Record year for EX-YU airports

What a year! Seven EX-YU airports handle over one million passengers

Airports across the former Yugoslavia have recorded their busiest year on record, with a historic seven airports handling over one million passengers. Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport led the growth, welcoming a record breaking 4.311.684 passengers over the past eleven months, with figures set to eclipse 4.6 million by the end of 2014. It has registered growth of 31.6% compared to the same period last year. The results have been fuelled by Air Serbia, which this year introduced seven new routes from the Serbian capital, including Budapest, Beirut, Sofia, Tirana, Varna, Warsaw and Zagreb. The airline now accounts for almost half of the airport’s passenger numbers. During the year, Belgrade completed the second of four expansion phases and opened several new gates, in order to deal with additional passenger flow. As the year comes to a close, Belgrade will become the first airport in the former Yugoslavia to join the company of Europe’s 100 busiest airports.

Zagreb Airport has also seen its passenger numbers grow in 2014. It welcomed 2.267.141 travellers through its doors by the end of November, an increase of 5.4%. Growth has been attributed primarily to foreign carriers and the arrival of a notable number of new airlines. KLM, Eurolot, Air Serbia and Flydubai all inaugurated services to the Croatian capital this year, with talks ongoing with several European national carriers to introduce flights to the city in 2015. The Croatian Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs recently said that SkyGreece Airlines will begin summer charters from Toronto to Zagreb next year. During 2014, Croatia’s busiest airport finally began work on its much anticipated new terminal building (pictured above), which is set to be completed by the end of 2016. Meanwhile, Split and Dubrovnik registered record numbers with the two handling 1.720.550 and 1.569.109 passengers in eleven months respectively. Split has now positioned itself as the third busiest airport in the former Yugoslavia for the first time. Next year is already shaping up to be a busy one for the two with many airlines set to launch new seasonal flights, while the resumption of existing services are being moved forward earlier in the season.

Pristina Airport struggled during the year with passenger numbers declining significantly as a result of Belle Air Europe’s demise late last year. The airport welcomed 1.310.696 travellers over the past eleven months and is set for a photo finish race with Dubrovnik Airport for the title of EX-YU’s fourth busiest airport. However, Pristina’s declining numbers have begun to slow in November with December set to see growth for the first time this year. Meanwhile, Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport marked a big year with the privatisation of its operator to Germany’s Fraport. So far in 2014, Jože Pučnik Airport has seen 1.226.947 passengers, up 3.1%. The airport anticipates for numbers to pick up next year with Adria to launch several new routes and the launch of Swiss’ flights from Zurich.

Skopje Alexander the Great Airport joins Belgrade in recording one of the biggest passenger growth rates in Europe out of all the other capital cities on the continent. Skopje saw 1.120.870 passengers over the past eleven months, up 21%. Wizz Air, which handled over 45% of those passengers, expanded its operations in the Macedonian capital by basing a second aircraft in the city and launching four new routes. New arrivals also included Alitalia. Skopje has managed to handle over one million passengers for the first time in fourteen years and for only the second time in its history. Strong growth is anticipated in 2015 with four new routes to be launched by an airline that wins a tender by the Macedonian government for subsidies. Furthermore, Swiss will introduce flights from Geneva while the state plans to launch its new national carrier sometime next year.

Montenegro’s two international airports, Podgorica and Tivat, performed well during 2014, primarily as a result of the latter’s growth. Tivat Airport welcomed an impressive 900.331 passengers during the first eleven months, an increase of 10%. Its local counterpart, Podgorica, handled just over 650.000 passengers. However, the Montenegrin capital will see Edelweiss launch seasonal summer flights next year from Zurich, while Montenegro Airlines will inaugurate flights to Lyon and is considering adding several other routes as well. Meanwhile, Sarajevo Airport recorded its busiest year on record with 666.822 passengers passing through its doors so far in 2014, up 6%. It welcomed Flydubai as its newest customer and saw Turkish Airlines continue to strengthen its presence. The airport expects stronger growth next year with Swiss to launch flights from Zurich and Geneva and the expected launch of Bosnian Wand Airlines, which will inaugurate services from Sarajevo to Amsterdam Athens, Frankfurt and Stockholm. Furthermore, it is negotiating with several new airlines and will upgrade its facilities and open a dedicated low cost terminal over the next two years.

Finally, Tuzla Airport has seen phenomenal growth as a result of Wizz Air, with the airport handling 137.822 passengers in eleven months, up 156%. Growth of 286% was recorded in Banja Luka, while Niš Constantine the Great Airport, which struggled without commercial traffic throughout the year, has inked an agreement for Wizz Air to launch flights to the city next summer from Basel.

EX-YU airports handling over one million passengers in 2014, January - November:

AirportPAXChange (%)
Belgrade4.311.684 31.6


  1. Anonymous09:04

    What is Tivat going to do? Are they gonna expand the airport?

    900000 passengers is a lot for such a small airport and I don't think they could handle any more growth

    1. Maybe Tivat can do what the Japanese did and build a whole new airport on an artificial island out in the Adriatic Sea. :D

      On a more serious note, I really do not know where they can further expand. The only possibility is to re-direct some of the traffic flow to Podgorica. Montenegro is a small country so it wouldn't be that far for those who are spending their holidays in places like Budva and so on.

    2. Anonymous12:27

      Exactly, they can instead invest in expansion of TGD featuring a 3000 meters runway and a new, larger terminal with jetways. All places on Montenegrin coast are easily reachable from there.

    3. Anonymous18:01

      TIV near future plans: new terminal , new twy (to avoid backtaxi and increase rwy capacity 10-12 ATM to 20), expansion of existing apron as well as its complete reconstruction(public tenders are underway,AFAIK)But, TIV needs night operations, and something like Honeywell SmartPath, because of hilly terrain around.

  2. 2014 was the year of BEG and Air Serbia, with Skopje as the honorable mention. 2015 will be a very interesting and exciting year, and there are so many possible scenarios how it could play out. It looks like Croatia will have a strong year. Nis might be reborn. Perhaps what is most uncertain is what will happen with Air Serbia. Right now they haven't made public any expansion plans, but hopefully they have another grand plan up their sleeves.

    1. Postovani Aleksandre,
      sa zadovoljstvom sam procitao Vas zbir izglednih scenario i mogucnosti putnicke avijacije. Polazem posebnu nadu u jos vecu ekspanziju flote i destinacija za AIR SERBIA, kao i efikasniji, brzi pocetak pravog prosirenja Beogradske luke kojeg politika, inertnost, nesposob nesme kociti.
      U krugu od hiljadu kilometara mnogo se napreduje u prosirenju, modernizaciji, gradnji novih terminal, objekata... Srbija je krenula u oporavak vazdusnog saobracaja koji jeste krucijalan. Srbija ne sme biti troma. Bez dinamicnog provodjenja, nastojanja i napora bice nedovoljni. U toku iduce godine realno je aktiviranje pocetak dogradnje Kraljevackog aerodrome MORAVA.
      Ocekujmo inteziviranje aktivnost kako u povecanju letova u ovom delu Evrope, tako povecanje gradnje objekata sa unapredjenjem Sistema na ovdasnjim aerodromima koji se nemogu porediti sa velikim koji moraju biti referenca za razvoj.
      Radovan kraj aerodrome MORAVA,
      Kraljevo /// Sydney.

    2. Rade, nothing would make me happier than further development of airports and airlines in Serbia. Aviation is not only my chosen career, but also my biggest interest.

      I think that Air Serbia most desperately needs more ATRs.

    3. Aco! Once again,
      Prvi put otvoreno, iskreno se neko slaze sa mojim posmatranjem, pracenjem razvoja putnickih aviona, aerodroma, avio kompanija,.U ovom slucaju posebno mesto ima AIR SERBIA sa arodromon NT Beograd, pored mojeg QANTAS-a... Nasi pozitivni prilazi daju podstreh ljudima kojih se tice USPESAN razvoj u aviaciji. Svako posveceno ljudsko bice prihvata dobro, a promislja o detaljima sustine...Aco, budite i dalje privrzeni nastojanju iskrenih ljudi u oblasti obnavljanja, i rzvoja putnickog vazduhoplovstva u Ootacestvu Srbije, sa svim njenim slabostima koje mora da odstrani. Leteci dvadesetak puta iz Australije i Evrope, sletao sam na aerodrome LAX i SFO u suncanoj Kaliforniji. Gde smatram da se sada nalazite. Sto kazete za ATR avione, verujem da menadzment prepoznaje nedostatak dovoljnog broja u floti zbog pokrivanja, uvecavanja network-a i ekonomicnosti... Potrebno je ovde u Srbiji, ozbiljno raditi na uspostavljanju intra saobracaja. Svakako da zakoni treba se prilagoditi tome. Izaci iz tradicije monopola kako u razmisljanju, tako i u postupku. Srbija moze da Vaskrsne. Drugog puta nema.
      YES WE CAN DO IT!...
      Srecu u karijeri, blag i uspesan zivot u suncanoj Kaliforniji, zeli Vam,
      razapet izmedju Sydney-a i Srbije, Rodney Son & Co. .

  3. Anonymous09:20

    Great results but many will struggle with capacity issues very soon.

  4. Anonymous10:12

    Ima li načina da se uštedi na letovima Wizz a? Pokušavam da rezervišem let sa INI, ali mi cena prtljaga ispada više nego sam let. Malo nelogično...

    1. Anonymous10:13

      Па да, то је тако зато што желе да мотивишу народ да не лети са пртљагом сем ако стварно не мора. Једино што можеш је да узмеш велики руксак и да се у њега спакујеш... мада не знам колико ће толеранрни Швајцарци бити.

    2. Anonymous10:53

      Kome je malo 32kg (veliki prtljag koji se placa) plus 10kg rucni besplatno? Wizz je low cost prevoznik, ako imas povoljnu kartu, zgrabi je, nema sta da te cudi sto prtljag u tvom slucaju moze biti skuplji od karte. Organizuj bolje prtljag, prema njihovim propisima i to je to.

    3. Anonymous10:54

      Или ако летиш са неким спакујте се заједно па поделите трошкове пртљага.

    4. Anonymous11:02

      Ja mislim da je najbolja opcija za vas da posaljete stvari sa busom ili kombijem to nije skupo.
      Zato ja ne podnosim LCC.

    5. Anonymous11:38

      Ja razumem da je to low cost, ali kada sve sračunam ispada da nisu. Za taj novac verujem da bi mogla da se kupi karta full service prevoznika koji ima uključen prtljag u cenu, a i mnogo je komfornije za letenje koje je i ovako stresno.

    6. Anonymous12:05

      Kao sto si video koliko te kosta Wizz probaj druge pa uporedi, vrlo jednostavno...

  5. Anonymous10:24

  6. Anonymous10:53

    What do you guys think, can Split handle more than 2 million passengers next year?

    I have a feeling that Zagreb might fall short of the 2.5 million passengers this year which is a shame.

    1. Anonymous11:01

      Well, with the arrival of BA, AY, JO, XG, BY, new flights of Vueling, EasyJet, Croatia Airlines and Express Airways I really think that it could make it.
      BG | NIC

    2. Anonymous11:26

      I have honest admiration for staff at Split Airport. Flew there last year in they manage with that kind of facilities ( it's like a big garage ) to handle that many passengers it is beyond me...Bravo. Btw I also have great experience with Zagreb Airport regardless of the poor quality of the facilities

    3. Anonymous11:32

      Isn't Split building a new terminal or expanding the current one?

    4. Anonymous13:15

      this year I saw no construction activity,
      imo most important there is a taxiway needed?
      asik they have bought the ground, so where is the problem?

    5. Anonymous13:30

      Is the taxiway all the way along the runway?

    6. Anonymous17:04


    7. The taxi way does not run along the whole length of the runway. You have to backtrack along the actual runway from the terminal apron area. This can cause delays in the summer months but from what I have seen traffic seems to run smoothly even on Saturdays where up to 30,000 passengers pass through the terminal.

      The terminal itself is not in bad shape at all and I wouldn't call it a shed but it definitely is too small for the summer months.

      They have started preparing for expansion, the apron area has already been expanded. This was completed a few years back and the terminal expansion with 4 jet-ways I believe along with a taxiway running parallel to at least the (05) end is planned. I assume they are just waiting on EU funding approval.

      Why pay for it yourself when Brussels's is going to to pay it I guess.

      I too think Split will get very close to or pass the 2 million mark. This will require aprox 16% growth which with the new flights and continued up trend in the summer and tourist numbers along with push to increase tourist numbers year round can be achieved.

      The airport from the air. The new terminal will extend from the current one and run along the apron area in an L shape.,+Croatia/@43.5356151,16.2998771,1602m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x13355dfc6bbcf517:0xa1798ff631b49f98

      One one the proposals for the terminal expansion.

    8. I am more than confident that in the next two to three years Split will become the number one airport in Croatia. Of course, most of these passengers will arrive during the summer months but that doesn't matter. It will be the same scenario as with Larnaca when some 60% of the 5 million passengers arrive during the summer. In August alone the airport handles more than one million passengers.

    9. I doubt very much that if Split catches Zagreb that it will happen in the next 3 years.

      Zagreb should see growth of at least 10% next year and you could make an argument that the growth rate will increase more once OU completes restructuring and the EU restrictions on expansion are lifted.

      So, based on a conservative 10% growth rate at Zagreb for the next 3 years and a best case 15% growth at split, the numbers in the next 3 years will look something like this:

      Zagreb Split

      2015 2,700 000 2,012 500
      2016 2,900 000 2,315 000
      2017 3.200 000 2,660 000

      Split will need growth of close to 25% to catch Zagreb within 3 years. This year the growth was close to 11%. Next year I believe it will be closer to 15%.

    10. Zagreb - Split

      2015: 2,700 000 - 2,012 500
      2016: 2,900 000 - 2,315 000
      2017: 3.200 000 - 2,660 000

  7. Anonymous11:28

    This is a pretty cool picture of Emirates' bird in Belgrade yesterday.. notice the Atrs in the background! :)

    1. Anonymous14:22

      There is one more coming today.


    2. Anonymous20:06

      Seems like it's gonna be daily all this week, any idea what it is transporting?

    3. Anonymous22:48

      Seems like it, another EK Skycargo landed this evening, looks awesome, had a great view of it landing from my balcony ;)

  8. Anonymous12:50

    Ja bi najvise voleo kad bi sledece godine za LYBE jos leteli
    EK sa 77W
    AB sa 738 ili 321
    AY sa 320 ili 321
    I naravno CA sa 332 ili 77W
    EI sa 320 ili 321
    I jedva cekam da Dane da kaze planove ASL za 2015 zato sto su odlicni.

    1. Anonymous13:19

      a kakve su planove od BEG...?!

    2. Anonymous13:25

      Izvinite ne razumem bas sta mislite :)

    3. Anonymous18:12

      Da, jedan si nam već otkrio. Da za 3 mjeseca dolazi A330 za Air Serbiu i leti prema Kini.

  9. Anonymous18:15

    Zagreb Airport by Josip Škof, you can see new terminal being built as well:

    1. Anonymous18:39

      I've seen the new terminal from above, it's absolutely huge!

  10. Purger01:28

    Čestit Vam božić i puno Božjeg blagoslova svim ljudima dobre volje.

    1. Thank you Purger, and same to you.

      BTW, have you ever heard of Surf Air?

    2. Purger09:52

      That is VIP transport charters which has some regular lines with small business planes, isn't it. I did read something about it.

    3. Yeah it has been making some news recently. It is a novel idea of a "subscription" airline, where you pay a monthly fee (~1700usd) and they you fly as much as you want. It started here in California, and they use Pilatus PC-12 NGs. California has a gigantic amount of business traffic, and they seem successful so far. The good thing is that they can use General Aviation terminals at airports because all the members has been background checked, so no TSA or anything; passengers arrive 15 minutes before a flight.


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