Belgrade Airport heading for new record

Belgrade anticipates record winter and record year

Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport is heading for a second consecutive record breaking year as it handles over three million passengers in the first ten months of 2013. In October Serbia’s busiest airport welcomed 294.350 passengers, an increase of 6.8% compared to the same month last year. The surge in numbers was brought on primarily by foreign carriers with Jat Airways ending its 66 year run with similar monthly figures to last year. The airport’s numbers were further boosted by a significant increase in flight operations. A total of 3.998 flights were operated to and from the airport, an increase of 9.4% compared to last October.

Encouraging for the airport are trends showning its main customer, Air Serbia, has recorded an impressive surge in passenger numbers (compared to the same weekly period last year when flights were operated by Jat). During the winter season Belgrade Airport will see a handful of new routes. Air Serbia has already inaugurated services to Abu Dhabi, which will be followed by Banja Luka, Bucharest, Ljubljana and Prague in December. Furthermore, on December 2 B&H Airlines will launch flights from Sarajevo with details available here. Swiss International Air Lines will inaugurate its new Geneva service in mid December which will be followed by easyJet launching the exact same route on January 24, with further details here.

So far this year, Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport has handled 3.024.850 passengers, an increase of 3.6% compared to the same period last year. The airport welcomed its third millionth passenger for the year on October 30, which is almost two weeks ahead of 2012. In a statement, the airport says it is anticipating a record winter season. “During the 22 week winter season period, 9.333 scheduled return flights will be operated, an increase of 38% compared to last year. This represents a never before seen surge in the number of flights with the biggest contribution coming from our national carrier Air Serbia, which will have an average of 200 departures per week from the airport, an increase of about 65% compared to the winter of 2012/13”.


  1. Anonymous09:12

    I don't know why you refer to Beg as Serbia's busiest airport, its Serbia's only airport

    1. Anonymous09:24

      Forgot INI? Small numers , but still there...and I guess you know all that.

    2. Anonymous09:58

      And there's Pristina airport as well.

    3. Anonymous12:39

      Oh, and don't forget Tokyo.

    4. Anonymous12:41

      Last anonymous, damn you are too funny. Cheap humour just shows the level of your IQ.

    5. Anonymous14:35

      Last anonymous is right and if u ask me, his IQ must be higher than yours, and humour is great. hello, we definitely have only one airport, like it or not. and the new company name should be air belgrade. regards from belgrade!

    6. Anonymous14:54

      Regards from Belgrade, but not from Beg IP address... lol

    7. Anonymous18:22

      Soon INI will become active with Wizz!

    8. Anonymous18:51


    9. Anonymous18:52

      When are you going to stop spreading lies and speculations? I'm working for W6 in Geneva and nooone ever mentioned it Have at least some level of erhics when you discuss!

    10. Anonymous20:17

      Since when are ramp agents and check-in desk agents informed about future expansion plans? ;)

  2. Anonymous09:19

    Congratulations BEG, and good luck to all ex-yu airports! 3.5 mio pax will be easily handled this year if not more.

  3. Anonymous11:25

    It was reported that B&H Airlines got the necessary permits to launch flights to Belgrade, I wonder why they are taking this long to load the flights into their system.

    I have a feeling that Belgrade Airport will become a real mess during the waves of departures. They definitely need more cafes in the back.

  4. Where sid you get the details of the B&H flight Ex-Yu? I hope they materialize soon

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Anonymous11:49

      The B&H Airlines flights to Belgrade were announced a few weeks ago. Though back then they were subject to government approval. Since the governments had no objection they have made them official.

    2. Yeah so I've heard as well. But since that announcement, they still haven't been placed in the reservation systems, and 1st flight is only a month away...

    3. Anonymous16:50

      I think they have not added them yet as the licence was issued a few days ago. I suppose they have to introduce the codeshare and discuss on the prices.

  5. Anonymous12:30

    Maybe this year BEG will finally make onto Europe's 100 busiest airports list?

    1. Anonymous12:40

      It all depends on how Nantes and Malta airport perform. It seems that Nantes had a good summer season which should complicate things.
      Both airports handled roughly 3,600,000 passengers. If not this year then we definitely stand a good chance next year. For Belgrade to even have a chance at entering the top 100 airports it needs to improve its February numbers which are not even 180,000.

    2. Anonymous12:45

      I think Malta is still way ahead of Belgrade as they had a good year.

      Just look at September numbers:

      Belgrade: 349.589 (+3%)
      Malta: 452,294 (+11%)

      The difference is even greater in August. The good thing is that Malta can't grow so much in the future due to the sheer size of the country. I think they have almost reached their capacity.

    3. Doot13:20

      I doubt it.

      last year #100 had 3.63 million, up from 3.5 last year.

      Last year BEG had 3.3 million.

      This year the #100 spot will have 3.7 million and it won't be BEG

    4. Anonymous13:42

      Yes, Doot, we can see from the previous posts above yours. Then again how can you miss an opportunity to bitch about Serbia.

    5. Anonymous14:54

      Is Iran Air still refueling at BEG?

    6. Anonymous15:17

      In addition to Belgrade, Budapest is the other destination that Vueling announced just recently, seasonal as well.

    7. Anonymous15:29

      Actually there is Belgrade, Budapest and Warsaw.

    8. Doot15:44

      I'm "bitching"?

      I'm just stating facts. How, in your twisted mind, is that "bitching", and why do you single me out?

    9. Anonymous16:11

      Don't let it worry you Doot, some nationalists don't let facts and truth get in the way of their vile hatred.

    10. Anonymous16:23

      It has nothing to do with anyone being a nationalist. I am singling you out because you never have anything positive to say about Serbia, Serbs or Belgrade. You only appear when you have something bad to say. It's not vile hatred, last anonymous, it's just a simple observation and I am not the only one to notice it.

    11. Doot16:30

      I answered someone's question with published facts. It's not "bad" or "good", it's simply facts.

      What's your problem? whatever it is, it's a funny one!

    12. Anonymous16:35

      The problem is that you are quite annoying as you are like a vulture. As soon as there is something bad to be said you are there. Plus, you did not say anything, you repeated what was said before you. In the first two posts.

    13. Dootdeedoo!16:43

      where did I say something "bad"???!!!

      This is the ex-yu aviation blog, not the srbstvo group-hug blog.

    14. Anonymous17:17

      Doot, you are right. The sad thing that people in this part of Europe have a tendency to live in a make-up world which has no bearing on reality.

      The point here is that a city of 1.7 million people has air traffic lower than not just large cities like Sofia, Bucharest, Budapest, or even Thessaloniki, while highly seasonal airports like Burgas have 2.35 mil and they even laugh at it.
      How does Belgrade intend to become a Balkan hub is beyond me.

    15. Anonymous17:55

      Serbia was placed on the White Schengen list in 2009 when the airport handled 2,384,077 passenger. Three years later the airport welcomed 3,363,919 passengers which represent an increase of 41%.
      Even if Belgrade Airport sees 0% growth in November and December of this year the airport will still welcome 3,470,657 passengers which is a yearly increase of 3%.
      Since we know this will not happen as we are all sure that Belgrade will see growth then it means that the airport will surely welcome more than 3,500,000 passengers in 2013.
      Also Sofia and Belgrade are more or less the same size and both airports see the same number of passengers. Other cities in the region are not much bigger.
      Also, don't forget that the transition process in all these surrounding countries started in 1990, while in Serbia it started only in 2000. It means that we are technically a decade behind them which means that the results we are seeing now are anything but bad. If anything, we are not living in some 'make-up' world friend.

    16. Doot18:02

      so, when do you figure Belgrade will crack the top 100, last anonymous?

      5 years. or do you think it might be sooner?

    17. Anonymous18:06

      I agree that this is aviation blog, not srbstvo blog. But still, about BEG: all those airports are within EU. That tells about something. Also, visa liberalisation is introduced in late 2009. All of those countries and cities you have mentioned have really fresh diaspora (all exept Budapest, but other diaspora nations use this airport so it's kind of same). So not 90's diaspora but rather 2007 one. We dont have 1000 km long coast, but we have visas for GBR. And still BEG is growing and improving, we can overtake Sofia next year. We had wars and many other crap. And still even without Air Serbia, we had people going from Croatia and Bosnia by bus and then taking the plane to somewhere.

      We had non-diaspora destinations even without Air Serbia: Riga, Kiev, Warsaw, Tel Aviv, Larnaca, Bucharest. BCN route was fully loaded. I'm just saying we have potential.

      If BEG doesn't become an regional hub, it is not because of the city of 1.7 people, it is because we still need time to recover.

      (dont wanna justify serbian coruption and ignorance that still exist)

    18. Anonymous18:16


      I think we will know better next month. Belgrade's future growth will be directly linked with Air Serbia's future. The surge in passenger numbers we witnessed in Belgrade were mostly because the market was restricted by the visa regime. Now that this has normalized we need a home carrier to keep up the growth. Jat Airways was a badly run company that could not perform this task. Air Serbia, so far, seems like a good carrier that has a good future.

      I think Belgrade has a good chance to just about enter the list in the next few years. If Air Serbia performs the way we all expect it to perform then I think that we will make it on the list in the next two to three years. I doubt we will manage this or next year.

      I guess time will tell how things work out.

    19. Strict21:00

      "Also Sofia and Belgrade are more or less the same size and both airports see the same number of passengers."

      Since when Sofia and Belgrade are of the same size? One visit to Sofia or to Wikipedia would be enough to prove you the contrary. Besides the size, the two cities are quite incomparable on almost every level.

    20. Anonymous21:16

      As per Wikipedia

      Sofia: 1,241,000 (2012)
      Belgrade: 1.232.000 (2011)

      Your point is....?

    21. Anonymous21:33

      The entire Sofia area is 1.241.000, while Belgrade's area is 1.7 million.

      It should be enough to go there and see it by yourself if you can't get this way.

    22. Anonymous22:00

      Yes but the area which is administered by Belgrade is much bigger than the one around Sofia. That's why Belgrade is bigger in that regard.

    23. Anonymous00:15

      All those stories about making the regional hub out of Belgrade are kind of silly. There are only few examples of small countries runing a good orginized hub, by which i think on vienna in austria, and zurich in CH. There is hower a huge difference, that big hubs like Vienna and Zurich are perfectly connected with the railway network to all parts of those small countries, so that in the fact they act like the airports of the whole country. Same goes for Frankfurt and Shiphol. So we should just overwhelm that serbian style of thinking that all we need is new management and new cabin crew, and everything is going to rise and shine.

      Belgrade would have a chance to become a real important airport, if it would be connected with Temisvar, Osijek, Sarajevo, Novi Sad, Subotica, Kragujevac, Nis, even Sofija with a 1-2.5 hour train ride.

    24. Anonymous00:32

      So is it safe to assume that we have dropped the whole 'they don't have a regional name so they can't succeed' kind of rhetoric and moved to a new one, that is to 'Belgrade can't succeed because it does not have a rail link to the region'.

      Seriously, is there a bunch of people that thinks about new arguments every day?

    25. Anonymous00:37

      What about: Beirut, Abu Dhabi, San Jose, Colombo, Addis Ababa, Almaty...?

      Why not Belgrade? Just cause you decided so?

    26. Anonymous00:47

      Probably because he hates Serbs/Serbia and it would piss him off something worked here.

  6. Year 2015 Belgrade airport will pass 5 mil. mark.

    1. Anonymous12:52

      Not five but 4 is a realistic expectation. It all depends on how Air Serbia performs. From the ex-YU article we can see that their bookings are doing well. October numbers are reassuring.

      If Belgrade Airports keeps this growth then we can expect between 3,500,000 and 3,600,000 passengers in 2013.

    2. Anonymous13:44

      With 38% flight ops increase this Winter alone due to JU, I think 2014 and 2015 growth will be tremendous.

    3. Anonymous16:21

      Well, Air Serbia will increase its operations by 65% this winter season. I hope they manage to fil those seats otherwise they might be facing some problems. However, it seems that this is not a great problem for them. They certainly did get a lot of promotion these last few weeks.

  7. Anonymous13:44

    Since I could not find traffic figures for Sofia airport at their website, this is what I found on Wiki, excluding october 2013 2,677,321 increase 1.3% compared to october 2012. Do you think BEG is going to do better at the end of the year?

    1. Anonymous13:46

      sorry sorry, 1.3 % increase compared to SEPTEMBER 2012. My bad.

      Didn't find the results for october, again. :)

    2. Anonymous16:34

      Well, Wizz Air is adding a fourth aircraft to Sofia in 2014 so that gives us a chance to overtake them this year- especially if Air Serbia performs well. I think we will know in early December when both Belgrade airport and Air Serbia publish their November numbers.

  8. 9A-CRO13:53

    Bravo for BEG!!!

    Nice position, low prices for handling and now Air Serbia... Can't see anything but a bright future for them!

    Just hope they make this one airport more... how should I say it... Modern?

    1. Anonymous14:44

      Don't worry, work in progress, expecting renovation of T1 at "Nikola Tesla". Fingers crossed for ZAG!

    2. Anonymous16:34

      OT: Any news about Croatia Airlines, is there anyone interested at all?

    3. Anonymous16:45

      I think Croatia Airlines doesn't stand a chance at privatization until the CEO and the minister are on the same page about what should become of the airline. The only thing they are forgetting is that time is not their friend.

    4. Anonymous17:41

      This is my home airport, and while I would like to see it renovated, I really don't believe that's the way to go now. They should make it ridiculously profitable!

      Existing infrastructure is fine, JU and BEG should share the costs of revamping T1 and I would add only three (minor) things - top floor for arrivals (is this happening at all?), completely redevelop arrivals area and make a decent parking structure instead of this monstrosity that's more appropriate for some state fair in the Bible Belt.

      For sure, it is not the prettiest or the newest airport in the region (SKP, PRN, even BUD, and hopefully ZAG in a few years) - but it serves its purpose well. I never believed that shiny new building attracts new carriers, so new terminal might be in the works once they approach BEG peak capacity. There is even room for further expansion of C finger.

      Oh, and take care of the taxi mafia, but hey, I guess this would take another $100 mil. investment or something like that.

    5. Doot18:48

      I agree. no need to spend any big money on renovations. It serves its purpose.

      Taxi mafia has been taken care of already last year, and thank god for that. At least it seems so. Now you get a voucher and pay a flat fee for travel from the airport. Better than before, having to call a taxi and go upstairs to wait for it, with only the fake taxis, charging 4-10x more, going downstairs.

    6. 9A-CRO20:39

      OT: Sell of Croatia Airlines is iminent, and I will (in short) explain why IT WILL happen.

      If nothing, CA has extremely(!!!) valuable slots (estimated value of around 120 million euros!!). So, it may seem on first that it doesn't matter if Croatia goes bust someone else will take the slots... BUT!!... The company could be sold at around 35 million euros... You have to agree that's a small price for those valuable slots... and yes, the buyer has to take over 49% of debt but they will probably get a deal with Croatian Government (same as Etihad did with Serbian government).

      So, slots plus rather good age fleet plus excellent maintenance plus 20+ years of know how (which is, in aviation business, most valuable thing one airline has!).

      Cheers to all neighboors from Croatia!
      Sorry for off topic.

    7. No doubt that OU has its value but Croatia is in EU now,which makes so many things difficult.
      You only have to see how LH is complaining about the JU/Etihad deal.
      That deal was only possible because Serbia is not part of the EU.
      Only European airlines are allowed to take over OU but they are short of money.
      Those airlines that swim in money are not allowed.
      To blame is the Croatian government for not selling OU before EU-accession.

    8. Anonymous00:00

      PEOPLE, you have to realize it finally that aviation-status has nothing to with the EU or exclusevily EU. There is an open-sky international agreements, powered by EU but opened for all European countries. So there are countries bound by those rules and enjoying those privileges which are not in the EU: Norwey, Swiss confederation, Serbia, few more. So just ralize it: there are same market, profit and subsidies rulef for OU and JU, LH and JP ...

    9. I actually don't think it really matters if Croatia is in the EU or not. It will boil down to how competent the Croatian government is when it comes to selling their airline and making it seem attractive. To make things even worse, many airlines around Europe are on sale at the moment. The faster they realize that they need a deal struck behind closed doors the better for them... and the whole of Croatia.
      I think their time will run up once Etihad sets up Air Serbia and Lufthansa fixes Austrian Airlines. When this happens both Croatia Airlines and Adria will have a tough time competing. In my opinion they have a year, maybe two.

    10. Purger02:13

      @9ACRO: "and yes, the buyer has to take over 49% of debt"

      Croatia has no debt. Croatian government made these debts in ownership, so Croatia Airlines is debt free from June this year.

      Results for first 9 months shows 20 million kunas (2,7 million EUR) profit in Croatia Airlines. And that is, for sure, good signal.

  9. Anonymous16:49

    I would also like to add that Pegasus has revised its Belgrade flights so as to include a night stop in Belgrade. The flight arrives to BEG on Friday evening (22.30) and departs for IST at 05.15 on Saturday. It seems that Turkish Airlines is getting some more competition.

  10. From december 13 there will be even more flights on Belgrade-Istanbul route. Thursdays and Saturdays will have up to 5 flights a day. 3 to IST and 2 to SAW. Awesome.

    1. Anonymous17:38

      So who is adding flights? Air Serbia? Turkish Airlines? In terms of frequencies, is Istanbul number one or is it still Vienna?

    2. Istanbul
      17 TK, 7 JU, 4 PC = 28 weekly.
      14 JU, 23 OS = 37 weekly.
      14-15 YM, 15 JU = 29-30 weekly.

      So yeah, Vienna is still number one.

    3. Anonymous17:58

      Cool, thanks. But I think Podgorica is number two now since JU flies only twice per week or so. I don't know when they will be adding more frequencies.

      I think someone on here mentioned that the route with most passengers out of Belgrade is Moscow. It would not surprise me at all.

  11. Anonymous17:38

    I could have sworn that I saw a large Airbus depart BEG at about 17:30 or so today... nothing on, this was a big machine, twin... anyone else saw that?

    1. Anonymous17:39

      You did see well. It was an A300-600 of Iran Air on its way to Tehran from Frankfurt. It stopped in Belgrade for refuelling.

    2. Anonymous17:52

      Since when does Iran Air refuel in Belgrade?
      They did so one or two years ago but had to stop because Tadic was ordered so by his owners.
      Could it be possible that the new government
      does no more take orders?
      I also heard that Belgrade airport earned a lot of bucks from the refueling then.

    3. Anonymous21:34

      +1 - Great comment, about Tadic.

    4. Aэrologic21:38

      Ever since, until last summer, they were refueling in Budapest (the Americans/EU understood that better the money goes to Hungary than Serbia). Then they have been seen around Ljubljana for the last couple of months. Now they're in Belgrade but no one talked about it, as if the matter is tied under some sort of secret veil.

      Will let you know as soon as i get more informations about it.

    5. The same deal that Serbia was 'strongly advised' not to go through with was perfectly OK for Hungary all these years. Or the Hungarians had simply more guts to do what's in their interest.

  12. Anonymous17:46

    I ask myself when Belgrade will surpass Sarajevo as the
    destination with most flights to Istanbul.
    I also love Pegasus Airlines!

    1. Anonymous17:58

      How many weekly flights does Sarajevo have?

    2. Anonymous18:16

      27, 7 JA, 14 TK and 6 PC

      Summer 14 will be at least 7JA, 7PC and 18TK

  13. Anonymous18:13

    First six days of W13/14 : BEG growth +18% compared to W12/13. Air Serbia +12%, foreign airlines +23%.

    1. Anonymous18:19

      Damn... I wonder which foreign airlines are seeing such massive growth. Could it be that Air Serbia's partners are the ones? I doubt it's Swiss and Lufthansa since they will be reducing their presence soon.

    2. Aeroflot since summer flies double daily with A319/320/321 to BEG.
      And while Turkish Airlines flew last winter ten times it will be this winter 17 times.
      So both airlines are contributing most to the growth.

    3. Anonymous20:53

      I think it must be almost all airlines experiencing growth for the number to be as high as 23%. Could it also be that the Persian Gulf carriers are recording spectacular growth? I am sure Etihad is playing a major role in stimulating non-JU passenger growth at the airport.

    4. Oh my god,how could i forget Etihad?
      You are totally right about them!

  14. Anonymous19:07

    It's not so much that individual airlines who are already serving Belgrade are seeing massive growth, although they did add more capacity as compared to last winter. It's also the fact that are airlines that are operating this winter that were not present last winter. I think that's why the foreign airline percentage is so high.

    1. Anonymous20:18

      I don't think that's the real reason. Those new airlines and routes are contributing to the aircraft movement statistics. It means that overall the loads are on the rise and that airlines are having no problem filling seats in Belgrade.

  15. Anonymous00:55

    It's really interesting and would love to hear opinion of croats visiting this page what they think about picture on the left side and use of cirilic letters back then for Zagreb airport?!?!!?

    1. Anonymous00:57

      Well, I for one know what they are going to say: Oh it's those evil Serbs forcing us to use their writing. lol

      That picture is the best proof that communism was to blame for everything.

    2. Anonymous02:22

      That is the picture before WW2 (from late 1930's), for Borongaj Airport (that was Zagreb airport on that time). And that shows how Croatia was raped on that time.

      It is history, and it is very good for NOT TO FORGET!

    3. Anonymous09:57

      Hahahah please, it was not for us you would have remained the slaves of Vienna or Budapest while your coast would have been taken away by the Italians. So in stead of singing Danke Deutschland you better sing Danke Serbien. For someone who says he doesn't want to forget you have surely forgotten a few important facts from WW1.

  16. Anonymous04:11

    Oh please dont use that word in that context,its a disgrace to any intelligent person!
    I am sure that you find photos of it with latin letters also somewhere.
    Two alphabets for the same language who cares...
    It would stay even the same language if you would write it in Arabian or Chinese letters.


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