Smaller EX-YU airports continue to struggleNiš Constantine the Great Airport in Serbia is negotiating with several airlines to commence flights to the city, the CEO of the airport told Serbian media. The airport currently only has 7 weekly flights to Podgorica, operated by Montenegro Airlines, which are subsidised by the local authorities. “I cannot disclose which airlines are in question but I am optimistic that talks will be finalised soon”, Dragan Bugarinović, the airport’s CEO says. Recently, Adria Airways announced it was considering introducing flights from Ljubljana to Niš.
In 2010 the airport handled 23.650 passengers, an increase of 38% compared to 2009. In the first few months of 2011, the airport is continuing to report passenger growth, with a 40% jump compared to the same period last year. In 2010, the low cost Italian airline, Wind Jet, operated flights to the city but were eventually suspended as subsidies for the route dried up. The airport also had financial problems last year, although Belgrade Airport eventually bailed it out by providing much needed funds. Jat Airways has refused to operate flights from Niš in the past few years saying that it is unprofitable to operate services to the city (unsubsidised).
Small secondary airports in the EX-YU region, such as Niš, have been struggling for years. Banja Luka, Mali Lošinj, Portorož, Tuzla, Mostar and Maribor all report minimal services throughout the year and most are struggling financially. However, governments continue to open airports throughout the region with the Croatian Government recently announcing it will go ahead with plans to construct an airport on the island of Korčula. The Serbian Government is funding the construction of an airport in Kraljevo while Montenegro is keen on building an airport in Berane.