Source: balkans.com

According to the portal balkans.com, the Serbian government has announced plans to launch a state-run company to manage up to 25 of the country’s airports, including Belgrade, by April.

The public company running Belgrade Airport will be renamed to “Airports of Serbia” with more than twenty smaller airports to be added to its managing portfolio. The move is believed to be in relation to the upcoming concession of Serbia’s busiest airport, through which the future operator will also gain control to the rest of the country’s airport infrastructure. The Serbian Minister for Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlović, says the company will be set up either next month or in April. “Airports of Serbia is not just an idea, its formation is planned for March or April. A lot of work has already been done in setting up the company”, Ms. Mihajlović says.

Airports which will fall under the new state-run enterprise include Niš, Kraljevo and Užice. Previously, Ms. Mihajlović said, “We are not setting up a stand-alone company; rather, these airports will be added to the “Aerodrom Beograd” operator which manages Belgrade Airport. By developing smaller airports, as well as our busiest, we will improve passenger numbers and boost tourism and traffic”. The creation of a state-run operator for Serbia’s airports could increase Belgrade Airport’s concession price. Late last year, the Serbian government said it would decide on Belgrade Airport’s expansion model by June 2015. Furthermore, the country’s Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić, ruled out plans to sell the airport, noting that the government was considering whether to offer a concession or invest in the airport on its own, with the former being the likelier option.

Last week, the Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate allocated just over 70.000 euros for Užice’s Ponikve Airport in Western Serbia, while Belgrade Airport donated necessary equipment. The donations are aimed at raising safety levels at the airport. Staff from Užice will undergo training at Belgrade Airport in the coming weeks. Several million euros have already been invested into Ponikve Airport over the past five years. The European Union granted 550.000 euros for the development of the airport’s master plan in 2011, while a further two million euros were pledged at an international donor’s conference. Ponikve Airport is a military air base which was used for commercial purposes during the 1990s by JAT as a stop on its domestic flights from Belgrade to Podgorica and Tivat. The airport was destroyed in 1999 by NATO with undetonated bombs recently cleared around the airport’s perimeter. It currently caters for private and taxi charters. It handled its first international flight in July last year when representatives from a Belgian company jetted in from Brussels. Ex-YU Aviation News.

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