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Southeast European Airports Soar to New Heights

In a significant display of air travel recovery, airports across the Southeast European region collectively served over 1.7 million passengers in January, revealing a landscape of growth and diverse challenges

Commercial airports across the SEE handled 1,733,335 passengers in January, marking significant traffic, with Belgrade and Pristina ranking among the top 65 and 100 busiest airports in Europe, respectively. While airports like Skopje reported record-breaking growth, others like Split and Dubrovnik experienced a decline in passenger numbers compared to previous years.

In a significant stride towards pre-pandemic levels, commercial airports across the Southeast Europe have served a collective total of 1,733,335 passengers in the first month of this year. This figure not only marks a milestone in the region’s aviation recovery but also positions Belgrade and Pristina airports prominently on the European aviation map. Belgrade has ascended into the ranks of the top 65 busiest airports in Europe, with Pristina not far behind in the top 100, according to Ex-Yu Aviation News.

A mix of record-breaking highs and tempered lows characterizes the performance spectrum. Airports in cities such as Belgrade, Pristina, Zagreb, Skopje, Podgorica, Sarajevo, Ohrid, Zadar, and Kraljevo witnessed their busiest January on record. Skopje’s airport, in particular, showcased a remarkable year-on-year growth of 50.5% and a 50.9% increase compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019. However, not all shared in this upward trend; airports in Split, Niš, Banja Luka, Tuzla, and Osijek experienced a dip in passenger numbers compared to the previous year. Dubrovnik saw an improvement over 2023, albeit still lagging more than 40% behind its 2019 figures.

The report highlights the competitive positioning of these airports within Europe. Belgrade’s airport emerged as the 65th busiest, outperforming peers such as Sofia, Toulouse, and Bristol, and trailing just behind Tirana, Naples, and Seville. Pristina clinched the 97th spot, outpacing airports like Trondheim and Stavanger in Norway but following Vilnius and Tbilisi. Zagreb and Skopje also made their mark, securing the 104th and 106th positions, respectively, and demonstrating the growing significance of the Southeast European region in the European aviation landscape.

This resurgence underscores not only the recovery from pandemic-induced setbacks but also the potential for growth and increased connectivity within Southeast Europe and beyond. As these airports navigate through challenges and opportunities, their trajectory offers insights into the broader dynamics of regional and European air travel in the post-pandemic era.

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