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Skopje Airport fastest growing in Ex-YU

The former Yugoslavia's ten busiest airports handled over four million passengers during the first four months of the year, with Skopje maintaining its position as the fastest growing. Macedonia's main airport welcomed 466.956 travellers between January and April, an increase of 25% compared to the same period last year. During that time, Wizz Air launched three new routes from the city and replaced its service to Lubeck with Hamburg. Furthermore, Czech Airlines will introduce flights from Prague tomorrow, while Qatar Airways will launch services from Doha in October. Dubrovnik Airport followed suit with numbers increasing 21% after a stronger winter. Despite officials estimating growth at only 3% this year, the airport is expected to have a busy summer with a total of 54 airlines from 24 countries maintaining flights to the city. Strong growth is also likely during the 2016/17 winter season as several new routes are to be introduced.

Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport has maintained its position as the busiest in the former Yugoslavia, although its passenger numbers declined 2.7%. The figure was accompanied by a decrease in the number of operated flights. Despite the negative trend, Belgrade Airport estimates handling some five million passengers by year's end. Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport also posted softer results during the four-month period. Although it enjoyed modest growth during the first quarter, a steep decline in April pushed the airport into the red. It expects a slower growth-rate to that of last year and hopes to close 2016 with 1.5 million passengers.

Pristina Airport has seen double digit growth this year by handling 493.314 travellers during the first four months. It has also launched a new incentive scheme in a bid to attract new carriers and encourage exiting operators to boost flights. Pristina anticipates strong passenger growth later in the year after the European Commission proposed for the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament to lift visa requirements for Kosovan citizens by transferring Kosovo to the visa-free list for short-stays in the Schengen area. "Visa liberalisation will make a significant impact and will develop air transport. The people in Kosovo are young, they like to travel, and when they have a chance they will”, the airport's General Manager said. Meanwhile, Podgorica Airport registered a 7% passenger increase. Its numbers are set to further improve during the summer with Wizz Air and Ryanair to introduce new flights to the city. Meanwhile, Tivat estimates its growth to reach 15% this year and for it to welcome over one million passengers for the first time since opening its doors to the public.