Government to revive Niš Airport

Government provides renewed hope for struggling Niš Airport

The Serbian government is looking to revive Niš Constantine the Great Airport in the country’s south-east as it continues to face a dire financial state and no customers. The Minister for Transportation, Construction and Infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlović, said Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, the Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate and the Serbia and Montenegro Air Services Agency will work together to find a viable solution for the airport which has struggled to attract airlines since its reopening ten years ago. Montenegro Airlines’ decision to suspend flights from Podgorica to Niš in October last year has left the airport without its only scheduled service. The carrier terminated its flights to Niš after the city was no longer able to pay subsidies and had accumulated significant debt towards the airline.

Speaking with the Minister for Transportation yesterday, the mayor of Niš, Zoran Perišić, said several low cost airlines have expressed their interest to fly to the city recently, however, the airport also faces technical shortcomings. A handful of airlines which have been approached to set up flights to Niš have rejected the offer until an instrumental landing system (ILS) is put in place at the airport. The Air Traffic Services Agency is responsible for its installation and the two sides are expected to cooperate in order to resolve the issue.

Niš Airport has struggled to attract airlines since it reopened for commercial use a decade ago. The low cost Italian airline, WindJet, operated flights from Forli to Niš in return for subsidies of 1.1 million euros and the purchase of fifty seats per flight by city authorities. Services were suspended after the financial incentives dried up and the city’s former mayor has since been arrested over the deal. More recently, Darwin Airline from Switzerland ran flights from Zurich and Geneva but the pricey tickets failed to attract passengers. Jat Airways, which operated flights from Constantine the Great Airport to several European cities suspended all services due to low profitability. Mr. Perišić noted that Air Serbia will not be flying from Niš as it has rendered flights from the city as unprofitable, following recent talks with local authorities. The talks were held with the Serbian national carrier for the airline to launch a late night service from Belgrade to Niš with a return flight to be operated early in the morning, giving passengers the opportunity to transit onto flights towards western Europe. Recently, the city attempted to revive talks with Montenegro Airlines over the carrier’s possible return to the airport, however, these too have failed. Niš Constantine the Great Airport is becoming extremely costly to run and maintain with the Serbian government now committed to finding a solution for the airport in order avoid its possible closure.


  1. Anonymous09:48

    It šud bi riten: Niš erport, not lajk dis (Airport Niš).

    The same for Morava!

  2. Anonymous11:45

    Jat DC-9 :)

    1. Anonymous12:07

      Those were the days! :)

  3. Искрено се надам да ће се коначно озбиљније позабавити овом темом. Катастрофа би била да га затворе. Мислим да би инсталирање ILS-а донело корист и у смислу школовања пилота, јер се оно тренутно обавља само на београдском аеродрому.

    Све најбоље!

  4. Anonymous11:56

    The airport is bleeding too much money and no one can make a profit from it. I am certain they approched Wizz Air which told them about ILS. And don't get me even started on Morava Airport. What a waste, even though it is much better situated then Nis and could probably attract more traffic than Nis.

  5. Anonymous12:00

    Lepo bi bilo da Niš dobije ILS i redovan saobraćaj, ali stvarno ne znam zašto toliko insistiraju na tome kada za 5 godina mog života u Nišu ne sećam se da je bilo više od 3-5 maglovitih dana u toku godine. I kad je smanjena vidljivost zbog oluje oko aerodroma Ilke i ostali avioni su sasvim lepo sletali samo uz VOR prilaz.

    1. Anonymous13:58

      Ma ne znaju da lete ti belosvetski, boje se!

    2. Anonymous15:08

      You bet, that's what Warsaw Modlin annd Skoje said as well... only a few foggy days every year. And then in reality you can not land for weeks.
      For a VOR approach you need to divert even for a cloud base under 500 feet (even if the visibility is 5-6 kms) which is very common in the winter. That's why all airlines refuse to operate without ILS.

  6. Anonymous15:49

    Looking at 1983 timetables it's kinda obvious why Germany & Co wanted Yu breakup so badly. If that didn't happen and growth continued at the same rate, those airports would be in the top 10 in Europe. It's all about the interest.

  7. Anonymous16:25

    How are YU-API and APJ doing in service? Do we see the same issues as when they A6 registered?

    Any news on YU-APD? It was painted in Air Serbia livery about 3 weeks ago, did it arrive at BEG yet? Thanks!

  8. Anonymous18:12

    Iz Nisa moze samo da se leti za Zürich :-)

  9. Anonymous19:19

    Very doubtful the government will do anything about this. They had years to do something and now they suddenly remember Nis Airport. Please

  10. Anonymous19:34

    I know many of you will disagree with me, however, it's only a matter of time when INI will become a major competitor to BEG, in terms of low cost operators such as Wizz or Easy since Air Serbia as national airline has a monopoly, special conditions and privileges on BEG and many of airlines are fed up with. Just to remind you Wizz already cut many routes to/from BEG because of extreme cost of services which is according to them one of the most expensive in the region, Germanwings canceled flights as well and this is just a beginning.. In a few years maybe even months I see many of us taking bus to Nis to catch a cheap flights from INI.

    1. Anonymous19:43

      Many flights?! What are you talking about? Wizz Air was proposed flights to Nis, they refused. Still statying in Belgrade and keeping their mouth shut. EasyJet came. FlyDubai came. I guess it's not that bad.

    2. QR92119:45

      OT - Thai Airways load-factor this year so far:

      System load factor: 59.8%,
      Domestic: 62%,
      Regional: 64.4%
      Australia: 54.6%
      Europe: 54.6%
      North Pacific: 70.5%
      Africa: 51%

    3. Anonymous20:07

      The government will opt to build another airport in Serbia, before they let flights operate out of Nis.

    4. Anonymous20:32

      Hahahaha, yeah, right!

    5. Anonymous22:33

      Surprisingly low for Australia...

    6. JATBEGMEL00:51

      This is extreme. Competitor to BEG? enough is said there.

      Its amazing how our people are quick to spit on anything that is from their own country, and will talk bad of their own country, yet accept everything foreign as their own.

      JU as a government owned airline is funded by the goverment. Simple. JU have staff and facilities in BEG which they use and ofcourse get lower rates at BEG, logicall. Serbia has moved from the monopolisitic days the moment it ratified the open skies treaty with the EU meaning all airlines from the EU have all the rights to open flights to and from Serbia. Having said that, they have all the rights to close flights to Serbia they deem unprofitable. Germanwings were not forced from BEG, they couldnt get the profits, they left. SK couldnt make a profit in BEG, they left. Same as BA and AF. If Serbia was protecting JU so to say, how did they allow TK the 3rd daily to open to BEG while JU was forced to SAW? Serbia and Turkey as everyone knows doesnt have an open skies ratified, yet an air agreement from the FNRY days, roughly 60 years ago.

      INI has potential if they had someone to run the aiport properly. Instead of looking what airlines ask for, the viability to meet the demands, coming to a compromise, promoting and talking with airlines they need, they chasing YM to subsides millions of euros for shuttle flights to TGD? And what was made of the charters from LGW several years ago? Yet somehow its a conspiracy from Belgrade to ruin the progress of Nis. And its this mentality that doesnt allow the region to move forward, sadly.

  11. Anonymous20:36

    So, how much does ILS installation cost?

    1. TheBosnian21:07

      Anywhere between 1 and 10 million EUR.

    2. Anonymous22:25

      They already have a good lighting system so their project for ILS would cost much closer to 1 million than 10 million. But they also need to relocate some houses behind runway 29 to put navigation instruments there.

    3. Anonymous14:57

      That's quite a range, and makes a big difference. How many houses approximately are we talking about ? If I got it right, it's only 3-4 houses.

  12. Anonymous22:49

    Stop beating a dead horse. There is no market to/from NIS. Airlines came because of subsidy's and immediately stopped flying once those subsidies stopped. Freebird had charters planned - which is the cheapest of cheapest flights possible - and they cancelled because of lack of demand. The region is too poor to sustain any flying. No LCC will fly bcoz their business model relies on huge govt/airport incentives in order to offer low fares. Darwin came and left bcoz their fares were too high .... The sooner people realize this, the better we will all be so that we don't have to keep reading such B.S. from the govt or posts that people from NIS contribute to support their argument for flts to NIS.

    1. Anonymous00:16

      Will we see soon.
      You are we wrong.

    2. JATBEGMEL01:05

      I dont think the INI is a dead horse. INI suffers from a lack on proper management, just like half of Serbia. There are things in that region that could generate tourism, in both seasons, yet its not promoted. Camping, nature, mountains, spas, history, for young and old, plus the diaspora, and the fact that the only initiative from the management is to chase after YM to offer millions of euros of subsidies says all. What SKP got from similar amount of cash is amazing. INI must offer subsidies and to proper airlines who can feed the needs of the people. A start is 2L for ZRH, or perhaps a deal with easyJet to offer STN and BSL.

    3. Anonymous09:37

      Which part is wrong :-
      - that airlines stopping their flights once subsidies ended ?
      - that Freebird cancelled their charter flights before even starting ?
      - Darwin cancelled their flights to Zurich because of lack of demand ?
      - that LCC's business model relies on heavy govt/airport incentives to underwrite their flights to a city ?
      - that the region around NIS is poor and impoverished ?

      It would be helpful to be a bit more specific to pinpoint which part of what I wrote was wrong

  13. Anonymous01:28

    2 or 3 daily flights to Belgrade with good connections for transfer like Bulgaria Air proceed with service to Varna and Burgas. Also 2/3 destinations to Scandinavia, Germany, Belgium or Switzerland by anyone low cost carrier. This is enought

  14. Anonymous01:40

    Why mayors of Nisava, Pirot, Pcinja and Toplica found fund for subsidies for each new destinations by low cost carrier and advertisement for south region. In Skopje working (Wizz Air), in Plovdiv working (Ryanair)

  15. Anonymous15:03

    According to register, Nis Municipality is 100% owner of the airport. This may be an obstacle for other municipalities to chip in. They would want some control. Perhaps a lesson for Morava (if it ever welcomes a flight)
    In any case, there are few people at operating level who are responsible to do something about the current dire situation. Director, Dragan Bugarinovic and the Board (Boban Matic, Slobodanka Savic and Radoslav Bubank (chairman). If they can't deliver, get someone who can. Nis airport has very good logistical location near highway and railway.

  16. Anonymous15:29

    Given the income of people and current fleet of airlines, I'd say that best bet would be Austrian, flying Q400. This would give passengers access to good european network and also some North America (NYC, ORD, YYZ). Austrian could take the incentive and route some flights from BEG, where it is competing with AirSerbia or add new flights.
    Alternatively, incentivise Turkish to get some turboprop on wet lease that would serve Nis.

  17. Anonymous22:03

    Daj boze

  18. Anonymous22:48

    I genuinely enjoy reading the comments from pundits outside of southeastern/southern Serbia. Nis will become a viable airport very soon, and all the negative commentary from Belgrade, Novi Sad, etc. etc. will soon melt away.
    Serbia needs an airport that will cater exclusively to low-cost airlines, and Belgrade can handle all the European national carriers, Etihad and others.
    Nis is the right choice at the right time, and the consumers throughout Serbia will take full advantage of this.
    Belgrade do not despair, the Nis-Express bus line runs every 45 minutes so there will be space for you as well. :)

    1. Anonymous22:08

      I hope so. Are we taking by the end of 2014 or 2015?


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