EX-YU airports see record first half of 2016

Airports across the former Yugoslavia handled over 8.3 million passengers during the first half of the year, with ten of them posting their best figures to date. Among capital city airports, Skopje continues to maintain its position as the fastest growing, with figures up almost 25%. Commenting on the results, Deputy General Manager for Operations at TAV Macedonia, Alper Ersoy, said, "With strong support from its headquarters in Istanbul, as well as TAV Airports' marketing department, TAV Macedonia is constantly working on expanding the destination network from Macedonia's two airports and increasing frequencies on existing services. The growth and development of Skopje and Ohrid airports is based on the opening of new routes to many destinations in different parts of Europe and the world". He added, "The entry of new airline operators onto the Macedonian aviation market is particularly important, not only in terms of expanding the network, but also in terms of increased competition, because innovation, competitive products and services are the ones that drive progress. However, we also listen to the needs of airlines as our customers and their requirements, in order to provide high-quality services and encourage them to increase their existing frequencies". Macedonia's second international airport - Ohrid - has also seen strong passenger growth thanks to Wizz Air, as well as the arrival of several new customers this summer such as Air Serbia and Arkia Israeli Airlines.

EX-YU airport results, H1 2016

AirportPAXChange (%)
Belgrade2.111.690 1.2
Zagreb1.225.889 5.7
Pristina776.502 15.0
Skopje757.850 24.6
Split686.583 12.6
Dubrovnik676.707 15.2
Ljubljana598.271 4.5
Sarajevo357.465 1.6
Tivat291.635 6.5
Podgorica246.172* 9.0

* The figure for Podgorica Airport is for the January - May period

Croatia's three largest airports have registered record breaking figures during the first half of the year. Current trends indicate that Split Airport will handle half a million passengers in July alone, marking its busiest month since opening its doors over five decades ago. On the other hand, Dubrovnik has also seen encouraging figures with the airport marking its busiest day on record last week. Following a slump in figures last year, Tivat has staged a comeback in 2016 and is on course to handle over one million passengers by year's-end. The only two capital city airports to see their figures decline during the first half of the year were Belgrade and Ljubljana. The former Yugoslavia's busiest airport recorded softer numbers earlier in the year as a result of Air Serbia's decision to consolidate its route network over the winter. The airport, which sees a significant share of its passengers carried on charter services during the summer, could record a slower season due to political instability and safety concerns in key holiday markets such as Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia. In contrast, Ljubljana Airport recorded decent passenger growth during the first quarter but was hit by a sharp downturn in figures over the past three months as a result of Adria Airways' network cuts, as well as a decline in charter traffic.

AirportPAXChange (%)
Zadar180.325 0.2
Tuzla141.600 46.8
Pula115.054 16.4
Ohrid51.038 76.2
Rijeka36.076 4.2
Niš32.261 2600.0
Mostar18.486 41.4
Osijek10.961 7.8
Banja Luka9.700 10.5
Portorož9.240 7.0
Brač3.336 30.5
Mali Lošinj2.240 17.2
Maribor2.183 59.0

Smaller airports in the former Yugoslavia have seen some of the biggest growth so far this year. Niš Airport, which had almost no passengers during the first half of 2015 has profited greatly from Wizz Air's arrival, which is set to continue later on in the year when Ryanair launches services to the city. On Tuesday, the airport surpassed its 2015 end-of-year result. Tuzla Airport also continues to benefit from Wizz Air, with its figures up almost 50%. As a result, it has closed in on its traditionally busier counterpart in Zadar. Several of Croatia's coastal airports have seen softer numbers so far this year, however, these are expected to pick up in July and August.


  1. Anonymous09:03

    Is it realistic for Nis to eventually overtake Tivat and Podgorica? Maybe not this year but next?

    1. Anonymous09:04

      Podgorica will grow a bit with Wizz Air introducing flights next month. Also Ryan and easy are expanding operations from Montenegro. But the future looks good for INI. We will see.

    2. Anonymous09:07

      If INI gets those extra four, five flights then they most likely will. I mean they will have something like 14 destinations which is probably more than TGD has.

    3. Anonymous09:41

      You can't be serious?!

    4. Nemjee10:02

      Podgorica has 17 year-round destinations, Nis might have 14 by next summer.

      Also, if YM collapses then INI might overtake TGD.

  2. Anonymous09:03

    Good results overall. Nice work from Tuzla and Nis. Why such a slump in Mostar?

    1. Anonymous09:06

      Less charter flights. :(

  3. Anonymous09:26

    Tuzla Airport also continues to benefit from Wizz Air, with its figures up almost 50%. As a result, it has closed in on its traditionally busier counterpart in Rijeka.

    You mean Zadar, not Rijeka? :)

  4. Anonymous09:33

    Seeing these figures and after reading the article (link below), can't help but wonder... What if... What would the aviation scene look like today had we remained Yugoslavia.


    1. Nemjee09:37

      JAT would have become something like SAS and it would have eventually collapsed under its own weight.

    2. Anonymous09:43

      Could it not have become like Turkish, in both size and destinations?

    3. Anonymous09:48

      I think two major long-haul hubs would have been ZAG and BEG, JAT would have major bases at LJU, SKP, SJJ abd PRN - 772s, A332s, 321, 320, 319.

      Adria would have become with AGX the holiday airilnes while Croatia would have given birth to probably the largest holiday carrier in Southern Europe.

      Yugoslavia could have been the creator and the base of YugoWizz - one if the largest LCC's on the continent.

      All major cities would have had transatlantic services by US carriers. Direct links to the Far East...

    4. Nemjee09:59

      Highly doubt it. TK's success comes from its centralized operations, that is by having a single hub at IST. Given the political situation in Yugoslavia this model would have been impossible. Do you think other republics would have been ok with JAT having a single mega hub at BEG?

      What would happen with ZAG or LJU? Given that civil aviation has changed since the 1980s and 1990s, JU's one stop flights (via LJU or ZAG) would also be dropped. How could they profitably serve other cities?

      One way it could have worked is if JAT built its mega hub in BEG while Adria expanded from other cities. That is if we implemented something of a Lufthansa+Eurowings model.

      I am certain that Yugoslavia would have become a member of the EU in the 1990s. This means both JAT and Adria could not receive any subventions from the government. How would they survive? JAT's entire long-haul network was extremely loss making. The fact that they were planning on getting some MD-11s would not have helped.
      Now, fast forward to the 2000s when both JAT and Adria would have to face the lowcost carriers.

      I don't want to go into more details because I think you get my point.

    5. Nemjee10:00

      Anon 09.48

      Given that Air France, British Airways, Iberia, Alitalia... all failed to profitably operate multiple hubs, I doubt JU would make it.

    6. (Don't want to start an immature war of words here so I hope we can all try to be adults but here is an alternative view)

      In my opinion the situation would probably resemble very closely to how it is today.

      People forget that 80's post Tito Yugoslavia was pretty dysfunctional with (along with all of Eastern Europe and Russia) fast growing debt and inflation as well as a political system no one really respected (the rotating presidency for example)

      So post communist Yugoslavia would had to have given all the republics more autonomy therefore they would have all started their own airlines anyway and thus would have restricted Jat's influence in their respective backyards as much as possible. (Croatia Airlines was started in 1990 while Yugoslavia still existed)

      No war would have been a huge bonus but that doesn't mean that their would not have been instability with nationalist from all republics doing their best to disrupt the country for progressing and moving forward so Yugoslavia would have had a real hard time staying united for this long if it survived the early 1990's.

      The article you quoted is also wrong in my opinion with the narrative it is trying to portray that the west in particular the USA had and interest in seeing the the collapse of Yugoslavia. There is zero evidence from that period to support this (1990 - 1992) in fact although not trendy today to acknowledge, all the evidence shows the USA and the EC did all they could to keep Yugoslavia together until they realised it would never be possible after the violence in the early 1990's for Yugoslavia to survive.

    7. Anonymous12:36

      @Q400 1132

      nicely written and well thought out.Totally agree with your comment

    8. Anonymous14:28

      @Q400 Nice comment. Too much would needed to be different to make this alternative reality possible. Without the war the nationalists would be, however, much weaker. People would still blame Yugoslavia for everything bad, like Englishmen blamed EU before Brexit. Yugoslavia would eventually probably dissolve peacefully like Czechoslovakia.

    9. Anonymous15:32

      Kakvo lupetanje Q400 kada je Dzordz Bus Stariji potpisao direktivu kojom se zabranjuje daljnje finasiranje SFRJ. Samo pravite glupave legend. Lobirali ste godinama za raspad i sada zivite sa njim.

    10. Anonymous17:15


      That is far from truth. US started undermining YU as early as 1982, and the directives put in place by Regan. Some interesting records of this you can check out in The Weight of Chains, and the extent of US involvement in the balkanisation of YU. Worth a watch.

    11. @5:15 PM.

      Probably more related to destroying communism in Europe and Yugislavia but not the country??

  5. Anonymous09:59

    At this rate Skopje will overtake Pristina soon.

    1. Anonymous11:45

      Very possible if no one makes a base in PRN.

  6. Anonymous10:45

    I love Niš plus 2600% :)

  7. Anonymous11:46

    Great news. Hope the estimate for SPU comes true in July :)

  8. Impressive numbers on Croatian airports, but I wonder why Mostar has such an huge decrease

  9. Anonymous12:45

    Kroz Aten prolazi vise putnika godisnji nego u cijeloj bivsoj Jugoslaviji, a kroz Grcku 30+ miliona putnika svake godine. Hrvati se hvale sto su "the biggest aviation country" u regiji a Grcka koja isto ima mora ima vise aerodroma kod mora i mnogo vise putnika. Skloni Aten i Thessaloniki i imas ako je cijela drzava oko 32 mozda nesto oko 10 kod mora. A Split jos nije dogurao 2.

    1. Anonymous12:56


      Croatia has a long way to go before it becomes a tourist Mecca.

    2. Anonymous13:04

      nonsence talk here

    3. AnonymousJuly 22, 2016 at 12:45 PM

      Some troll is just jalous

    4. Anonymous14:04

      Jealous of what exactly?

    5. Anonymous14:21

      Nice trolling @AnonymousJuly 22, 2016 at 12:45 PM

      Only way to get to Greece is by air or by a ferry from italy, unless you want to drive all the way from Germany or France down to Greece and loose whole day or two in a stupid car. or 4 days for return leg...

      So Air it is. Greece had what 14 million foreign tourist in 2015, about 90% coming via air. Croatia had 13 million foreign tourist, only 30% coming via air, Austrians, Swiss, Southern French, Italians, Southern Germans all drive to Croatia, Dutch, Belgians as well, they love camping in Croatia.

      Reason why Croatia had to build a network of motorways fast to ensure fast movement of tourists.

      Airport in Croatia only now got their upgrades, Split airport is yet to get one, as is now worst airport in Croatia according to all who use it. When Split, Dubrovnik, Pula, Zagreb all get their new terminals things should improve dramatically for all who visit and use these airports. Numbers should also go up.

      Croatia is looking at 15.5 million tourists this year, 30% will come by air, by 2020, 20 million Tourist are expected and 8 million will come by air, still not as much as Greece, but not bad for a country that is half the size of Greece, has similar number of tourist and about same revenue from tourism.

      Croatia just started to become major tourist destination, Asian powers are discovering Croatia, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Malaysians... North American tourist are coming to Croatia in ever greater numbers, 500k expected this year, Brazil, Mexico are yet to become major emitting markets for Croatia, once they start coming in, well lets just Croatia by 2025 could host 30 million foreign visitors.

      The fact that many major Hollywood blockbusters are being filmed in Croatia goes long way in promoting Croatia. Make sure you watch Star Wars Rogue One and Episodes 8 and 9, all filmed in Croatia.

      Game of Thrones are also filmed in Croatia as are quite are few other upcoming films.
      The effect of that many major productions being filmed in Croatia is bound to have an effect on major tourist arrivals, especially foam North America/Mexico.

      I mean this isn't a spring, this is a marathon, a very, very long one.

      Just to add Croatia just recovered from a longest recession in its history, 6 years of recession, 2009-2014, This year Croatian economy is expected to grow at 3-3.25%, this should be congratulated and hope other region's economies recover and so all of us can prosper and benefit from each others trade.

    6. Anonymous14:45

      Anon. 2.21. According to Eurostat, economically devastated Greece earned in 2014 twice as much as Croatia from tourism (in both countries it had strong growth in 2015). At the same time tourism still made much bigger part in Croatian economy than it does in devastated Greek economy. Don't you think it would suggest that Croatia has a long way to go and that your estimation is maybe true in the long run, but way too upbeat and optimistic in short to medium term?

    7. Nemjee15:11


      Athens alone expects to welcome 4.5 million tourists this year.
      Last year 23.5 million tourists visited the country. This year they are expecting 25 million or 27.5 million if we count cruise ship arrivals.

      Croatia is surely developing its tourism industry but it's still light-years away from Greece. Comparing the two is beyond hilarious.

      By the way, Game of Thrones are no match for Greek mythology. ;)

    8. Anonymous15:21

      pls stop this

    9. Anonymous15:22

      one last thing: no youngster today is interested in greek mythology , just sayin

    10. Nemjee15:34

      So you are asking people to stop after you post an argument?

      Greek mythology is all around Greece, starting with the name of the capital city, the most important cultural sites and so on. Greek mythology is what makes Greece such an interesting place. Even the Acropolis that crowns the capital city is part of it.

    11. Anonymous15:46

      lol. its sun beach and ouzo

    12. Nemjee15:47

      Geia mas. ;)

    13. Anonymous15:54

      Grcka je apsolutni zakon, posebno plaze!!! Ko je bio na Kritu, posebno istocnom i juznom zna o cemu pricam. Svaka diskusija je smesna.

    14. Anonymous16:41

      Guys.. Croatia is nice and popular but we mustn't be unrealistic here.

      Also, does anyone know if DBV had a benefit from GoT? There are so many different scenes, landscapes and cities there that it kind of doesn't stand out like NZ did in TLOTR.

    15. Anonymous16:42

      The huge difference between GoT and Greek mythology is that one is temporary wonder, the other is eternal. Greek mythology is an essential ingredient of our civilization. GoT is not.

    16. Anonymous16:52

      @AnonymousJuly 22, 2016 at 2:45 PM


      Inmdeed, Greece had 16.7 millioon foreign arrivals in 2015, my bad, was looking at older figures as I didn't have the latest.

      18 million foreign tourists are expected this year + 6 million domestic visitors. Tourism is expected to generate around 24% of Greece's GDP in 2016 and revenue are expected to hit €14.6bn in direct receipts, substantially more than Croatian €8.2bn in direct receipts expected this year. However Croatian tourism has just started to recover from a recession, and country is becoming very popular destination.

      As to Greek Mythology nonsense, please Star Wars or Game of Thrones at this point are IT!!!

      There's nothing bigger than Star Wars these days, if you can attract Star Wars production you#re set for life. The next Star Trek will also be filmed in Croatia, double whammy.

      Seriously Greek mythology, what next Catholic Mythology, tourist these days go to have fun, relax, don't want to be bored with superstitious nonsense, sure they'll visit country for its History, but fun is what ultimately brings people to a place.

      Old people go to places for history, old people don't spend much.

    17. Anonymous16:52


    18. Anonymous17:09

      Please don't touch them on their tourism. You know how sensitive they get. The upcoming, eternal, everlasting tourist mecca of the world. For people who haven't ventured out of the mediterranean region, it's easy to get captivated by such fairytales. There's a whole wide world out there, away from these inferiority complexed mini-Balkan states. lol

    19. Anonymous17:31

      i avoid Croatia and Greece (the first one too expensive for what they offer the latter too rude to give them my euros)

    20. Anonymous18:23

      Oh dear, I know there's a lot of nonsense to read on the internet but I never thought I'd hear someone claim that Star Wars is "bigger" than ancient Greek civilization. Anyway, we are all aware that Croatian tourism is doing well and I for one am glad that it is. However, it can still not be compared to Greece which is another league of Mediterranean tourist meccas with France, Spain and Italy.

    21. Anonymous18:49

      OMG Star Trek and Star Wars? Just because you are of that intellectual caliber doesn't mean everyone is.

      FYI the continent we live in got its name from Greek mythology. ;)

    22. Anonymous18:50

      Obozvam ove sarlatane koji se obavezno pojave samo kako bi podelili sa nama to kako su oni superiorni a u stvari su ljakse kao i svi mi. Bas taj hejterski stav dokazuje da su oni Balkanci koliko i mi.

    23. To the anonymous asking about GoT impact.

      I was in Dubrovnik the other week and the GoT tours are the most popular with every other young idiot wanting to do the walk of shame plus I lost count of how many shops are selling official GoT and Star Wars merchandise and it's not cheap. Dubrovnik is by far the most expensive part of Croatia probably 3 times more expensive than Split!! But the place was packed and people were happy to spend!

      Personally I think Croatia has more room to grow but it is in my opinion losing its charm of being the unknown secrete destination and at time feels like it's getting swamped. In saying that new resorts are being built left right and centre so they at least seem to be keeping up with the demand.

      I feel there is enough tourist now but more will definitely come and one of the major positives of having so many tourists is the exposure locally made products get to the world so hopefully as an eventual result Croatia will have to rely less on tourism as its core currency provider as more Croatian made products are sold around the world. The order from Australia recently of nearly 3000 smart benches from a Šibenik based manufacturer is a good example of this.

    24. Anonymous19:29

      greek fanatics = Bravo Hrvatska troll

      same level

    25. Anonymous23:04

      Insane people!

    26. Anonymous08:17

      Thank God we have you to bring us some sanity over here.

  10. Anonymous13:02

    "With strong support from its headquarters in Istanbul" lol how TAV now claim all the success at SKP ...

  11. Anonymous20:06

    What is wrong with Rijeka? Terrible managment obiviously...


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