Pristina Airport set for busiest winter season


Pristina Airport is preparing for a busy winter season, which will see it handle more flights than ever before, following on from a record summer. A number of carriers have committed to increasing frequencies from the city when compared to last year. Among them are easyJet from Basel and Berlin. Edelweiss Air from Zurich, Adria Airways to Frankfurt, Pegasus Airlines from Istnabul, Wizz Air from London and Germania from Zurich. In addition, low cost carrier Wizz Air will expand its operations from Pristina with the introduction of three new routes. The airline will add three weekly flights from Memmingen starting October 30, from Basel on November 20 and Dortmund on December 15. "Underlining our dedication to the region, we look forward to continuing our fruitful partnership with Pristina Airport and remain committed to our customers and interests to create more low fare travel opportunities in Kosovo", Wizz Air's Communications Manager, Sorina Ratz, said.

On the other hand, Pristina's busiest carrier, Germania, will end its services to Paris and Copenhagen this winter season, however, these are to be compensated with the launch of flights to Hannover and Hamburg, which will commence at the start of the 2019 summer season. Pristina Airport handled a record 1.662.878 passengers during the first three quarters of the year, representing an increase of 13.3% on 2017. During the same period, the number of aircraft operations grew 9.7% to 12.118. In September alone, the airport welcomed 190.395 travellers through its doors, up 12.3%. It registered a total of 1.376 aircraft movements, an increase of 2.4%.

MonthPAXChange (%)
JAN144.137 17.3
FEB123.565 14.1
MAR150.432 19.2
APR177.732 3.1
MAY168.519 12.8
JUN178.052 23.3
JUL256.029 9.3
AUG274.755 13.7
SEP190.385 12.3

Pristina Airport recently begun work on the 33.6 million euro extension and upgrade of its runway. According to the project, the runway will be lengthened from the current 2.560 metres to 3.000 metres, while its ILS (instrument landing system) will be upgraded and taxiways extended. Due to the airport’s location and foggy weather in winter, it often experiences visibility issues which results in the diversion of flights. “We need to invest in the ILS and replace some of the equipment with the newest technology. The total investment is estimated to be around thirty million euros, which includes the extension of the runway and taxiways, and the purchase of new equipment”, Pristina Airport's General Manager, Haldun Firat Kokturk, said. The finances for the project will initially be provided by airport operator Limak, however, the government will then waive the concession fee for the next five years, between 2019 to 2023.

Comments

  1. Congrats Pristina. Solid result for an airport with so many limitations. Good work.

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    Replies
    1. Once EU visas are lifted, numbers should improve even more.

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    2. Agree really impressive annual numbers since Kosovo doesn't have visa liberalisation.

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    3. Any info as to when EU visas will be lifted?

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    4. Schengen visas are expected to be lifted later this year or early next year. No one is willing to commit to a timeframe.

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    5. Before Christmas visa free regime for Kosovo...

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    6. Large diaspora and more affordable flights. How is visa liberalisation going to work with three Schengen states that do not recognise Kosovo?

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    7. Nothing will become of it, it's the same story every year. The EU is not ready/willing to remove visas as even more people will move there.

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    8. How many people from Kosovo have citizenship or permanent residence in Eu/Switzerland? They can all travel freely.

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  2. I'm interested to see if and how the new Wizz Air routes will affect Skopje.

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    1. in the same way as INI routes affected SKP = almost zero
      Its funny while you are all looking at SKP the ones that are really shaking are Air Prishtina and the other familia charters that are ripping off the Kosovars . They could implode

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    2. these are deep diaspora. you can open Memmingen and Dortmund from any village

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  3. They should reach 2 million easily this year.

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  4. The deal the government/airport operator made about the runway is insane.

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    1. Look at the last sentence

      "The finances for the project will initially be provided by airport operator Limak, however, the government will then waive the concession fee for the next five years, between 2019 to 2023."

      Basically the government is paying for the runway even though the airport is being operated by a private company.

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    2. Government probably didn't negotiate runway extension in the concession agreement even though it was necessary. Typical Balkans incompetence + corruption.

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    3. It is turning out into a big scandal. Also there was no tender to select the contractor and governnent is refusing to make the agreement public but parts have been leaked like the fact that they are going to allow them not to pay the concession fee.

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    4. Sounds like a big scandal!

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    5. https://prishtinainsight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/sketch3333-720x380.jpg

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  5. Nice but let's see how many of these stick.

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  6. Seems to me like another market where Adria was in prime position but let it slip through its fingers.

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    1. Adria is now mainly focusing on LJU which I think is a good thing. The real golden opportunity they missed years ago was Macedonia.

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    2. Adria got to feed FRA and MUC from both Pristina and Tirana. That is not a lost opportunity but a very good deal.

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  7. Pegasus Airlines is also increasing its frequencies to PRN to daily. During the summer it operated as 6 weekly service. However, they will operate their flights during the middle of the night.

    easyJet is also growing nicely in BSL, GVA, and SXF. BSL becomes daily.

    Wizz Air's LTN service becomes a 5 weekly one. It will be interesting to see if the market can support such a high frequency during the winter season.

    All in all, it should be a decent winter season.

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    1. I guess that incentive scheme to stimulate airlines paid off.

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  8. Pristina needs Wizz to Vienna and Eindhoven.

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    1. There are still a lot of unserved destinations from PRN with good potential.

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    2. Vienna would be most lucrative destination for Wizz Air out of PRN.

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    3. Or Bratislava, if Austrian won't allow.

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  9. So how many passengers can we expect SKP to have and how many PRN at the end of the year?

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    1. Still Early...
      Relax will see later.

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  10. If PRN wants to regain its original 3rd position among exYu airports, it needs to reduce its fees. Otherwise well done.

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    1. It introduced nice incentives. And I think it's working like I said above and these figures, frequency increase and new routes prove it.

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  11. All ex-YU airports are expanding and developing nicely but at the end of the day, like it or not, only BEG can sustain year-round service from a wide range of destinations. Airports across the region need to work on reducing seasonality especially if they want to compete with BEG for the market.

    In my opinion, PRN will regain some passengers that were going from Kosovo and Metohija to SKP to catch a flight- that's a fact. Besides these two there are no serious alternative airports.

    Next big battle will be in the triangle ZAG, BNX and TZL as they will battle for Slavonija and northern Republika Srpska. Naturally the biggest winners here will be the customers who will have access to really cheap fares.

    The more competition the better as it forces crippling airlines like JP, OU and JU to be competitive and fight for their own spot under the sun. Same way PRN had to be creative in order to remain competitive compared to SKP.

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    1. Will be interesting to follow all of the developments in the coming months as the situation is changing rapidly.

      I think OU made a huge mistake by not keeping Stockholm as two weekly given that FR is launching BNX-NYO. It means that those who live in that area will have to travel either to Tuzla or Banja Luka to catch a flight to Sweden. I am still shocked that Zagreb can't sustain year-round flights to Stockholm, the market can't be that small. Seems like ZAG didn't learn much from LJU getting Transavia which affected ZAG-AMS numbers.

      As for PRN, what incentives is Wizz Air getting from the airport?

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    2. This is the incentinve program from 2016-2018 but they adopted the same one for another two years.

      http://c1940652.r52.cf0.rackcdn.com/56c316d8ff2a7c26a9000e4f/LKIA-PRN-Incentive-Program-2016-2018.pdf

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    3. So what happened with PRN suing SKP over subsidies?

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    4. They complained to the European Commission, which basically said they don't see an issue. PRN argues that SKP subsidies are unlawful because they come from the government, whereas the subsidies at PRN come from the airport operator.

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    5. Anon 11.56

      Thanks.

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  12. So is PRN now left without flights to Paris?

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    1. Nope. Easy Jet failed on this route too.

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  13. Can’t wait for the “tour operators” to go down. So many scheduled charters flight can’t be good. Prices are terrible for flights that take two hours.

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    1. I have never seen such vast usage of tour operators organizing and chartering flights on other markets as they do in Kosovo. Any particular reason for this?

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    2. People are used to book flights through them and don’t look to other options like online bookings. The only time they were getting used to online bookings was when Belle Air Europe was operating.

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    3. These charters operate only during summer season?

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    4. No they operate year round.

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  14. Transavia has to be smart and start AMS and ORY before Wizz starts EIN and Beauvais

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    1. I think it's obvious that there is no market. Both easyJet and Germania failed.

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    2. i doubt somebody will try Paris now that two airlines have failed (incl a low cost one)
      the fact that BVA from SKP is stil two weekly says it all

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  15. How long will the runway project take to be completed?

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    1. It's scheduled to last for 18 months.

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  16. Great numbers for PRN!

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  17. It seems that PRN and TIA are the fastest growing airports in the entire Balkan region.

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    1. Yes, because half a million Albanians from Kosovo and Albania movies to western Europe and are now coming back to visit for a few days a year.

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    2. What percentage of Albanian population moved to Western Europe? Number of flights between Italy and Tirana is really big.

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    3. You just have to look at TIA figures. Almost the size of Zagreb.
      Really interesting.
      I think PRN will follow the same steps and reach 4 million.

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  18. I'm surprised Croatia Airlines no longer flies to Pristina. Couldn't they have used this route to feed their West Europe flights?

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    1. Route was struggling for years, even though it was scheduled to link onto the morning wave.

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    2. What about other way around?
      It just proves that you need to have at least 2 but ideally 3+ frequencies daily to cater for transfer passengers.

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