Belgrade grows as concession decision looms

Belgrade on course to break million passenger mark in April

Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport has notched up its 23rd month of consecutive passenger growth. According to its latest figures, the airport saw its busiest March on record, welcoming 315.283 passengers, an increase of 11.6% compared to the same month last year. The number of flight operations to and from Serbia’s capital stood at 4.479, up from last year’s 4.209 flights, or an increase of 6.4%. The growth is being primarily driven by Air Serbia with the real test for the airport to come in April. Last year, Air Serbia introduced a range of new routes and increased operations compared to 2013 while this April the increase will be more modest. On the other hand, foreign carriers will be operating fewer flights.

Belgrade Airport is now on course to welcome its millionth passenger sometime in April. During the first quarter, the airport handled 888.477 travellers, an increase of 13.1% compared to the same period last year. The number of operated flights increased from 12.060 to 12.908. However, the most notable growth was recorded in the amount of handled cargo. The airport processed 2.512 tons of commercial cargo, up a significant 27%. In March alone the airport saw 1.109 tons of cargo, up 40.6%. Freighter flights operated by heavy aircraft such as the Boeing 747, Boeing 777 and the Airbus A330 have become a common sight at the airport lately.

MonthPAXChange (%)
JAN308.381 13.8
FEB264.816 14.1
MAR315.283 11.6

The airport’s exceptional figures come at a time when its long-term future is being debated, with a decision to be made on whether it should be given up for concession or run by the state. Last week, Belgrade’s Mayor, Siniša Mali, toured Lisbon Airport and discussed how Portugal’s concession model could be applied in Serbia. Lisbon Airport is run by France’s concession and construction company Vinci, which is now considered to be one of the front-runners in Belgrade’s potential concession. The Portuguese government created the state-run operator ANA Airport de Portugal in 1998 which operates ten airports across the country. Vinci acquired the ANA group through a fifty-year concession in 2013 in a transaction worth 3.08 billion euros. Similarly, the Serbian government is also in the process of setting-up operator Airports of Serbia.

In a statement last week, Mr. Mali said, "It is important to get a sense of good concession practices, such as Lisbon Airport, since we plan to apply a similar model with Belgrade Airport. We have similar goals as the Portuguese, and that is for Belgrade Airport to become a regional hub. The goal is to increase passenger numbers”. The mayor added that he toured Lisbon Airport since it is run by Vinci with which Belgrade Airport has signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The government is expected to create the operator Airports of Serbia later this month. A final decision on Belgrade Airport’s future is set to be made in May.


  1. Anonymous09:37

    Congratulations to BEG. Those are good numbers, especially for cargo. To me it seems like it's more and more certain that they will give the concession to VINCI.

  2. Anonymous09:39

    Good but like it says real test will be April. I think we will see growth of around 5-8% then.

    1. Anonymous10:52

      In April? No freaking way. In April we are seeing the following:

      - an additional daily flight to LJU.
      - additional 14 flights to ZAG.
      - three weekly night flights to Athens.
      - additional 7 flights to Tirana.

      Not bad. I am sure growth will not be less than 10%.

    2. Anonymous10:54

      Yes but you also have fewer flights by Turkish, no flights by Germanwings, no flights to Rome and Milan by Easy jet, fewer flights to Rome by Air Serbia and Alitalia, fewer flights to Banja Luka,..

    3. Anonymous11:01

      Yes but...

      - Turkish Airlines just had to reduce three flights which were, anyway, operated by their smallest aircraft, B737-700. One can only assume they were not doing that great. JU is back to IST so their loads have improved which will more than compensate for this reduction.

      - Germanwings was never a key player in Belgrade. Their presence was symbolic.

      - JU's loads to Rome have considerably improved since they reduced their flights so you are not going to see such a drastic change there. JU had dreadful loads when it used to fly double daily. Plus, their schedule to Rome was revised which allows for midnight connections, something that was not the case last year. In other words, connectivity was improved and with it, hopefully, passenger numbers too.

      easyJet is a loss but I highly doubt their dreadful performance to Rome will have a major impact. Milan is a different story.

      I forgot to add that both Aegean and Lufthansa have increased capacity to Belgrade which is really good.

    4. Anonymous11:59

      Don't forget 30% W6 flights less than last April.

    5. Anonymous07:44

      Yes, 30% of flights which underperformed.

  3. Ponovo se ptvrdjuje neophodnost ubrzanja odluke modela prosirenja Beogradskog aerodroma. Dilema postoji. Ili ce gazdaovati drzava samostalno, pagradi ceo projekat za iducih 40 godina i utrositi pominjanih sest do sedam stotina miliona dolara. Ili ce concesioni posao dobiti neka koorporacija, uloziti taj novac u sledecih 5 godina, lmati dobrim delom nov Hab. Imati koncesiju za iducih 25 do 30 godina, sa dogovorenom odgovornoscu u kontraktu. Efikasan, visoko operativan i profitabilan aerodrom. Ipak, privatan biznis jeste nemereno puta odgovorniji i efikasniji, pod strogim nadzorom sprovodjenja zakona i ugovora. Drzava taj posao gotovo jedino treba i da radi da bi drzava Srbija funkcionisala i razvijala se investicijama. Suvisno je govoriti o stotinama miliona i decenijama odlaganja... Sada Beogradski aerodrom pokazuje odlicne rezultate u datim okolnostima. Kakav ptofit ce stvarati povecanjem do gotovo tri puta veceg broja putnika, mnogostruko uvecanog kargo prevoza sa dnevnim linijama kargo operatera. Da se i ne govori o dobiti od svih vrsta usluga kojece biti na terminalima i oko njih. Ako neko me optuzi da sam megaloman, ne znam sta govorim... Za takve osobe verovacu da se jos ljuljaju na grani ''srece'' samo upravljanja, mudraca, partijasa... Mnogo zeljena odluka Vlade bice za mesec dana. Do tada nada za odlucnim, efikasnim razvojem. Maj ce otktiti sta je istina.
    Za napredak Nikole Tesle, Er Srbije, ljude ovog portala, iskrene zelje za najveci praznik nad praznicima.
    Rodney, home of QANTASVILLE II. Kraljevo, SERBIA.

  4. Anonymous10:52

    Would be more happy if we saw some more foreign airlines. British Airways and Air France would be a good start!

    1. Anonymous11:07

      Air France will not return because they are making crazy money off of their code-share with JU.

      British Airways on the other hand would be more than welcome. However, Belgrade is nowhere close to being a premium heavy destination and the O&D market is taken care of by JU and W6 so they have nothing to look for in BEG.

    2. Anonymous11:12

      Well it's not like BA didn't fly to Belgrade but even then they use to get outperformed by Jat and we all remember the state Jat was in.

    3. British Airways never performed well in Belgrade. During the summer months their loadfactor was around 60%,
      Jat on the other hand always did well in London because of their fantastic agreement with Virgin Atlantic.

    4. Anonymous11:55

      BTW just reading an old ex-yu article about JU's passenger numbers to London vs British Airways and came across this

      "British Airways is not the only airline bidding farewell to Belgrade this winter. It joins Greece’s Aegean Airlines which will end services soon. For the first time in almost a decade Jat will have no competition on the London Heathrow or Athens route. Latvia’s airBaltic will terminate its services from Riga to Belgrade this winter as well."

      So 3 foreign airlines left in one season and no one made a hysteric fuss.

    5. Anonymous11:55

      I'm not familiar with Virgin agreement. Could you please expand on 'fantastic' ?

      Would Etihad care much if its BA instead of Virgin ?

    6. Anonymous12:00

      As far as I'm aware JAT had an interline agreement with Virgin and offered hreat prices from London to the US. The final nail in the conffin for BA was a simmilar agreement JAT made with KLM and all passengers to the US/Canada were shuttled through these. At the same time Wizz started flying to Luton and took over a share of point to point pax.

    7. AnonymousApril 7, 2015 at 11:55 AM

      Of course. JU and VS signed an interline agreement many years ago. The US is served via their LHR network (which is more than decent) and passengers can easily connect from JU onto VS. Tickets are bookable online via various search engines and they tend to be the cheapest.
      I don't think EY would really care as JU has a formula which works (for them) and that's all AUH cares about.
      Of course, there is AB and AZ but in my opinion JU should stick to London.

      My personal opinion on this is that JU should distance itself from AB. They are in a really bad financial state (constantly on the verge of bankruptcy) and both Germanwings and Ryanair are currently attacking them. I don't see how AB can survive in long-term. In conclusion, as far as north America goes, EY knows the value of the JU-VS deal and they are smart enough not to touch it.

      Of course, let's wait and see what happens out there.

    8. AnonymousApril 7, 2015 at 12:00 PM

      Actually, the deal with KLM was signed as a result of Lufthansa's bullying. We all remember the period when JU worked with EK in Hamburg and we all remember how Lufthansa reacted to that.
      Once the JU-KL deal was signed passenger numbers to AMS grew by 35% during the first month. These did not affect the passengers transiting in London with VS but they took away the passengers which used the JU-LH combo for north America. Back then these two airlines used to code-share with each other.

      Just for fun here are British Airways' numbers in BEG:

      June 2008: 5.629
      June 2009: 5.055
      June 2010: 4.964

      So in June 2008 they had about 98 passengers per flight on their A320. Since then their numbers have constantly gone down until the route was eventually suspended.

      On the other hand, JU performed much better:

      June 2008: 7.358
      June 2009: 7.418
      June 2010: 6.612
      June 2011: 8.092


    9. AirCEO15:12

      JU should stick with VS and distance from AB and even AZ? Nothing wrong with working with Virgin where it makes sense, but future of Air Serbia lies with Etihad alliance in Europe.

      If it was up to me, I would consider merging Etihad alliance airlines in Europe as a single company, let’s call it Etihad Europe. They might operate as a single brand or continue as separate brands, similar to Air France/KLM being separate brands of a single company, plus adding a dedicated low cost brand to the mix – either by starting from the scratch or by acquiring existing LCC like Wizzair. Alitalia, Air Berlin, Etihad Regional and Air Serbia need some time to complete current transition, but in a couple of years they should be ready for this merger.

      Etihad Europe should strive to streamline fleet orders and maintenance, networks and operations to benefit from functioning as a single company. Combined size of Etihad Europe and hub locations stretching from Italy, over Belgrade to Germany should give LH Group and LCCs a run for their money in central and southeast Europe. My 2 cents on long term future of Air Serbia.

    10. Anonymous15:12

      Thanks, Nemje!

      LYKV - LCY

    11. Anonymous15:53

      '' I would consider merging Etihad alliance airlines in Europe as a single company, let’s call it Etihad Europe''...

      That would be plain dumb... have you forgotten what happened when Darwin renamed itself into Etihad Regional?

      Also, how can you merge different corporate attitudes, practices, companies of different even accounting practices, languages and internal capabilities? Not to mention mentalities and work practices...

      This is not a one-country mereger ala United Continental - but an international, pan-European merger by an Arab airline!!!!

      EU would veto this even before the ink has dried on the submission...

    12. Anonymous16:32

      Would BA be interested in matching Virgin's offer in order to extend their network and potentially code sharing with JU?
      They code share with AirBaltic, for example.
      It would plug the gap in their network. I can see why BA would never code share with JU in the past given the ageing 737s, but it's different with A319/320 now.


    13. AirCEO17:13

      "That would be plain dumb"

      I'll type slower this time: they can operate as separate brands like AF/KLM or BA/IB.

      "have you forgotten what happened when Darwin renamed itself into Etihad Regional?"

      Swiss authorities just recently approved it. On the business side, as I said: all those airlines need some time to transform.

      "EU would veto this"

      Based on what? EY is already EU compliant in partial ownership and control of it's components.

      What IS plain dumb is LH management's continued treatment of Europe's *A "partners" as LH Group's obedient servants that will continue to result in airlines like TAP and LOT trying to distance themselves from toxic one-sided partnership with LH-dominated Star Alliance. Over time, this will lead to *A in Europe shrinking closer to LH Group core while others, like Etihad Europe, will gain more marketshare.

    14. Nemjee, I have never found any Virgin tickets ever to BEG. I searched flights from New York, Toronto, Chicago, Newark,etc. I have been travelling each year from YYZ and never found anything really cheap other than Aerosvit and Aeroflot before from Toronto. Am I using the search engine? I used all the engines kayak, cheapoair,etc.
      Actually Virgin doesn't flight to YYZ but anyhow how I am puzzled that I could never find flights to BEG from US with Virgin.

    15. YYZ,

      Well, from what I know VS-JU is mostly for flights to the United States. JU-BA interline takes care of the Canadian market.
      I am surprised you didn't find anything as VS is JU's busiest partner when it comes to transatlantic flying. Even some months ago when JU had a US sale all flights were routed via LHR with VS.

      As far the merger goes, it simply wouldn't work. Air France-KLM is not such a solid union and it's especially apparent in recent times. Their problems even reached the Dutch parliament.
      IB-BA works because IB had to remain silent and accept all cost-cutting measures imposed by London so as to avoid bankruptcy.

      Finally, there is the good old SAS which is the best example of how one brand spread over several countries simply does not work.

      Like I said, the weakest link in the Etihad alliance is Air Berlin whose performance keeps on going from bad to worse. Ryanair's base in Berlin and Lufthansa/Germanwings surely won't make their life any easier. I give Air Berlin another five years... and I am being generous.

    16. Nemjee, which sites do you use for finding those VS tickets from US?

    17. This comment has been removed by the author.

    18. I can't remember from the top of my head but I used to see them all the time on Amadeus and on JU's website.
      Each time I was searching for flights on Amadeus JU-VS would come out as the cheapest.

    19. Anonymous19:36

      ASL ne saradjuje vise sa VS ne znam ni ja zasto kad su klarte bile toliko jeftine.

    20. Anonymous20:33

      I can see VS/JU combination via Kayak, but there are no BA/JU flights.

      In any case, JU will soon have direct flights to US and will probably terminate VS agreement and strike one with AA.

  5. Anonymous11:52

    Congratulations Belgrade. Well done :)

  6. Anonymous11:56

    Vinci is getting the concession. I can see it from miles away. And interesting how they also signed a MoU with Airport of Montenegro while Etihad is in talks with Montenegro Airlines.

  7. Anonymous14:18

    OT Zagreb airport also had a really nice march it grew at 12.35% on last march handling 185690 passengers. April is set for good result too with arrival of two carriers, Air Croatia and Swiss international.

    I've made some projections for this year

    Zagreb traffic in 2014 in 000: (projected 2015) {2016} [2017] by my self,

    Jan: 135.4 (150) {170} [200]
    Feb: 128.4 (140) {160} [185]
    Mar: 175.5 (200) {225) [255]
    Apr: 192.4 (215) {245} [300]
    May: 217.8 (250) {280} [325]
    Jun: 243.9 (285) {325} [375]
    Jul: 260.7 (310) {355} [420]
    Aug: 269.7 (315) {370} [430]
    Sep: 251.3 (290) {335} [375]
    Oct: 226.2 (260) {300} [340]
    Nov: 175.6 (200) {225} [255]
    Dec: 163.6 (185) {210} [245]

    I made only a slight error with March last year, thinking it handled 175.500 pax when airport handled only 165.300, other than that airport is on target to hit 2.8 million pax.

    2.9 millionpax is also possible if things improve for OU and arrival of Brussels air in September should improve things.

    SAS, Czech Airlines, Alitalia, Agean, AirBaltic, Finnair, Ukraine International Airlines, Korean Air, Iberia - year round service, Vueling, EasyJet and ElAl have been holding talks with current airport management for potential service to Zagreb in 2016, with some even considering service from late 2015. If all these carriers do come than numbers in 2016 and 2017 should improve greatly. As things are Zagreb is expected to handle 2.8 million pax in 2015, 3.25 million in 2016 and 3.7 million in 2017 when new terminal should be opened to the public.

    1. Anonymous14:31

      3.2 mil with that old terminal will be painful, but I can certainly see great growth after new terminal is built. More so if they make good lcc plan, since then the gravitational area of ZAG would be increased. They only have to decide what to do with OU, and where it will stand in all this. Personally I would like to see OU as a lcc, since it would be attracting much more of our economically struggled citizens to european destinations and tourists to our country

    2. Anonymous15:06

      ... and than LJU an Fraport will strike back. They have just finished with company reorganisation. I am sure they won't just sita and wait. they for sure have a plan how to pick their part of money in the area.

    3. Anonymous15:21

      @AnonymousApril 7, 2015 at 2:31 PM

      Then old terminal is problematic but should be able to cope with 3.2 million in 2016, although it'll be a major struggle to handle any more pax, Trondhiem airport terminal which is only slightly larger than Zagreb's 1st terminal at 20000sqm handled around 4.5 million pax Zagreb's terminal 1 is around 15500 after recent renovations and slight add on in 2008-12, There was a proposal to expand terminal 1 by additional 5700sqm which would increase the terminal to 21200sqm, this would have increased the capacity to 3.5 million but due to new management taking over airport nothing has been done other than improve the internal layout of terminal 1 so it can cope with increased capacity till 2017.

      I guess new management knows what they're doing or don't want to waste money on old terminal (75 million kuna to expand old terminal by 5700sqm) which might not even in use beyond 2017.

      I guess they're looking at this from financial stand point.

  8. Anonymous16:36

    Would BA be interested in matching Virgin's offer in order to extend their network and potentially code share with JU? 
    They code share with AirBaltic, for example. 
    It would plug the gap in their network. I can see why BA would never code share with JU in the past given the ageing 737s, but it's different with A319/320 now. 


  9. SkyGreece has put its Zagreb-Toronto flights on sale. Return fare is €731. It's not bad, especially since they seem to be a full service airline.

    1. Anonymous18:57

      Finally, good luck Zagreb!

    2. I just checked Skygreece's competition, and it seems like Jet Airways/Croatia Airlines are doing some nice dumping.

      June/July there are a few days where YYZ-ZAG is below €600

      Some days in late August and Spetember around €700-750

      Sample date Aug 31 to Sept 23 is €645 euros on Jet Airway's website.

    3. Anonymous19:50

      Nije valjda da 9W saradjuje sa CTN.

    4. Anonymous21:03

      jok zabrani im kazi samo sa ASL da smeju

    5. Anonymous22:48

      Wow, going to still points to the old site where you can't book an order, so you have to type www to get to the new one!

      Departures from YYZ: Jet Airways undercuts them even on SkyGreece’s cheapest dates by about 45CAD. SkyGreece is nonstop, you get up to 20+20kg baggage, no IFE, 31in seat, no seat selection (mid seat of the three interior seats?), no flexibility on Mon/Wed dates.

      9W/OU: at least $45 cheaper (or more, depends on a date), one stop, you are not forced to fly out on Monday and come back on Wednesday, in seat IFE, 32in seat, one 23kg bag.

      Didn't even bother to compare change/refund policies and fees.

    6. Anonymous00:15

      Anonymous at 9:03 PM
      Ne zabranjujem ja nikome nista samo je glupo od strane 9W isto kao da ASL ima codeshare sa AI.
      Ako ne znate na sta mislim ne mojte komentarisati.

    7. Anonymous01:17

      decko, ne znamo na sta mislis, ali, mojte se pise odvojeno, kao dve reci

    8. Anonymous01:25

      Ja koliko znam pocetak se recenice pise veliko , slobodno me ispravljajte ja se ne ljutim i preporucujem vam da naucite Iata oznake.

    9. Anonymous07:41

      Постајеш већ мало досадан са тим кодовима, посебно када ти не само да не знаш правопис српског језика већ не знаш доста ствари у ваздухопловству.

  10. Anonymous19:51

    Mogu samo da zamislim kako ce sledeca godina dobro da izgleda.

    1. Anonymous21:02

      ma bice dobro sigurno a sta mislis jel'ce bolje da rodi pasulj il' luk

    2. Anonymous00:35

      Moje zelje se polako ostvaruju EY sve cesce salje 77F .

  11. JU520 BEGLAX23:15

    Flew today AEP-BRC on AR B738 and met 7 travellers fm Serbia and Slovenia. Unbelievable our people are everywhere. Last times I was in this region, I was in Punta Arenas where they even have HRT and Croatian Football clubs. Not to talk that half of the lodges in Torres del Paine Nationalpark belong to Croatian decents.
    Also today at BRC saw reklama for Dubrovnik rent a car.....
    Saludos de Argentina

    1. Aэrologic00:18

      It would be nice of you to next time write the full names of the cities instead of the IATA codes, since most of people on this forum don't know about Aeroparque and ignore that Buenos Aires has two airports, knowing it only by 'EZE'. Aeroparque Jorge Newbery is the mainly
      domestic airport in Buenos Aires, located in the urban core of the city along the river Plate and offers for some beautiful spotting from the nearby parks on a sunny day.

      On another note, on an excursion today near the Sudanese border, in the group of several buses almost 70% of tourists were from Mexico, 25% from China and remaining from Western countries. Quite interesting turn of things, only 10 years ago that would be unimaginable.

    2. Anonymous00:38

      Kakav im je LF na toj liniji i kakva je usluga.
      Hvala unapred :)

    3. Anonymous00:45

      A za IATA kodove ste upravu ljudi ovde ne znaju razliku izmedju SAW i IST a kamoli AEP i EZE.
      S a kojom Aviokompanijom ste leteli jel ET ili SM
      Hvala unapred :)

    4. Aэrologic01:58

      Драги INN-NS, летео сам из Истанбула са TK+A3.

    5. I dont understand why INN-NS and Aэrologic are degrading people by saying that we dont know the codes of airports. Are we going to start a competition on this site on who can name more airports or airline companies? Most of us know many codes and even if we do not know them we could always google them. No need to act like an big shot aviation expert on here. Typical Balkan style really, " Ma ja sam najbolj i sve znam"

      A question for you INN-NS, what is the benefit of saying this "A za IATA kodove ste upravu ljudi ovde ne znaju razliku izmedju SAW i IST a kamoli AEP i EZE"?

    6. Anonymous07:39

      Ignore them, they have to compensate for their shortfalls elsewhere.

    7. Aэrologic00:30

      Can you explain to me how in the world am i degrading people by asking the guy to just write the names of the (more or less obscure) cities so no one has to Google it?

    8. Aэrologic00:49

      If this is an outcry of you wanting to tell me that 'you know to use Google' then go ahead, be my guest.

    9. Anonymous01:47

      Pa to je istina da ljudi ne znaju razliku i oni se meni smeju tako da .

  12. Anonymous01:33

    A 320 Neo ce moci da ima 195 27-inch seat pitch , Zodiac je vec napravio sediste.

  13. Anonymous03:42

    Connecticut has set aside 5M USD to SUBSIDIZE airline that will start transatlantic service to their airport. C'mon Wizzair this has your name all over it! Lease a widebody and start flying, those five mil are waiting for you. Sure beats any subsidy at Tuzla or Nis:

  14. Anonymous04:53

    Sumnjam da ce biti ista od koncesije, barem ne dok postoji Air Serbia. Nece sigurno koncesionar ko god da bude, da prihvati da Air Serbia i dalje nista ne placa aerodromu kao do sada... cim pocne AS da placa svoje troskove, ceo taj balon o super poslovanju i fantasticnim prihodima ce da pukne uz veliko BUM

    1. Anonymous05:43

      Reci nam gde da te nadjemo ako koncesije ipak bude i balon ne pukne? Samo da te obavestimo da nisi pogodio.

    2. Anonymous11:11

      Ovo Vucic botovi krenuli i u pretnje? ;) mora ovaj anti robot sistem malo da se unapredi.. :)

    3. Anonymous13:36

      Anti robot system detected bot comments at 4:53 AM and 11:11 AM.


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