Copelouzos interested in Belgrade Airport

Greek company shows interest in running Belgrade Airport

The Greek based Copelouzos Group has shown interest in purchasing a stake in Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport. While the airport in not formally on sale, the government has indicated plans to privatise it this year. Copelouzos is one of the shareholders in St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport and took part in the construction of its new terminal last year. In addition, the group has invested in other airports in Greece and Europe. Together with Fraport, the company is one of seven investors to recently prequalify for the second phase of the tender for the management, development, expansion, maintenance and operation of regional airports in Greece.

Copelouzos’ interest in Belgrade Airport was revealed earlier this week by Simeon Comokos, head of the Serbian-Greek Business Council. “The company which owns 5% in a Greek airport and also has a stake in Saint Petersburg Airport is interested in participating in the privatisation of Belgrade Airport, if the airport is privatised”, Mr. Comokos said. In December last year the Serbian government revealed plans to award Etihad Airways a twenty year concession contract to operate Belgrade Airport. The announcement was greeted with an angry reaction from trade unions who complained Etihad would have a monopoly over the Serbian aviation industry if it is awarded the concession.

It is believed the concession of Belgrade Airport could be part of the secretive agreement between the Serbian government and Etihad for the takeover of Jat Airways, signed in August last year. According to plans outlined by the government, Etihad will run Serbia’s busiest airport over the next twenty years under the condition it builds a new passenger terminal, runway, airport hotel and car park. Last year Serbia’s former Finance and Economy Minister Mladjan Dinkić, who is now serving as the Deputy President of the Committee for Cooperation with the UAE, announced plans for the airport to be put up for concession in early 2014.

Further developments regarding the airport’s sale are expected shortly after next Sunday’s snap parliamentary elections in Serbia, in which the main ruling party pushing for the airport’s privatisation is expected to win in a landslide. Belgrade Airport is one of the prized possessions among Serbia’s public sector with a healthy profit and constant passenger and revenue growth.


  1. Hey Ex-Yu, I think "prised" in the last paragraph should be "prized". Thank you for your interesting content every day.

    I hope Etihad gets the airport concession. It would cement their commitment to Air Serbia and would be a logical step towards the elusive dream of long-haul flights for Belgrade.

  2. Anonymous09:58

    Time to invest in BEG stock?

  3. Anonymous10:01

    Definitively best news of month. Big hope for rise and proper development of Serbian NIKOLA TESLA airport.
    End of political party monopole. Let put Belgrade airport
    to be true among leading airport of Central and South East Europe! Private consortium of developers and ETIHAD of U A Emirate. Big hope and best wishes to all people who will share future of this promised port of Serbia.
    Rodney Marinkovic, AME. Kraljevo / Syd.

  4. Belgrade airport might be profitable and it might be expanding now but they are still not dealing with the biggest problem- luggage sorting area.
    During the morning wave of departures things are ok. However, in the afternoon, in the period from 17.00 to 18.30 they tend to struggle to deliver the luggage on time. For the time being things are working out, however, I do not want to think of what will happen when the summer comes, when on top of the already announced increase of scheduled traffic they will also have the charter flights.

    I hope for the best but I am not being an optimist.

  5. JU520 BEGLAX10:26

    Thats why further investments are needed, especially with JUs new concept as a transfer hub in BEG

    1. The problem is that there is nowhere to expand it within the current terminal. One option would be to build a completely new luggage sorting area next to the existing terminal, cargo area or the Jat training centre area come to mind.
      Furthermore, Belgrade currently needs 45 minutes to transfer connecting passengers' luggage. This is unacceptable when you know that most airports today need 25!

    2. Anonymous10:34

      I really, really think that Etihad will get T1 as part of the deal and that they'll build a new terminal, focusing on transfer pax to boost their auxhillary revenue. It would make sense for them comsidering they're generating so much passanger flow.

    3. Air Serbia (Etihad) asked to get Terminal 1 plus gates A1 through A10. They would have completely refurbished the whole area thus bringing it up to modern aviation standards.

      Unfortunately it has become clear that this will not happen.
      Personally, I think the airbridge equipped gates, C1 through C6, are enough to cater for the needs of foreign carriers in Belgrade. Lowcost and regional aircraft could be parked at either the B platform or the remote C stands.

    4. Anonymous11:46

      Why do you think it won't happen? The BEG union made a complaint about the Etihad takeover plan. It's clear that the plan exists.

    5. It's not just the unions that are against this, it's the airport management too.
      One thing Etihad was surprised about when they went through BEG was how high the salaries of some employees were. ;)

    6. Anonymous17:49

      I'm absolutely shocked that URS "managers" have insane sallaries. I always took them for serious technocrats which had no role in the systematic destruction of Serbian economy...

  6. Anonymous10:58

    Baggage handling at BEG is very poor. Airport management was briefed last summer about this and they haven't done squat. They lack basic equipment to load/unload new planes. 319 requires two loaders as opposed one for B737.

    1. Anonymous12:09

      Well, but this makes good management, to get together well ahead of a major expansion/project and look: will I have enough trained crews, what about the airport facilities, the catering, the maintenance, the lease of aircraft and so on. Now we see, none of it happen. Either due to political pressure to make everything quick before the elections and/or due to the mentality to start thinking about a problem 5 minutes to 12 or better 5 minutes after 12. We see that lots of foreign crews have to operate the flights (never mind the salaries and overhead expenses), we see that planes are late, opening of routes is announced and then recalled (with faked reasons)....we see lots of delays in waves during the day, the airport capacity is stretched to its limits during certain hours.....and the busy summer schedule hasn't started yet!

    2. Anonymous15:23

      You are talking nonsense...luggage is delivered in BEG in a matter of minutes. In the past 12 months I flew in / out of BEG approx 20 times and every time I was out of the building after 20-30 min after landing. Much better than CDG, LHR, AMS, SVO to name a few ... Luggage is not an issue at all in Beg.

    3. Luggage is a problem when the flight is leaving, not when it is arriving.

      The whole problem is that Belgrade airport management is not the most competent one.

  7. JU520 BEGLAX12:19

    I think BEG airport does not necessary has space problems for expansion. Either Terminal 1 makes room for a complete new building or u build a new Terminal in the acres next to the C gates. Plus of course Hotel, nice shopping area for transit guests and last but not least a rail link to downtown.
    BEG could become the hub Nr 1of the western Balkans in the longterm, than it needs a real strategy of the government to further boost the aviation sector and to create an investor friendly environment so foreign companies would be attracted for this infrastructure project. Without a clear strategy I doubt that JU abd also BEG as a hub will become an absolute success

  8. Well, I think the best model would be if BEG invested (if the deal with Arabs is the problem, take a credit from them) to build a second runway, and everything along it, while giving a lot for (planned) future third Terminal to Air Serbia/Etihad, so they can build their own and dedicated (like on JFK). T1 and T2 remain for other carriers - it can be very nicely refurbished - and airport can even build some sort of cheap can-terminal for LCC, if they decide to increase their presence at BEG.
    JU/EY has almost complete control over their operations and business on the airport, however, airport still fully exists and operates independently, primarily in relation to other carriers and government of Serbia, and in perspective, airport authorities can integrate with other airport(s) in Serbia.
    If airport decides to develop like this, and JU continues to grow, it would be super easy to find interested investors for a new hotel(s).
    But no one in Serbia asks me anything, that's the problem with this country.

  9. Anonymous14:27

    Tomorrow IST-BEG-IST TK1081/82 A330-300

    1. JU520 BEGLAX15:33

      A333 in BEG, che bello!

    2. Anonymous21:52

      What's with the cargo one, it vanished from the timetable. There was a TK 330 cargo from Misrata.

    3. Anonymous03:42

      Unfortunately, it seems that BEG is not capable of handling wide body aircraft thru it's air bridges. This TK A330 will be parked at B7.

      Same story with the EY wide body some time ago. What a shame for this airport that pax have to be bussed.

    4. Well, I think it has more to do with the C gates being closed off for renovation. Just my guess, I do not know for sure.

  10. Nikola15:51

    here you go BEG master plan 2025. i think that construction of most of the new bildings here can start this year (T2 extension, control tower, hotel and train link), new runways in 2015 and T3 in late 2015

    note: image is huge (5906x2163)

    1. Anonymous22:07

      Mr. Nikola, This few worlds boosting hop
      to any person who inpatient waiting to starting large development of ANT- BEG.
      Serbia and people in aviation deserve.
      Ragard Rodney Marinkovic, Kraljevo/ Syd

    2. hmmm, this plan is from 2003... I wonder if its still current considering all that happened since.

      BTW, how are T3 connected, if at all, with T1/T2 building on this plan?

    3. Nikola09:19

      maybe they planned some kind of people mover, or bus shuttle. it is completely new remote terminal with satellite.
      and the plan is very applicable today. hell, even JU/EY could build this new terminal solely for their and their partners flights (instead of buying and expanding old T1/T2). in that case, new terminal arrangement could be: T1 LCC and charters (A7-A10+B platform), T2 all other airlines (A1-A6+C gates) and T3 JU+EY+codeshare partners

  11. No problem00:48

    OT: today's vintage photo.

    While JAT’s green train did have a scheduled stop at Zagreb main station, its purpose was to deliver the passengers from Ljubljana to the doorstep of Zagreb airport, i.e. Velika Gorica. JAT buses connected VG train station with Pleso.


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