Cargo centre to save Niš Airport

Niš Constantine the Great Airport, Serbia’s second international airport reconstructed in 2004 after it was bombed by NATO in 1999 has struggled in the past 4 years to attract airlines. The airport’s management has more than once accused the national carrier Jat Airways of ignoring the city even though in 2006 Jat introduced flights to some 4 destinations from Niš, all of which struggled to maintain more than 10 passengers. Despite promises from the airport management low cost airlines have been more than reluctant to operate flights to the city, situated in Eastern Serbia. It is currently only served by Jat Airways which maintains 2 weekly services to Zurich. Montenegro Airlines operates flights to the airport during the summer.

However, there now seems to be an investment that could save the airport and benefit the whole region. The CEO of public company Airport Niš Radisav Radojković, and the director general of company Eymaxx Management GmbH from Vienna Mihail Miler, recently signed a contract for the joint financing of the development of a logistics, commercial and cargo centre to be located at the Constantine the Great Airport. The investment, which everybody expects to be the catalyst for development in Niš, and the whole region of southeast Serbia, is worth 61.3 million Euros and construction will start in spring. The Viennese company participated in the tender together with investment fund Chayton Capital from London. The contract was signed in the presence of the Minister for the Environment and Spatial Planning of Serbia Oliver Dulić, the Deputy Ambassador of Austria Urlike Hartman, the Mayor of Niš Miloš Simonović, and the representatives of Niš’s city council. “This is our first logistics centre in Serbia. We also want to develop a trade centre at the airport and invest a total of 100 million Euros in several phases. The first phase will result in the creation of 500 new jobs”, Miler pointed out.

Is this the revival the airport needs? Only time will tell. Niš (pictured above) is Serbia’s third largest city population wise.

NOTE: Adria’s winter 2008/09 schedule, which begins tomorrow, will be published tomorrow. Apologies for the delay.