The year ahead

EX-YU airlines plan for an eventful 2015

2014 proved to be one of the more eventful years in the aviation industry in the former Yugoslavia. We saw historic passenger growth across EX-YU airports, the resumption of flights between Belgrade and Zagreb, the launch of Europe’s first modern scheduled and commercial seaplane service on our very shores, the rise of Air Serbia, Wizz Air’s growing presence in the region, the privatisation of Ljubljana Airport and the construction of Zagreb Airport’s new terminal finally got underway, just to name a few. 2014 was also the busiest year for EX-YU Aviation News, with the highest number of visits recorded since going online in 2008. Apart from the 365 articles published in 2014, a total of 182 “news flash” items also went online. You can review the trends of the year and what caught your eye the most in 2014 here.

The year ahead will be an important one for the national carriers of the former Yugoslavia, with Adria Airways, Croatia Airlines and Montenegro Airlines all awaiting privatisation and Air Serbia looking to further expand and potentially launch long haul flights. On the other hand, it will be make or break for B&H Airlines which will have to find some sense of direction in the year to come.

The privatisation of Adria Airways is set to begin in the first half of 2015. Mark Anžur, the airline’s CEO, believes it is more likely that the Slovenian carrier will be bought by an investment group, rather than a rival carrier. In 2014, Adria moved away from the traditional flag carrier model and adopted a low cost approach, expanding its reach outside of Slovenia with a new base in Tirana. In 2015, the airline will continue to develop its Tirana base with new routes and open another base in Lodz in Poland. Adria expects to see a 5% increase in passenger numbers in 2015 and will add new flights from Ljubljana as well. The airline will also begin modernising its fleet in the year to come with plans to wet-lease several Bombardier and A320-family aircraft. In March, the carrier will phase out its two remaining CRJ200 jets, with one to be scrapped and the other to be used for special charters. Adria will also face growing competition in Ljubljana next year with Turkish Airlines to boost services from Istanbul from daily flights to ten per week, starting late March, while Air Serbia recently added a second daily flight from Belgrade and increased capacity.  

Air Serbia ends the year on a high, becoming the largest and busiest carrier in the former Yugoslavia. In 2015, the airline plans to continue to boost capacity and frequencies across its network, particularly within the region. As EX-YU Aviation News learns, the airline is also considering the lease of additional aircraft to bolster its regional operations. A greater emphasis will be put on customer service in 2015 with on board connectivity to be introduced and a new website to be rolled out. However, all eyes will be on the airline’s planned long haul flights to the United States. Last month, Air Serbia said, “When it comes to our long haul flights, we are currently undertaking a feasibility study and we have, on numerous occasions, said that we hope to launch these services by the end of 2015”. The airline plans to maintain charter operations through its Aviolet brand and Boeing 737-300 aircraft.

Croatia Airlines enters the new year as the most profitable carrier in the former Yugoslavia. 2015 will mark the airline’s final year of restructuring, which has limited its possibilities of expanding. However, the Croatian carrier faces stiff competition in Zagreb with a notable number of foreign airlines introducing services to the city over the past twelve months, and more are expected to follow. Croatia Airlines’ privatisation process is set to gain pace and the government hopes to sell the carrier in the first half of the year, prior to the start of its re-election campaign. The airline will launch new seasonal flights from Rijeka to Munich and Dubrovnik to Nice in 2015 and hopes to handle roughly 1.9 million passengers. It is also considering concluding sale and leaseback agreements of its aircraft, similar to the ones carried out by Adria this year. During 2015, a further rationalisation of the airline’s business is planned through a cut in employee costs and the closure of international offices.

Montenegro Airlines had a difficult year with passenger numbers expected to decline at least 3%. 2014 also marked one of its worst financial performances on record. However, the airline plans to expand its route network next year, in a move aimed at combating increased competition in the region. The Montenegrin carrier is negotiating the launch of flights to Copenhagen via Zagreb and will introduce new seasonal summer services to Lyon and Manchester. As EX-YU Aviation News learns, talks are underway with Pristina Airport, which could see the Montenegrin airline return to the city after a four year hiatus. It also intends on launching a range of charter flights to Germany, as well as Prague and Warsaw, and sell two of its Fokker 100 jets. Plans to privatise the carrier in 2014 did not materialise, however, the CEO of Montenegro Airlines, Daliborka Pejović, recently said, “Montenegro Airlines is in continuous contact with the Privatisation Council and is giving serious consideration to all letters of intent”.

Finally, B&H Airlines bid farewell to its signature route to Istanbul in 2014 but is looking at ways of resuming the service next year. Furthermore, the carrier is considering launching flights to Podgorica and Skopje during the first half of 2015. It recently drafted plans with local authorities and Mostar Airport to launch flights from the city to Italy next year. Services are planned to operate to either Pescara or Ancona and a promotional flight is expected to take place in March. However, B&H Airlines also faces increasing competition at home, with more airlines launching flights to Sarajevo and Wizz Air opening a base in Tuzla. 2015 will also mark the final year of the carrier's financial lease of two ATR 72 aircraft from the Hypo Alpe Adria group and it will be up to the Federation government to consider the airline's future fleet options.

Wherever you are in the world tonight have a great and safe evening

See you in 2015!


  1. Anonymous07:09

    2015 looks interesting. Bring it on! i wish you and all readers Happy New Year, and more good news in 2015

  2. Anonymous07:19

    What about Macedonian aviation?

    1. Anonymous07:23

      It's about the national airlines. Macedonia doesn't have one yet....

  3. Would be nice for B&H to lease some other planes. Here are some planes of the fleet past of JA:

    I really wish that B&H would get the Sukhoi Superjet. They could launch a bunch of diaspora destinations in Scandinavia, Germany, and Switzerland. I heard that those planes can be had on very favorable lease terms, and since the Ruble is weak it might be cheaper too.

    1. +1 for SuperJets. AirSerbia could use some of SSJs as route developers as well. It is cost effective, efficient and far more spacy airplane than EMBs or CRJs.

    2. And new Sukhoi Superjets can be had in a matter of months, rather than years for the E-Jets.

      Plus the range of the Sukhois are much better than anything in that class, and they can carry a bunch of cargo compared to other regional jets.

      If Air Serbia had the SSJ, they could fly to so many Middle Eastern and Central Asian destinations such as Kuwait City, Tunis, Tehran, Baku, etc.

  4. Happy New 2015 Year to people in civil aviation and all those who like airplanes, airports, airlines, passengers.
    Naturaly include to Administrator of this Forum, and all active in contribution, and fair to all people and airlines of ex country in this part of Europe.
    Iskreno ocekujem da ce broj putnika u avio saobracaju od nove 2015 do 2025-te godine biti blizu udvostrucen u sadanjim drzavama novo nastalih drzava. Od aerodroma Beogradski ce se gotovo utrostruciti broj putnika, a velicina terminala bice duplo veci... Aerodromi kod Nisa i Kraljeva bice aktivni prvenstveno sa low cost i carter letovima. Verujem da ce u Srbiji biti uspostavljena privatna avio kompanijama sa nekoliko malih turbo-propa za domaci saobracaj. Uz letove iz Nisa, Kraljeva bice aktivirani Ponikve, Vrsac, Sombor, Bor, a Batajnica ce biti logicno pristaniste intra saobracaja ukoliko bude do tada bude ukljucen za LC saobracaj. Svakako buduci operater moci ce da racuna i na pristup pojedinih aerodroma u okolnim zemljama. Najmanje dvostruko povecanje broja putnika bice na aerodromima od Portoroza do Tivta. Uvecanjem i modernizacijom aerodrome od Maribora do Ohrida u narednih 10 godina' bice avio saobracaj i broj putnika toliko povecan da je smesno uporedjivati sa sadasnoscu, bilo kojim vremenima proslosti. Da bi ostao fer, Pristina ce se rekonsolidovati. Uspostavice se avio saobracaj kao sto je sa Zagrebom vec ucinjeno. Bice to pristojan avio centar srazmerno velicini. Ostaje nada za mir, dobru volju medju nama, nadu za moje redovne godisnje letove prema drugim kontinentima. Ponovo svima radosna puna mira i dosta letenja u novoj 2015-oj godini.
    Sa zimovanja u Otadzbini, Bless you all !. Uncle Rodny. Kraljevo /// Sydney .

    1. Anonymous17:27

      Gospodine Radovane jel vam zao sto je B763ER u QF otisao u penziju jeste ga ispratili.
      Srecna vam Nova Godina sve najbolje. :)

    2. Postovani at 5;27 PM // INN-NS
      Veoma mi je zao zbog penzinisanja
      B767-300/ER. Obzirom da sam od pre 4 godine i sam u penziji, zime provodim u Otadzbini Srbiji. Zadnji dodir sa B767 imaosam polovinom avgusta na Sidnejskom aerodromu, kada moje druzenje sa Qantas-ovim B767 se zavrsilo posle punih 26 godine, Po mojem vidjenju, svako penzionisanje donosi napredak. Dolaze neuporedivo napredniji avioni od B767, kao i mnogo, mnogo bolji, sposobniji i uporiniji ljudi od Radovana ili Rodney-a kako me znaju u Qatas-u i pojedinci u aviation circle koji su me znali. Kada se voli napredak ljudi i dolazak nove generacije aviona, onda nema mesta za zaljenje. Nasuprot treba se radovati
      novoj generaciji ljudi i tehnolgije. Za razliku od aviona, ljudi koji iskreno sluze, a prepuni su ljubavi za putnicku avijaciu, neodlaze u penziju vec dok su u telu trude se da joj sluze. Nacinom koji je dostupan...
      Da nas Gospod sve Blagoslovi sa Novom 2015-om godinom.
      Rodney & Son. Kraljevo // Sydney .

  5. Happy New Year to all readers and to Ex-YU Aviation!

  6. Anonymous12:55

    Are Kondic or Hogan going to present plans for '15?

  7. Anonymous14:59

    Looking forward to further Air Serbia growth and long haul flights. If CSA can have long haul flights with one leased A332 with suppport from Korean Air than Air Serbia can do the same with help from Etihad.

    1. Anonymous15:30

      CSA had an 333

    2. Anonymous16:57

      Yes, they do. The point is that they only have one wide-body aircraft. The rest of their fleet is comparable to Air Serbia.

    3. Anonymous17:23

      U OK ce doci i 744 mozda kad u KE ode u penziju.

  8. JU520 BEGLAX16:39

    CSA has an A333 and we fill it succesfully with tons of Gucci shipments from LUG to ICN. Superbe performance by the Czechs, best on time performance of all Gucci contracted carriers from Switzerland.
    If OK can do, JU can do too, so lets hope to see soon regular widebody flights from BEG.

    Wish you dear readers and friends all the best for 2015, no accidents for our Carriers, may grow the business like the past year, stay healthy and to you ex YU aviation blog master: keep up the excellent work on this unique blog. Your work and efforts to keep this blog running is just awesome and inspiring
    warm regards from a cold and wintery Slovenia

  9. Anonymous17:21

    Srecna svima Nova Godina i sve najbolje.
    I da sve aviokompanije u EX YU imaju profit u 2015.
    I da u ASL dodje nesto vece od 332 ali nece nazalost mala je verovatnoca.

  10. Anonymous00:55

    " The airline will also begin modernising its fleet in the year to come with plans to wet-lease several Bombardier and A320-family aircraft. "

    You sure, Adria will have wet-lease ?

    As I know wet-lease means that airline carrier Adria (lessee) will lease an aircraft from some xyz company (lessor) with their complete crew, maintaince, insurance.
    The lesse provides fuel, pays airport fees,taxes and pays hours of operation.

    Correct me If I am wrong :)


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