Pristina Airport becomes former Yugoslavia’s busiest in Q1


Pristina Airport was the busiest in the former Yugoslavia during the first quarter of the year, achieving the milestone for the first time in history. It also became the first airport in the former Yugoslavia to mark an end to the monthly decline in passenger numbers, which began as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In March it saw its figures grow 23.3% on 2020. The airport handled 330.787 passengers during the January - March period, compared to some 283.000 at second-placed Belgrade and 148.991 travellers at third-placed Skopje. However, Pristina Airport, as well as Belgrade, performed better than other major European airports including Budapest, Prague, London Gatwick, Luxembourg, Larnaca and Malta, to name a few.

Month PAX Change (%)
JAN 134.204
 26.9
FEB 96.442  42.3
MAR 100.141 ▲ 23.3

Pristina Airport has been more resilient than most others in the region to the Covid-19 downturn as it depends on a high volume of diaspora traffic who are based in the European Union, and, in turn, are permitted to enter both their country of residence, as well as their homeland. Furthermore, parliamentary elections aided figures in February when a large number of those living abroad, particularly from Switzerland, returned to their homeland to cast their vote. The pandemic has changed the usual traffic flow at airports in the former Yugoslavia. In addition to Pristina becoming the busiest during the first quarter, Skopje has leaped past Zagreb to become the third busiest, while both Sarajevo and Tuzla have overtaken Ljubljana, with Slovenia continuing to be among the most affected markets on the continent.

Pristina Airport’s Chief Operations Officer, Gokmen Aritay, told EX-YU Aviation News late last year, “Our traffic mainly relies on the diaspora, which lives and works abroad, meaning most of them hold citizenship and/or residency permits of the countries they are living in. Based on the abovementioned reasons, our passengers are not as affected by document limitations, while their desire to come and visit their families back in Kosovo continues despite the pandemic. This is one of the main reasons that passenger figures have seen a smaller decline compared to other regional airports”. Pristina Airport is in the process of extending its runway from 2.500 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. The project, which has been delayed by the pandemic, is expected to be completed in late summer.



Comments

  1. Anonymous09:01

    wow

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:22

      Just wonder why so many people travel to the region in the pandemic, while the rest of the world stays at home not to spread the virus?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:31

      Because they want to.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous01:58

      Proportionally, more peeople are still travelling around west Europe.

      Delete
  2. Anonymous09:03

    I am surprised Pristina performed that well and the Belgrade did not pick it up in March.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:18

      BEG relies on transfers, after all JU remains a dominant carrier. But because of the EU restrictions, the numbers went down and demand fell. Current focus is Russia, MNE, Switzerland and Turkey all of which are non-EU countries.

      Delete
  3. Anonymous09:03

    That's a very good result all things considering.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous09:04

    Goes to show that airport relying on diaspora traffic will recover much faster.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:24

      Without doubt.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:25

      True. But relying only on diaspora traffic isn't sustainable in the long run.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:48

      Obviously countries that rely less on tourism are less affected than those relying heavily on tourism.

      Delete
  5. Anonymous09:04

    Congrats Pristina. Solid result for an airport in covid era. Good work.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous09:06

    Let's see if they can maintain that spot for the rest of the year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:03

      Don't be ridiculous.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:05

      Well they were second in 2020.

      Delete
  7. Anonymous09:06

    It needs to reduce its fees.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:10

      They give some nice incentives out now.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:11

      The problem with Pristina is that the government sets the fees, not the airport operator.

      Delete
  8. Anonymous09:10

    What are conditions for entering Swiss / Kosovo*? I remember they were pretty relaxed in Christmas time last year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:11

      It was recently put on Switzerland's red list, meaning residents/citizens who have visited Kosovo have to quarantine on arrival.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:19

      When was that? What month did they introduce quarantine?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:01

      Second half of March.

      It means they had 2.5 months in this year of free travelling between Switzerland and PRN.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10:04

      We will see how this will impact PRN. Edelweiss has suspended flights to PRN now.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous10:08

      I think I know how it will impact PRN.

      Delete
  9. Anonymous09:12

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

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:30

      It used to. But thanks to its successful management, it failed in that market too.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous15:03

      Route was struggling for years, even though it was scheduled to link onto the morning bank of flights from Zagreb. It was expensive to operate because crew rest was also involved in PRN overnight.

      Delete
  10. Anonymous09:15

    Also PCR test in PRN is just 20$ on airport

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous11:28

      Great move.
      Is it for real?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:30

      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2021/01/pcr-testing-site-opened-at-pristina.html

      Delete
  11. Anonymous09:17

    Congrats Pristina!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous09:17

    Wizz Air should open a base there.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anonymous09:19

    Prishtina's pax numbers will continue to perform this good and maybe better than this, in the months to come considering that there were no flights up to late June 2020.
    Moreover, as restrictions among EU countries will possibly continue to be lifted, there will likely be more travel back and forth.
    It just shows that airports around the region such as Skopje, Tirana or Niš (which are supposed to offer cheaper tickets) have no or very little impact on Prishtina's numbers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:28

      +1

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:47

      There is a new competitor: the newly opened airport in Kukes

      Delete
  14. Anonymous09:21

    Does Eurowings still have a base in PRN?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous02:05

      I don't think so. Their base was also family tour agent contracted I think?

      Delete
  15. Anonymous09:26

    How long does Limak's concession of Pristina Airport run for?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:28

      Until 2030.

      They won a 20 year concession in 2010.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:33

      Thanks. Still a while to go.

      Delete
  16. Anonymous09:31

    They should work on attracting flights from Amsterdam, Paris, Copenhagen and Rome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:33

      Highly unlikely in these circumstances.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:48

      TUI will be starting flights in May to Amsterdam via Tirana and I think they have been doing the same with Brussels. Just have to see if they will go ahead with their schedule.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous02:06

      Do they sell tickets on TIA-PRN sector?

      Delete
  17. Anonymous09:36

    It's surprising that Lufthansa does not fly to Pristina. They could easily pack passengers to the US via Frankfurt, not to mention all the diaspora from Germany.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:47

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

      Delete
    2. Anonymous20:17

      Its because they care about profit

      Delete
    3. Anonymous02:06

      They usually get others to do the work for them. Used to be Adria in the region.

      Delete
  18. Anonymous09:37

    Excellent result for PRN taking into account what's going on around in Europe at the moment. It will be interesting to see whether the new airport in Kukes will have any impact on it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:47

      If it becomes an ultra low cost airport as previously indicated that is going to affect the numbers in PRN and the numbers in Skopje.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:47

      The airport will cover north Albania and majority of south Kosovo

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:54

      I know Kukes was just recently opened and they are in the process of being internationally recognised (https://simpleflying.com/air-albania-kukes-first-flight/). There is media report that the airport is in talks with low cost airlines with the aim of offering flights to Germany, Swiss, Scandinavia, North Italy and the UK. But have to see if these will materialise to better then understand the impact on Prishtina.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10:35

      I don't know which airline would start operations there. W6 has a 4 plane base in TIA while gradually expanding in PRN.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous16:31

      Airlines are still rather hesitant to open routes to TIA and PRN, so let alone Kukës. Kukës only has a chance when TIA and PRN are saturated.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous16:56

      So now that W6 still hasn't opened a base in PRN, Kukës doesn't stand a chance but when TIA and PRN are saturated it will?

      Delete
  19. Anonymous09:38

    Good for PRN!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anonymous09:48

    What's interesting is that PRN has no transfer/ connecting traffic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:54

      Yes but they have a huge diaspora that only keeps on getting bigger and bigger.

      Delete
  21. Anonymous09:48

    Great results for PRN considering covid and entry ban.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous02:08

      never in a million years would I have thought it would be no. 1 in exyu :D

      Delete
  22. Anonymous09:49

    Growth even in times like this? Amazing, good work PRN

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous09:50

    Happy to hear good news for PRN.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Anonymous09:54

    Have a feeling over 60% of passengers were from Switzerland.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Anonymous09:59

    If Kosovo didn't have visa restrictions, it would probably be second or third airport in ex-Yu for years.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anonymous10:00

    PRN remained most open during the pandemic and demand has been increasing compared to other airports in the region. Despite the EU restrictions, the numbers are still very good.
    Numbers in Albania seem to be lower as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous14:46

      They remained most opened? PRN airport was closed for the longest out of all the major airports in the region.

      Delete
  27. Anonymous10:11

    Well done to both PRN and for Albania for opening the new airport. The tandem seems to be working great! During the last couple of months there was an insane number of flights between Kosova and Switzerland and Germany. Even foreign carriers. I personally saw a Bulgaria Air charter from PRN-FKB operating more than once. Not to mention W6 who are planning to operate PRN-LTN 5 weekly in summer.
    Historic moment!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:22

      Ultimately, if there wasn't any gastos flying between Germany, Switzerland and Italy, there would technically be no flight market in Kosovo*. Tourism air travel is almost non-existent. In the long run, this growth is likely not sustainable.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:31

      Why not? Philippines or Lithuania for example both have huge diaspora figures as well and still managing to have good numbers. The Albanian diaspora is just too large and there will always be demand.

      Delete
    3. I don't understand your point @An.10:22. What are you trying to say? If Croatia didn't have tourism, it would have double less passengers, maybe even triple less. If Serbia didn't have JU doing that much transfers, it would have double less passengers as well. If Kosovo (with *, according to your preference) wouldn't have that large diaspora, it would have double less passengers or almost no passengers at all. So what are you trying to say, I don't understand. What I know is that Kosovo always had huge diaspora, within ex-yu, in Europe and North America, and PRN was the most neglected airport in ex-yu, with 5 weekly flights to BEG and one weekly to ZRH. So, coming from that position to position no 1 in ex-yu, is something one should say :"my respect", and not trying to belittle their success.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous18:13

      anon 10:22

      Adding to what pozdrav mentioned: all airports in ex-Yu rely on diaspora travel and the more to the south the more reliance there is. Who is flying on JU flights to Switzerland, Germany, Scandinavia or US, if not diaspora (including diaspora from neighbouring countries)?

      Delete
  28. Anonymous10:41

    Who would have thought that PRN would be busier than Luton, Budapest, Prague :D

    ReplyDelete
  29. Anonymous10:49

    I didn't think I would ever read a headline like this!

    PRN definitely has potential.

    Anyone know why runway is being extended to 3000m? Transatlantic flights - JFK perhaps?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous13:59

      Pristina handled Swiss 777 and Edelweiss A330 in the past without a problem. It also handled a United 747 once.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous14:01

      The United one was in 2015 but the plane had a light load, just some army personell. Plane from Zurich can land with widebody but for a full long haul flight it wuld be very difficult.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:34

      Also Atlas Air B747 military flight

      Delete
  30. Anonymous11:24

    Bravo PRN!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Anonymous11:36

    March 2021: in 2.5 days Priština has more pax than Ljubljana, next EU presidency country, in the full month.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous18:47

      Do not worry. Our government can make international problems over zoom or twitter.

      They are quite skilled in the use of social media.

      Delete
  32. Anonymous13:27

    Both Sarajevo and Tuzla overtook Ljubljana, lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous13:34

      And to think that just a little bit more than 10 years ago, LJU used to be third busiest airport in ex yu. Anyways, bravo PRN!

      Delete
    2. Anonymous13:38

      And SJJ and TZL

      Delete
  33. Anonymous13:58

    Pandemic or not, Pristina has the opportunity to keep top position for a while. If not first then second.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Anonymous15:04

    Good luck with the rest of the year to PRN. I noticed that Trade Air will take over the Air Mediterranean flights, which are all operated for the family tour agents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous15:27

      Trade Air is operating on behalf of Air Mediterranean which is contracted by the family tour agencies

      Delete
  35. Anonymous18:35

    Slovenia continuing to be among the most affected markets on the continent.

    So we are again first in something 🎉🎉🎉🥂🥂🥂

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous02:09

      It's a shame. I don't understand why it has hit Slovenian aviation so hard. I mean many countries are in the same situation as Slovenia but have managed to have a smaller decline.

      Delete
  36. Anonymous20:18

    Nice work Pristina. Keep going forward -->>

    ReplyDelete
  37. Whatever happened to the Budapest-Pristina flights, they were scheduled twice a week for several years now? Are they gonna resume after the pandemic?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous23:30

      They were subsidised by the Hungarian government so it's dependent on them. And i doubt they're returning anytime soon

      Delete
    2. Anonymous00:10

      The Budapest - ex-Yu routes have all been terminated. The subsidy program ended in 2020 and the Hungarian government has decided not to extend it. And none of the routes seemed to have been viable to operate on their own.

      Delete
  38. Anonymous00:11

    Unbelievable achievement by PRN

    ReplyDelete
  39. Anonymous00:12

    Way to go

    ReplyDelete
  40. Anonymous00:13

    Any new routes this summer?

    ReplyDelete
  41. Anonymous02:07

    It's probably the only airport in Europe that saw growth in March.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Anonymous02:07

    I'm still trying to get over the fact that Skopje overtook Zagreb!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous02:55

      Albanian diaspora, my friend. After all, SKP is a 90% gasto airport and can be considered as a PRN alternative.

      Delete
  43. Anonymous02:08

    Great that they will finally finish the runway extension. It has been dragging on for some time now.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Anonymous13:59

    OU did lot of mistakes in PRN. First, they reduced capacity, then they deployed turboprops and reduced capacity even further. Then they started with tactical cancelations ending up slashing majority of the flights. Kosovo market has overseen by OU MK, and they did everything to keep SKP and remove PRN. I other words they did nothing, and eventually the route was performing so bad that they have to withdraw definitely. SKP was saved, and bus traffic has flourished e eversince.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Anonymous15:16

    It really is the end of the world

    ReplyDelete

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