Pristina Airport tackles passenger decline

Pristina Airport launches incentive scheme to return to growth

Pristina Airport has been faced with a strong decline in passenger numbers following the bankruptcy of its busiest airline Belle Air Europe late last year. The airport has now developed alternative methods at attracting new customers which include incentives and subsidies for airlines launching new routes and additional frequencies, as well as special measures for carriers struggling with poor load factors on their flights in and out of Pristina. Further assistance will be provided to airlines operating a large number of flights from the city. Yesterday, the Kosovo Civil Aviation Authority approved the airport’s new measures to increase traffic movement. The incentive scheme will come into effect on March 30.

The new route development incentive has been created to spur interest among airlines to launch destinations which have not been served out of Pristina for at least twelve months. Those airlines willing to operate flights to new routes will be exempt from landing fees for the first year and will enjoy a 50% discount in their second year of operations. The additional frequency incentive hopes to encourage airlines to add additional frequencies to their existing schedules. Airlines operating at least one additional frequency will be freed of landing fees for one year. Carriers which have handled over 50.000 passengers from Pristina last year will be eligible for financial support. Pristina Airport will provide 25.000 euros to airlines which handled between 50.001 - 100.000 passengers last year (Austrian and Pegasus Airlines) and 200.000 euros to airlines carrying between 100.001 - 200.000 travellers (Germanwings, Adria Airways, Turkish Airlines, Darwin Airline, Germania, easyJet and Endelweiss). Airlines that handle over 200.000 passengers will be provided with financial assistance ranging from 300.000 euros onwards. Last year, Belle Air Europe, which ceased operations on November 27, handled 275.814 passengers from Pristina. Finally, airlines which have an average load factor of less than 50% on their flights to and from Pristina will be cleared of landing fees for a year. In addition, Pristina Airport will provide support for marketing and promotion.

Pristina Airport hopes the abovementioned measures will see it return to growth and maintain its position as the third busiest airport in the former Yugoslavia. This summer, no new airline has announced plans to launch flights to Pristina. On the other hand, Darwin Airline, which operated some flights on behalf of Belle Air Europe last year, and has since rebranded to Etihad Regional, will not operate services to Pristina in 2014. However, Alitalia has announced plans to launch flights to the city later this year.


  1. Anonymous09:16

    How much have pax numbers fallen that they have taken this drastic measure?

  2. Anonymous09:24

    Wow this is huge. But won't they make a big loss this way? Where is the money coming from?

  3. Anonymous09:27

    This kind of money is peanuts.

    If you calculate, you will find the discounts amount to max 2 EUR per pax. Landing charges amount to max that amount as well.

    They still have to develop a proper incentive scheme if they are to attract serious traffic.

  4. Anonymous09:40


    New flights from SARAJEVO Int. Airport in 2014:

    B&H Airlines:
    Sarajevo-Amsterdam-Sarajevo (resumes 1 May 2014)
    Sarajevo-Ljubljana-Sarajevo (begins 1 May 2014

    Etihad Regional / Darwin:
    Geneva-Sarajevo-Geneva (begins 8 April 2014)
    Zurich-Sarajevo-Zurich (begins 5 April 2014)

    Berlin-Sarajevo-Berlin (begins 4 April 2014)

    Montenegro Airlines (not official):
    Podgorica-Sarajevo-St. Petersburg-Sarajevo-Podgorica


    I hava a question. This was posted by blogger Sarajevo in January but only Germanwings to Berlin haseen confirmed since. As "all the contracts were signed" when can we expect tye next announcements Sarajevo? ?

    1. Anonymous11:36

      About its not true as I cant purchase tickets from Amsterdam and how many times per week will they fly

    2. Anonymous11:41

      It's not true, he copy/pasted a message left by some user here months ago. The only flight that materialized is the one by Germanwings.

    3. Anonymous17:57

      I know its not true that is the reason I was asking for clarification in the first place

  5. Anonymous09:50

    Bezpostedna borba za svakog putnika od strane avio kompanija koje lete u jugoistocnoj Evropi. To ocigledno se odnosi i na aerodrome. Evo Pristina to potvrdjuje. Oni koji su investirali u preporod aerodrome Slatina, kao I tamocnja vlast se veoma trude da izbegnu vece gubitke.
    Prirodno je truditi se za opstanak . Svak ima pravo opstanka pod ovom kapom nebeskom. Komercijalna avijacija u koju se pomalo razumem, a beskrajno i sam joj pripadam zelim pun uspeh.
    Rod. Marinkovic, AME. Kraljevo / Sydney

    1. Anonymous09:59

      Agree, you have to fight for each passenger if you want to survive in this business.

  6. Aэrologic09:58

    What is the exact passengers drop?

    1. Anonymous10:00

      I think their numbers are down 30%

    2. Down 30%? Not correct. From the information that I have December 2013 saw the biggest drop (26%). This was immediately following the collapse of Belle Air Europe. I am told that January and February 2014 are not as bad. But then, any negative growth is a negative growth.

      SKP attacking a number of PRN-bound pax, but the fact that PRN numbers only dropped after Belle Air collapsed, while it grow in tandem with SKP shows that SKP's massive growth has only marginal effect on PRN pax number decline.

      Fascinating to see how things will develop :)

    3. Anonymous22:37

      The drop is because of 2 weeks fog and no fly. Still Prishtina had +7% increase in 2013...

  7. Anonymous10:03

    Interesting there is no new airline flying to PRN. I would have thought someone would try to fill in for Belle Air longer than the initial first month

    1. Purger10:09

      I thought that Adria will fill in, but it seems that Adrias' only goal is to be Lufthansa feeder (VIE, ZRH, MUC, FRA, BRU).

  8. Purger10:11

    Even Croatia Airlines discuss to retreat from Priština. Maybe with these measures they will stay.

  9. Anonymous10:30

    Airports like Osijek and Nis should do something like this to attract new airlines.

    1. Purger11:12

      Osijek is doing that. That is why this year they will have (from beginning of April):

      London (Ryanair) - 2x weekly
      Zagreb (Trade Air) - 5x weekly
      Rijeka via ZAG (Trade Air) - 1x
      Split (Croatia) - 1x
      Dubrovnik (Croatia) - 1x
      charter to Turkey - 1x (still don't know by which company)

      On their wishlist is:
      Germany one destination in south and one in north (LCC)
      Vienna by Austrian or Munich by Lufthansa every day
      charter to Tunisia - 1x weekly

  10. Miroslav10:52

    I think that PRN decline has much in common with SKP growth...

    OT question: Are there any flights between Croatia and the UAE, or Bosnia to UAE? Wonder i dont see any, while only BEG has like 18 roundtrips weekly or so. Odd thing is that flydubai serves SKP while ZAG and SJJdoesnt take place. Croatia also has considerable diaspora in Australia, which should use some of the UAE airports, and theres also fact that they attract more and more Asian tourists to their coastline. On the onter hand Bosnia is a Muslim country and should have tight relations with Arab countries. I am sure those routes would be a success for an airline running it.

    1. Aэrologic11:17

      FlyDubai is doing bad in Skopje.

    2. Anonymous11:54

      "I think that PRN decline has much in common with SKP growth"

      I dont think that its a zero sum game with these two, both SKP and PRN had big growth last couple of years...


      I think someone mentioned they had over 60% LF last year, that is FANTASTIC if we use the air serbia scale of route success ;)

    3. Both PRN and SKP wrere entirely relying on Albanian o/d asylum seekers in West Europe, so the growth is very limited and they both reached that limit, unlike BEG which is a regional hub.

      FlyDubais lf is declining while AirSERBIAs lf is growing. Dont need an Einstein to figure out whos future looks brighter.

    4. Anonymous13:29

      Yes you are right flydubai is in decline (i'm sure you have stats to back that up), how stupid of me to even put it in the same sentence as air serbia

    5. Anonymous14:21

      @MiroslavMarch 20, 2014 at 10:52 AM

      No Zagreb UAE link yet, there are issues with crew rest, or alternatively Ethiad or Emirats would need to send A330 or B777 to cover Zagreb as long hull destination to circumvent these rules, and there's no market for that, unless Emirates introduces Dubai - Zagreb - Vienna or Frankfurt flights.

      As to Asian tourist, most come via Frankfurt and Istanbul with few airlnes having direct charters to Zagreb,. Korean Air, Air China, JAL to name few. And yes Asia is very important market for Croatia, 114000 Chinese, 160 000 Japanese, 87000 South Korean tourists visited Zagreb and Croatia last year, Asian tourists account for 4% of Croatia's foreign tourist arrivals, or around 505 000 visitors in 2013.

      Australian, N Zealand are also important tourist markets for Croatia with 140 000 tourists but still no Air Link. Asian/Australian market is rapidly growing tourist market for Croatia with 30% yoy growth, and same is expected this, this year Croatia is expecting 14 million tourists and 80 million nights.


      On totally off topic subject, seen new plans for Zagreb airport, with 10 passenger boarding bridges, revised architectural drawings, (my firm has done some consultancy work for new French owners) there are only slight deviations, from the original plan, there'll be one underground level with luggage sorting facility and a food court/restaurants.

      Only one 80x80m box for wide body and 9 medium 50x50m boxes, there'll be additional 8 50x50 boxes for LCC with 2 medium boxes that can be used by one wide body.

      New French owners plan to build 58m ATC tower around 500m from present terminal where current main Air Force hanger is, that will be knocked down in 2015 and cleared by mid 2015 with construction starting immediately after that, should be up and running by mid 2017. Cost of new Tower will be around $20 million

    6. Anonymous16:59

      Last Anon., where did you learn to 'speak' English? Is that the level you use to understand the airport building documents?

    7. Harsh awakening17:12

      @2:21 - I wouldn't say there is an issue with crew rest, i would more say that there is an issue with the lack of demand. Otherwise they would have found a way around. When demand is there, no issues are there to be found. Peace on that.

      - "long-hull" :D Is that a boat? I didn't knew that word hahahah

      - "Asian tourist", you did notice that there are several of them which means using a plural? lol.

      - "Korean Air, Air China, JAL to name few." - Ok and what are the others? :)

      - I've seen plans for Zagreb airport as well, there will be 8 air bridges at best, just as this blog reported. No need for more.

      - PS: What is your firm? :)

      - Boxes - you're gonna put a wide-body in a "box"? Hahahaha

      - So what you're saying is that they'll knock the tower down and build a new one once the old one is destroyed? LOL. So how is the airport gonna run during that period without any ATC at all?! Or is that just one of the 'miracles' that constantly prop-up from your mind?

      I guess so.

      You live in a dream-world.

    8. Anonymous18:33

      Maybe they'll temporarly put the ATC... In a box? LOL

    9. Anonymous18:47

      Emirates UAE should open service in ZAG and PRN long haul flights to the US.
      DXB-ZAG-JFK (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun) same way back.

      DXB-PRN-JFK (Tue, Thu, Sat) same way back. Which is good for both ZAG and PRN passenger flights to USA and UAE etc...

    10. Anonymous18:55

      Is that a joke?

    11. Anonymous20:38

      @Harsh awakeningMarch 20, 2014 at 5:12 PM/AAnonymousMarch 20, 2014 at 4:59 PM

      You're a moron, same guy.

      50x50m box is term used to describe position on airport platform, there are 30x30m, 50x50 and 80x80m platform positions or boxes, 80x80m box is for wide body aircraft, 50x50m for smaller aircraft such as A320 and B737 and so on.

      There's 1 ATC tower already and no plans to knock that down you ignorant fool, no plans to knock down old terminal either, have I anywhere mentioned they'll knock down old terminal and old ATC?

      And I wouldn't give you name of my firm or where I work if your life dependent on this information, would you give me your personal information such as full name, telephone number and your bank account ? Of course not, so don't ask for stuff you yourself wouldn't give.

      Stupid troll!!

  11. My view is that the demise of Belle Air and Belle Air Europe could in the mid- to long-term be a blessing in disguise for PRN. What this airline manage to do is show just how overpriced flights from PRN to destinations in Switzerland, Germany et al are, as well as showing that there are high numbers of PRN-bound passengers if the right balance of cost and service is offered. However, they got the service part completely wrong and I was very glad to see their back. There is no doubt that their demise will hurt PRN in the short term, however in the mid- to long-term one can only hope that other more serious players can open new lines or add frequencies while refining the cost-service balance as required by the PRN market.

    Alitalia seriously considering PRN is a step in the right direction. Sure, Alitalia do no offer the best service in the world, but it's surely better than Belle Air Europe and if they get taken over by Etihat things can only improve.

    Both Belle Air Europe and Germania have shown that there is demand for a direct link to London and perhaps British Airways will consider a return to PRN in the future.

    easyJet has stepped in with additional frequencies after the demise of Belle Air Europe, but none of its destinations (Basel and Geneva) are daily yet. Once they go daily, if they do, they will provide stiff competition to the overpriced charter flights offered by Swiss, Edelweiss and Helvetic. In my opinion, easyJet and Pegasus offer the right balance of cost and service for the PRN/Kosovar market. Adria Airways is moving in that direction and I wish them well.

    @Purger, I had high hopes for Croatia Airlines, but their really poor frequency and the sheer number of cancellations make it an unreliable operator at PRN. I avoid them at all costs. Unless they go daily and fly regularly come rain or shine, I will not book with them because I lose valuable time and money having to rebook with a different airline at short notice.

    1. Anonymous12:00

      Let me ask you, doesnt this tactic to offer subsidies to practically ALL existing airlines seem completely wrong, do they really think they'll pas on the saving to customers?

      Wouldnt they be far better off to entice a true LCC to open a base? It would probably cost less than what they are doing now. thoughts?

    2. Miroslav12:12

      Visit Kosovo: tell me what happened to Kosova Airlines and Scanderbeg Airlines? I mean, they still exist as companies, and possibly they can apply for new flights in the future. Does anyone remember load factors for Scanderbeg transatlantic flights when they existed. I know many people complained about their service, maybe they had good perspective if they tried hard

    3. Purger12:52

      visit Kosovo totally agree with you. When I have presentations in Croatia Airlines I said that minimum for feeding destinations must be 12 flights, 2 every working day + one in weekends

      ZAG 2230 - 2355 PRN 0600 - 0625 ZAG

      ZAG 1400 - 1520 PRN 1600 - 1720 ZAG

      If they can not does that (with connections in ZAG 30 to 90 minutes) better not to even start PRN and other feeding connections.

    4. @Anonymous
      My personal view is that no subsidies should be offered to any airline. Why not permanently lower fees if you want to attract higher number of passengers?
      If you do do offer subsidies then offer to everyone, no preferential treatment. Just my opinion.

      Kosova Airlines exists as the national airline of Kosovo but has no fleet. Instead, the owners use the brand to sell air tickets for other airlines that fly to PRN. Their original strategy was sound, but did not work out. They wanted to protection and reciprocity with all countries, i.e. if Swiss airlines operate 2 flights per day to PRN then so should Kosovar airlines. But, to protect passenger rights no one wanted to offer such protection to them. So, their whole business model collapsed. No, they operate with zero risk and sell tickets of other airlines (Germanwings amongst others) and take a slide of the cake for doing so.
      My brother travelled with Scanderbeg Airlines from JFK to PRN. The only good thing about that was the fact that you take off in NYC and land in PRN non-stop. But the service was non-existent. Load factor was very good, but I am not sure that translated into good profits. These two hardly corelate.

      Croatia Airlines has cancelled tonight's flight to PRN. I understand they don't want to loose money, but as a passenger the risk is too high. I love their Dash 8 birds and the service is good, but I need to know that the flight will actually happen. I very much hope this changes and we have another option out of PRN, but as far as *A is concerned, JP carried PRN pax to FRA/MUC and OS to VIE so I will be happy if OU leaves *A and offers something different.

    5. Anonymous17:19

      @Visit Kosovo

      Why in the world you believe that Pristina deserves such a great and 'high class' service? Is it in any way better than Skopje, Sarajevo or Timisoara?

    6. Anonymous17:39

      All what PRN can sustain is a hybrid-carrier/low-cost, such as Belle Air was or Adria in the making. Same airlines are gonna replace it cause the market dictates the rule. No big change on the horizon besides plunging passenger numbers. Austrian is enough for the few well-off foreigners that can afford full-prices tickets though with humanitarian missions leaving, they're also on the decline. The purchasing power of Kosovo is too low to sustain any other form of local passenger traffic, period.

    7. @Anonymous
      I am stating completely the opposite, I am afraid. As I said, the Kosovar market in my opinion is suited for a model that offers low-cost fares but does not charge extortionate fees for non-essential services such as checked luggage. Pegasus is an example of such an airline. If Pegasus were to fly west of Ksoovo, rather than east, we would have a genuine game changer. easyjet is also a pretty good fit, but they do charge for checked luggage (often as much as the air fare itself) and do not offer daily flights and, therefore, sufficient flexibility.

      So, no, PRN is absolutely in no way better or worse than SKP, SJJ or TSR.

      "AnonymousMarch 20, 2014 at 5:19 PM
      @Visit Kosovo

      Why in the world you believe that Pristina deserves such a great and 'high class' service? Is it in any way better than Skopje, Sarajevo or Timisoara?"

    8. Anonymous22:17

      AnonymousMarch 20, 2014 at 5:19 PM
      @Visit Kosovo

      Why in the world you believe that Pristina deserves such a great and 'high class' service? Is it in any way better than Skopje, Sarajevo or Timisoara?

      Yes, it is.

    9. Anonymous04:43

      Pristina it's 3rd busiest airport in ex-Yugoslavia. Of course is better than Skopje, Sarajevo and Timisoara.

  12. Anonymous14:30

    YU-ALU is expecting to return today to BEG, just finished test flight in Netherlands (jat107). ALP will stay there for new livery.
    A320 (jat 2587) departed Singapore to Adu Dhabi and after to MUC for cabin reconfiguration.

    1. Anonymous10:28

      Dear Sir/Madam OT.Bez obzira sto ste jos uvek "zaposljeni" vasom ljubavlju u JAT-u To je lepo od vas, pripada vama i uzivajte u vasoj memoriji. Medju tim nisam siguran sta Vam znaci jat107, sa probnog leta iz Holandije i jat2587 sa leta iz Singapura. Koliko mogu da procitam i razumem na video terminalima pise JU107- AIR SERBIA ... Koliko sam upucen bivsa avio kompanija Jat Airways je uoci 26 oktobra 2013 uleteo u muzej vazduhoplovstva, pre njega to je JAT. Oba su se pridruzili svojem roditelju AERO PUT-u, od koga potice sadasnja i buduca ER SRBIJA.U svakom slucaju AERO PUTU sa svojom "decom" JAT-icima slavne muzejske dane i mir. Vama lepo secanje na prohujala vremena. Desava se da se jaje pretvori u mucak, a mucak u ciscenje. Od 2006 ponovo smo u SRBIJI realno. Poneko se jos seta okolo u secanjim, uzivajte
      Kada okolnosti dozvole a novcano bude moguce, JU i svako "ju-ju" bice u hladovini muzeja Otadzbine Srbije. Mir svima nama a ER SRBIJI zazelimo pun uspeh, rapidan razvoj, mirno nebo, Comon fly by AIR SERBIA.
      Voli vas vas Rodney Marinkovic, AME . Kraljevo / Sydney

    2. Anonymous12:49

      Dragi Rodney, da li je negde pomenut Jat Airways? Mislim da nije. Zvanicni Iata/Icao kodovi Air Serbia su JU/JAT, cemu onda ta zastina? Vi na svojim terminalima vidite JU ali ATC ih vidi kao JAT. Molim vas da komentarisete napisano a ne umisljeno.

    3. Anonymous17:54

      Postovani anonimni OT. Zahvalan na vasoj replici. Sobzirom da mi nisu dostupni video terminali na ATC (air traffic control) tornjevima ovde u Srbiji za razliku od video terminala na aerodromu NT Beograd tako sam video
      broj leta AIR SERBIA. I dalje tvrdim da prefix JU i jat potice od imena jugoslavija I jugoslovenski aero transport Ipak zakon je zakon mora se postovati, kao i Vase objasnjenje. Uz najlepse zelje za prijatno prolece i prijatne letove sa ER SRBIJOM kada god se ukase mogucnost.
      Rodney Marinkovic, Kraljevo / Sydney

  13. Anonymous16:05

    I believe that the decline at Prishtina airport will continue to decline as the current operators ask the same prices as for a flight from Amsterdam to New York in the high season.

    In the rest years the prices where cheap in the low season but this year the stays quite high still.

    Jetairfly is the only carier which is offering cheaper prices in the high season.

    Another reason for the decline is that the kosovo population leaving there are not allowed to leave the country. So 85% of pax are leaving in west europe and come to visit relatives.

    However due to high prices and good highways in croatia and serbia, the diaspora population now take the car rather than the plane.

    Just to give you an idea the average price of ticket in the high season (june-juli-august-september) is 450 - 500 euro per persoon. While going with a car it cost you 500 of flues an other costs for 5 people. Looking now at German Wings - which supposed to be a low cost airlines. If you book now in August a return flight with them to PRN you pay over 800 euro's. ITS CRAZY

    Over 50% of people who are flighing to Skopje with Wizz Air are Kosovars. Flight from London-Luton, Eindhoven, Dortmund, Brussels Charleroi, have 50% of the pax going to kosovo.

    I do it myself as well. Fly to Skopje with Wizzair - take the bus to Prishtina (is only 5 euros)

    Its a shame that since belle air's bankrupcy no other airlines step out to offer competitive prices to PRN. They have build an incredible europeans standards airport so its time to do something booming to make use of it.

    As long prices stay the same people from diaspora will continue to take the car to Kosovo. The road are becoming better and better every year also for the winter season.

  14. Anonymous22:43

    Pristina Airport has seen increase in first 11 months. Belle Air bankruptcy happen in November. Drop was due to fogy weather in December. Two weeks were no flight to Pristina, just before New Year...

  15. I want to thank you for this informative read; I really appreciate sharing this great.
    Passenger transportation Company


Post a Comment

EX-YU Aviation News does not tolerate insults, excessive swearing, racist, homophobic or any other chauvinist remarks or provocative posts with the intention of creating further arguments. A full list of comment guidelines can be found here. Thank you for your cooperation.