Belgrade Airport returns to growth

Numbers improve at Belgrade Airport

Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport recorded passenger growth in March for the first time this year despite a significant fall in the number of operated flights. Serbia’s busiest airport handled 220.278 passengers, an increase of 2% compared to last year’s 216.025. On the other hand, the number of arriving and departing flights to and from Belgrade plunged by 10% from 3.457 last year, to 3.110 in 2013. In the first quarter, Belgrade welcomed 603.724 passengers, just down on last year’s 604.210, or a 0.1% decrease. Passenger numbers at Belgrade have been hit by Jat’s major network reductions as it struggles with a fleet shortage.

With busier months approaching, the airport hopes that numbers will pick up. Wizz Air has announced it will not be resuming its seasonal service from Belgrade to Rome this summer. The service was converted into a seasonal only flight at the end of last summer. However, the low cost airline has decided to completely discontinue the service. Both Alitalia and Jat Airways continue to operate the Rome route. Nevertheless, Wizz will launch flights from Belgrade to Beauvais, Oslo Torp, Corfu and Rhodes in the coming months. Furthermore, summer charters are set to begin soon with Sky Airlines and Pegasus operating services from Antalya, Nesma Airlines, Air Cairo and Midwest Airlines from Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh, Tunis Air from Enfidha as well as numerous charters to be operated by Jat. During the summer Etihad Airways will also launch flights to the Serbian capital.

Meanwhile, Niš Constantine the Great Airport handled 1.113 passengers in March, a 34% plunge compared to the same month last year. Recently, Montenegro Airlines agreed to continue flying to the city five times per week from Podgorica after settling a dispute over subsidies with local authorities. At the end of this month Mistral Air will launch flights from Trieste to Niš in a European Union funded project. During the summer, Sky Airlines will launch regular charters from Antalya to the city. In the first quarter Niš Airport welcomed 3.753 passengers, down 23% on last year.


  1. Anonymous09:05

    Ex-Yu - You mean "the airport hopes" instead of "the airline"?
    Thanks for the article but i think that image has been already used before, a new one would be much more suitable. Thank you and all the best.

    1. Corrected… and no the image has not been used before.

    2. Anonymous09:26

      Well it's ugly anyway.

    3. Anonymous09:50

      Can't be more ugly than a Zagreb pic.

    4. Anonymous10:17

      That's for sure.

    5. Anonymous12:44

      That is totally stupid to say. Zagreb airport is small but very modern and totally rebuild.

      And why again provocations to Zagreb?

      None of Croats here did not say something like "Belgrade is in 2% comparing to Zagreb 12,5%, and that is just beginning", because that is stupid and provocation just as this one before.

      Why you have that need for provocations to Zagreb? Jealousy, inferiority...?

    6. Anonymous12:53

      1. how do you know it was written by a Serb? It could have been easily written by a Bosniak or an Albanian who is trying to cause problems.

      2. Why do you even pay attention to those stupid comments? Be more mature and ignore them. Be better than they are.

  2. Anonymous09:12

    Can someone explain me how FZ can charge 423 Eur. for BEG-DXB one way and still keep recording good loads with all the competition now involved, including Pegasus that sells tickets for like half the price with excellent connection time and luggage included? Even Qatar Airways is cheaper to DXB, 230 Eur. one-way. That's just insane. The greedy TK is also cheaper. Cheapest round-trip on FlyDubai stands at 570 Eur. right now. Is the Serbian diaspora in Dubai that oblivious on the amount of money they're paying just to get the direct flight, without food and luggage included, or they're actually counting on transfer passengers? Seriously FZ must be making a killing out of BEG, something similar to what AF, KL and others do in Africa and South America where there is basically no other choice than them. Remember their ads when they started operating: BEG-DXB 170 Eur. one way all taxes included.

    1. Anonymous10:04

      The €170 was a promotional price while they had the discount from Belgrade airport. It lasted for about six months and then they were forced to increase their fares.
      Flydubai also allows children under a certain age to travel free of charge.

      I have a friend who works for a famous travel agency in Belgrade and she told me that Dubai is extremely popular among Serbian holidaymakers, even if it is quite pricey. I guess we Serbs like bling bling.
      So I suppose they fill their flights thanks to travel agencies as well.

    2. Anonymous10:23

      But why in the GDS you never find a FZ+EK combined flight ticket? But you find for example BEG-DXB-KHI with Tarom via Bucharest lol

    3. Anonymous10:48

      If you want to book a flydubai and Emirates flight you have to either contact a travel agent or simply contact Emirates' office in Belgrade.
      Emirates never really wanted to cooperate wit flydubai, they were forced into marrying them.

    4. Anonymous21:19

      Wizzair should include BEG and start flying to DWC too, they offer very cheap flights from Bulgaria and Romania for example.

    5. Aэrologic22:01

      Definitely not (read comments bellow), but they could/should have started IEV, MOW, BCN/MAD, LCA and SAW (before PC's entrance at least).

    6. Anonymous07:46

      Larnaca is a high yielding market and it actually requires a business class product, especially the Tel Aviv tag. People flying out of Larnaca would not pay to fly on Wizz Air, trust me on that. The small part of the people who might pay are not enough to sustain these flights. This is the same reason why Wizz Air was butchered on the Larnaca-Bucharest by Blueair and Tarom.

      The only one they could launch and which would make sense is Barcelona.

    7. Anonymous08:27

      "This is the same reason why Wizz Air was butchered on the Larnaca-Bucharest by Blueair and Tarom."

      Would you be so kind to provide more details on that?

      Thank you.

    8. Anonymous08:31

      Does JU still operates the typical J class seats on some of their planes, especially on those they send to LCA/TLV (as well as LHR/SVO)?

      Any information on whether the new planes that are gonna enter the fleet will be configured in an all-economy or two class layout?

    9. Aэrologic09:12

      Don't know if it's a coincidence with my announcement, but i just saw that Wizz Air is starting OTP, KTW and SOF from Larnaca in May, so why not BEG? (How were they butchered to Bucharest then i wonder?) They seem quite conservative in their Belgrade expansion, all those places i mentioned deserve a go, at least in modest frequency. Let's continue the discussion under the today's thread.

  3. Anonymous09:39

    I am sure 12 daily qantas and emirates from Australia will go in favour of FZ.

    1. Anonymous09:46

      No doubt about that but should they still keep the DXB-BEG leg as low-cost for a 5-6h flight? To Australia EY seems to be the right deal. Btw, QR increases capacity to BEG, regular A321 from mid-may.

    2. Anonymous09:53

      That will depend on the demand. I often hear stories such as where serbs and croats prise their big communities in australia, but how many of them travel back and forth? That should give you a good indication depending on if EK enter BEG.

    3. Anonymous10:00

      One major misconception is that people think Serbs use Dubai only for their Australian flights. The truth is that passengers heading to South Africa, Asia and New Zealand transfer here as well.
      The passengers to/from Australia are a bonus which helps sustain all these flights.

      Flydubai has a huge advantage and that is that it operate out of a city where there are between 7,000 and 15,000 Serbs working and living. Mind you, there are 500 cabin crew of Serbian origin working for Emirates alone.

    4. Anonymous10:04

      think the EY and QR offers will be the most adapted and attractive to passengers, notwithstanding the higher brand awareness Emirates enjoys but once EY and JU become one, i'm sure many Yugo-nostalgics will fly back on Jat (eg. even higher brand-awareness).
      Definitely let's see but with EY's daily entrance any newcomer will really fall into over-capacity, i already see TK cancelling the second daily flight (and they won't be missed).

    5. Anonymous10:14

      Anon@10:00 - But why EK didn't launch their metal then some time ago? That wouldn't have allowed TK to spread its wings so much into BEG. It would have attracted business pax from the region, what FZ simply can't do. I have no doubt that LF wouldn't be bad, question is would they make money cause you have to know that EK transports lots of cargo with their wide-bodies to support the route(s). In other words, without large and consistent cargo demand, EK doesn't fly. Otherwise they would have launched KTM much before BEG and they could even fill a daily 777 to there, that's a no-brainer.

    6. Anonymous10:46

      Emirates did consider launching Belgrade some years ago and they wanted to link it with Venice.
      Unfortunately for Belgrade, Venice managed to outperform and it made more sense to keep it as a direct flight. Afterwards Turkish Airlines kept on adding flights to Belgrade which mostly hurt Jat. However, there was no concrete interest for Emirates to fly into Belgrade so flydubai took over.

      Emirates will not launch Belgrade flights, not in the foreseeable future as all cargo heading to the United Arab Emirates will be handled by Etihad. Talks for the construction of a major cargo centre at BEG have already begun. Naturally the biggest loser in this whole story will be Budapest which is the current regional leader in cargo. Budapest will lose to Belgrade when it comes to Croatia (as Belgrade is closer and the roads are decent between the two countries) and to south-western Romania.

      Thanks to these new developments Belgrade airport has a bright future. One thing that makes this whole thing even better is that by adding Etihad to the equation, Belgrade will have a low cost carrier based there (Wizz Air) and a national legacy carrier which will be run by an adequate management.

    7. Aэrologic10:50

      Keep in mind that EK isn't flying to KBP and started WAW only recently. Situation at KBP is similar to BEG's: fierce and established competition, no large premium market (a good part of it flies already established carriers), relatively scarce or irregular cargo demand (or big carriers already present).

      To start WAW was great for them i think, they faced zero competition to the ME, though QR came in eventually. Situation is similar in BUD right now which has derisory connections to the Middle-East besides QR (with a rather shy EgyptAir presence), so that's the destination i see EK starting next in Eastern Europe, possibly with a BEG tag but unlikely.

      PS: Supporting my words, Wizz Air just recently announced KBP/BUD-DWC, smart move from the ugly Joszef Varadi.

    8. Anonymous10:53

      But when it comes to Budapest, let's not forget that Turkish Airlines is big there, really big.
      On top of it all, in addition to Egyptair's pathetic presence, I am sure that Tarom takes a small share of those passengers too.

      When it comes to Wizz Air's expansion to Dubai, I do not see it lasting that long. They are no flydubai (they do not offer connections) and their service is pathetic which will, in my opinion, have a negative impact on their overall performance. Not to mention that they will fly into that circus of an airport with no decent infrastructure.

    9. Anonymous11:04

      @10:46 - BUD profited the most from Yugoslavia's collapse and sanctions so now it should give back what it took from BEG. Its rise was based on BEG's downfall. Even their airline MA (proudly first serving Kosovo) now collapsed, while JU is still around and about to bounce back. What a turn in fortunes really. Still i can't end up being amazed by the retarded Serbs finding it 'fancy' to fly from BUD like in the 90s given the choice ex-BEG, boosting their numbers and economy. Bosniaks would go bare-foot to IST if need. Where's the national conscioussness.

    10. Aэrologic11:08

      What's the frequency/capacity of TK in BUD? Daily NB? Pegasus should start Budapest. Yes, will be interesting to see what happens with all those WizzAir-DWC destinations.

    11. Anonymous11:15

      Imagine if Wizz Air launched the line from Belgrade as well, in addition to BUD, OTP, SOF and KBP...they clearly saw the message: saturated. I'm sure they were contemplating it.

    12. Anonymous11:27

      Turkish Airlines has double daily flights from Istanbul to Budapest and they are mostly operated by A321s. They are currently the sole operator on this route, I do not know if Wizz Air launched flights since Malev's demise.

      To be honest, I am really happy that things are shaping up in Serbia. With the cargo centre being built and the microchip factory being constructed in the outskirts of Belgrade I am sure that the demand for cargo flights will only keep on increasing. It is great to see that Serbia is back to exporting agricultural products to the Middle East. Back in the days of Yugoslavia cargo configured B707s used to be filled with lamb meat and exported to the Arab states, most notably Jordan.
      The European Central Bank is estimating that the Serbian economy should stabilize itself by the end of the year. I guess in 2013 we might see things remain as they were in 2012, but 2014 will a turning point in Serbian aviation.

      Also, without wanting to cause any tension on here, with the Etihad-Jat partnership I guess that JU is the only ex-YU carrier to fully secure its future. Other carriers in the region will be exposed to competition without the adequate backing.
      I guess now it is OU's turn to show their worth with their entry into the European Union. I think their first year as an EU carrier will determine the way they go in the future.
      Unfortunately for Slovenia, I think Adria is as good as dead. Especially with the austerity measures kicking in shortly.

    13. DontLetFactsGetInTheWayOfAGoodStory18:09

      @Anonymous 11:04 AM
      To the conscientious Serb

      In the interest of accuracy, Malev was not the first airline serving (I guess you mean post-war) Kosovo, proudly or otherwise. Far from it. Adria Airways was the first airline to fly to post-war Kosovo, followed soon after by Swissair (wow, now that was an airline) and others. If I recall correctly, Malev Hungarian Airlines entered the market circa year 2001.

    14. Anonymous21:55

      No problem with that, i just meant to say that they were one of the first, Adria seems to pioneer with anti-Serbian entities though. Wish them to go bankrupt just as Malev.

    15. Anonymous22:50

      Actually TK mostly sends to BUD a colorful mix of A319/320/321 and B738, the A321 being seen only in ~25% of cases.

    16. Anonymous04:23

      @ Anonymous 9:55 PM.

      You belong in North Korea!

    17. Anonymous07:43

      Why does he belong in North Korea? Because he stated his opinion openly and freely? It seems to me you are the one who belong there since you do not appreciate the freedom of expression.

      On a more relevant note, I still fail to understand how anyone can still think Adria has a future. They are constantly recording losses and they are under investigation by the European Commission.

    18. Anonymous08:15

      What's wrong about belonging to North Korea? That's the only country that has the guts to say what the rest of us think:

  4. Siks12:25

    Seems JU and BEG are coming right to the spot!!!
    Read this:

  5. Anonymous12:53

    One of information was that new ATR 72-500 is very easy to lease because there are many of those in market and Jat has crew for that. So, commission told us it will be leased in end of March and will start to fly from very beginning of summer time-table. Now it is middle of April, and there are non 72-500 in Belgrade. JATOVANJE again!!!

    I wonder what will happen with A320 also...

    1. Anonymous12:56

      At least the deal with Etihad was not 'Jatovanje' and that is all that matters. Who cares about two stinky Atrs.

    2. Anonymous15:28

      Is it? We have saying "Prvo skoči pa reci hop". First of all deal is not ON, it is not finalized. Etihad will come to scan Jat in April.

      They will open Abu Dhabi - Belgrade route ant that is really big news and it is more than good thing for Belgrade, but that is so far away of deal with Jat. For sure possible deal will be on after deep scanning. And, how typical for Serbia, you announce 100% sure deal. Like always. Like so many time in past what was nothing more than Jatovanje. And I am not so sure that they will be happy whit what they will find in Jat.

    3. Anonymous15:29

      What deal with Etihad? No info about any deal on "routesonline", no info or news on Etihad's webpage, or any by any other relevant source.

      EY managers need to "screen situation" in JU before anything happens and the development of political situation in Serbia is definitely not in favour of economy, stability and growth, on the contrary. a

      After all, even if "Memorandum of understanding" is signed, it still means nothing. The only thing which is likely to happen right now, is EY's service AUH-BEG.
      At this moment, and at this stage, all other is pure "jatovanje".

    4. Anonymous16:22

      Jealous sugars, the code-share agreement has already been signed.
      April 15 is when Hogan is coming to Serbia to sign the memorandum of understanding. This is all quite promising. I am sorry these news are too positive for you to handle.

    5. Anonymous17:37

      I'm not jealous at all, because there is nothing to be jealous about ; I don't see any difference between code shares of Etihad and Jat, and those of, for example Croatia Airlines and TAP, SAS, Lufthansa... Small companies feeding big - that's it.

      If Jat was to start long-haul, with wide bodies, across the Globe, I admit, YES, I would be jealous. But that is not going to happen, at least not with this "Memorandum", or at least not in the near future. And when I think of the goverment in Serbia today, there is ABSOLUTELY no way to be jealous to anything there. As simple as that.

    6. Anonymous18:20

      What so wrong about the Serbian govt? That they're no appologizing to Croatia any longer?

      I think Serbian govt is way better that it was two years ago, for your own dispkwasure.

    7. Anonymous18:57

      You don't think that nothing is wrong with government where one minister declare LCC with 30 years old 737-300 and 737-200, where 100% deal is buying Jat by Air Asia (next day demand) etc. etc.

    8. Anonymous19:06

      Serbian Government approved Jat fleet renewal. CEO got permision today to start leasing process since money is provided. There will ne only one ATR and 4 Airbuses. I hope word jatovanje is becoming an archaism :) Link:

    9. Anonymous21:06

      Coincidentally this was approved the same day Russia approved the first part of the €500 billion loan to Serbia. At least now we know why the whole thing was delayed.

  6. Anonymous14:34

    And on a totally unrelated note - paypal finally arrived in Serbia. :)))

    1. Anonymous21:48

      Many things started to get solved since the new government took office.

  7. BA88817:29

    As some people would say, with regards to Jat-Etihad saga:


    And I do wish all the best to JU since I am chossing them (out of two evils) on LON-BEG-LON route.

    I cant wait for the moment I wont be clutching the armrest and grinding my teeth while sitting in their A/C....

  8. Anonymous19:39

    Belgrade airport will see huge decrease in April because JAT Airways bookings are terrible, only JAT will record -15% in the monthly figures.

    1. Anonymous20:07

      lol yeah sure, if you really knew the truth then you would at lest know how to spell Jat ;)

  9. Anonymous21:08

    It is nice to see that Lufthansa sent their A321 to Belgrade today. I was worried about their loads since a month ago they were flying their CRJ 700 into Belgrade.

    1. Anonymous00:17

      Nothing to worry about

    2. Anonymous07:40

      I know, there is nothing to worry about but at least it is nice to see that there is a market big enough for them to upgrade it from their regional carrier to mainline.

  10. Anonymous21:28

    Wizzair are underestimating BEG. They stopped the flights to FCO, fly only 4 times to LTN and barely 2 weeks to CRL! I think SKP is their priority at the moment rather than BEG. They should compete with JAT and have a bigger slice of the market. After all, it's the country's sole airport.

    1. Anonymous00:30

      You think wrong :) They are basing second aircraft in BEG from June and will be flying to 13 destinations, 5 of which are new ones and increasing some of the old ones... And all that in much, much more competitive market.

  11. Anonymous00:38

    I don't get how Jat can't get a 2nd ATR. I was still hoping by this summer they would offer double daily to Sarajevo and introduce maybe other regional destinations and offer more connections.

    Nevertheless, Jat's summer timetable looks very impressive! I like all of the frequency increases.. It should be a good summer for Jat hopefully if the aircraft arrive in time....

    Does anybody know if when the new aircraft arrive, will any of the 737's be retired? And are 2 of the 10 stored and cannot be used anymore or..?


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