Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro top overflight growth


The air navigation service providers of Macedonia (M-NAV) and Serbia and Montenegro (SMATSA) saw among the biggest growth in handled traffic during 2022 when compared to the pre-pandemic 2019. The growth was primarily fuelled by the war in Ukraine, forcing many carriers to take more southerly routes. M-NAV saw the third largest growth in Europe, amounting to 4% when compared to 2019, while SMATSA saw its number of handled flights increase 2%, registering the fifth largest growth rate. Armenia’s ARMATIS saw the greatest increase (18%), followed by Albania’s Albacontrol (13%), while Georgia’s Sakaeronavigatsia positioned itself between M-NAV and SMATSA. Croatia’s Croatiacontrol and Slovenia’s Slovenia Control both saw their number of handled flights increase 1% compared to 2019, behind Hungary’s HungaroControl. A total of nine air navigation service providers in Europe registered an increase in overflights compared to 2019.


  1. Anonymous15:12

    Could someone here explain us how are overflight fees determined and caluclated?

    Often when I check FR24 i ser many airlines purpousefully avoiding Serbian airspace by turning south right after the triborder with Hungary and Romania. Obviously it does not make financial sense to go through the country although it is a shorter route.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Anonymous18:03

      Some flights are not allowed to fly trough Serbia (z.B. the ones flying to Pristina have to go around)

    2. Anonymous18:03

      Also some airlines want to stay over EU.

    3. Anonymous19:57

      There's simply no need to enter Serbian airspace from Hungary if the planes are heading towards east and south-east.
      The planes do sometimes make a sharp turn because they want to use as much of a Romanian airspace as possible, which is really huge comparing to surrounding Balkan airspaces. By doing that, they're avoiding Serbia and Bulgaria (except for a small part on a maritime border) and the airlines might save some extra fees. Instead of overflying two countries, they overfly only through Romania.
      The same thing are doing many airplanes heading towards BEG from Hungary, sometimes they avoid Slovenia and Croatia and make a sharp turn to enter Serbian airspace close to HUN-SRB-CRO tripoint.

    4. Meyraf23:01

      Anon 18:03, no airline would have any such intention or reason to do so. Rules, regulations and technical requirements for overflying EU are identical to those in Balkans countries that are not in the EU (and also in CH, Norway and Iceland).

  2. Meyraf21:52

    Serbian overflight fees are the lowest in the region (check here:, however, the rates are, with the exception of Slovenia, around the same mark.

    Further, all countries in the region operate the so called cross-border “free route airspace” (check here:, therefore, the size of any individual country in the region is no longer that relevant.

    For longer flights, the key considerations in the choice of the route are wind aloft (wind at high altitudes) and the organisation of the traffic flows, so called “strategic traffic deconfliction”, aimed at reducing the number of individually conflicting trajectories, e.g. Turkey would probably not allow a flight departing Central Europe with the destination in China to enter from the Aegean region, but from the Black Sea region, to keep them strategically separate from the flows going from the same origin (Central Europe) to Middle East.

    For shorter flights, the key consideration is on the air traffic control capacity (where is the lowest likelihood of delay, along the entire route). Now, here states also play games, so e.g. a country would declare lower capacities on some routes or sectors in order to keep the traffic longer in their airspace (and, therefore, charge more).

    Finally, the airlines pay the fees based on aircraft mass and length of the route flown (a very complex formula with some square root and stuff). The unit rate published by Eurocontrol (in the link I provided above) is the comparative average.

    1. Anonymous03:41

      Thank you for this very informative comment!

    2. Anonymous15:09

      1.3 Calculation formula
      1.3.1 Route Charges
      The charge per flight will be calculated in accordance with the following formula:
      ri = ti × Ni
      where ri is the charge, ti the service unit rate of charge and Ni the number of service units corresponding to the actual flight in LJUBLJANA FIR.
      For a given flight, the number of service units (Ni) is obtained by applying the following formula:
      Ni = di × P
      in which di is the distance factor of the flight within LJUBLJANA FIR and P the weight factor for the aircraft concerned. Distance factor
      The distance factor shall be obtained by dividing by on hundred (100) the number of kilometres in the great circle distance between:
      the aerodrome of departure within, or the point of entry into, the airspace of the LJUBLJANA FIR and
      the aerodrome of arrival within LJUBLJANA FIR, or point of exit from LJUBLJANA FIR.
      The distance to be taken into account shall be reduced by twenty (20) kilometres for each take-off from and for each landing, considering that a separate charge is paid for the air navigation services and facilities at aerodromes. Weight factor
      The weight factor is defined as the square root of the quotient by dividing the number of metric tonnes in the maximum certificated take-off weight of the aircraft (as set in the certificate of airworthiness) by fifty (50).
      P = √ ( MTOW / 50 )
      For the calculation of the charge, the weight factor will be expressed with two decimals.
      In those cases where an operator has indicated to the bodies responsible for the collection of the charge that he operates two or more aircraft, which are different versions of the same type, the average of the maximum take-off weights of all his aircraft of that type shall be used for the calculation of the weight factor for each aircraft of that type. The calculation of this factor per aircraft type and per operator will be effected at least once a year. If the operator has given no such indication, the weight factor for an aircraft of any type shall be calculated by taking the weight of the heaviest aircraft of the same type known to exist.


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