Belgrade’s dream run ends

Belgrade and Niš stumble in January

After 34 months of consecutive passenger growth, Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport has seen its figures slump in January. The airport welcomed 210.050 passengers, a decrease of 2.1% compared to the same month last year. While Jat Airways did cut down on frequencies in the first month of the year, its fleet problems were not the cause of Belgrade’s poorer performance as the Serbian carrier managed to boost its passenger numbers. The airport saw 3.108 airline operations, down a significant 5.9% on the year before. While Belgrade did host the European Handball Championships last January, which resulted in a 20.1% passenger boost compared to January 2010, several airlines have left the Serbian capital since. While Malév has declared bankruptcy, during last month Niki and Air One suspended services.

The airport will hope that Pegasus Airlines, easyJet, the return of LOT Polish Airlines and the launch of several new destinations by Wizz Air will help boost figures in the coming months although the airport will have to deal with Air France’s and SkyWork’s exit in March. Air France’s service will be replaced by Jat Airways and Wizz Air’s new flights to the French capital.

Meanwhile, Serbia’s second airport, Niš, also struggled in January. It too played host to the European Handball Championships last year but registered only 1.686 passengers in January 2013, down 21%. Furthermore, Montenegro Airlines has reduced its number of flights from Podgorica to Niš from daily to five weekly. However, better times are to come as Mistral Air will launch flights from Trieste on April 26 while flights to Antalya in Turkey are also planned for the summer season.

Meanwhile, construction work on the expansion and modernisation of Nikola Tesla Airport is in full swing. Serbia’s public broadcaster, RTS, recently filed this report reviewing the progress being made on the terminal building (YouTube access required, in Serbian).


  1. Anonymous09:05

    GOD I can't stand the CEO of BEG. He is so incompetent and he got to that position because his wife was the best friend of Tomica Milosavljevic's wife. He was actually offered the position as the deputy CEO of BEG or a teaching position at the University of Belgrade.

  2. Anonymous10:25

    The first picture on that video is a new C1 gate with dual jetways build for a widebody aircraft. One of them is big as whole departure deck in Zagreb. Keep in mind there is six of them and ten more for a narrowbody airplanes.

    Just a friendly reminder for those that still tend to compare those two airports.

    1. Doot12:10

      Who cares who is the tallest midget???!!

    2. Anonymous12:33

      There is no any reason to compare anything in Ex-Yu area. All thing are clear:

      - BEG is the biggest airport in this area and there is no chance to any Ex-Yu airport to overtake BEG
      - Croatia airlines iz the biggest airline company and there is no chance to any Ex-Yu company to overtake CA.
      - Croatia is the biggest air market and there is no chance to any Ex-Yu market to overtake Croatia
      - Montenegro is most efficient market in Ex-YU considering the namber of population and there is no chance to any Ex-Yu country to overtake Montenegro.

      Evryone has their own reason to be satisfied :-)

    3. Anonymous12:53

      Well said anonymous @ 1233 am

    4. Purger15:01

      12:33 Bravo! That is 100% true!!!!

      The best comment on this blog ever!

    5. Anonymous21:52

      Belgrade airport terminal 1 and 2 are only twice the size of current Zagreb airport terminal,

      Zagreb Main terminal - 22500sqm

      Belgrade Terminal 1 and 2 + jetways= 42000sqm

      For comparison new Ljubljana terminal will be 40000sqm or new Zagreb airport terminal will be 70 000sqm

    6. Anonymous01:02

      Excuse me, where did you got your numbers from?

    7. Anonymous08:47

      Terminal size iz not important. ST terminal is much smaller than BG or ZG but ST iz able to handle 25 000 pax in one single day (summer saturdays). BEG daily record ever iz cca 15 000 while ZG record iz probably still smaller.

      Probably terminals in such size in LJ and ZG are not pure for airtraffic purpose (projects probably have comercial contents - hotels, agencies, services...)

  3. Anonymous11:20

    Still i guess the drop is coz of the championship and big jump in those days.

  4. Anonymous11:38

    Juhuu hellou guys its january..:-O

  5. Anonymous12:02

    Drop is drop! Doesn't meter if it is in January or July. It is drop in %.

  6. Anonymous13:04

    Montenegro Airlines Embraer 190-200 Montenegro Airlines Embraer 190-200 / © Montenegro Airlines
    Nis to lose last operator Montenegro Airlines from March


    Montenegro Airlines (YM, Podgorica (TGD)) has announced the cancellation of its five times weekly service from Podgorica (TGD) to Nis Constantine the Great International (INI) from March 30 leaving the Serbian airport without scheduled flights going forward. Montenegro Airlines had offered connections via Podgorica to its remaining network with a Fokker 100 overnighting in Nis to allow for short connection times in Podgorica.

    This came just on website:

  7. Anonymous16:56


    1. Anonymous21:48

      xaxaxaxaxa was never in any other airports?

    2. Anonymous22:57

      And you have never learned the basics of English grammar?

    3. Anonymous05:15

      Have you?

  8. Anonymous17:00

    I also realised that flydubai reduced its flights to 3 times weekly and then 4 in the peak season. Maybe the airport will maintain its 2012 figures but very unlikely to exceed them in 2013. The departure of 3 airlines will definitely have an impact especially Niki's 2 flights, Sky Work's 4 and Air France's 7.

    1. Anonymous19:14

      Yes, but compared to last year:

      - QR started flights
      - PC started flights
      - TK and SU are becoming double daily
      - WZZ added a second aircraft and opening new routes
      - AF leaving is more than compensated by JU and WZZ
      - I doubt few weekly SkyWork's turboprops will have a significant impact on passenger numbers

      As i have no information on potential new comers i can't put forward that fact as granted but i do think that BEG can still maintain solid growth this year. The main piece in the puzzle will the future of JU and developments within the company.

      PS: I strongly support the comment at 12:33 (wow, even Purgy does).

    2. Purger21:53

      Of course I did. Why not?

      BEG is the biggest airport in exYU and for sure it will be the biggest in future. That is fact! Just stupid nationalist can try to find some "arguments" against that.

      By same logic Croatia is much bigger air-market than Serbia, and Croatia Airlines is much bigger and better company than Jat.

    3. Anonymous00:52

      You used two adjectives that are misplaced. Croatia Airlines is bigger but NOT that much bigger than JU.
      In the future the two companies might get very close, though serving completely different markets and types of customers (and i do expect the air traffic in Croatia as a whole to remain higher than in Serbia).
      As for "much better", both JU and OU are official 3 star airlines, so i don't see the purpose of that adjective either, might be stemming from some nationalistic sentiment you were just frowning upon...(?)

    4. Purger01:04

      CTN is 60% bigger than Jat. The same is BEG, 60% bigger than ZAG.

      CTN fleet is much younger and modern than Jat. CTN has less debt. CTN is member of alliance for ages now. CTN has much modern business concept including web check-in, modern call and support center, reservation system, one of the best international ff program...

      So, again you can see that BEG is bigger than ZAG, but you can not see the same thing in comparation CTN and Jat! cccccc...

    5. Anonymous01:44

      Puergerovanje, zagrebovanje,prdovanje

      Werent you promoting your propaganda that jat got only 900 000

    6. Anonymous01:57

      Hmmm... OU is bigger than JU assenger wise not 60% but 40%, i guess you do know proportions.. which is not so much for such a tourist destination, and so many charters, airports and stuff...

    7. Anonymous04:11

      ...and the fact that with all that (read Purgy at 01:04) they're still on the brink of collapse. Wow.

    8. Anonymous06:13

      OU transported only 30% more pax than JU (in its worst state ever) in 2013. Nothing majestic in my opinion.

    9. Purger09:21

      Mathematics is something what you can not color in nationalistic colors.

      BEG in 2012 3,36 million passengers
      ZAG in 2012 2,42 million passengers
      BEG had 38,9% more passengers than ZAG

      CTN in 2012 1,95 million passengers
      Jat in 2012 1,36 million passengers
      CTN had 43,6% more passengers than Jat

      Well just fact that you can not be realistic even in precise statistic numbers shows your mentality.

    10. Anonymous17:12

      Oh, Purgy, i see you getting all confused. You talk about mentality. Well, you was the first one to say that OU transported 60% more passengers, that is MUCH bigger, and MUCH better. I said:
      - It is not 60% but around 40%
      - It is not that bigger*
      - It is not that better (3 star Skytrax).
      So how hypocrite is it to blame others for what you do yourself in an even more extremist way?
      I guess if there was someone whose maths got blinded by nationalism in-here that can't be anyone but yourself.

    11. Anonymous17:21

      *Back to the numbers and math, if you have any intelligence left (but surely you won't even reply out of shame) :

      - 1.36 makes 69.7% of 1.95. Which leaves you with a gap of 31.3%, or roughly 30% if to round it up.
      So can you explain me how did you got to the number of 60% and then to 43.6?! Was it by taking the way of blind nationalist pride? I guess so, cause it certainly doesn't fits in the way of maths and logic. The worst is that later-on your project your own traits of personality onto others.

      Second, the airline's respective fleets:
      - OU overall fleet has capacity of 1020 jet seats and 456 turboprop seats, making a total of 1476 seats available.
      - On the other hand, JU has 1440 jet seats and further 264 turboprops, though those figures could be slightly slimmer right at the moment, but that certainly doesn't puts OU as the "much bigger company".

      So this was to show everyone how dumb and blind you are with you Cro propaganda, as much as you try to portray yourself as an objective purgeristic 'expert' LMAO.

    12. Purger17:21

      This 60% was number without calculation, just to show that it is almost the same percentage... Point was that you can not say that BEG is much bigger than ZAG and in same time deny that CTN is much bigger than Jat.

      So BEG is much bigger with 38,9% more passengers than ZAG?

      And still CTN is not much bigger with 43,6% more passengers than Jat?

      So, what is true: BAG is not so big, or CTN is much bigger than Jat?

    13. Anonymous21:57

      Please, just admit that you've made yourself fool this time cause whether you want it or not, 30% is not 43.6 and even less 60. You made it up.
      "This 60% was number without calculation" - right, it was drawn from your blind nationalistic sentiment that you're so wisely criticizing the others about. Just go to sleep.

    14. Anonymous00:17

      30% how on earth you calculate 30%?

      And I was sure no one would answer:
      So BEG is much bigger with 38,9% more passengers than ZAG?

      And still CTN is not much bigger with 43,6% more passengers than Jat?

      So, what is true: BEG is not so big, or CTN is much bigger than Jat?

      ...of course Purger is nationalist who said that BEG is much bigger than ZAG, but you are not to see this fact that CTN is bigger than Jat than BEG comparing to ZAG.

    15. Anonymous03:16

      It is not 30 but 31% - and certainly not 60 (read explanations given above). I'm gonna answer to the questions you are desperately asking, thinking you got the jackpot.

      First of all, in my opinion the importance of an airport is not measured by the number of passengers, but by the number of international destinations and overall connections that the airport offers year-round, its effect on a given region. That is where BEG is much bigger than Zagreb, no matter the passenger numbers, which is higher anyway (but i never talked about that, if you notice). Same goes for airline importance, except that besides the number of connections offered, the important factor to be taken into account is the extent of influence of the given carrier in a given region.

      For example:

      - Even if BEY handles less pax than WAW, it is still more important as an airport.
      - Or for example KBP, even if handling the same number as BUD, is incomparably more important as an airport, due to its extensive intercontinental connections.
      - Or for instance MSQ, which handles twice less pax/yearly than ZAG, is equally or slightly more important than it, due to its connections again.
      - Last but not least, even if handling only 7 million pax a year, ADD is as "big" or important (whatever you want in semantics) as the largest airports in Europe, again for its influence in the region it serves and economies it indirectly supports and connects.
      - In other words, the departure of JU would be much felt and by much more people in the region than the collapse of OU, same as was for MA some of whose routes were never restored by other carriers, connections that were lost.

      Concerning airline business, if to look purely at pax numbers, Ryanair would be the most important airline in Europe (and one of the most important in the world), well it is not, far from that. And i would consider AirBaltic at least as important as Ryanair in Europe, even if much smaller in operations. Cause, the collapse of Ryanair wouldn't have the consequences that would have the departure of AirBaltic for example - Ryanair can be easily replaced. AirBaltic or Carpatair can't, they're almost unique.

      Bottom line, the real importance of an airline is seen with the effect on the market/connections possibilities lost once it eventually collapses. As for the numbers of destinations, OU handles 27 overall versus 25 by JU and about pax numbers, we already debated, the gap is much smaller than one would expect it to be given the recent history of both carriers - especially when having to face the fact that OU with all its advantages and Western support it enjoyed in the 90s is still closer to bankruptcy than JU (and i'm neither a lover of JU or Serbia, just giving you the facts).

      I hope now is all clear for you cause i won't be available for more explanations.

    16. Purger22:04

      I really can not discuss with someone whose arguments are:
      - Jat and CTN are almost same because they have almost same capacity. So, number of passengers is not important but number of seats that are not used. So it is not important that CTN fleet is much younger and modern than Jat, that CTN has less debt, CTN is member of alliance for ages now, CTN has much modern business concept including web check-in, modern call and support center, reservation system, one of the best international ff program... But important thing is number of seats in which you calculate all those which are grounded.
      - Croatia has 43,8% more passengers than Jat, 32% more flights per week, much more connections than Jat (CTN 122, Jat 64 weekly connection flights) and still you thing those companies are the same
      - for you little regional company with just few unimportant lines for Romanian economic Diaspora (Carpatair) is more important than Ryanair who have so many bases, most of those are bigger than Carpatair hub (Timisoara) and for sure in case of bankruptcy it will destroy most of little airports that exist because of Ryanair.

  9. Anonymous17:56

    I was told that there might be an attempt at charter flights from the US to Serbia this summer again? Does anyone have info on this?
    I was surprised to hear this since the fiasco last summer.

    Who would risk their vacation plans for a savings of a few hundred dollars?

    1. Anonymous18:39

      Who told you this?

    2. Anonymous21:46

      A friend said they saw something about it on a satellite news program. Not sure if it is true.

    3. Anonymous01:02

      If you want to hear something more, a neighbour of mine was actually very serious when he told me that there will be direct charters to Banja Luka from Toronto and New York this summer. His roots come from Republika Srpska. He even explained to me that there would be direct connections to BEG SJJ and SKO. He also was trying to tell me that this was the best solution for all the nationalities of the region. I first asked him which airlines were involved and he did not know. Then I asked him what he was drinking.

  10. Anonymous18:05

    Figures for February looks better, BEG will record growth in February one more time despite the fact the month is one day shorter than is was in 2012.

  11. Anonymous05:24

    BEG is definitely the biggest, but not the best.
    No single international award up to now.
    I would not elaborate since Admin of this site would delete it right away.

    Please check for Dubrovnik awards.
    Even Sarajevo got some.
    Most of other Ex-Yu airports are of higher overall quality than BEG.

    In quality, BEG has long way to go to reach some other airports in Ex-Yu, if not Sarajevo or Dubrovnik.

    1. Anonymous02:25

      That's just bs. Admin never deleted any substantial comments, only nationalist rant.

      As regards awards, BEG and DBV/SJJ are not in the same category, so comparison is not in order. But true, BEG is definetely not the champion of great service to pax - no fast train connection to the city center, no covered walkways from the parking structure (and no structure for that matter in front of the terminal building), small and crowded check-in, passport control and landside arrivals area, one average (at best) lounge, and weak air-conditioning in airside area in the summer.

      On the other hand, it's quite clean, decently maintained, surprisingly efficient and current renovation works will make it look okay. No question about it, in comparison with any larger European airport, BEG still looks (and is) a backwater provincial airport. As almost every other ex-YU airport suffers the same fate in comparison to BEG.

      However, no ex-YU airports are in position to call themselves quality products. I can't say for DBV, haven't been there for a long time, but SJJ, come on? Perhaps SKP with their new terminal, but does shiny faux-marble really make an airport a quality product for pax? Perhaps MUC and ZRH, or CDG E, deserve that title in Europe and that's about it...

    2. Anonymous05:23

      It is very easy if you really want to check for DBV awards.
      In addition to already second ACI award, British Airways awarded DBV third time as best service airport in the category.

      Other forums are discussing openly shortcomings of BEG, such as sewage spills resulting with terrible smell all over the terminal, regular power outages, collisions in between aircraft and airport service vehicles, security checks for two times, long waiting time for check-in, etc.
      Admin of this blog will definitely delete this since being biased socialist way when such situations were considered as state top secret instead of exposing BEG management to public scrutiny in order to get better service for all pax.
      So, I agree with you that BEG in quality, is way behind other Ex-Yu airports, in particular behind Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Split, Sarajevo, Skopje, Pristina, etc.
      Yes, it is the biggest airport since Serbia has only one international airport and all population have no other choice than to travel via BEG. If Serbia would have well developed highway network that would not be a problem, but this is not the case.

    3. Anonymous09:55

      Typical croat propa.

  12. meho puzic08:22

    Come back in six months and see it for yourself. You will find the moving walkways and what not. I have been to all micky mouse airports in ex yu.


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