Niki eyes Serbia

New hub in Belgrade?
The Austrian based low cost airline Niki, created by the legendary formula 1 driver Niki Lauda, has set its eyes on the Serbian aviation market, hoping it will be able to begin services from Nikola Tesla Airport to several European cities. The final decision will rest on the government of Serbia, which last year rejected Niki which hoped to begin flights between Vienna and Belgrade. This is because Austria and Serbia have a bilateral agreement which only allows one airline from each country to operate between the two cities (Austrian and Jat Airways). Niki has applied for a license from the Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate.

The airline’s management successfully completed talks with Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport which has promised the low cost airline cheaper handling. The airline’s management is optimistic that it could, if it receives a license, have many passengers after it was announced that from January 1, 2010 Serbian citizens will no longer need visas to travel to countries from the European Union. Although the airline’s management hasn’t decided which destinations would be served from Belgrade, Niki Lauda says that the most probable are Vienna (currently operated by Austrian and Jat), Munich (operated by Lufthansa), Hamburg (not operated) Stockholm (operated by Jat and Norwegian Air Shuttle), Palma de Mallorca (not operated), Milan (operated by Jat) and Palermo (not operated). These would be scheduled destinations rather than charters.

The major problem low cost airlines face when flying from Serbia is the extremely high airport taxes at Nikola Tesla. From June 1, after months of negotiations Jat Airways has been able to secure for all its passengers taxes of only 4 Euros, rather than the 16.5 payed until now. However, foreign carriers still have to deal with the high taxes although it is believed that they will be lowered to 4 Euros soon.

Meanwhile, Jat Airways’ new CEO should be named today. According to media reports it is Srđan Radovanović, a surprise choice by the government as he has neither any experience in aviation nor has he ever worked in Jat. He has a law degree and worked for a few state owned companies.


  1. Anonymous10:39

    You base your high airport taxes statement on what? Hear say, or did you do a comparison of the taxes paid at different airports?

    As far as I know the pax tax at BEG is 16.50 EUR + 4.50 EUR for the security charge (= 21.00 EUR total)

    I ran a quick check against other airports, for example Charles de Gaulle (total = 24.54 EUR):

    Tax: French Aviation Civile Tax €3.92
    Tax: French International Passenger Service Charge €9.24
    Tax: French Airport Tax €10.38
    Tax: French Air Passenger Solidarity Tax €1.00

    Vienna (total 23.52 EUR):

    Tax: Austrian Passenger Service Charge €15.52
    Tax: Austrian Passenger Security Charge €8.00

    Zagreb (total 16.00 EUR):

    Tax: Croatia Airport Tax €15.00
    Tax: Croatia Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA) Tax €1.00

    WOW... I guess Belgrade is really expensive, NOT.

  2. Anonymous10:41

    The Stockholm route is also operated seasonally by Norwegian.

    The 4 EUR tax you are mentioning applies only to transit pax.

  3. An airport tax of 16.5 is expensive for a country like Serbia, simple as that. The high tax at Paris Charles De Gaulle is the reason why the majority of low cost airlines do not operate from that airport. In Zagreb only 2 low cost airlines operate flights despite a free sky agreement with the EU.

  4. @ex yu

    What is the airport tax for Sarajevo airport?

    or can anyone else answer that please.


  5. Anonymous12:39

    Tax: Bosnia-Herzegovina Passenger Service Charge €18.00
    Tax: Bosnia-Herzegovina Passenger Tax BAM 20

    Negde oko 28 evra ukupno

  6. Sarajevo onda je skuplje od Beograda. Jesi vidio, pa zato nam puno avio kompanija ne lete, kako u Zagrebu pa ipak u Beogradu.

  7. @Anonymous. Don’t know which website you are using for your information but according to a recent news report

    Belgrade - 16.5 Euros
    Zagreb - 7 Euros
    Podgorica and Tivat - 2.5 Euros
    Sarajevo - 9
    Ljubljana - 3.3
    Skopje - 4

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. @exyuaviation

    What about Pristina?

    and the Tirana - Sarajevo - Frankfurt flight is not displayed on Sarajevo airport or Frankfurt

    when will it begin?

  10. Anonymous22:28

    @ EX-YU Aviation

    I don't trust the local media, as usually they do pretty shallow analysis... For this reason, I take the time to look at the actual fare construction, and check real numbers.

    As I already mentioned saying that the airport tax in Belgrade is 16.50 EUR is pretty shallow... one should look at all the taxes charged by the airport authorities.

    Belgrade: 21.00 EUR
    Tax: Serbian Security Charge €4.50
    Tax: Serbia Passenger Service Charge €16.50

    Podgorica: 15.00 EUR
    Tax: Montenegro Departure Tax €15.00

    Priština: 20.53 EUR
    Tax: Pristina Airport Departure Tax €20.53

    Sarajevo: ~28 EUR
    Tax: Bosnia-Herzegovina Passenger Service Charge €18.00
    Tax: Bosnia-Herzegovina Passenger Tax BAM 20

    Zagreb: 16.00 EUR
    Tax: Croatia Airport Tax €15.00
    Tax: Croatia Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA) Tax €1.00

    Ljubljana: 20.90 EUR
    Tax: Slovenia Passenger Service Charge €17.00
    Tax: Slovenia Security Fee €3.90

    Skoplje: 17.50 EUR
    Tax: Macedonia Departure Tax €11.50
    Tax: Macedonia Security Tax €6.00

  11. Anonymous14:31

    That analysis doesn't cover the entire story, as charges at different airports are also made on a per tonne basis as well, and these rates per tonne also vary. So the ONLY way to compare properly is to take the same aircraft (eg. 737-300) with the same load factor (ie # of pax actually on the plane) and divide by the TOTAL charge (which consists of a per passenger element and a per tonne element) and make sure this includes EVERYTHING, including air traffic control and ground handling charges. *Only* then do you have a comparable picture.

    To further complicate matters, airlines are capable of negotiating improved terms from the so-called 'rack rate', and this will be strictly confidential.

    In the end, only a comparison of 'rack rates' is possible.


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