In 2015, many of the national air carriers in Southeastern Europe (SEE) benefited from their price advantage over major world airlines and reported double-digit annual growth rates, substantially more than the 5.2% of their European peers and the global average of 6.7%. Other reasons for the good performance of SEE’s flag carriers include the opening of new destinations and increasing flights to some of the existing ones.
Air Serbia transported most passengers in 2015 among all SEE national airlines – 2.6 milion, an increase of 11% compared to 2014. The company made 32,400 flights in 2015 and its average capacity utilization rate increased to 71% from 67% a year ago. The company’s plans for 2016 include increasing flights frequency and launching new destinations in the Balkans and to Seoul, South Korea.
Romania’s Tarom takes second place with 2.4 million passengers, compared to 2.1 million in the previous year. Romanian low-cost carrier Blue Air reported in 2015 a record-high number of passengers in its history. It carried 2.0 milion passengers, which is 33% more than in the previous year.
Bulgaria Air transported more than 2.13 million passengers in 2015. The company had a market share of 27% at the Sofia Airport with more than 1.1 million serviced passengers, ranking second after low-cost carrier Wizz Air. Bulgaria Air will launch additional flights to Rome and Madrid in the summer of 2016. The company is awarded the Golden Prize for contribution to Bulgarian tourism for 2015 by the leading local magazine Tourism and Leisure.
In 2015, Croatia Airlines also managed to increase the number of transported passengers, although only by 1.0% on the year, to 1.850 million. The carrier’s passenger capacity utilization rate improved, reaching 69.7%, up from 69.2%. The company plans to start direct flights to Prague in May 2016.
Slovenian flag carrier Adria Airways transported 1.040 million passengers in 2015, up by 14% year-on-year. It flies to 35 European countries, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Kosovo Adria is one of the two dominant companies at Kosovo’s Pristina airport where it has a 15% market share.
In 2015, Air Moldova set a record in its history, surpassing the one-million-mark – 1.04 milion passengers. The company was established in 1993 and currently operates flights to 20 European countries.
Montenegro Airlines transported 580,000 passengers in 2015, or 4.0% more than the previous year. The number of flights also increased, by 5.0%,to 6,800, with the highest growth marked in the flights to London – 23.0%, Frankfurt – 11.0%, Paris – 10.0% and Zurich – 4.0%.
Based on the not fully used market potential the uptrend in the number of flights and the increase in the number of passengers of the SEE air carriers will remain in 2016.