The importance of cargo transport is also discussed by Bojan Avramovic of the Regional Development Agency South (RDA South). He says that the Nis Airport gets major income from the cargo transport and the fact that the airport contains a customs terminal.
– All the goods arriving to Nis or sent from it by plane bring a considerable amount of money for the further operations of the company – Avramovic explains.Suitcases sent to hotel directly
That small airports need to find creative ways to operate and earn is shown by the example of the Brac Airport.
Its current capacities are so small that they are not even able to organize luggage distribution for larger airplanes. Instead, they have an agreement with agencies to mark which piece of luggage needs to go to which hotel at the starting airport. After the plane lands at Brac, the airport transports them at its own expense.
– The tourists like the service so much that they've started asking their agencies when it is to be implemented in other destinations, not realizing that we do so here for lack of a better solution – Tonci Peovic says.
He nevertheless believes that the future favors smaller airports and that it pays off to invest in them.
– By 2035, only regional airports will be successful. The strategy, therefore, needs to be created in the context of the advantage that small airports will have – Peovic explained.
As he says, big traditional companies still often avoid small airports, but smaller companies, especially low-cost airlines, are quite present there.
A generally more modest infrastructure means lower expenses, which enables these airports to offer their services to low-cost airlines at a lower price, which then, in turn, offer more affordable tickets.
Furthermore, Peovic points to an increasingly popular trend in the aviation industry – cooperation between big tour-operators and airlines
. Many big world tourism agencies transport an enormous number of tourists throughout the world by their own airplanes or in partnership with airlines. It is therefore very important to them to transport their guests as close to the target destination as possible.
As Peovic says, that's where the opportunity lies for his airport as well. The Brac Airport recently extended its runway, enabling larger airplanes to land.
Almost immediately, the interest of agencies and airlines grew, and Brac realized record setting results in 2017, whereas the expectations for 2018 are even greater.
– We are already working intensively on the next phase of the runway extension, in order to enable B737-700 and B737-800 aircraft to land. The aim of all this is for us to adapt to our clients, who realize that it is in their interest to send larger planes to Brac, as it reduces their per-seat costs and raises their income – Peovic explains.
Around 20 thousand passengers landed in Brac last year, and the plan is to have the number increase to a six-digit figure in the future. Although there are big airports in the region (Split, Zadar, Mostar, Dubrovnik...), Peovic believes that there's room for all of them in the market.
– The closest airport, the one in Split, operates at the limits of its capacities. Even if we were to “take” 100-200 thousand passengers from them, it would mean nothing to them and a lot to us.Wizz Air and Ryanair “revive” Nis
The relation between big and small airports has been a current topic in Serbia lately, as information appeared during the presentation of the details of the agreement on the concession of the Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport
that the number of passengers at other airports in Serbia might be limited to one million, and there have also been opinions that the accelerated development in Nis
comes “at the worst moment for the agreeing of the concession in Belgrade”.