EX-YU airports lagging in connectivity


Countries from the former Yugoslavia offer among the fewest connections to passengers travelling by air, both direct and indirect, compared to their European counterparts, according to Airport Council International's (ACI) latest connectivity report for 2019. Data shows Bosnia and Herzegovina has the poorest airport connectivity on the continent out of 43 countries, followed closely by Macedonia. Although Bosnia has the lowest direct connectivity, it is ahead of Macedonia in terms of indirect and hub connectivity, the study shows. Macedonia itself is ranked 40th. It has seen significant passenger growth over the past decade, however, Wizz Air's dominance and it primarily serving secondary airports impacted on the country's overall ranking. Slovenia placed 39th, while Montenegro was 36th. Serbia was second in the former Yugoslavia on the connectivity scale, ranked 28th in Europe, with Croatia in front as the 22nd best connected market on the continent. Spain has the highest level of airport connectivity in Europe, followed by Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Turkey.

2019 airport connectivity

European rank (out of 43)Country
23Croatia
29Serbia
37Montenegro
40Slovenia
41Macedonia
43Bosnia and Herzegovina

On the other hand, individual capital city airports from across the region have seen robust connectivity growth over the past decade. Between 2009 and 2019, Podgorica was the fastest-growing capital city airport within the former Yugoslavia in terms of connectivity, averaging growth of 284%. It is followed by Skopje at 119%, Sarajevo at 109%, Belgrade at 77%, Zagreb at 73.4% and Ljubljana, which grew 20.4%. Pristina was not included in the report. Once all airports in the region are taken into account, ACI reports that Niš saw the biggest overall connectivity growth in the last decade, standing at over 1000%. Belgrade had the best overall connectivity, followed by Zagreb.

Best connected airports and change 2019 vs 2009

AirportChange (%)
Belgrade▲ 77.7
Zagreb▲ 73.4
Split▲ 218.4
Dubrovnik▲ 276
Ljubljana▲ 20.4
Skopje▲ 119.1
Tivat▲ 352.7
Podgorica▲ 284.8
Sarajevo▲ 109.3
Pula▲ 479.4
Zadar▲ 341.2
Rijeka▲ 228.4
Niš▲ 1134.2
Osijek▲ 926.7
Ohrid▲ 289

Connectivity is the metric by which airports live - the more connected an airport is to the wider world, the more attractive it becomes to its users and the greater the value it provides to the community and local, regional or national economy it serves. The 2019 report looks at Europe's total airport connectivity (direct and indirect), onward connectivity from Europe and hub connectivity. In essence, the report defines the connectivity of an airport as the weighted number of weekly flights available from that airport to non-stop destinations and to one-stop destinations involving flights of the same airline or of two airlines in an alliance or codeshare.


ACI uses the report as an opportunity to stress the importance of public policy and regulation in facilitating and enhancing connectivity, which is closely linked to the economic wealth of countries. ACI has called for progress on issues such as airport capacity, the liberalisation of market access, the lowering of navigation charges and aviation taxes and lighter economic regulation for airports.




Comments

  1. I wonder if this report accounted for JU`s expansion in June. They added nine new destinations which truly diversified the offering. Also, with MAD and codeshare with AirEuropa they did enhance significantly indirect connectivity to Latin America...

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  2. To all those with illusions that this is some important region... that table sums it up quite well.

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    1. Makes sense as Balkans is least developed region in Europe... Yet, it would be interesting to see growth in connectivity, I would assume that it would give a different perspective on the future of the region

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    2. The second table shows how much growth there has been in the last ten years, and it has been significant. Hopefully these trends continue.

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    3. I meant in comarison with other regions in Europe, to see if we are catching up with them

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    4. So far the UK still request visas from Bosnian citizens, it would be a waste of time and money having flights to London. German market is pretty well served with Munich, Cologne/Bonn and Stuttgart. It would be nice to have flights to Paris, Rome, Madrid, but I really see no reason for, say, Brussels or Amsterdam, as the interest is pretty low. Rather include at least one more East Europe destination line Prague

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    5. Wrong. Balkans is NOT the least developed region in "Europe". It is Moldova and Ukraine and part of Russia which is considered part of continental Europe too.

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    6. Yeah? Look at the rankings per country. Ukraine is way way ahead in terms of connectivity.
      Come on, only from Kiev you have flights to Delhi, Bangkok, Toronto, Goa.
      A city with 2 airports. Look at the rest of Ukraine: at least 10 operating airports.
      Chișinău airport today has flights to Lisbon (!), Dublin, Parma, 3 Moskva airports,etc, etc and traffic almost 3 milliones. Think again.....ex-Yu aeroports need to work harder.

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    7. Didn't people on here write how JU should ignore Ukrainian ''villages' as there is no market and how they should focus on Croatia in stead? You guys need to get your stories aligned. Is Ukraine a big market or not...mmm

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    8. What if different people were saying different things about JU connecting to various places in Ukraine, and we didn't consult each other before we posted here? What then?

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  3. Sorry but I'm really not surprised about these results especially Bosnia & Herz. being last. Sarajevo lacks connections to most major European hubs.

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    1. Still no flights to Rome, Paris, Brussels, London, Moscow, Frankfurt and the list goes on.

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    2. Hopefully things change now with FlyBosnia starting London and European cities soon

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    3. I hope so too, but to improve ranking /connectivity it's not just flights to important cities. Airlines also have to have codeshares

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    4. Sarajevo only connects to Arab cities

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  4. Are LCC counted in the report?

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    1. Even if they include them they don't fly to major airports ir offer connections which would explain Macedonia's relatively low score

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  5. Nothing new. Just some ethic traffic wont make u a hotspot. Croatia leader due to inbound tourism. What is lacking the region are business travel and outbound tourism

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    1. I can't speak for others but Serbia has quite a bit of outbound tourism. Look at charter flights today:

      05.20 Antalya JU A319
      06.30 Rhodes JU A319
      06.30 Hurgada SM B738
      06.40 Rhodes JU B733
      10.20 Bodrum JU B733
      11.30 Antalya JU A319
      12.00 Antalya JU A319
      12.15 Antalya JU B733
      12.30 Bodrum JU A319
      17.55 Dalaman JU A319
      18.00 Hurgada JU A319
      18.00 Antalya JU B733

      That's 12 charter flights today alone. On top of that scheduled flights to LCA, MLA, ATH, SKG, TIV, TGD, DBV, SPU, RJK, ZAD, PUY... also carry tourists.

      So I don't think we can say Serbia doesn't have outbound tourism.

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    2. You can't compare a couple of charters to Turkey and 2-3 ones to Egypt to Croatia. The season starts from April and ends in November. Those flights you mentioned are during the peak summer season June-Sept.

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    3. Yes but he said that there is no outbound demand from ex-YU countries and I showed him that there is from Belgrade. Also who do you think growing number of airlines carry in BEG carry? Who flies on Wizz Air to MLA or LCA or on JU and VY to BCN? Who mostly fills the seats on JU's flights to VCE?

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    4. Croatian charters are inbound tourism, these BEG charters are 99% outbound tourism. It goes to show that at least 1.500 people will go to their vacation today, not counting regular flights.

      I flew to SKG last night on JU as an outbound tourist :) 42 pax on ATR

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    5. Take JU's ZAD and RJK flights, both are more or less sold out throughout the summer and it's all local demand, not transfers. Great number of those passengers are outbound tourists.

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  6. Interestingly, if you look at the report where airport connectivity is rated, Belgrade is quite ahead of Sofia for example

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    1. Do you have the link to share?

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    2. Interesting, can you tell us about neighboring airports and how they rank?

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    3. https://www.aci-europe.org/policy/connectivity.html

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    4. I found this interesting, LCC presence in BEG:

      2009: 2.7%
      2019: 13.8%

      JU's share remained the same more or less, no change.

      However OU's performance is disastrous overall in Croatia:

      2009: 53.8%
      2019: 30.6%

      LCC in Croatia:

      2009: 20.5%
      2019: 37.1%

      Other carriers:

      2009: 25.7%
      2019: 32.3%

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    5. Belgrade is ahead because there was basically one airport in the whole country when this report was conducted.

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    6. Then why is INI included on the list?

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    7. JU's share remained the same, with the market at least doubling in ten years

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    8. Niš was included on national level in the next slides. He was referring to Belgrade as an airport.
      Croatia for example is stronger than Ukraine and close to Czech Rep because of the coastal airports and higher number of visitors. The more, the better.
      Serbia is lagging way behind Latvia in terms of direct connections even with 1 sole airport.

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    9. Probably because Riga has Wizz Air and Ryanair flying to every western European village from Riga. In terms of hub growth, BEG is actually catching up:

      Hub growth 2009-2019:

      BEG: +611%
      RIX: +160%

      Now that JU is back on track BEG will keep on catching up with RIX especially since Belgrade has a much better geographical location.

      And no, he said that BEG was basically the only airport when this report was made which was not true since INI was included in the list.

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    10. Kiev alone serves more passengers than all of Croatia.

      What are you talking about?

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    11. ROFL! :D :D :D @ 10:58 ! !
      The "4 continents hub" mania again. Dude, check out the map on page 20. Even Warsaw is considered a "niche and smaller hub" , so imagine Belgrade. You are living your own Bollywood, fictious movie making a fool of yourself.
      Riga is only less than 2 hours to all the important Scandinavian capitals and 30min to the Baltics. 1 hour to Russia's biggest cities. But no, Belgrade has a "better geographical location" :D hahaah

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    12. Anon 11.12

      Actually Belgrade has a much better geographical location because it is found at the very north of the Balkan peninsula which is, excluding Turkey, home to some 60 million people. On top of that, Belgrade is perfectly located to offer connections to Europe and North America for people in the wider Middle Eastern region and southern Russia and JU seems to be exploiting this with their flights to KRR, BEY, LCA, CAI and TLV- on top of their regional, Balkan network which includes: ZAG, PUY, RJK, ZAD, SPU, DBV, SJJ, BNX, TIV, TGD, TIA, SKP, SKG, ATH, SOF, OTP and LJU.

      On the other hand, Riga's location is pretty bad. They are up, far in the north located in the Baltic region which is home to barely 6 million people, so less than Serbia. On top of that, all of Nordics have a combined population of 27 million which is the equivalent of Romania and Bulgaria put together.

      As for Warsaw, unless we are talking about linking Europe with Asia then their geographical location isn't great either. Not to mention that their entire domestic market requires backtracking if flying to Western Europe or Americas via WAW. This has been exploited by KLM, LH... for years now.

      So yes, Belgrade has a much superior geographical location than both WAW and RIX. It's great to see JU growing and making the most of it. Don't forget that both LO and BT were on the verge of bankruptcy some years ago and since then they have been expanding and finding their place under the sun. Look at LO aggressively expanding in Asia. They realized where their potential is and they are making the most of it.

      So please, unless you have some concrete examples and facts to present, refrain from insulting the biggest group of visitors to this portal.

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    13. Dude, comparing Belgrade to Riga is crazy.
      Riga might be located in the north but that doesn't necessarily place it in a worse position. Besides, most of its neighbours are richer nations and richer markets. Riga is a tourist and most importantly business destination. I am betting you didn't even visit the city...
      BT is one of the best airlines in Europe, especially for punctuality. Stay assured BT has a much, better fleet.

      https://www.airbaltic.com/en/fleet

      Besides, Riga being much smaller served 7 million in 2018 i.e. 1,5 million more than Belgrade.

      Nah, you're probably gonna say..."but Latvia is in the EU..." smfh

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    14. Being in the EU plays an important role since many Latvians emigrated which further stimulated demand for air travel. Do you honestly think they would have had 660.000 passengers to London in 2018 if they were a non-EU member? I highly doubt it.

      My point, that you seem to have completely missed, is that I am not exclusively speaking about where they are today but rather about each airport's potential and that's where BEG has the advantage. Just because RIX is ahead this year doesn't mean it will always stay like that, especially not if JU keeps on expanding and growing. Transfer passenger potential for JU is much larger than it is for BT. Just look at this morning's arrivals to RIX by BT, they are mostly secondary and tertiary cities.

      What matters is that Belgrade is growing and expanding and its own pace. After all, I highly doubt RIX would have been where it is today had Latvia gone through the same ordeal Serbia did.

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    15. So Serbians didn't emigrate to Germany, Schweiz and Sweden nor do they continue ?

      If London is the busiest route from Riga so is Zürich in Belgrade if you know what I mean.
      Also the future of transfer traffic in the region is in doubt. Look at Podgorica/Tivat, Tirana and Skopje/Ohrid today. They are securing more connections and routes.

      Speaking of RIX arrivals, how about you compare the total number of flights served per day...

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    16. Are you seriously comparing Serbian emigration and that of Latvians? You are aware that as EU citizens, Latvians enjoy complete freedom of movement and employment within all member states while Serbian passport holders don't? On top of that, even when they find a job in the EU, Latvians don't require work permits while Serbs do. So you are comparing apples to oranges here.

      BEG-ZRH is the busiest western European destination from Belgrade yet it's still way behind RIX-LON.

      2013:
      RIX-LON: 390.169
      BEG-ZRH: 260.489

      2018:
      RIX-LON: 602.067
      BEG-ZRH: 387.583

      So even with mass migration of Serbs to Switzerland, number of passengers to Zurich has not reached the 2013 level of Riga-London. So yes, I think EU freedom of movement plays a major role in stimulating air travel demand.

      I am confused, are you implying that airports BT serves in their region are not experiencing improved connectivity the same way TGD, TIV, TIA... are?

      Of course RIX has more daily arrivals since it handles some 1.5 million passengers more than BEG. I thought that was obvious. However what I am speaking about is the general trend.

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    17. Basically 600 thousand out of 7 million is not even 10%.
      The general trend is that there is much more demand for LCC compared to transfer. Riga has fewer carriers, yet still has more traffic.
      There are many other airports with similar trends. Best examples:

      Skopje, Budapest, Tirana, Bucharest, Sofia, Valencia, Tallinn, Tbilisi/Batumi, etc, etc.

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    18. The same way 387.580 is not even 10% of 5.6 million. Anyway, time will tell where BEG will land and how it will develop in the future. As far as I'm concerned I am quite confident about their prospects.

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    19. If you guys sometimes visit Riga, fly with AirBaltic, and talk with locals you would learn:
      -Traffic to/from London is heavily influenced by UK tourist going for fun in Riga and business passengers (not just gastros)
      -AirBaltic is very nice but quite expensive company.
      -AirBaltic will charge you for absolutely everything
      -Economy in Baltic region is much better than in exyu hence people do travel more
      -People in Baltic do complain about prices and connectivity although they have Wizz, Ryann

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    20. No one cares about Baltic. Are you able to read the name of the blog?

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    21. No one cares you are annoyed, if you don't like the discussion skip it.

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    22. True dat

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  7. Love the INI growth haha

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  8. Well done Croatia! :) and well done Belgrade

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  9. It should be noted that ACI compiles this list based on peak summer months.

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    1. They should come up with connectivity in off season too. Results would be very different.

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  10. OMG Ljubljana what the hell. 20% connectivity growth in a decade. I'm sorry but that's a disaster.

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    1. Because the airport relies on Adria. Look at how many routes JP culled in the last ten years.

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    2. It's really is unfortunate but I do think LJU has one of the most difficult propositions. Its sandwiched between busy airports in a very small market.

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    3. Overall connectivity 2018-2019 for LJU: -46%

      There you go, congratulations to JP.

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  11. It's amusing that for years in these reports Germany always had the best connectivity but has now been overtaken by Spain Good on them.

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    1. Both BCN and MAD have worked hard to open new routes. Aena is a great operator.
      Level y Noruegian are playing a crucial role in BCN opening long-haul.
      Not to mention Palma de Mallorca, Malága, Islas Canarias. Mediterranean coast: VLC, ALC.
      Also Barcelona has 2 other alternative airports: Gerona and Reus. Zaragoza Airport is also 1,5 hour from Barcelona.
      Madrid is the top leader in Latin America for decades connecting almost every South American capital. Air Europa has expanded a lot.

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  12. Hmm, very interesting indeed. In the report itself. Page 36 and 37 of the report Croatia is in par with Israel, while N Mac and Slovenia are tied. BiH and Slovakia last, but situation will change for Bih in 2019 as it has more airports than Slovakia.
    Romania is ahead of Czechia because of the number of airports in the country.
    Interestingly, Hungary and Bulgaria are also very close.

    https://www.aci-europe.org/policy/connectivity.html

    Admin, very interesting subject thanks!

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  13. Results are not surprising at all. They make sense actually.

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  14. Bravo Hrvatska!

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  15. Given the still relatively difficult economic situation in Serbia BEG has done a great job in the last couple of years. Here are some of the highlights:

    - JU network stabilized and there are no major cuts anymore.
    - Three carriers to TLV.
    - Third carrier finally managed to survive on MOW-BEG.
    - JFK flights.
    - daily flights to Dubai.
    - AUH and DOH having more than daily flights.
    - Third daily from MUC even if it's on a summer seasonal basis.
    - Third flight on SU to SVO.
    - Flights to Tehran further enhancing the airport's Asian offer.
    - BEG is connected to all Balkan countries.
    - JU is adding new destinations such as KRR, KBP, HEL... which couldn't survive on local demand alone. This shows the importance of having a hub carrier.


    I think one of the major flaws is that BEG lacks connectivity to Europe's secondary markets outside Germany. LYS flights are a move in the right direction.

    I think soon we might see BT back and some re-introducing BEG-LIS flights.

    If the government keeps its subsidies for Indian tourists then we will see even more flights from the Middle East or maybe even IndiGo launches flights with the -neo.

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    Replies
    1. You don't get it. Nobody looks or cares about the increase of frequency on a route or having more carriers fly to the same destination. Here it is the "connectivity to the rest of the world"
      Example:

      2018:

      Latvia direct: 845
      Serbia direct: 632

      Because this report was made last year, the new JU destinations from both Serbian airports will increase but still not enough compared to Latvia simply because BT is 2-3 times bigger than JU. And both FR + W6 have even more direct routes from/to Riga.

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    2. Looking at the overall potential of both airports, I am certain BEG will overtake RIX in the next few years. What matters is that with each passing year BEG is adding more and more flights.

      Also, frequencies matter otherwise they wouldn't have the indirect connectivity section in the report.

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    3. Nemjee, just check out the 3 minute vid. BT is already considering the A321LXR and launch flights to US.

      https://atwonline.com/airbus-50/video-airbaltic-ceo-sees-a321xlr-opening-new-long-haul-opportunities

      Don't be too sure and certain and never underestimate the Baltic states. You have a lot to learn from this region. You were certain in the past for many things and they neva happened.

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    4. And what things was I so certain about that 'neva' happened?

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    5. The Latvian states are economic powerhouses that Serbia can not match.
      So flying to and from them is going to be fueled by their economic growth.

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    6. Anon 12:00
      Well, Belgrade is in the lead there since it already has flights to US on A330, and there is a high chance that a new long-haul route will be launched next year.

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    7. Plus postoji razlog zasto je Uzbekistan prekinuo letove iz Rige ka JFK. Da je bilo putnika ostala bi takva linija.

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    8. If BEG so behind RIX imagine other ex-YU airports! So much work needs to be done.

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    9. I know Anon 13:26. Vilnius is also catching up with Belgrade, too! Last year 5 million! With the birth of GetJet charter this autumn figures will even increase.
      I am impressed by the Baltik states !

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    10. Very good that Belgrade is now competing with Riga airport.
      Competition and especially ambition is important for a business.

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    11. Well it's logical to look beyond the exYU for competition. SOF and RIX are the main ones at the moment.

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    12. I wouldn't consider RIX or SOF as their airports both registered 7 million.
      I would rather compare Belgrade to Vilnius:

      2018:

      VNO: 4,923,000
      BEG: 5,641,105

      The difference is around 600 thousand which is not that much.
      Vilnius has a population of 550 thousand while Belgrade is 3 times larger.

      They also have charters to Madeira and exotic destinations such as Zanzibar!

      https://www.itaka.lt/musu-kryptys/

      Skrydis: Vilnius – Zanzibaras – apie 12 val. Numatomas techninis nusileidimas.

      Belgrade must really work quite harder with Vinci and catch up with all those airports !

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    13. RIX and SOF: no one cares. This is ex yu avitation.

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    14. So? Does that mean it is foribidden to talk about other airports ?

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    15. If you start talking about how great RIX, SOF etc are, I will easily shut you down by comparing how miserable their size and performance is compared to FRA, LHR, ATL... therefore we don't want to focus on any of them here.

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    16. Forget about Riga (20 positions ahead). Focus on Newcastle, Rhodes and most importantly Bilbao up by 4 positions:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_busiest_airports_in_Europe

      Vilnius is a new top 100 Euro airport. Gunna be interestin

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    17. Newcastle, Rhodes and Bilbao? We don't discuss Melbourne vs Sydney or Calgary vs Edmonton. Those are all fascinating topics and great airports, but people are not here to talk about them.

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    18. Why is Belgrade the only ex YU airport you are obsessing with? Is it really the only one worth talking about?

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    19. Any exyu airport is in scope, that's the only obsession.

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    20. No one literally mentioned any airport other than Belgrade tonight.

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    21. You are literally illiterate.

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    22. You are literally making no sense since illiterate means someone can't read or write, that person obviously can do both.

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  16. Connectivity is the most important value of any airport. Asside all the glamour, large lounges, duty free areas, amusement facilities, gyms, spas and other gimmicks - what matters the most is ease of access to the world.

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  17. Belgrade does well but it still is in its pre-LCCisation phase.

    Every bigger airport in Europe went through a process of LCCisation at some time, which resulted in massive growth of pax numbers and frequencies.

    Good example was Sofia which always lagged behind Belgrade, and now after a heavy battle of Wizz, Ryanair and Easyjet and following stabilization has added more than a million more pax and a multitude of new destinations.

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    Replies
    1. Sofia is not the best example, they are behind Belgrade in terms of connectivity and their numbers this year are nothing to be proud of.

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    2. It depends, while Belgrade is not connected to Ireland nor Portugal, Sofia is.
      While Sofia is not connected to Bosnia or Macedonia, Belgrade is.
      There are no domestic flights in Belgrade but there are in Sofia.
      Belgrade has a much better connectivity to the Middle East while Sofia is well connected to major UK cities and Ukraine.
      Both airports are quite different and have a different business model.

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    3. Belgrade is also connected to Ukraine.

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    4. Belgrade will see its lowcost boom finally.
      No way to circumvent it !

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    5. That's what everyone said about ZAG but they were wrong.

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    6. A bit too late. ASL already is the dominant carrier in both Belgrade and Niš. The model was designed to prevent Ryanair invasion contrary to what is happening with Crna Gora or random Croat airport.
      In ME we see a quiet LCC revolution in Podgorica and improving figures. Suddenly 7 Ryanair routes including Barcelona.
      Crna Gora seems to be heading in the right direction and not overprotecting YM. A model that works for everybody.

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    7. Yet Belgrade is the only ex yu airport that's home to both a legacy and LCC.

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    8. Come on, Air Serbia will do fine even after the low cost invasion !
      If Ryanair comes to Belgrade it will make life harder especially for Wizzair and the other LCCs .
      Wizzair is ripping off people in Belgrade with legacy prices but lackluster frequencies.
      The only reason for them to improve and get back on the track would be a good hard dose of Ryanair and Easyjet competition !

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    9. What planet are you from? Ryan knows well not to get into fight with established W6, JU and U2 at BEG when they can have the cake and eat it too at EU capitals of the region.

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  18. Po običaju mnogo onih koji ne čitaju tablu na ulazu gde jasno piše EXYU aviation. Now that we covered it, focus on key points from BEG point of view (from downloaded report):

    Both direct and indirect BEG connectivity increased 9% YoY. Key is direct connectivity, further moving away from the next regional competitor. BEG hub growth is almost 5% YoY but still down 4% since 2014 due to Air Serbia cuts. If new JU routes introduced this year and upcoming long range services can grow in a sustainable, incremental way, that will be the ticket to continued "mini regional hub" growth.

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