Pristina Airport eyes long haul flights


Pristina Airport is aiming for the resumption of long haul services once it completes the ongoing extension of its runway. New York was its busiest unserved route in 2019 for a fifth consecutive year. The airport’s runway is currently being extended from 2.500 metres to 3.000 metres, while its Instrument Landing System (ILS) will be upgraded from category II to category IIIb, enabling aircraft to land in more adverse weather conditions. “We are using every opportunity to expand our route network or even double or triple services to existing destinations. Surely, with the runway extension, we will have heavier aircraft landing at Pristina Airport. Each airport would like to have long haul flights”. the airport’s Public Relations Manager, Valentina Gara, told Jusht Kushtrim Isa.

In 2019, over 13.000 passengers travelling from Pristina transferred through other points to reach New York. Some 10.000 travellers had JFK Airport as their final destination, while over 3.500 travellers were destined for Newark Liberty. Other popular destinations in North America included Chicago, Toronto and Washington. “Our diaspora is not only based in Europe but also in the United States, Australia and other countries. By having this runway extension and upgrade of the ILS system, we believe that we will possibly have long haul flights as well. We used to have flights to JFK Airport years ago”, Ms Gara noted.

Scanderbeg Air, a short-lived tour operator that contracted with Sky King Airlines, maintained two weekly flights between Pristina and New York with a Boeing 767-200ER aircraft from June to September in 2009. Ever since, there have been no flights between the two cities. Pristina Airport's General Manager, Haldun Firat Kokturk, previously said the US city continues to be a target destination. Better connectivity with major European hubs could also provide more accessible fares from Pristina to the United States. British Airways is set to launch seasonal flights from London Heathrow from July 4, albeit only once per week. “British Airways will start flights on a two-month trial basis during the summer season to Pristina Airport. We believe that they will continue after these two months as well”, Ms Gara concluded.




Comments

  1. Considering the size of the diaspora in the US it would make sense for some seasonal flights at least. Plus it could attract passengers from Macedonia and Albania.

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  2. When will the runway extension be completed?

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    Replies
    1. Will works be carried out during high season?

      Will they close part of or entire runway during works or they will work only during the night and close airport from evenings till mornings?

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    2. The runway extension has been going on for over a year. There were even updates on here. They don't have to close the airport or runway.

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  3. In addition to Scanderbeg Air, American Trans Airways (ATA) also operated 2 weakly seasonal flights between New York and Pristina. They had very good loads and planned to continue the flights but they went bankrupt. I think their is definitely potential for this route on a seasonal basis.

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    1. Yes, those flights started in 2007. Aircraft was full with Albanian and Macedonian passengers and there were some from Montenegro too.

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    2. Don't forget the routing was JFK-Pristina-Tirana-Pristina-JFK.

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    3. Didn't the Scanderbeg Air flights operate via Liege?

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    4. They did. And they also continued on to Tirana after Pristina.

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    5. Everything about the trip was terrible except for the loads.

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  4. Unfortunately the new BA flights don't offer connections to JFK in either direction. I do hope they extend their flights like they say though :)

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    1. A mozemo li mi Srbi da letimo na ovu relaciju? Da necete da se ljutite?

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  5. But is it only about widebodies? I mean Pristina handled Swiss 777 and Edelweiss A330 last year without a problem.

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    1. To fly to Zurich a widebody is very light and won't need more than 2.5km of runway. To fly over the big pond 2.8-3.2 km will be needed for take offs, depending on a whole bunch of factors such as airport altitude, weather (wind)/runway conditions (wet), amount of fuel, and so on.

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    2. I see. Makes sense. Thank you

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    3. I remember a United 747 landing in Pristina in 2015.

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  6. Why not Paris first? Or Amsterdam?

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    1. Because they have fewer passengers than New York if it is the busiest unserved route.

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    2. Pristina should work on getting direct flights to New York, Paris and Amsterdam and they would all be successful.

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  7. It's surprising that Lufthansa does not fly to Pristina. They could easily pack passengers to the US via Frankfurt.

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    1. LH has very high costs, that's why they don't fly to SKP either.

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    2. Maybe there will be more of an incentive for them with Adria now gone (which used to feed LH flights from PRN).

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    3. LH focus on connecting passengers from America that’s why it has High fares to TIA. Don’t see it working for SKP.

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    4. I assume then that the majority of passengers from Pristina also transfer through Istanbul with Turkish Airlines to the US?

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  8. Fingers crossed.

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  9. Don't know if 13000passenger a year would justify any airline to set up a connection. Unless there is an airlines which would do JFK-TIA-PRN (or JFK-PRN-TIA) and vice versa to bring the no up. I know the Albanian carrier aims at having a direct flight with USA but they are having the same problem with the runway in TIA. Who knowns this may just work out. Good luck to them.

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    1. 13.000 is to NYC alone. What about other popular destinations like D.C. Chicago or Toronto? How about Albanians from Macedonia, Montenegro or Albania? I think the 'potential' passenger numbers would triple or quadruple instantly.

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    2. THEYRE ANOTHER 40.000 PASSENGERS FLYING FROM NEW YORK TO TIRANA AND SKOPJE....IMAGINE THEY DO DIRECT FLIGHT ,,,ALL ALBANIANS FROM ALBANIA AND NORTH MACEDONIA WILL USE PRISHTINA,,,THATS 80K PASSENGERS A YEAR ,,,MORE THAN AIR SERBIA ALL YEAR LONG LOL

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  10. Why did Scanderbeg Air stop flying JFK - Pristina?

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  11. Most people from Kosovo/Albania living in the US fly once in every 3 or 4 years because prices are high. If there was a direct line prices would probably go down and there would be more visits.

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    1. I'm surprised that there are quite a few people travelling between Pristina and Washington DC. Is there an Albanian population living there?

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  12. American Airlines or Delta Airlines definitely should open service round trip non-stop from JFK to PRN which also connects flights from/to other destinations in the the US to/from Pristina.

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    1. Because of 15.000 potential passengers? You are joking, right? They don't have flights to airports where they have several 100.000 potential passengers per year.

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  13. Best option for these flights are JFK-TIA-PRN-TIA-JFK

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  14. Albanian prime minster announced that they are preparing a wide body aircraft (Air Albania) for the JFK flight but needs runway extension.

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    1. And you believe him? LOL

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    2. Air Albania is 49% owned by Turkish airlines don’t see them having problems finding planes

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  15. Ex-Yu airports should try and get linked to bigger hubs that can offer onward connections rather than chase these long haul routes. I remember reading last year a connectivity report here showing that ex-Yu cities have quite bad hub connectivity in comparison to the rest of Europe.

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    1. Pristina has flights to more primary airports and European hubs then Skopje.

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    2. But it needs more LCCs.

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    3. What PRN now needs is W6 or FR to secondary airports such as CRL, HHN, EIN, etc.

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  16. Eurowings low cost airline with Airbus A330’s works perfect for US Diaspora JFK-PRN-JFK.

    EW also based in PRN can make a good deal for long haul flights to/from JFK easy, good luck EW

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    1. Well it would make most sense to have EW operate the route since they are based there.

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    2. Eurowings is designated to operate BEG-PRN this summer. They could offer connecting flights BEG-PRN-JFK.

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  17. I wrote it twice already here and will write again : 250.000 passengers ZAG to the US, no flights. 27.000 PRN to NYC, even if it's double with other US destinations, it is still FIVE TIMES less than ZAG, so absolutely no way any of the big US carriers would start it. Once or twice weekly, for two or three summer months, on some strange and unknown carrier, I accept that option to happen, but this number of passengers is simply not big enough for serious service of serious airline with transfer options to start, you like it or not.

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    1. +100

      Even SKG or SOF don't have US flights.

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    2. So what? PRN had flights to US before them.

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    3. Former Balkan Airlines used to fly to JFK with their 767 and Tarom used to fly with their A310. Plus, DL used to do JFK-OTP, too.
      It is difficult to maintain those flights because of the visas.
      But Kosovar/Albanian diaspora is quite large so it makes sense beginning with a seasonal route or even talking with DY, LO or EW. Either way, PRN seems to be doing well as an airport and 2020 seems to be promising.

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    4. Problem is not why PRN is seeking NYC connection. Real problem is why, if it's true that "250.000 passengers ZAG to the US", ZAG doesn't have direct flights to US.
      PRN doesn't have to wait ZAG, for anything, to start new routes.
      At the end of the day, there are experts who run PRN or different airlines, who do fisibility studies for new routes. If they find it reasonable to invest in PRN - JFK direct route, they will do it.

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    5. +1 last anon.

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    6. unlike ZAG or SOF, these flights would attract passengers from another two markets

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    7. Everyyear 100k pasengers fly to albania kosova and no rth maceconia from new york at least

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  18. Who are they kidding? There is no market there. Keep flying on Austrian and Turkish for the time being.

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  19. Would be interesting to see numbers from/to New York from other airports in the region from which it is not served.

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  20. Who flies the bulk of the US bound pax ex PRN?

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    1. Good question. My guess is LX and TK.

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    2. Don't forget OS.

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  21. Zag can have 2 mln passengers to JFK, why does it even matter? Are Zag and PRN sijamese siblings or smth?

    Most commentators here deep down believe Kosovars should even fly to Vienna through their Jugo cities or villages.

    Flights to NYC are the most logical thing. Its the most frequented unserved destination after all! Should PRN pick the least frequented destination to launch? Kind kind of logic is that!!!

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    1. And how many years have we read the same comments justifying flights to JFK? Has anything become of them? No. Nothing will change and there won't be any flights to JFK.

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  22. PRN still has really important Primary Destinations such as:

    LHR
    FRA
    IST
    OSL
    MUC
    ZRH
    BRU capital

    Of course CDG and AMS are missing but that does not mean JFK cannot be served meanwhile.

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  23. JFK-TIA-PRN-JFK would be a good compromise. Could a B737max on a daily basis (summer) handle this once the plane's problems are over?

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  24. 9 hours flight on b737?
    Are you even serious ��

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