Belgrade Airport breaks passenger record

Busy summer as Belgrade Airport prepares for Air Serbia

Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport recorded solid growth in July and saw its busiest day in history at the start of August. For the month of July, the former Yugoslavia’s busiest airport welcomed 432.780 passengers through its doors, up 5.6% on the same month last year. The number of operated flights also increased significantly from 4.677 last year to 5.123 this July, representing an increase of 9.6%. After a poor start to 2013, the airport’s numbers are steadily improving. Nikola Tesla Airport handled 1.939.823 passengers in the first seven months, an increase of 2.5% compared to the same period last year.

August should prove to be another busy month for the airport. With 17.026 passengers welcomed, Belgrade Airport saw its busiest day in history on Friday, August 2. With nearly all flights operating to full capacity last Friday, the airport also handled thirteen charter flights and forty general aviation flights. So far this year, Jat Airways remains the busiest carrier operating to and from the airport with a 39.2% share of all passengers. It is followed by Wizz Air at 11.5% and Montenegro Airlines with a 7.5% passenger share. Wizz Air has seen the greatest passenger growth from the airport so far this year, while Germanwings’ numbers have been hit hardest.

Meanwhile, the Serbian government approved the financial lease of ten Airbus aircraft for Air Serbia yesterday afternoon. The lease, which will be partially financed by the Serbian government, includes the arrival of two aircraft next month, which will be in service in October. Belgrade Airport says it is expecting a major boost in passenger numbers when Air Serbia launches new destinations this winter. “With a modern fleet, international management team, world class reputation which Etihad Airways brings, but also the long tradition of our national carrier, we expect a lot more business”, Belgrade Airport CEO Velimir Radosavljević says. He adds the major upgrades and investments taking place at the airport will ensure Air Serbia will have the best facilities for its operations.


  1. With URS out of the government I really hope that Mr. Radosavljevic will be replaced as well. Then again a foreign news agency located in Belgrade has produced a report on corruption at BEG. It was mostly related to various tenders being fixed, something that is punishable by law. With the police storming the Clinical Centre of Serbia the other day, it makes me wonder if they might open this file as well.

    Though Belgrade airport really needed an upgrade, what they did is absolutely disgusting. The renovated terminal looks cheap and it reminds me of some sort of pharmacy or ambulance with its cheap white tiles. Not to mention the the low ceiling which gives you a feeling you are walking through a narrow tube.
    I would be interested in seeing how successful the management of BEG would be if their monopoly was broken by let's say Batajnica being opened for commercial services. It's easy to brag when you have no real competition in the country.

    1. Anonymous09:42

      Whats wrong with you and tiles and low ceiling at Belgrade Airport? Renovated part looks nice and clean and modern...i dont think much more can be done and improved from the existing stop nagging every other day about it!

    2. Anonymous10:21

      Belgrade airport looks cheap and unprofessional, it has bad facilities, resting, shopping and beverage possibilities and they have hired a lot of fully unprofessional young stuff. It is a disaster of a airport - from the point of view of an experienced traveler with standard demands. + It has no train connection, which is also a standard meanwhile.

    3. Anonymous11:16

      Airport surrounding is dirty, totally rousted (especially signs, lampposts, fences...), most of electronical signs in parking is not working, lines of vertical signalization is almost invisible, part of concrete stabs to the parking lot are destroyed, most of them in bad shape, old terminal (I think is terminal 1) is like 1960, very ugly (even Zagreb terminal as small as is, looks like USA to that), that terminal is old-fashioned and haggard, new terminal has large patches of moisture, paint fells down, there are several very old information screens with letters missing, on first floor of lobby almost nothing, just signs like "post office", but there is non, some shops are like from 1970's, brooms and other equipment just leaving near main doors, corridor between terminal 1 and 2 is catastrophic...

    4. Anonymous11:24

      This last comment is such a lie I'm certain the person has never even been to Belgrade.

    5. Anonymous11:26

      For a business traveler, Belgrade airport is one of the greatest in Europe: close to downtown (beaten only by Linate), quick and smooth security, rather good business lounge, allows you to go thru all the formalities quickly thus arriving at the airport at last moment, giving you more time for your business.

    6. Anonymous11:53

      Only malicious, pathological lier can write all that pathetic nonsence about BEG like anonymous at 10:21, 11:16.
      Concentrate instead on raising your voice and lobbying hard on fixing your ugly shoe box of an airport first, before posting false statements about others here..

    7. Anonymous12:26

      For me, renovated part looks brighter and airier than before, white floor tiles add to it as well, much better than old black flooring before. A lot of daylight was brought in airside by these renovations, I especially like the apron view on the planes, etc. Improvements are clearly visible, if you compare renovated part to the one not completed yet frkm A6-A10 for example, tho there are many things yet to be completed.

    8. Anonymous12:58

      "This last comment is such a lie I'm certain the person has never even been to Belgrade".

      You are certain? Congratulation. I read those nonsense before I was there several times. Then I publish photos to prove those statements, and after that Serbians just said "well that is shame... we will inform responsible in Belgrade airport". That was before this year Arena Aviation Forum. So, the only problem in Serbia is that you think you are perfect and you are blind for anything negative. You can not see bad think, just good. And that is why you government can manipulate with you. It is enough just to say "we are the best, that is perfect" and not to speak about bad things at all. When someone mention anything bad, even small thing he is “traitor”, “Serbian hater”, “ustaša”, “propagandist”… By that way it is easier for you to go to this poverty for decades now. Leaving in fairy tales!

      Normal reaction will be that you say "well it is like that, we have to do something to fix it". Especially that you don't need so much money for fixing those things. It is nothing concerning huge investment in Belgrade airport. Drop in sea.

      Let me tell you. Zagreb is small, disgracefully small. The only airport in ex Yugoslavia that was not invested in during Yugoslavia (because of that time policy), and stupid idiots after War continue with that practice, for what they don’t have excuse. Before we were robed by someone else, last 20 years by our criminals. But it is clean, modern, and much better looking than Belgrade. Of course I will MUCH!!!! rather have bed looking Belgrade, than this "kiosk" called Zagreb airport.

    9. First anonymous, when have I complained about BEG before? This is the first time I actually complained about it on here.
      BEG is outdated and it belongs to another era. The only advantage it has is that it is small, functional and practical.
      If anyone tells me that BEG is nice, it can only they have not travelled around.

    10. Anonymous15:39

      Belgrade is nice just for people who did not see any other airport or maybe INI.

      In ExYU nicer airport are Skopje, Podgorica, Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, Zagreb, Ljubljana, and in few days Pristina. Sure, they are much smaller but they are new or well rebuild.

      And I was in all of those.

    11. I can see that your comment is kind of biased so I will not bother with a normal reply but I will just say that even though SKP airport is nice, it's beauty is overshadowed by elements of historic plagiarism.

    12. Purger16:08

      I was in Belgrade airport one year ago and was very disappointed with condition of airport, especially facade and around airport. My head of office even twisted leg in destroyed pathway to parking (with heels it is quit adventure to walk there). Terminal 1 is in disaster shape (I thing they renovate it now). I was disappointed that I could not buy simple postcard in airport. They look me like moron that I even ask for that.

      It is far away from that I read here about Belgrade airport. But worst was condition of Caravelle near road (in museum – better to remove it than to expose it like that) and tons of garbage around main road to airport. Flower pots are for flowers not garbage and butts. And spaces near to doors and under stairs are not storages as you can find there a huge amount of equipment (carpets, check in boxes…). One should clean windows in terminal 1, you need to use some paint for sealing especially on entrance and terminal 1, facade, street lighting, road strips... You should not allow police officers, airport workers and custom officers to take a smoke in front of airport. Picture is not very nice. Sign «» near to first door of departures is in very bad condition especially facade around that sigh, what is very bed commercial for airport. As someone mention before connection between terminal 1 and 2 is very bad with socrealistic windows, small not very attractive shops and space between them for brooms. Impression was very bad. Of course there are some nice things, it is not everything black, but you should take some more effort. For instance Zagreb airport made face-lifting some 4 years ago with lights in changing colours, beautiful park near entrance, totally new interior. That can not make this airport bigger but it looks very nice, clean and functional. Which impression I did not have in BEG.

    13. BEG might have a lot of negative things but it sure is functional. Functionality is one of the few positive things there. Personally, I would have preferred if all signs in Serbian were written in Cyrillic but oh well...

      Also, I fly regularly out of BEG and the façade seems fine to me.

    14. Anonymous17:26

      I have a feeling somehow that Purger wrote those nasty comments as anonymous at 10:21 and 11:16. If you read both, you can't be more assured that it is the same person, just look at the style, structure, etc.
      But we should be thankful to him anyway, as he took thorough inspection of all the corners around airport needing fixing, which could be useful in the ongoing renovation which currently takes place there. It is true that T1 is in a very bad shape, but it is basically not in use except W6 for check in and some charter flights, and renovation of that area is about to start until the end of this year anyway. It is rather sad that after such a long list of bad things in his opinion, he did not mention any particular good one there... Oh, wait, all good ones are left for and explained in detail about his Zagreb...Give me a break, please.
      But what puzzles me even more is what is behind somebody's motivation to cruise through entire airport in a CIA styled investigation mission, taking photos and posting them on some Croation forum? Regular passengers notice this and that bad here and there, but usually don't take inspection tours around airports, mostly fly in&fly out.
      I think we all know the answer by now about the hidden agenda behind all he's written about BEG... But at the end of the day, who cares anyway? Everyone's got an opinion and can think whatever he wants. Kind regards from Belgrade ;-)

    15. Purger04:08

      Well I do that in lot of airports. My family knows that when we are in one city I will, for sure, take 3-4 hours of our time to visit airport. Even my 12 year daughter start to do that with me. In Libya I even had problems with police because I wonted to leave organized tour group and take a taxi to airport to make "inspection". And yes I made a lot of reweaves in CAF and other media about airports all around Globe.

      But even if my intentions are bed (and they are not), you should say that those things are not good and should be fixed. Not to find some "black work" or "enemy propaganda" in that.

      And for end, of course there is lot of things good in Belgrade and its airport. That is why I came back again every year. To conclude, with everything calculating I will always give to:

      ZAG 2/10
      BEG 4/10

      so, please you can not tell me that I ma BEG hater or passion ZAG lover.

    16. "They look me like moron that I even ask for that."

      This made me laugh.

    17. "For a business traveler, Belgrade airport is one of the greatest in Europe"

      so did this

  2. Anonymous09:38

    OT Zadar airport reported 22% growth in July, over 92000 pax. Very good result.

    1. Split had a cracker too. 355923 pax in July. The main Croatian 5 altogether had some 1050000 pax!

    2. Anonymous16:35

      Impressive results for both Zadar and Split..

  3. Is this indirect confession of AB`s CEO Mr Radisavljević that Jat was receiving low-quality services at the airport? When JU receives quality service it will, naturally, pay on time?! This seems rather scandalous to me, especially publicly admitted like this after the announced takeover. Sleazy (like the airport`s new interior "design" and brand-logo change * copy/paste Brussels airport`s logo).

    "Sigurni smo da će biti veoma stroga u postavljanju zahteva naročito prema Aerodromu. Istovremeno kada bude dobila kvalitetne usluge ona će naravno regulisati svoje obaveze na vreme", kaže Radisavljevi.

  4. Etihad In Advanced Talks Over LOT Stake

    Etihad Airways is in negotiations with the Polish treasury about an equity investment in LOT Polish Airlines, sources close to the talks tell Aviation Week. The negotiations are already at an advanced stage, they say, but it could still take several months for the process to be finalized.

    Poland has unsuccessfully tried to dispose of LOT in several privatization campaigns over many years. Last year’s unexpected €38 million loss (against a profit forecast) triggered the latest initiative, which could finally prove successful. LOT would be the fourth European airline in which Etihad holds an equity stake after Aer Lingus, Air Berlin and Air Serbia.

    LOT did not comment, An Etihad spokesman said that “we never comment on rumors and speculation.” The Polish treasury stated that “seeking an investor for LOT is in progress.” The ministry points out that a change in the Polish law now allows the government to sell a majority stake in the airline and that “is a new aspect and an opportunity for effective completion of the process.” The treasury also hints that “the involvement of a non-EU investor in LOT is also possible in the current legal status. Parties to the transaction, however, are bound to develop legal mechanisms to ensure that LOT preserves the status as a community (European Union) carrier.”

    It is unlikely that Etihad would go for a majority stake in LOT, complicating the matter further. According to industry sources, the Abu Dhabi based airline is rather looking at acquiring a large minority stake in the airline. Currently, the treasury holds 68% of the shares, the government-owned TFS Silesia Regional Economic Fund has 25% and employees control 7%. In the case of Air Serbia, Etihad went for 49%. It has 29% of Air Berlin to avoid foreign ownership in the airline exceeding 50% together with other non-EU investors.

    Last year, Turkish Airlines was close to buying the LOT stake, but backed off the plans at the last minute.

    Etihad has been following a strategy of growing fast through acquisitions in an effort to catch up quickly with its older and larger rival Emirates. In addition to its European partners, it has stakes in Virgin Australia—which it plans to raise further—and Air Seychelles. Etihad is also waiting for regulatory approval to complete the purchase of a 25% stake in India’s Jet Airways.

    The strategy raises eyebrows in industry because a lot of the additions to the Etihad portfolio need deep restructuring, and network benefits seem limited. Etihad argues it can realize significant synergies on the cost side, through joint purchasing and in other areas. Aer Lingus says its code-sharing agreement with Etihad has been more successful than anticipated.

    People with knowledge of the initiative say Etihad has no plans to merge its European affiliates into one entity, but is looking at central overall network planning and a harmonized strategy. Air Berlin, which would be at the center of such a move, won’t comment. With Air Serbia, Etihad signed a five-year management contract, but Etihad does not have such an arrangement with Air Berlin. Even so, senior Etihad-backed executives have been added to the German carrier’s management.

    Recent government support for LOT complicates the issue. The airline got a €100 million short-term bail-out package from the Polish treasury late last year to avoid bankruptcy, which has since been approved by the European Commission. The airline has asked for another €88 million in June with the conditional support of Poland’s new Finance Minister Wlodzimierz Karpinski, but he also said that “this is the last attempt to rescue LOT.” Approval of the second bail-out is still pending.

    1. An Etihad investment in the airline could actually make that approval easier because the Polish government could argue they needed the investment to prepare LOT for the sale and they acted as a private investor under normal market economy conditions. The European Commission generally does not consider such an investment to represent state aid. In other recent cases such as Air Berlin and Air Serbia, Etihad has provided financing to its new subsidiaries as part of the equity investment arrangements. If Etihad did the same for LOT, it would justify funding by its existing owner even more.

      A tie-up with Etihad is raising serious concerns at Lufthansa and Star Alliance, however. A senior Lufthansa delegation is understood to be meeting with LOT CEO Sebastian Mikosz soon to discuss the situation. Etihad’s entry would not necessarily mean LOT will leave Star Alliance—Air Berlin is still a member of Oneworld—but priorities are shifting towards network synergies with its new shareholder.

      Separately, industry sources claim Air Berlin is looking at selling its MRO division Air Berlin Technik. This would be another and one of the last remaining sources of financing for the cash-strapped carrier. The airline has done multiple sale and lease back deals for aircraft and sold a majority stake in its frequent flyer program to Etihad. Etihad and Air Berlin have said they are looking at synergies including at MRO and want to pool resources for the combined Boeing 787 fleet.

      Air Berlin denies it plans to sell the division, but maintenance is one area that needs urgent attention. In the first quarter of 2013, technical costs increased by 16.4% at a time when the airline cut capacity further. Air Berlin is presenting its first half results on August 15.

  5. Anonymous11:42

    If AirSERBIA intends to build a successful hub they should be selling their flights by now. The hub operation is supposed to start by the end of October. Every day that flights are not placed in the global distribution systems is a huge loss.
    Any idea, when the new flights will be open for sale?

  6. Anonymous12:07

    I bet EY's Management knows what they are doing, and all preparations are well under way.

  7. Anonymous12:15

    Belgrade airport will have three new destinations next winter : Air Serbia will start flying to Banja Luka ( 1st December) and Prague ( 9th December ), while Swiss will open Geneva route ( 19th December ). Congratulations !

  8. Anonymous12:27

    Some people here are using Yugoslav sayings that have no meaning in English. There is no such a hing as "as Usa". Please speak English.

    1. Purger13:10

      And what is your problem with that? Most of English and Americans don't speak English, but some kind of slang which can not be understandable even from other part of their country. Please do understand Cockney or guys from Yorkshire province, not to mentioned Afro-Americans from Harlem.

      We do understand what we want to say and you also. Pattern “to je Amerika za njih” is very exYu, as this blog is. If you want Oxford English you should not come to ExYU blog.

  9. Anonymous17:17

    I would like to see more emphasis put on the cargo facilities. As BEG grows more cargo will follow, but if the infrastructure is there, BEG may be able to lure big courier companies. I have not seen very much reported lately about cargo.

  10. zoki17:48

    ^ I think the Arabs were interested to build a cargo centre and technology centre in or nearby the airport.
    The best thing would be to turn the whole free land around the airport into an "airport-city".
    It would perfectly fit in between Surcin-Ledine,Dobanovci and the highway and Novi Beograd area.
    Instead squeezing all those shopping malls into every free corner of the central parts of Belgrade they should more develop the periphery.
    Wasnt there once talk of IKEA opening its new mall on the road from the airport to Surcin?

    1. I disagree. By turning all the free area around the airport into an airport city, what will you use for future enlargement of airport infrastructure?

    2. zoki20:41

      ^ With airport city i do not actually mean a city with homes
      or schools but more some kind of combination of business zone and airport facilities area.
      For example there could be built an entire new cargo-terminal at the opposite side of the runway in the triangle to the highway to Zagreb and Novo Groblje!
      I think its 1-2 square miles,what is a lot of space.
      So the whole old cargo and Jat-hangars could be replaced by a whole new terminal exclusively for passenger flights,while the current one gets teared down.
      Also the road to Surcin could get extended to the Zagreb highway.
      The space western of it could be used for offices and shopping malls.

  11. Airport Nikola Tesla is functional.Terminal 1 is ugly, without any kind of comfort. Terminal 2 is nice, clean and big enough.I hope that after Air Serbia take terminal 1 for its operations and renovate it, BEG would become really nice place for passengers and real hub. Jat debts to Airport are more than 30 million Euros and with this money , professional stuff at Nikola Tesla might use those millions for more improvements and modernization. Modern passengers don't need luxury , all they need is professional stuff and quick departures and arrivals.I hope that some day, airport will be connected with downtown through fast railway system

  12. Anonymous18:45

    The only thing i see Etihad doing with Terminal 1 is to completely tear it down and replace it with some state of the art terminal a la Dubai...
    But the best would be if the whole airport was levelled to the ground and completely rebuilt.
    I think BEG is in the same rotten state as it was with Nairobi airport.
    No wonder this totally dilapidated construction burned down...
    As more you alter already existing constructions as more you mess them up.
    But in the end nothing will happen as usual in Serbia...
    The people there fear every change and renewing.
    Building something new would exhaust them mentally and physically!

    No wonder everyone here on Ex Yu has the opinion that nothing should be changed and everything is soo fine!

  13. Anonymous19:02

    Terminal 1 is in need of restoration more than renovation. It should be 'cleaned up' and modernized without losing it's original architectural character. There are so many ugly modern glass warehouses airports all over the world. Passengers at BEG should expect clean, efficient, and a place to relax in between flights. For more modern facilities they can head over to terminal 2.

    -- Charlie

  14. Anonymous19:19

    BEG is not that architecturally nice, but as many pointed out it is functional, practical and passengers can finish formalities fast for an airport of that capacity. I personally hate when at the airport where passing security, immigration and getting to/from the aircraft takes ages.
    BEG is good at handling all that with minimal inconvenience for passengers, and that's what counts for many people.
    Sure, there is always room for improvements.

  15. Anonymous21:01

    Tear down Terminal One but preserve the beautiful murals!

  16. zoran13:38

    My experience is from at least 70 airports throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia and most of Ex-Yu (Excluding ZAG). Some of them were big (HKG,SIN, DXB,SYD,KLA, LHR, FRA, MAD, MUC, MIL, IST etc), some middle, and not neglectible small like most of BEG surrounding.
    I’ve never problems with BEG but had with lost baggage (IST, FCO, BKK, MAD, MOW), impropriate service (BCN T1 evening departure, COL, LHR), crowd (COL, LJU, TIT, BKK, TSR), unpleasant behavior of employees (LIS, FCO, BEY, FRL) etc. BEG is ok for this range of passengers, seems less dirty then some big European, and due to the architecture (I’ civil engineer not architect) form me is ok ensuring shortest time and directions form and into jets. It is not comparable with the others EX-Yu as it is category above (with ZAG and PRN maybe). I can not stand that remarks above were written by the persons which maybe travelled most by bus, or watching airports in movies.
    Form me the best airport I’ve landed was HKG, after SIN and ZRH, miles after BKK, DXB, DOH, IST, PRG, VIE, SYD, and must praised MUC didn’t affect me due to the communications between T1 and T2 (same as MPX, MAD, BAR etc). The worst are SVO, CDG, ADB, FCO. In middle class airports (3-10 mill per year) I like BUD, STR, NCE and BEG also. Remember, last year, BEG was announced with one of the most familiar European airports due to the passengers voting.


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