here lose sight of reality when it comes to their national airline and declare airlines with 5 narrow bodies and couple of turboprop/RJs "legacy carriers".

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  36. Sve nade i pravi novi pocetak ekspanzije ce doci posle trece godine od dolaska Koncesionara na Beogradsku vazdusnu luku.
    Pozitivan trend potvrdjuje i uverava pozitivni pogled razvoja Nikole Tesle.
    Rodney,Srbija. 🇷🇸🌐🇭🇲🗺😀

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