The year ahead

Big expectations for 2013

2013 promises to be an exciting and challenging year in EX-YU aviation, with many major developments set to take place over the coming months.

Adria Airways enters 2013 with a new management, increased competition and the aim of breaking even by year end. After cost cutting measures hit passenger numbers in 2012, the Slovenian carrier will hope to win them back during the year. The airline will resume flights to Paris this summer, as well as seasonal flights to London. The carrier is also continuing to expand out of Priština where it has seen much success. While Adria has a commanding market share in Slovenia, it has recently seen some competition with the arrival of the low cost Wizz Air. The no frills airline plans to expand its operations to the Slovenian capital if numbers on its existing services continue to improve. The European Commission is set to rule in the second half on the year whether state aid given to Adria over the past few years was in line with European Union regulations. Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport’s dependence on Adria was visible throughout 2012 with passenger numbers dropping to their lowest levels in eight years. Its performance this year will again heavily depend on development taking place within the national carrier.

In seven months Croatia is set to join the European Union. 2013 is expected to be the year of Croatian airports with huge passenger numbers projected during the summer months. Countless airlines have already scheduled summer flights to the Croatian coast while Ryanair will open a base in Zadar in April. The EU effect is expected to rub off onto Croatia Airlines as well. The carrier will be focusing on its secondary hubs across the country this summer and will be increasing its charter flight offering. However, the airline will also have to deal with increased competition. Whether construction of Zagreb Airport’s new terminal begins in 2013 is anybody’s guess.

In 2012 Skopje finally become a hub airport, with Wizz Air opening its base in the Macedonian capital. It is the first time a scheduled passenger airline has called Skopje its home since the demise of MAT Macedonian Airlines. Naturally, the no frills airline has had much success on its flights from Skopje and plans to expand its route network from the city this year. With Flydubai already scheduling a new weekly frequency to Skopje this summer, passenger numbers could come close to the magic million. On the other hand, Priština Airport is set to open its brand new terminal this year as passenger numbers continue to climb.

After a tough 2012, B&H Airlines will continue its search for a strategic partner with 49% of the airline on offer. Although there was interest in the carrier late last year, the outcome of government talks with interested partners is unknown. B&H also faces increased competition, with Sarajevo Airport set to see passenger numbers surge as new airlines launch flights to the Bosnian capital. On the other hand, Montenegro Airlines expects a similar year to 2012. The airline is not faced with too much competition and privatising the carrier has been ruled out by the government. It is continuing with its restructuring programme and is awaiting the arrival of a new Embraer jet in 2014.

Finally, it will be up to the Serbian government to decide whether it wants to get serious and solve problems which have mounted at Jat Airways in recent years. Originally, it was planned for a successor national carrier to be set up in March, although this now looks unlikely. Furthermore, the airline continues to renegotiate its 1998 aircraft order with Airbus. Will it be another year lost or a year of big changes at Jat remains to be seen.

What is your forecast for airlines and airports in the former Yugoslavia in 2013?


  1. Anonymous10:14

    I can spot Jat's Atr in the picture! It is wearing the old livery.

  2. I predict a huge year for Dubrovnik with Flydubai introducing seasonal service, direct charter flight from both Korea and Japan and possibly direct charter service from the USA. (just my 2 cents)

    Split and (obviously) Zadar will have impressive growth too.

    Zagreb will be the interesting one in Croatia because its results are more affected by the state of the economy. You would think it will see at least a 10% growth but with the economy the way it is than who knows.

  3. Only thing for sure is that the Croatian coast-airports are gonna work there ass of this summer.

  4. ( OFf-topic, to the liverie of the week info, 'NordStar does not carry non-Russian citizens since Norlisk is a closed city for foreigners' )

    Wtf is that voor dicrimination ?

    1. Anonymous16:02

      Its a practice kept from Soviet times. Cities that have military bases or mining cities are usully closed to foreigers in Russia. I think Norlisk has mines, which is the only reason this airline exists – so it can transport workers.

    2. Anonymous16:30

      ExYU Skopje is not a hub because of Wizzair as hub is defined as airport with possible connections. As Wizz is P2P it does not have hub in SKP but base. So SKP is base airport.

  5. Anonymous16:29

    Sadly I don't think much will change with jat in 2013. Just maybe more cash from the government to keep it afloat and keep the aircraft in the air!

  6. frequentflyer01:39

    Happy New Year to you all.

    My predictions for 2013:

    - QR starts flights to DBV (sorry Q400, I don't see FZ starting flights)
    - JU still flying the 733s, and no decision made on new fleet
    - Air Canada's new leisure arm 'Rouge' announce seasonal flights 2-3 weekly YYZ-ZAG for summer 2014 (they don't have fleet for summer 2013), much to chagrin of the 'german overlords' at LH
    - OU acquires additional Q400, basing it at SJJ. (Personally, it would be better that they took two - and used one based at SPU or DBV)
    - problems at ZAG result in no work on new terminal throughout 2013
    - JA ceases operation because cannot find a buyer

    1. I was just guesstimating above but I think seasonal and maybe even year round Flydubai service is not that far off for Dubrovnik and maybe even Split!

  7. Anonymous14:49

    There are many cities for AC Rouge before they get to ZAG.

  8. My predictions for the next 2-3 years:
    - EK replaces FZ to BEG
    - QR goes DOH-DBV-ZAG instead of a stop via BUD
    - JA disappears
    - OU and JP unite and expand operations from SJJ
    - Malaysia buys new OU/JP
    - New OU/JP leaves Star and enters One World
    - DBV gets seasonal charters to KOR, JPN, USA, CAN
    - Korean buys Jat
    - BEG year around flights to Korea, China and US

  9. Anonymous00:04

    Sam you are wayyy too optimistic.

    Croatia Airlines and JAT are garbage. The only thing JAT really has to offer is Belgrade and its slots which are very lucrative. Croatia Airlines has nothing since it's really Lufthansa's bitch.

    Serbia-US flights are a realistic possibility via AZAL but I do not see any other airlines lining up to initiate those flights.

    Korea has nothing to do with this region nor does it have an interest in acquiring JAT. I would fancy a German, Russian, French, or Chinese company taking over JAT than a Korean one. And even those are quite unlikely.

    My prediction is a rise for all major airports in ex-Yu, especially Skopje, Belgrade, and Sarajevo. If Belgrade is able to initiate long-haul flights to the US, it can be a hub for all of the ex-yu countries for trans-Atlantic flights which would mean overall growth for almost all airports, and increase in cooperation between them.

    But this is also an optimistic prediction

  10. Anonymous01:10

    I wish all airlines (more) success in 2013.
    I don't really care if it's Adria, Croatia or JAT (written in alphabetical order - so no drama pls Serbs & Croats) as long as they're NOT budget carriers - I might be old fashioned but I still do appreciate my free sandwich, free coke and free 23kg od luggage.
    Greetings from Skopje


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