VINCI seeks feast of fortunes from Belgrade investment

Bernie Baldwin

In 2021, Belgrade Airport will be the gateway to the European Capital of Culture for that year, Novi Sad.

A beer festival that attracts 500,000 attendees; the EXIT music festival in Novi Sad hosting more than 200,000 people from 60 countries; and the annual Guča Trumpet Festival, which brings 600,000 visitors to western Serbia.  That’s just the leisure side of the reasons for travelling through Belgrade Airport.

Belgrade is among the world’s top 50 largest congress destinations and attracts business travellers to the many major companies within its catchment area.

It’s now a year and a half since the government of Serbia awarded a 25-year Belgrade Airport concession to VINCI Airports. The contract covers financing, operations, maintenance, renovation and expansion of the airport and its  runway system, the goal being to increase the airport’s capacity and to foster the economic development of Serbia.

“VINCI Airports has made a commitment to open new medium and long-haul routes; improve passenger flow management; showcase the Serbian cultural heritage; and roll out AirPact, the VINCI Airports environmental policy, which includes wastewater management, waste management and development of solar energy,” the company states.

The operator has begun an ambitious expansion programme to raise the airport’s quality of service to the highest international standards and enable it to ultimately serve 15 million passengers.

Early results will be visible in the  2019- 20 winter season, in which there are a few new routes: Air France’s flights to Paris CDG will be on daily basis; Wizz Air will continue flying to Larnaca twice-weekly; home airline Air Serbia  has seven new destinations – Madrid, Barcelona, Helsinki, Cairo, Krasnodar, Rijeka and Kiev.

Adding frequencies for winter will be: Belavia, with two more flights a week to Minsk; Flydubai, two extra per week to Dubai; Wizz Air, one flight a week to Dortmund; Atlasglobal, three more flights to Istanbul per week; and  Tarom, offering an extra weekly flight to Bucharest.

An early announcement for the summer 2020 season is that LOT Polish Airlines will be introducing a daily flight between Belgrade and Budapest.

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