Ryanair has held talks with the Serbian government over plans to expand its operations in the country. The Serbian Prime Minister, Ana Brnabić, has confirmed that a meeting between the two sides took place recently. “We just held talks with Ryanair. They have given us suggestions on how they could expand and how we could further improve our partnership. We are currently working on it but we will also continue supporting our national carrier”, Ms Branbić said. It comes just several weeks after the Serbian Minister for Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlović, noted that Belgrade Airport should see more low cost flights following its takeover by VINCI in late September.
Ryanair launched operations to Serbia in 2016 by introducing flights to Niš Constantine the Great Airport, from which it now maintains services to five destinations. Among no frill carriers, it had the second largest passenger share in Serbia in 2017, behind only Wizz Air but ahead of Flydubai. Ryanair’s Chief Commercial Officer, David O’Brien, said last year, “We believe that the Serbian market has great potential. Basing an aircraft is currently not an option for us, but developments take place quickly with Ryanair. Of course, this does not mean that Rynaiar will not continue expanding its network from Niš and attributing to its passenger growth”.
The Serbian government has previously said that there is interest from carriers to set up a base in Niš. “The airport lacks the capacity to act as a base, however, this is set to change with the completion of several ongoing projects. There is interest from airlines to establish a base but we have to finish a few things first. We are hopeful that the planned investments will be completed and that an airline will then station an aircraft in Niš”, the government said. Air Serbia recently warned that a number of low cost airlines would enter its home market in the near future. “The flood of low cost carriers that have waged war on traditional airlines across Europe is on its way to Serbia. It definitely weighs heavily on our thoughts in terms of our future plans”, the airline noted.