Belgrade and Sarajevo record busiest month

Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport and Sarajevo Airport have recorded their busiest month since opening their doors five decades ago, with both seeing solid growth throughout August. Belgrade Airport handled 590.292 passengers during the month, an increase of 2.7% compared to August 2015. At the same time, the number of flight operations grew 4%. The airport welcomed an average of over 19.000 travellers per day and surpassed the three million passenger mark during the month. "Over the three busiest months, Belgrade handled 1.6 million passengers, which is up 2% on the same period last year", the airport said in a statement. So far this year, a total of 3.291.141 travellers passed through its doors, which is up 0.4% on last year. "This gives us real expectations that we will welcome our fifth-millionth passenger by the end of the year", it added.

Meanwhile, during the week, the airport released a detailed masterplan up until 2040 which foresees the construction of a new terminal building, runway, hotel, three-level car park and a heliport. Furthermore, the plan includes the overhaul of the airport's access roads and leaves the possibility for the city's rail network to be extended in order to reach the airport. According to the masterplan, the development of the airport is to take place over five phases. State officials have previously said that Nikola Tesla Airport will likely be put up for concession soon, with the process to be finalised by mid-2017.

MonthPAXChange (%)
JAN290.580 5.8
FEB266.660 0.5
MAR313.174 0.7
APR365.335 4.2
MAY416.332 2.5
JUN460.020 0.3
JUL589.159 4.3
AUG590.292 2.7

Sarajevo Airport also recorded its busiest month on record. The airport handled 118.350 passengers, an increase of 16.8% compared to August 2015. Aircraft movements stood at 1.252. "This is the third time in the airport's history that over 100.000 passengers were handled in a single month", Sarajevo Airport said in a statement. During the January - August period, the airport welcomed 584.956 travellers, representing an increase of 7.8% on 2015. The Federation government of Bosnia and Herzegovina recently allocated forty million euros in funding for Sarajevo Airport between 2017 and 2019. Sarajevo Airport's management has adopted a Reform Agenda, which foresees the construction of a new passenger terminal in the near future. Depending on the cost, the airport will either build a brand new facility or expand the existing terminal building. Under the plan, the airport will also build a VIP lounge, car park, office building for staff and support services, a rapid-exit taxiway and expand the apron. In 2017, work will begin on upgrading the runway, as well as taxiways.

MonthPAXChange (%)
JAN41.208 5.7
FEB42.567 6.7
MAR53.438 6.3
APR68.085 8.0
MAY85.738 7.0
JUN66.429 11.3
JUL109.141 22.2
AUG118.350 16.8


  1. Anonymous09:06

    Good work for both.

  2. Anonymous09:06

    How come such huge growth in Sarajevo?

  3. Anonymous09:07

    Good for Beg, it looks like NY flights are starting to pay off!

    1. Anonymous10:09

      for sure after two months ^^

    2. Anonymous10:14

      In August LF was 75,5% for JFK route, there were much more outbound passengers.

  4. Anonymous09:08

    "This gives us real expectations that we will welcome our fifth-millionth passenger by the end of the year" - while it is possible, they will need quite strong growth.

    1. Anonymous10:15

      Quite strong growth indeed, at least 14% every month from now and it's winter time. I wonder those BEG managers do they know mathematics?

  5. Anonymous09:22

    Let's hope they keep it up in September too.

    1. Anonymous09:25

      well, this winter will be better then the last in terms of flights and destinations

    2. Anonymous09:29

      True. Winter should also be strong. Air Serbia is increasing frequnecies to a hand full of destinations over the winter so it will be a contrast to last year's network cuts

  6. Anonymous09:30

    Considering how bad charter traffic was this year, BEG did well.

    Also great work for SJJ. With these kind of results they will probably pull away from Podgorica.

  7. Anonymous09:44

    Hamburg, Kiev, Saint Petersburg, ohrid, New York, is that all the help they offered 2.7% ? Really?

    1. Anonymous09:45

      At the same time charter traffic fell significantly.

    2. Anonymous10:10

      What is exactly with the charters? thx

    3. Anonymous10:11

      No, Aviolet charter traffic rose in July and August.

    4. Anonymous10:13

      @ AnonymousSeptember 3, 2016 at 10:10 AM
      War and terrorism

      AnonymousSeptember 3, 2016 at 10:11 AM
      Yeah I will take your word for it because you say so.

    5. Anonymous10:14

      This summer there were almost no Turkish airlines operating charters, Tunis Air did not operate any charters, Nesma Airlines did not operate charters.

    6. Anonymous10:20

      That is interesting because there were and stil are charters to Turkey form other ex-Yu parts (with airlines like Pegasus, Borajet and others)from places like SJJ and SKP

    7. Anonymous10:26

      Possibly because people from those countries don't mind going to Turkey during frequent terrorist attacks and attempted coups.

    8. Anonymous10:33

      ^^ yeh sure people from those countries "piju naftu" and have no idea

      There are charters to Antalya from everywhere in Europe just not as many as last year. Antalya stil sees 2.5milion pax in July.

    9. Anonymous10:36

      Yes same with Serbia and that is what I have been saying all along. There are charters from Antalya to Belgrade as well just not as many as last year.

  8. Anonymous10:14

    number of flights increased 4%
    number of pax increased only* 2.7%

    some routes are underperforming (could be any airline though)

  9. Anonymous11:09

    Maybe that explains the route cancellations and frequency reductions from foreign airlines.
    JU needs to step up and feel the voids.
    It needs not only new destinations but increased frequencies to markets that foreign carriers abandoned or reduced flights.

    1. Anonymous11:31

      I was responding to Anon 10:14.

  10. Anonymous11:46

    Things are really shifting in the Balkans - what's interesting is how LJU airport has virtually became obsolete in a matter of a couple of years. It will be interesting to see what FRA Port will do once Adria goes bankrupt.

  11. Upitnik12:15

    Any Info how their OHD flights are performing?

  12. I don't understand this people? 2.7% that all? are you stupid? ok let do some math.

    just say you had 100,000 passenger in August 2015 and you reported a 2.7% increase in 2016. it going to be an extra 2,700 passenger in 2016. that's nothing!
    Now let say we have 1,000,000 passenger reported in August 2015. and stated an 2.7% increase over last year august (2016). That extra 27,000 passenger now that alot ok. so if you think that little then go look at LHR,FCO, ZUR, or any other big company and when they reported 0.4% increase over last year - month. it a lot so dont expect BEG to get soon 10-15% in the future. the percentages shrinks as total passenger per month increase over time.

    1. Purger13:23

      Absolutely true. But that is just 15.000 new passengers. Just JFK route have 11.500 potential seats in August.

    2. Anonymous13:28

      does transit pax count twice?

    3. Anonymous14:02

      @ Anonymous September 3, 2016 at 1:28 PM
      Yes! Transit pax is counted twice.

    4. Anonymous14:35

      @AnonymousSeptember 3, 2016 at 2:02 PM

      No, transit pax, which does not leave the plane upon landing, is not counted at all, but transfer pax is counted twice.

    5. Anonymous14:43

      typo, i meant transfer pax. thx

    6. Anonymous14:46

      typo - i meant that transfer pax is counted twice and not transit...

  13. Purger13:17

    With so many new routes from Air Serbia (New York, St.Petersburg, Hamburg, Ohrid, Kiev), more frequencies on old routes of Air Serbia, and new routes and more frequencies from other airlines I aspect much more than 2,7%. Especially that new routes are not new any more and should be on "normal" number now.

    Concerning tourists, they are still here. Those who have money to fly for holidays did not choose Turky or Egipt, but instead fly to Malta, Greece, Montenegro, Croatia, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria... That is why we have so more Air Serbia, AvioLet, Montenegro and Croatia passengers in Tivat, Dubrovnik, Split, Pula and all companies to Spain, Bulgaria, Greece, Malta and Italy.

    1. Purger13:50

      Also number of routes to Turkey and Egypt are very small compare to routes to Greece, Montenegro, Croatia, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy, Malta, Cyprus, Tunisia. On top of that there were some tourist to Turkey and Egypt even with problems there (of course not as many as last year but still several thousand passengers were there in August).

    2. JATBEGMEL15:37

      Numbers of Serbian tourists are still there, however I would say in smaller numbers.

      We used to see decent amount of flights to Tunisia (Tunis, Monastir, Djerba and Enfidha) and Egypt (Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurgadha) which this year is not there.

      Turkey was very popular where as this year it isn't, and the flights that do go across aren't full. A report after the failed coup in Turkey said roughly 45 pax flew to AYT for a particular flight. In previous years, Turkey and Serbia would be in diplomatic problems over charter flights, this year wasn't the case. Even Turkish charter carriers removed capacity during the peak summer period. I don't think there were even charters to BEG from any Turkish airline this year. Today only 1 charter flight was to Turkey (AYT) where it usually is more.

      Malta never really saw charter flights, however Jat was flying there (in combination with TIP or TUN) and now Air Serbia has it as a seasonal route, which is one of their worst performing flights if we are to believe unofficial comments here.

      We have some new charters to Italy and Spain, but that doesn't come close to the amount lost seen in the previous years.

      Cyprus didn't have charter traffic as far as I know, correct me if I'm wrong.

      I would say that part of the reason Croatia is having a huge growth in tourist numbers is due to the situation in Turkey, and the travel bans in place in travelling to Egypt and Tunisia. Croatia for Serbs is easily accessable by car, and assume majority going to places such as Pula, Rijeka, Zadar, Rovinj, Umag will do so by car.

      As you mention, JU has increased its flights, however I think this increase has made up for that loss in charter traffic and brought in a few thousand extra bringing the small increase.

    3. Purgrer20:07

      It is not that just charters take care of tourists. Regular routes also do so. So regular routes to Malta, Cyprus, Croatia and Bulgaria have a lot of tourist on board.

      And point is that number of flights to Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Cyprus, Malta, Spain and Italy are several times bigger than to Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt. Compare to first groups of tourist routes second one is insignificant. So it does not have huge influence on total number of passengers in Belgrade. Especially that some of Turkey/Tunisia/Egypt passengers did make a trip and that other change their destination to more secure destinations also reached by plane.

    4. JATBEGMEL21:42

      While I do agree that tourists use regular routes to their vacation destinations, however I believe a huge amount were also using charter flights. JU used to have multiple daily flights out to Turkey alone during the summer season, where as this year it isn't the case.

      Remember that Turkey and Serbia each year used to have diplomatic issues regarding charter flights, where as this year it hasn't.

      While a large amount of traffic is with JU, lets not forget that this year BEG doesn't have Atlas, Onur Air, Nouvelle Air, Nesma Airlines, Air Cairo, who also carried tourists.

      JU may have increased a lot this summer on its regular routes, BEG has also lost a lot of charters. Will be great to have an insight as to exactly how much charter traffic has been reduced.

      Finally, a small mistake above. Bulgaria, Cyprus, Malta and Spain do not have ex BEG more flights than Turkey.

    5. Purger02:42

      I said combination of all other routes to


      And for sure that is majorette of charter and tourist routes from Belgrade, compare to which all Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt routes are insignificant.

      If there was 60.000 passengers to Turkey last year, and this year we have 30.000 (as one of exYU participants mentioned) it is less than 5.000 par month missing. And part of those passengers this year choose some other air destination instead of Turkey. But still even if it is 5.000 per month, Air Serbia had 37.000 more seats in August + other carriers new routes and frequencies. So we have to find somewhere else reason of that modest result.

  14. I believe that this is result is actually not that bad.
    We should not forget that Turkey as tourist destination including air transport is one of the cheapest for Serbian tourists. If Turkey is politically instable as it is the same Serbian tourist cannot choose Spain, Malta or Italy due to much higher prices. Instead of it that Serbian tourist will probably choose Greece, Bulgaria or Montenegro and all these destinations are reachable by car that makes whole holiday much cheaper,but at the same time BEG airport remains with less number of passengers.
    We should not forget that for 8 months of 2016 INI has 50000 passengers which would have mostly flown from BEG if INI kept sleeping as it was the case in previous years.
    We should also not forget that it is not realistic to expect from all the routes amazing numbers. For example if all seats to and from OHD are full on monthly basis we have only about 1700 passengers and to HAM 3500 passengers. Of course planes are not always full but 15.000 increasing comparing to August 2016 is good result taking in consideration all above factors.

    1. Anonymous20:18

      Ohrid, Hamburg, St.Petersburg, Kiev and New York is 24.498 seats. And more frequencies on other Air Serbia routes, more frequencies and new routes on other carriers.

      And just 15.800 more passengers?

    2. Purger20:38

      Air Serbia je u 8 mjesecu povečala broj sjedala za preko 37.000 od čega na novim linijama 25.000 (Ohrid, Hamburg, Kiev, St.Petersburg i New York), te povečanjem frekvencija na postojećim linijama i to za jedna let za Amsterdam, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Maltu, dva za Bucharest, Pulu, Sofiju, Split i Tiranu, te tri za Dubrovnik i Tivat. Kad se od te brojke oduzme 7 letova za BUD i 3 za WAW dolazimo do brojke od oko 37.300 dodatnih sjedala ovog mjeseca. I druge kompanije su otvorile nove letove i povečale frekvencije. Ali svejedno zabilježeno je tek 15.700 novih putnika?!?!?

    3. Purger, while I really respect great majority of your comments and analysis - sometimes I just cannot explain myself why you don't want to understand some replies. I agree with your previous comment and calculation - I can consider as a fact that JU increased its capacity for 37 thousand seats in regular transport. But as Nebojsa Popovic and few others mentioned several times, there is also charter to Turkey, Egypt and Tunis which is considerably smaller this year. Could you put also those numbers into the calculation? I guess that then you will have just 15-20 thousand seats more - so you cannot wonder anymore why BEG has just 16 thousand passangers more. Yes, you are explaining that inseatd of Turkey they went to Croatia, Bulgaria and Montenegro - but you have calculated those numbers into those 37 thousand (those + flights to Dubrovnik, Tivat, Sofia, Malta...) and you didn't calculate minus numbers for Turkey.

    4. Anonymous22:26

      The passenger figures for flights between BEG and Montenegro has not changed compared to last summer.

    5. Anonymous22:34

      @PurgerSeptember 3, 2016 at 8:38 PM

      Wrong calculation concerning Air Serbia. According to company's official statistics this august they added not 37.000 but 24.600 seats. In the end they transported 21.500 passengers more, which is not bad result.

    6. Anonymous23:25

      Purger je poceo da pise protiv ASL na osnovu podataka aerodroma koji naravno ukljucuju i druge kompanije. Kao sto i sami vidite nema ni tacne podatke o broju novododatih sedista. Covek jednostavno ne voli ASL ma sta on o tome pricao.

    7. Purger02:52

      Ajde ne iznosite nonsense o tome volim li ja ili ne Air Serbiju. To ne možete zakljčiti iz jednog podatka koji se vama ne sviđa, a posebno ne nakon tolikih članaka iz kojih ni u ludilu tako nešto ne možete zaključiti. Konačno ja putujem Air Serbijom vrlo mnogo, a što ne rade ljudi koji "ne vole" kompaniju.

      Dodatne kapacitete sam izračunao temeljem broja frekvencija i korištenih zrakoplova na tim frekvencijama. Na novim linijama dodano je 25.000 sjedala, na povečanjima postjećih frekvencija - BUD i WAW dodano je još 12.300, ukuno 37.300. Mogućnost pogreške je u par postotaka (korištenje drugog aviona od planiranog i najavljenog). Bilo koji drugi objavljen podatak je netočan.

      Iskreno ne znam koliko putnika je putovalo za Tursku. Jedan od članova ovog foruma je napisao 60.000 prošle godine. To bi i bila realna brojka. Ove godine, piše ista osoba, brojka je prepolovljena. Dakle govorimo o 30.000 u cijeloj sezoni, ili oko 5.000 u augustu. A i dio tih putnika se umjesto Turske odlučilo za neku drugu avio-destinaciju. No, da se radi i o cijeloj brojci to je zanemarivo u kontekstu novih 37.000 sjedala Air Serbije + povečanja drugih kompanija.

      Sve to skupa je irelevantno. 2,7% i 15.700 putnika više u augustu je vrlo razočaravajuče uzevši u obzir da ostale zračne luke u regiji imaju daleko veće povečanje kako u postocima, tako i u realnim brojkama, uključujući i Zagreb, Skopje, Sarajevo, Split, Dubrovnik, Sofiju, Atenu, Bucharest...

      A sad, ako su činjenice, mržnja, onda nešto ne valja u mentalnom slopu onih koji to tako doživljavaju. A svako slučaju prema tim mentalnim kriterijima sam mega-mrzitelj Croatie Airlines čije preloše činjenice konstantno iznosim.

    8. Purger, cijenjen si im kada hvališ Air Serbiu, ali te zato mrze kada ju kritiziraš.

    9. Anonymous13:48

      Much fuss without much reasons.

      Yes, in August Air Serbia had five new routes and thus offered exactly 24.144 seats.
      Also yes, Air Serbia added new frequencies to AMS, DUS, TXL, TIA, OTP, SOF, SPU, PUY, DBV (additional 2.600 seats), TIV and LJU. In this way Air Serbia added about 16.000 seats compared to August 2015.

      Also, Air Serbia change number of offered seats to many existing destinations, for example to CDG (+700), ZRH (+1.600), ATH (+1.000) etc. TGD (-1.600), VIE (-2.500), SVO (-800), SJJ (-600) etc.

      And yes, Air Serbia ceased flying to BUD (-4.300 seats) and cut frequencies to WAW (-3.300 seats) and BRU (-2.300).

      All quoted data are official. All in all, Air Serbia offered 24.600 seats more compared to August 2015 rather than 37.300 seats. And this is pure fact and that's nothing to do with hatred.

  15. Maybe BEG's management knows some information that we don't know, but I don't understand how 5 million is possible this year.

  16. Anonymous17:56

    Because of Air Serbia, BEG airport had minimal growth for second summer in a row. T1 interior might get a facelift this winter, this combined with new A11-A15 positions and extension of C concourse will prevent new terminal being operational before 2025-2030. At least retirement travel far in the future of BEG will be in style and comfort.

    1. Anonymous18:31

      Recent expansion of W6 in BEG and AT in ZAG is not likely to bring response from JU. Air Serbia, as a boutique regional carrier, appears to have no intention to compete against LCC carriers (both European LCCs as well as long haul budget carriers). Air Serbia is focused on improving exising numbers which creates opportunity for W6, FR, AT, RV, U2 etc to expand at BEG. They seem positioned to drive most of growth (destinations and passengers) at BEG in the next couple of years.

    2. Anonymous18:47

      Air serbia's role is to improve its own fortunes, not that of BEG airport. The fact that BEG airport solely relies on 1 carrier for growth, says more about its own (lack of) capabilities than it does for Air Serbia.

      Air Serbia has been growing its pax numbers year on year. More importantly, it has been improving its key financial metrics - RASK and CASK - which is what is critical for an airline.

      Pax numbers in and by themselves, while important, don't mean squat for the financial wellbeing of an airline.

      Bigger is not better, if it doesn't deliver profitable operations.

      BEG airport on the other hand, has done nothing to grow its business, instead, as mentioned earlier, relied on Air Serbia to do its work for it.

    3. Anonymous20:43

      Brave statement concerning the fact that huge Air Serbia discounts made other carriers demotivated to grow or open new routes. After long time we have Wizzair announcement for 4 routes and nothing else serous. But in last two years so many companies stop routes and cut frequencies.

      And now someone have guts to say it is Belgrade airport guild to protect Air Serbia (by order of Government who is owner of both companies) and they are not capable to generate grow out of Air Serbia own grow?

    4. Anonymous21:06

      "Air serbia's role is to improve its own fortunes, not that of BEG airport."

      Government has interest and ownership in both. Even if they didn't, symbiosis should be mutual. FRA fortunes are in LH interest and ATL fortunes are in DL interest.

      "BEG airport on the other hand, has done nothing to grow its business"

      True, but were they at liberty to do so as they please? Can BEG management go aggressively after Ryanair or Air Transat?

    5. Anonymous22:35

      Following on from your example and logic, how do you explain LJU and Adria, which are both German owned ?

      Furthermore, who owns Nis Airport and what has been happening down there these past 8 mths ? Has the growth of Nis airport and the influx of LCC's been to Air Serbia's benefit ?

      Your conspiracy theories have long run out of steam ....

      BEG airport (92% Govt owned) and Air Serbia (49% owned by Etihad and 51% owned by the Govt), have to find their own way going forward

    6. Anonymous00:07

      Best way for conspiracy theories to be squashed is for Air Transat or Air Canada Rouge to announce seasonal Toronto-Belgrade flight for summer of 2017, now that Air Serbia is not interested in the route and Belgrade airport can work with any airline.

    7. Anonymous01:29

      Don't see that happening.

  17. Anonymous20:58

    OT:Air Serbia performance on BEG-LJU-BEG route in 2015
    Total passengers: 62.073
    Total flights: 1.822
    Total available seats: 101.282

  18. OT:Air Serbia performance on BEG-ZAG-BEG route in 2015
    Total passengers: 63.711
    Total flights: 1.414
    Total available seats: 100.402

    1. Anonymous15:06

      Do you have the stats for SOF and VAR?

  19. OT: Belgrade-Split-Belgrade statistics
    Total passengers: 25.043
    Total flights: 280
    Total available seats: 31.302

  20. Hopefully Belgrade improves more than this by the end of the year. However, despite the naysayers I think that for such a small airport and such a small country, close to 600,000 pax per month is impressive. I finally flew Air Serbia and the airline is far better than any other in the Balkans. By that I mean primarily OU which is its only competitor, to be blunt. Other national airlines in ex Yugoslavia aren't even worth a mention in this regard.


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