The airports of the former Yugoslavia among the busiest in Europe

Three airports in the former Yugoslavia ranked among the continent’s 100 busiest airports in March, as well as in the first quarter of the year, according to Airports Council International Europe (ACI). With a total of 292,924 passengers last month, Belgrade airport ranked 82nd ahead of Larnaca, Vilnius and Luxembourg, but just behind Thessaloniki, Riga and Tirana. After several months, Zagreb airport performed better than Pristina, handling 196,280 travellers. It ranks 95th, ahead of Billund, Tbilisi and Yerevan but behind Newcastle, Tromso in Norway and Treviso. Close behind was Pristina, making it into the top 100 by ranking 96th with 195,241 passengers.

March Representation

First quarter performance

During the first quarter, Belgrade, Pristina and Zagreb were among the 100 busiest airports in Europe, while Skopje was the closest among others in the former Yugoslav region to making the list, ranking 110th . It was just ahead of Aberdeen, East Midlands and Paphos in Cyprus. Sarajevo airport was 130th on the continent, overtaking Alghero, Bremen and Rovaniemi in Finland. On the other hand, Ljubljana ranked 150th, between Olbia and Chania. Of all European markets, only four in Europe exceeded their 2019 pre-pandemic passenger performance in the first quarter – Albania, with the strongest growth in Europe exceeding 38%, followed by Kosovo with 15% growth , Bosnia and Herzegovina with an increase of 3.5% and Armenia with a marginal growth of 0.3%. With the exception of Ukraine, which is at war, as well as Moldova, which reopened part of its airspace on March 22, Slovenia has had the slowest recovery on the continent.

Variation in traffic performance between March 2022 and March 2019 for certain markets

Evolution of traffic performance Q1 2022 vs Q1 2019

During the month, the effects of the war in Ukraine were felt, although they were mainly limited to European countries bordering the two states. “In addition to the collapse of passenger traffic at Ukrainian airports and the loss of most international passenger traffic at Russian airports, for some other airports these risks are immediate. This is the case for those who find themselves close to Russia and Ukraine, or which generally depend on incoming traffic from these countries – such as airports in Cyprus, the Baltic countries and along the Bulgarian coast”, Olivier Jankovec, Managing Director of ACI Europe, He added: “But for most European airports, these downside risks remain much less acute for the time being, as they are essentially linked to inflationary pressures accelerated by the conflict. It is a question of knowing in how rising oil and other commodity prices could cause airlines to raise fares, reduce household disposable income and affect consumer confidence s and companies”. During the first quarter, Istanbul, London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle were the busiest airports in Europe.

Top 10 airports by traffic volume Q1 2022

Mary I. Bruner