Split and Pristina neck and neck

Former Yugoslavia’s third busiest airport to be decided this month

December is shaping up to be a showdown between the airports in Split and Pristina as both contend for the title of the third busiest in the former Yugoslavia. Pristina has held the position since 2011 when it overtook Ljubljana Airport, which last year fell behind Split and Dubrovnik as well. However, the strong growth at Split, coupled with the recent collapse of Belle Air Europe, has put Pristina in danger of losing its top three placing. Even more impressive is Dubrovnik which has also closed in on both airports but is unlikely to gain ground against Split and Pristina in December as it has been affected by Croatia Airlines’ downsizing.

Split Airport welcomed 29.213 passengers through its doors in November, an increase of 3% compared to the same month last year. So far in 2013, Split has handled 1.553.405 passengers, an impressive 11.3% increase on the same period last year. The airport has already surpassed its 2012 end of year result but will need to see a strong December if it is to place third at the end of the year. In December 2012 it handled 30.160 passengers. However, Croatia Airlines will not operate some of its flights to Split during the Christmas and New Year holiday period which will affect figures.

On the other hand, late last month Pristina was hit by the demise of its busiest operator Belle Air Europe. While other airlines, such as Adria, were quick to respond, the airport saw its figures decline. In November, Pristina Airport handled 95.528 passengers, a decrease of 2.4%. The airport’s rate of growth, which has been overly impressive during the year, has slowed since September. December will be the first full month Pristina has been without Belle Air Europe and the true effects of the airline’s grounding will be seen. So far this year, Pristina Airport has handled 1.536.160 passengers, putting it 17.245 travellers behind Split. In the elapsed eleven months, Pristina has seen growth of 9.4% on last year.

You can make your prediction and vote in the EX-YU poll on the left hand side whether you think Split or Pristina will be getting the bronze in 2013.


  1. Anonymous09:20

    I am more curios about how the next year will be for Pristina.

  2. Anonymous10:19

    GO SPLIT GO! These are some pretty cool developments! I am sure that next year with even more flights and destinations it will take the third spot!

  3. Anonymous11:06

    It's a pity Croatia hasn't tried to develop winter old people tourism.

    1. Anonymous19:40

      The old people should experience the gale winds in Dalmatia, highway blockages ...

  4. Anonymous11:09

    Bad news for Montenegroairlines......

    1. Anonymous11:35

      Montenegro Airlines is an airline I would be actually afraid to fly on. They have these random accidents way too often.

      Is it true that their debt has reached 69 million Euros? o__O

  5. Armageddon11:09

    Even Rijeka Airport, scarcely mentioned in this blog, performed pretty good despite its small size and surely gained more passengers than Niš and Ohrid Airports.

  6. Anonymous11:25

    Not true about OHD. Last year it was in front of RJK and this year it will close with nearly 100k.

    1. Anonymous14:51

      Rijeka is expected to handle around 100k not sure 100% as figures for Rijeka are not out, but airport hopes to hit 170k in 2014, to achieve best year so far.

      I think it is expected this year traffic at Croatian airport will less impressive, but still expected to do well.

      Zagreb - 2.32 million~
      Split - 1.58 million~
      Dubrovnik - 1.55 million~
      Zadar - 485 000~
      Pula - 400 000~
      Rijeka - 100 000~
      Osijek - 30 000~

      Total: 6 465 000

      however 2014 should be really great for all of the Croatian airports .

      Zagreb - 2.55 million~
      Split - 1.75 million~
      Dubrovnik - 1.70 million~
      Zadar - 525 000~
      Pula - 425 000~
      Rijeka - 170 000~
      Osijek - 40 000~

      Total: 7 160 000

    2. Anonymous17:51

      Why do you belive that Zagreb will have a growth? Coastal airports will grow in passanger numbers, but Zagreb won't.

  7. Anonymous11:26

    Off topic - what is happening in Malpensa? I see that JU flight got diverted to Bologna, but it is not the only one. Several flights (including LH, LX, AZ either got cancelled or diverted). Yesterday the chaos in England, now Malpensa?

    1. Anonymous12:44

      Fog is the reason

  8. Anonymous11:59

    Pristina is definitely taking the bronze this year, but the next year it may very good end up as the fifth airport in the region, behind BEG, ZAG, SPU and DBV.

  9. OT: Third time's a charm :)
    It took the third plane to get pax from TGD to VIE with Montenegro airlines yesterday. First plane had problems, second took off and returned to TGD, third craft got pax to VIE.

    Full story: http://www.blic.rs/Vesti/Drustvo/425727/Putnici-promenili-tri-aviona-od-Podgorice-do-Beca

  10. Anonymous12:25

    We understood. Cool off!

    1. Anonymous12:29

      What? You don't like when your airline is exposed for what it really is? ;)

  11. Anyone know how many passengers Pristina handled last December?

    They have to handle more than 50,000 in December to take third spot. Even with the closer of Belle Air Europe, you would think they should still be able to achieve this.

    I agree with the Anonymous above, Next year will be huge for Split.

    The terminal expansion should start soon too.

    And Zadar has seen 30% plus growth this year.

    1. Anonymous15:14

      yeah, Pristina will take 3rd spot, no doubt about that, next year however Split is expected to take coveted 3rd spot, Dubrovnik 4th.

      I think 2013 will end up like this.

      1. Belgrade - 3.53 million
      2. Zagreb - 2.33 million
      3. Pristina - 1.62 million
      4. Split - 1.58 million
      5. Dubrovnik - 1.55 million
      6. Ljubljana - 1.28 million
      7. Skopje - 1.01 million
      8. Podgorica - 690 000
      9. Sarajevo - 665 000~
      10. Tivat - 600 000~
      11. Zadar - 485 000
      12. Pula - 400 000

      2014 should see major improvements for Ljubljana, Sarajevo, Skopje and all Croatian airports.

      1. Belgrade - 3.81 million
      2. Zagreb - 2.55 million
      3. Split - 1.75 million
      4. Pristina - 1.72 million
      5. Dubrovnik - 1.70 million
      6. Ljubljana - 1.50 million
      7. Skopje - 1.12 million
      9. Sarajevo - 765 000~
      8. Podgorica - 730 000~
      10. Tivat - 650 000~
      11. Zadar - 525 000
      12. Pula - 425 000

      but 2015 should see really impressive growth For Zagreb, Ljubljana and Sarajevo airports.

      1. Belgrade - 4.06 million
      2. Zagreb - 3.01 million
      3. Split - 1.92 million
      4. Dubrovnik - 1.85 million
      5. Pristina - 1.83 million
      6. Ljubljana - 1.75 million
      7. Skopje - 1.26 million
      9. Sarajevo - 925 000~
      8. Podgorica - 790 000~
      10. Tivat - 660 000~
      11. Zadar - 575 000
      12. Pula - 525 000

      With 2016 being ok for growth at all major airports, with Zagreb hitting the max capacity at its old terminal reducing growth by a bit.

      1. Belgrade - 4.33 million
      2. Zagreb - 3.27 million
      3. Split - 2.15 million
      4. Dubrovnik - 2.05 million
      5. Ljubljana - 201 million
      6. Pristina - 1.95 million
      7. Skopje - 1.26 million
      9. Sarajevo - 925 000~
      8. Podgorica - 790 000~
      10. Tivat - 660 000~
      11. Zadar - 575 000
      12. Pula - 525 000

    2. Anonymous15:19

      I agree with most numbers except for Zagreb. I thunk there is no way they will pass the three million mark any time soon. I think it is more likely for Dubrovnik or Split to become the second airport in the near future (maybe even number one?).

      For Zagreb to grow that fast they need a serious airline which will build a hub there. We all know that Croatian Airlines is just no going to do it. I think their numbers for November are catastrophic and that's why they are not publishing them.

      They should be happy if they finish the next few years with a growth close to 4%,

    3. Anonymous15:22

      How on earth did you come up with a 700.000 additional passengers in Zagreb for next year? I just can't see it.

    4. Anonymous15:38

      Omg tivat wont end this year with 600k when it handled 657k in first eight months and definitely not behind podgorica and sarajevo

    5. Anonymous15:41

      Do you happen to have the numbers for Podgorica?

    6. Anonymous16:32

      I think there are figures at aerodromi crne gore

    7. Anonymous16:40

      In the first eight months Podgorica handled
      486 721 passangers

    8. Anonymous17:46

      Btw. Ex Yu you forgot to put London-Podgorica on new route launches(on the right)

    9. Anonymous19:44

      In 2014 Belgrade airport will surpass 4.5 Million passengers figure.

  12. Anonymous14:19

    Next year there will be 2 battles: SPU and PRN and SKP and LJU on the other side. Considering Skopje's double digit and LJU's anemic growth I expect them overtake. Also possible an overtake of SJJ over TIV. Btw. how are montenegrin numbers? They're so mistic.. Never publish figures.
    However next year will the Year of big changes. I'm tuned!

    1. Anonymous15:03

      There are no battles. We are not talking about competitors, as none of these airports is taking traffic away from one another (apart maybe Skopje from Pristina).
      Take it easy guys. It's not a who's got it bigger competition.

    2. Anonymous15:12

      TIV-first ten months 833 121 passangers.No clue for TGD.

    3. Anonymous15:15

      I think Skopje has a good chance at taking quite a few passengers from Pristina. With a lowcost out of the equation I am sure the fares will go up- it's a well known phenomenon.

      With Zagreb's mediocre performance we could see the gap slowly close between the top three Croatian airport- especially if the summer season goes well.

    4. Anonymous10:36

      When we will see some Skopje numbers for November?! Is the millionth passenger passing any time soon? Thank you

  13. Anonymous16:10

    Zagreb is twice as large as Split & Dubrovnik combined and it is where much of the commerce, industry, finance and other transport facilities are located. Plus ZAG is the main Croatian hub. I just don't see SPU or DBV ever reaching ZAG levels.

    -- Charlie

    1. Anonymous17:16

      Yeah your argument would apply if we were talking about yield but we are talking about passenger numbers. A lot of European tourist airports handle double the number of passengers Zagreb handles. With time Dubrovnik and Split will handle three to five million passengers without a problem. I am not talking about next year but over the period of the next few years. They are actually lagging behind the other charter haven airports.

    2. Anonymous19:01

      Long term Zagreb will grow very fast, this is not a wishful statement, its a statement of fact, City has population of 1.1 million and despite its good road and road connection with the rest of the EU air travel is becoming an cheaper alternative to either.

      U look at similar sized cities in the EU and you look at their airports + add the fact that Zagreb is a capitol of an nation, and a major commercial hub of that nation than you get the idea.

      Problem so far was to high extent Croatian Airlines, they control and imposed monopoly through political pressure on airport management as well as historical links with the leading figures in Croatian politics.

      Never in the past did airline face a stiff competition from the other EU carriers and had easy access to Croatian market which ensured good revenue and sold base.

      Problem is, during summers Croatian Airlines acted like an holiday company and during winters it acted like everyone in Europe is in their deep slumber sleep, so you had patchwork of destinations that were served on add-hock basis and with poor scheduling and low frequncies, which all played bad for Zagreb but also other Croatian airports.

      Now things are bit different, Croatia is in the EU and many carriers will see the opportunity to set up base at Zagreb or serve Zagreb without having to worry about local politics and restrictions imposed in the past. Something I am sure current management at Zagreb airport is fully aware and will try to utilize and improve traffic figures at Zagreb,

      Zagreb is a year round destination, ever growing popular city brake destination with 850 000 overnight visitors expected this year and 1 million next year.

      Zagreb is also becoming important business destination where major international e-commerce and marketing firms have set up their regional heads offices, Microsoft, IBM, Ebay, Tesla Motors, RZB, Hypo Alpe Adria Bank...

      Zagreb will eventually become major tourist and business destination for this region, ensuring constant flow of new passengers and visitors.

      Comparing Zagreb with rest of the Ex-Yu is hard right now as market balance is really strange, unusual to say the least, but as thing go Zagreb has a really bright future, and new terminal once completed will be added bonus.

    3. Anonymous19:22

      Dude, Croatia has been in the EU for almost six months now and Zagreb has had absolutely no benefit from that. There are barely any new flights, passenger numbers have remained the same and the future will not change much.
      Croatian aviation has a future but Zagreb is not it. Ljubljana has far more chances than Zagreb because Slovenia is better organized, it has stronger economy and it is less corrupt.

    4. Anonymous19:28

      @AnonymousDecember 8, 2013 at 7:22 PM

      Slovenia is just as corrupt as Croatia, as to economy, both are in deep shit, so to use this comparison is stupid.

      Croatian airlines is major reason why Zagreb didn't grow and its not growing now, they're barely active at Zagreb in summers and in winters they just park their planes at Zagreb airport waiting for summer.

      New airport management plans to change that.

    5. Anonymous19:35

      Yeah, yeah... I am sure that's why easyJet and Wizz Air left Zagreb. ;) The market is just not that big and I doubt Zagreb will ever exceed 3.000.000 passengers.

      As for Slovenia, please, there is a reason Adria existed during SFRJ and there was no Croatia Airlines back then. ;) We Slovenes just know business... we always have and that's why Adria will survive.

    6. Anonymous19:36

      Dude, just like in case of Air Serbia, nothing happens over night, Croatia is just about to get a lot of money through EU funds, there are some really good projects to be done. Hope everything goes well for Croatia and all other Ex Yu countries in the future!

    7. Anonymous19:38

      The market is not that big? So Slovenia grew in the past few years? Yeah right!

      P.S. I really love Slovenia, you have a beautiful country!

    8. Anonymous19:45

      The catchment area of Ljubljana is much greater. It borders wealthy regions of Austria and Italy. Zagreb is too far away from these and it has to fight for low yielding passengers from Republika Srpska and Hungary (in addition to its own ones).
      The fact that there is Wizz Air from Tuzla and now Air Serbia from Banja Luka makes it even worse for Zagreb.

    9. Anonymous21:55

      @AnonymousDecember 8, 2013 at 7:35 PM

      Easy Jet is flying to Zagreb, 4 times per week. Wizz Air was not very popular in Croatia.

      And I doubt you're Slovenian, no Slovenian talks like that, only trolls do.

      If you were Slovenian you'd know how bad economic situation in Slovenia is, something hardly worth to brag about.

      Most Slovens I know are quite critical the way things are going on in Slovenia, reason why I think you're not Slovenian or live in Slovenia.

      U could be a troll trying to spark some blog fight, I can tell you I want fall for it, I simply ignore nationalist trolls.

    10. Anonymous22:17

      Yeah, because all Slovenes have to behave in a particular way- which has your stamp of approval?! lol you are funny.

      Yes, the situation is bad in Slovenia, no one said otherwise. However, the foundations of the Slovenian republic are strong and that's all that matters. That's why Slovenia was always the most advanced republic of all ex-Yugoslav ones. It's something to be proud of. If you have a problem then I can't help you with it.

      Once the crisis is over, Slovenia will come out stronger. No one has escaped from its wrath.

      Naturally, you are always more than welcome to tell me how I should behave as a Slovene. lol

    11. Anonymous23:46

      @AnonymousDecember 8, 2013 at 10:17 PM

      The problem is, you're not a Slovenian, you're not from Slovenia, you don't even speak Slovenian.

      You're probaly from Bosnia or Serbia, pretending to be a Slovenian, cause you're simply ashamed of your ethnic background.

      Also if you knew anything about history of Slovenia, and you'd knew that if you did live in Slovenia for every child is thought about Slovenian History but also large segment of Croatian history for these countries shared much of history, be it in Austrian empire or be it part of Yugo-federation.

      If you knew little about history of both countries, i'e struggle and socio-economic development of the region you'd knew the shit you just spewed is utter nonsense.

      And this is what betrays you in your claims of being a Slovenian, for no Slovenian would claim nonsense you just spewed without feeling stupid.

      U might be familiar with Zmago Jelinčič, you sound bit like him, guy is a Croat btw, of Croatian heritage,but hates the fact he is, so he tries to act like most ardent Slovene on face of the earth, a laughing stock in Slovenia.

      This is who you remind me, someone who has no clue about Slovenia and makes things up as he goes. And yes, btw I have family members that are Slovenes, I grew up in Town on border with Croatia, Brezice, you might have heard of it your national hero Arkan was born there.

      So give me a brake with your nonsense, cause you never convinced me or anyone else on this blog.

    12. Why would a Serb be ashamed of his ethnic background?

    13. Anonymous14:43

      Indeed Nemanja, why are you ashamed to go anonymous pretending to be a Slovenian.

  14. Anonymous17:28

    Does anybody know why there are no more TAROM flights to Belgrade?

    1. Anonymous18:19

      There is a flight tomorrow.
      If I am not mistaken they are currently operating five weekly flights and then they increase them to daily in December. They will be also slightly revising their times so as to allow connections in Belgrade.

  15. Anonymous20:21

    Oh okay, i see.
    Thank you.

  16. I think Belgrade has a good chance of breaking 4,000,000 in 2014.

    1. Anonymous21:55

      It all depends how Air Serbia performs. November was good and now we have to wait to see the numbers for December.

  17. Slightly off topic but it seems that the European Commission will rule that the aid given to Cyprus Airways was illegal. If they do this it makes me wonder if they will not do the same for Adria.

  18. Anonymous22:59

    Do you think in that case we'll see a farewell of JP? I wonder..
    Let's see if our proud blogger from Slovenia has right or not about the slovenian superiority:-))
    Btw. BEG will surpass 4 million for sure! 4.5 no way. You'll need 30 percent growth throughout whole year- something completely unlikely!

    1. Anonymous23:37

      According to a Cypriot newspaper the reason why they will shut down Cyprus Airways is because the government did not present an effective restructuring plan.
      It seems that they are giving them one more chance but knowing how competent Cypriot politicians are it will be yet another missed opportunity.

      If Adria can successfully restructure itself then they will live to see another day. I guess they will give them a few more months. I don't know who reported Cyprus Airways to the EC but we know that Adria was reported by Wizz Air.

    2. That was my comment- don't know why it posted it as anonymous.

    3. Anonymous23:43

      ExYu is overburden with legacy carriers and some will be liquidated for sure. The only safe one is Air Serbia. Montenegro and BH are completely dysfunctional, but they can get goverment funding. Croatia and Adria are in most trouble due to blocked government funding.

  19. Anonymous00:49

    Air Serbia will inaugurate its Ljubljana flights tomorrow with an A319!

  20. Off topic: what is happening with today's LX morning flight from ZRH to BEG. LX1412 took off, but has been circling around ZRH and it seems that it will come back and land in ZRH again: http://www.flightradar24.com/SWR1412


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