Strong start for Sarajevo as Dubrovnik tumbles

Dubrovnik Airport numbers take a hit while Sarajevo improves

Sarajevo Airport has continued with its strong run from last year, recording its busiest January on record. The airport welcomed 36.114 passengers through its doors last month, an increase of 8% on last year when it saw 33.437 travellers. The good result comes on the back of an increase in the number of flight operations with Sarajevo Airport recording 383 arrivals and departures, up from 360 in 2013. So far, two airlines have announced new flights to the Bosnian capital this year. They include Gemanwings, which will inaugurate services from Berlin on April 13, and SAS Scandinavian Airlines which will operate seasonal summer flights from Stockholm starting July 1. On the other hand, Moskovia Airlines, which launched a one weekly service from Moscow to the Bosnian capital late last year, has suspended its flights after a relatively warm winter saw little snow at the Jahorina ski mountain resort. The flights were primarily meant to cater for Russian tourists.

Meanwhile, Dubrovnik Airport has felt the full brunt of Croatia Airlines’ service reductions. The airport handled 15.950 passengers in January, a decrease of 15.5% compared to 2013. It marks the fourth consecutive month Dubrovnik Airport has seen its numbers slide. In 2013, Croatia Airlines accounted for 25.6% of all passengers using the airport, followed by easyJet with a distant 10%. London (all airports) was the busiest route in and out of Dubrovnik while domestic flights to Zagreb came second. With fewer nonstop flights offered by Croatia Airlines, which now transfers more of its Dubrovnik passengers through Zagreb, the route is expected to continue to see its numbers increase.

On a more positive note, Dubrovnik will become the first Croatian airport to feature air bridges, connecting aircraft directly with the terminal building. The airport will begin setting up the new air bridges this year with a total of two planned. Meanwhile, Croatia’s second busiest airport, Split, also saw its numbers decline this January. The airport welcomed 26.042 passengers, a decrease of 4.2% compared to the same month last year. In 2013 the airport recorded its busiest January on record.


  1. Anonymous10:27

    These few flights to Dubrovnik are completely full with passangers (at least from Zagreb). So, OU made a good thing, they fill anything they send to Dubrovnik at the moment. The only thing that I would say is that Dubrovnik should have more tourists these months. Dubrovnik should keep doing on its winter branding! And tourist will come. Also, I suppose that one flight to Frankfurt during the winter months would be full! They can send Dash (in past there were sending A319/320.). Greetings to all!

    1. Anonymous13:02

      I completely agree with you. Airline companies should talk with hotels about cooperation - offering flight + hotel deals during winter. Now we have situation when hotels are saying "there are no flights during winter so guests cannot come" and airline companies are saying "hotels are closed so we cannot fill the seats". Only British Airways is flying during whole year.

    2. Do you know what kind of passengers are filling these flights from Dubrovnik? Are they people heading to Zagreb or are they continuing their journey from there?

      It's a shame that British Airways doesn't fly from Heathrow as they could attract some of the north American passengers. I guess the O&D is there to fill all those seats.

    3. Anonymous19:53

      Mostly asian tourists (although there are people from other countries too), people from Dubrovnik (students, sailors, others) that go to Zagreb (hospital, shopping, faculty) or continue its journey to Europe. There are also many people from Montenegro or Trebinje going to Europe via Zagreb (we will see what Air Serbia will do considering that they can offer service from Tivat). You can find many businessmen on board. City of Dubovnik gives 250 kunas of subvention for every one from Dubrovnik. That is why OU raised prices and bcs of that I have very bad opinion about them. I hope that soon we will see Libertas air in Dubrovnik. They have a strategy to connect hotel industry with civil aviation and that is a perfect combination and also they have a plan to make an „air-bridge“ from Dubrovnik to Zagreb. OU is a looser without strategy that works by inertia. Dubrovnik is destination, not location and always can fill at least 3 planes to Zagreb, but tourist industry could do a huge progress.

    4. Thanks for the explanation. :)

    5. Purger23:42

      It is more than stupid to reduce those flights to ZAG. When they had more than 20 flights per week on winter with price of 150 EUR planes were full all the time. So to reduce flights where you have over 90% LF is at least stupid. I can not understant that CTN strategi.

    6. @ Anonymous 1:02 pm (and others who are listening)

      Croatia cannot just become a year- long destination, condition have to be placed to make this happen and rejecting and or hampering a 1 billion dollar investment does NOT do anything to facilitate this.

      The golf course project would brought wealthy big spenders year round to Dubrovnik which than opens the possibility for more investment like a large casino and resort complex, business conferences and forums and making Dubrovnik an alternative starting point to Venice for some of the 1000 yearly cruise ships which stop at Dubrovnik.

      The amount of money Croatia turns its back is ludicrous and people wonder why there is a recession!

  2. SJJ's revival seems to have coincided with parting of ways between JA and TK. So, it would be interesting to have a breakdown of SJJ pax figures to understand who or what is behind this turn in fortunes. In any case, I am happy and congratulate SJJ on this successful turnaround. It just goes to show that sometimes, despite the goodwill and intentions, it's best if everyone goes their own way.

    JA carried only 60,000 pax in 2012, less than half of what it carried in 2011, so things were clearly not going well. It would be interesting to learn how many pax JA carried in 2013. In my opinion, it's not worth keeping a market "closed" in order to protect an airline that carries less than 100k pax annually. If you want to protect JA, lower or remove some taxes for airlines that base at least two aircrafts at SJJ and offer incentives to the no frill brigade to step in and make up for the lower per pax revenue by increasing volume.

    Good luck and may the positive run continue.

  3. Anonymous14:02

    If someone can give me brief explanation about OU situation, I would be very grateful...

    In previous posts people are saying that the company is finally making profit, then they talk about how it is a crappy airline about to be sold, and now I read about service reductions and how Dubrovnik and Split are suffering due to OU...

    I wish all EX-yu airlines all the best, in particular JU because my parents work there, but can someone just say is OU going bankrupt, never done better or something in between...


    1. Anonymous14:35

      Those "people" who talk about profits and "expansion" are actually a single person who keeps repeating his posts about new jets, large profits, about how OU is introducing 4 new A319 (despite cutting routes and frequencies - while preserving the same staff size :D) etc. etc. If OU was doing fine, they would have found a partner already. It's not doing anywhere remotely close to "fine". Far from it, it's a borderline bankrupt company that was kept alive by goverment cash infusions which have dried up after Croatia's EU entrance, which also blocked foreign carriers from buying it. If Croatia had a responsible government, they would have privatized it back in 2011-2013, but nobody seemed to care, so their national carrier is now on the verge of a shutdown.

    2. @ Anonymous 2:02 PM

      Looks like we do not know what the real situation is but I will tell you this, there is absolutely no reason why OU should not be profitable. If OU cannot make a profit than no other airline could.
      With the fleet they have, the amount of passengers they carry and the amount those passengers are charged (OU is not cheap) realistically OU should never come close to being bankrupt. You cannot even use the size of the labour force as an excuse because these people are paid probably a quarter or at best one third of the European average so even the workforce, despite being relatively large is actually another advantage OU had over it Western European competitors.
      OU has obviously been plundered from all sides, awesome example is the Dash 8’s are apparently double leased. That is persons from OU or the government (probably both) set up a middle leasing company which the Q400’s are leased too before they are leased to OU. So persons get a ‘cut’ from the Q400 fleet and OU pays more to lease the aircraft than what they should.
      Add this to the continuous disastrous management who seem to have no ambition, than you get the current situation.
      The only way OU can survive and be a major component of Croatian tourism and economic development is to take it out of government hands and to put it into the hands of someone who is interested in a profitable company and a return on their investment.
      Also, there is absolutely no reason why OU should be left scratching their heads wondering what to do with the aircraft during the winter. They have so many options it’s not funny. They just need the right person with the know-how and will to do some real work.
      The relationship with Lufthansa for me is fine as long as it works for both parties. At the moment really it only half works for OU. OU needs to back it self, grow a backbone and expand towards the south and east. Dubai is a no brainer and if they can get code share deal with Emirates and or Qantas, than even better. The thing is, even though people say LH won’t let it happen, the reality is that it would hardly have an impact on OU/LH numbers via LH hubs because your actually tapping into a completely different passenger base thus growing passenger numbers for both OU and Zagreb not shifting them.
      An example of this opportunity OU seems to ignore; more than 100,000 Australians visited Croatia last year with most of these incorporating Croatia somewhere in the middle of their European holidays. Having a more direct (one stop) flight option could make Croatia the first and or last stop for their European holidays.
      Again, there are so many options for OU, work towards putting all these options together than you get a good business.

    3. Anonymous00:23

      "Having a more direct (one stop) flight option could make Croatia the first and or last stop for their European holidays."

      Keep dreaming.

    4. Actually, Croatia has a pretty big tourist potential.

    5. "Having a more direct (one stop) flight option could make Croatia the first and or last stop for their European holidays."

      Keep dreaming.

      I new someone would comment on this lol. But what I left out and wanted to write was "an alternative starting point". More and more Australasian's are using the Middle East to get to Europe and its just stupid in my opinion the OU ignores this.

    6. Anonymous03:24

      @Aleksandar StojanovicFebruary 6, 2014 at 12:28 AM

      no shit sherlock!

      12.45 million visitors, 73.5 million nights in 2013 I guess you can say that's a great potential, lol,

  4. Aэrologic14:20

    The only way i could see Etihad-Alitalia partnership working and Alitalia becoming profitable is:

    - Alitalia introducing all-widebody fleet
    - Cutting and cancelling most of short-haul routes that can't be served with a wide-body on a daily basis
    - Turning Rome into a hub for flights to Western Africa, South, North and Central America, equal or superior to Madrid and Iberia
    - Opening lines or increasing frequencies to central Asia, far East, South East Asia
    - Massive lay-offs (as a consequence) and disbanding the power of unions
    - Opening ASAP: Mexico, Bogota, Santiago de Chile, Montevideo, Abidjan, Nouakchott and other cities in West Africa

    The questions are:

    - How could they do that without directly competing with Etihad?
    - How would they do that without ruining Air Serbia?
    - Will Etihad have the will and sufficient cash to prop-up a large money-loosing airline for a decade or so before it becomes eventually profitable and what risks would they incur for their own business?

    Bonus: The purchase of Alitalia and proposed initiaves leaves us with an unavoidable question: who's gonna feed their short-haul flights and compete with the low-cost onslaught? While Air Serbia can secure them a decent portion of South-East European traffic and Air Berlin of German one, that's far from sufficient to propell a European mega-hub into a profitable operation.

    -> Creating a feeder airline from another European country with a significantly lower cost-base

    - Could that be Air Serbia on the European level and Etihad regional on the regional, national level? Could we see Air Serbia rebranded into 'Etihad Europe' without a change of livery? Could we see Darwin getting like 50 turboprops for European operations, feeding 'Etihad's partners hubs?

    - Who is gonna finance a 50+ widebody order/fleet renewal for Alitalia? Those are not 10-20 A320neos for Air Serbia.

    - Having that in mind, Iberia or TAP would have been a much more logical investment, without conflict in interest with heir current shareholding companies, unless they make them work concurrently in a complimentary manner.

    1. Anonymous19:18

      You're a fool.

    2. Anonymous19:22


    3. Anonymous07:05

      " - Alitalia introducing all-widebody fleet
      - Cutting and cancelling most of short-haul routes that can't be served with a wide-body on a daily basis "

      I stopped reading after this, aerologic tell your doctor to up your dosage...

    4. Anonymous11:25

      That tells enough about your intelligence. If you already cared to comment, you should have noticed that the op explained his reasoning further down in the post. In parallel, you have to be blind to ignore that almost none of the European legacy carriers (besides Aeroflot and Turkish) deploy their full service aircraft to regional and most of inter-European destinations so his reasoning is perfectly sound, creating two separate and complimentary companies, such as Emirates and FlyDubai with a hub in Rome.

  5. Anonymous14:38

    Mod., the question should be "Which Ex-Yu airline is gonna to get bankrupt first".

  6. Anonymous14:55

    @ Aerologic:

    Alitalia is currently burning 200M euro annually, meaning they would burn Etihad's investment in 18 months or so. And this is all AFTER the government took over the debt, kept most employees in the 'bad' company, registered a new entity that uses the Alitalia brand and transferred assets and cash to that entity. It is some kind of secret mafia-style bunch of guys who in less than two years managed to get the new firm from clean sheet to 1 Bn debt. Not sure what Etihad wants to do with them but it's going to be a hell of a ride. Literally.

  7. Anonymous15:06

    OT: looks like JP is definitely going to codeshare on JU flights LJU-BEG-LJU, starting on 17 February.
    Source: Adria Airways,

    1. Anonymous16:02

      Didn't Ex-YU Aviation write about that from the start?

    2. Anonymous16:29

      yeah and some people didn't believe him and gave him sh*t.Anyway good scoop for Ex-Yu and good that they will cooperate

    3. i appologize for my lack of knowledge but can somebody explain me what does a codeshare means i financial terms. in this particular case how much of the ticket price goes to JP when it sells a seat on JU flight? Or that really depends on the agreement between two companies.

      Thank you

    4. JU520 BEGLAX20:52

      All depending on individual agreements. Can be blocked space or open
      Especially interesting if an airline can pull pax fm niche markets via hub to own destinations

  8. Aэrologic16:41

    Budapest airport in 2013:

    - pax growth 0.2%
    - operations down 4.3% (average LF 76.2%)
    - cargo down 1.1%.

    2014 official estimate 3-4% growth.

    1. Thanks for the information. I guess with Malév gone it will be difficult for Budapest airport to sustain faster growth as they are currently relying solely on the O&D market. The political decision to close Malév has cost them a lot, among other things direct flights with Beijing and New York.

    2. Anonymous18:35

      Timisoara also recorded a drop as Carpatair went into bankruptcy! More good news for Belgrade.

    3. Political decision to close Malev!! They were finito, done, and NewYork and Beijing flights were stpped years ago when they returned their 2 Boeing 767"s and though of flying only 737, and Q400 on European market. Budapest airport is doing ok, many do not realize the literaly 1000"s of passengers flying in or flying out for the 7 and 14 day Danube River Cruises!! They now have over 20 ships holding 150 passenges each either coming into or leaving Budapest every week, so thats 3,000 paople a week, and they all fly into or out of Budapest! Why Croatian did not do Budapest-Zagreb and Budapest-Split as Malev used to do is beyond me, but when you read about double leasing of Q400, and 4 magical airbus aircraft that have been paid for in part and not recieved, well nothing surprises me any more!!

    4. Anonymous20:15

      New York was operated by American Airlines (B767-300) while Beijing was operated by Hainan (A330-200). Both of these flights received feed from Malév's network. Once Malév was gone there was no good enough reason for them to stay there.

      As for Malév, we all know that it was a political decision. It was very dirty business that followed a fight between the European Union Commissioner Viviane Reding and the Fidesz party leader Viktro Orban. The arguments to keep Malév were there, it's just that the European Commission decided not to follow them. Then again, even the Hungarian government wasn't too keen on keeping Malév alive as they managed to strike a deal with Wizz Air. Funny thing is that the highly unfavourable fleet leasing deal that cause Malév demise was signed by the current CEO of Wizz Air, Jozsef Varadi.

    5. WIZZ = FIDESZ by the way!!! Why do you think Debrecen has WIZZ flights and also the mayor is number 2 strongman in FIDESZ!!!

  9. By the way, does anyone know why it took them so long to install the airbridges in Dubrovnik? The new terminal was built a few years ago.

    It will be also interesting to see what airlines will use them since the airport is mostly there for lowcosts and charter airlines.
    I think airports such as Dubrovnik which are summer airports must have airbridges. There is nothing worse than disembarking an aircraft and being burned by the sun and immediately 'refreshed' by humidity!

    1. Anonymous18:35

      When you are looking at statistics you'll see that Dubrovnik is served by many national carriers (Croatia, British, Finnair, Lufthansa, Austrian, Air Serbia, Aer Lingus, Aeroflot, JAL) so there are many airlines that are interested in using bridges.

    2. Thanks. Well, some like Air Serbia wouldn't as they intend on sending their Atr but for the others it makes sense.
      I hope they will be glass airbridges though.

    3. Anonymous18:53

      Its not taking them long, this article got it wrong, new air bridges won't be installed this year, they just torn down the old terminal literally, new terminal will be built in its place and 1 more airbridge added, there are 3 now.

      This is what the terminal will look like once completed in 2016/17.

      Air Bridges would be way of massive construction equipment, diggers, trucks that are needed to complete 2nd section of new terminal.

      Construction of 2nd stage should start in late Summer this year and be completed by mid to late 2016.

      Dubrovnik airport just got the loan from EIB, the EU and Croatian regional development fund, in total $300 million.

      So there won't be any airbridges before 2nd stage is completed and when it is, airport will have 4 airbridges as seen in that illustration.

    4. Thanks for the update. Do you know how many more passengers the airport will be able to handle once the addition is constructed?
      What I also wonder is since that they will, probably, add more bus gates will there be a need to add more remote stands or can they cope with the ones they have now?

    5. Anonymous19:03

      @ 6.35, and @Nemjee

      Missing from the list :

      SAS, THY, Iberia, S7, Luxair, Estonian...

      So you can hardly say :"The airport is mostly there for lowcosts and charter airlines"

      Not to mention numerous cases where "good" lowcosts (Easyjet, Vueling), or "hybrids" (Germanwings, Norwegian...), which all fly A LOT to/from DBV, too, use airbridges.

      And having climate and weather DBV has for most of the year, those airbridges are more the question of "prestige" than real necesity

    6. Yes but you missed my point, most of those airlines who fly there do it because they are bringing in tourists, not because they are after the 'regular' passengers. Sure, you can probably book flights on most of them but that's not the primary reason why they are there. Best proof of that is that the airport goes dead once the summer season is gone.

      Well, I lived in Cyprus for almost 14 years so I know what I am talking about and what it is like to disembark a flight and be welcomed by a nice mixture of heat and humidity (day and night). At times these airbridges are more than just mere luxury/prestige.

    7. Anonymous20:53

      @NemjeeFebruary 5, 2014 at 6:59 PM

      3.5 million pax, but easily 5.5 million, once terminal is completed it'll be 36500sqm, only slightly smaller than Belgrade's, Skopje's and Pristina's terminals.

      Assuming other 3 are over 40 000sqm.

      Split airport should also start works on new terminal in October, with ground works starting in September (fences going up, closure of Split Trogir Road, archaeological works...)

      New 35000sqm terminal will be built not sure if with 3 or 4 air bridges, or space for 3-4 air bridges, considering that Split is more of a holiday airport and most holiday companies do not use air bridges.

      So this is the year when 4 Croatia's busiest airport will get new terminals or expanded (Zadar).

  10. Anonymous19:27

    Sorry for th OT, but it's interesting that Ex-Yu aviation haven't considered important to publish more than a week old information that only a month or so ago announced KLM's return to ZAG with 4 weekly F70 services, has already been improved to daily E-190 flights.

    1. Anonymous19:34

      Feel free to present your apologies.

      Regards from Belgrade.

    2. Actually, EX-YU Aviation News was the first to publish the news as seen in the link above.

    3. Anonymous20:59

      Unlike many people here, I don't have problems to admit I was wrong, I simply didn't notice it was published. And, yes, I apologize :)

  11. Anonymous20:24

    OT:It seems that there will be lot of changes on JU S14 schedule.Some of changes are
    BEG - BNX 13:55 (daily) ATR72
    BEG- FRA 17:05 (daily) A319
    BEG - LHR
    JU 380 10:35 (daily) A319
    JU 208 15:00 (6) A319 (additional)
    JU 208 18:05 (7) A320 (additional)

    Also A320 will go on BEG-ATH daily..

    1. Frankfurt was moved so as to fit it right in with the rest of the western European destinations. It departs a little bit before Paris.

      Regarding London, the Sunday departure is the old Jat slot however the Saturday departure is novelty since the old Jat slot had a late afternoon departure like the Sunday one. They are more for the O&D market.

      Next move should be to add more London Gatwick flights.

    2. Anonymous20:49

      The new flight:



    3. Anonymous21:53

      Nemjee, what did you mean by "Frankfurt was moved so as to fit it right in with the rest of the western European destinations"? It seems to me that with this later arrival to BEG JU have less posibilities fpr transit passengers.
      For Anonymous at 8:49PM - it is not a new flight, it is"old" Jat flight just moved in summer season to new timing. In winter season old flying times will be returned.

    4. Well, the current schedule is pretty bad as the flight departs Belgrade at 12.00 and returns at 16.40. The only connections available are to western Europe while the noon departure means six hour connections from places like Athens or Larnaca where flights arrive at around 06.00 and depart after midnight.
      In other words the flight can't attract any connecting passengers. No one will fly Frankfurt-Belgrade-Amsterdam.

      Getting slots in Frankfurt is not easy, especially if you want daily slots before noon. This new schedule is not the best one out there but it's a clear improvement from the current one. With this new schedule JU will be able to attract passengers flying to destinations which see double daily rotations, afternoon and night ones. In addition to some regional routes they will be able to feed their Thessaloniki and Athens (3x/week) flights.

      I am sure that in the future they will change these times but at least like this they can attract certain passengers. The Frankfurt route always did ok for the carrier but the number of passenger did fall once the codeshare with Lufthansa was terminated. If I recall correctly, before the termination the loadfactor was in the low 80s while right after it fell to 66%!

  12. Anonymous21:01

    JU800 Belgrade- Abu Dhabi
    23:55 -06:55 1234567

    JU801 Abu Dhabi-Belgrade
    08:35 -12:05 1234567

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Anonymous08:04

    Alitalia is introducing daily flights FCO-SKP from May 1st 2014.

    Alitalia from 01MAY14 begins Rome – Skopje service, where it’ll offer 7 weekly flights on board Embraer E175 aircraft. Departures from Rome is served on daily basis.

    AZ526 FCO1435 – 1625SKP E75 236
    AZ528 FCO2130 – 2320SKP E75 x236

    AZ529 SKP0700 – 0850FCO E75 x347
    AZ527 SKP1705 – 1855FCO E75 236


    1. Banja Luka će izaći na dva leta dnevno (sadasnji dnevni ) i noćni/ranojuatrnji tokom godine. Air Serbia ,naravno


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