Niš Constantine the Great Airport
Niš Constantine the Great Airport , is a Serbian airport that serves southern Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 and the city of Niš
Niš is the largest city of southern Serbia and third-largest city in Serbia . According to the data from 2011, the city of Niš has a population of 177,972 inhabitants, while the city municipality has a population of 257,867. The city covers an area of about 597 km2, including the urban area,...

. The airport, which is named for Constantine the Great, is located 4 km (2.5 mi) from the Niš city centre and is Serbia's second international airport.


The city of Niš had its airfield at the nearby village of Donje Međurovo
Donje Međurovo
Donje Međurovo is a village situated in Niš municipality in Serbia....

 since 1910. In the 1930s, Aeroput
Aeroput was the national airline of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, which was founded on 17 June 1927 in the palace of the Adriatic and the Danube bank in Belgrade as Drustvo za Vazdusni Saobracaj A D – Aeroput ...

, the flag carrier
Flag carrier
A flag carrier is a transportation company, such as an airline or shipping company, that, being locally registered in a given country, enjoys preferential rights or privileges, accorded by the government, for international operations. It may be a state-run, state-owned or private but...

 of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was a state stretching from the Western Balkans to Central Europe which existed during the often-tumultuous interwar era of 1918–1941...

 used the airport for civil service. In post World War II years, the airport was used as a military base throughout the years. Among other units, it was a base for the 63rd Paratroop Brigade and 119th Aviation Brigade. One part of airport is still used by the Serbian Armed Forces.

In 1952, on the location of today's airport in Niš, the first concrete runway, measuring 1500 m (4,921 ft), was built and served for military purposes. In order to maintain the pace with the development of military jet planes as well as civil planes, in 1972 the length of the runway was extended to 2200 m (7,218 ft) which made it possible for the contemporary jet planes such as the Caravelle
Sud Aviation Caravelle
The Sud Aviation SE 210 Caravelle was the first short/medium-range jet airliner produced by the French Sud Aviation firm starting in 1955 . The Caravelle was one of the more successful European first generation jetliners, selling throughout Europe and even penetrating the United States market, with...

 and later the McDonnell Douglas DC-9
McDonnell Douglas DC-9
The McDonnell Douglas DC-9 is a twin-engine, single-aisle jet airliner. It was first manufactured in 1965 with its maiden flight later that year. The DC-9 was designed for frequent, short flights. The final DC-9 was delivered in October 1982.The DC-9 was followed in subsequent modified forms by...

, to take off.

In the 1970s, the airport was used for occasional service to the Adriatic coast
Adriatic Sea
The Adriatic Sea is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula, and the system of the Apennine Mountains from that of the Dinaric Alps and adjacent ranges...

. By the 1980s this occasional service lead to the local leadership recognizing the needs of the citizens living in Niš as well as in this part of the country and took into account the industrial development of the city. The association of economic and political entities prepared detailed terms and in 1986 made a decision on establishing the business organization "Airport Niš".

Construction of a new airport

In 1986, the terminal was built as well as the ancillary support facilities. This project, also, included the asphalt coated runway and built-in system of lights that provided visual descent guidance information during the approach to a runway at night.

A gala opening ceremony was held on 12th October 1986 accompanied by the airfare and the landing of the first Boeing 737
Boeing 737
The Boeing 737 is a short- to medium-range, twin-engine narrow-body jet airliner. Originally developed as a shorter, lower-cost twin-engine airliner derived from Boeing's 707 and 727, the 737 has developed into a family of nine passenger models with a capacity of 85 to 215 passengers...

. Since then, the airport in Niš has been considered as another airport in Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

. From that moment on, the competition in traffic had begun and still lasts with greater or lesser intensity. Regular service by Jat Airways
Jat Airways
Jat Airways is the national airline of Serbia and the former national airline of Yugoslavia, and has its head office in the Jat Airways Business Center in Belgrade. It was established in 1927 as Aeroput, making it currently one of the world's oldest airlines still in operation...

 to Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

 while charter flights to England began. The interesting fact is that the development of air traffic in Niš was not initiated by Jat Airways only, but also by Slovenian company Inex-Adria Airways now known just as Adria Airways
Adria Airways
Adria Airways d.d. is the Slovenian national airline. Today, the majority of Adria Airways business is in scheduled flights. Adria operates to 16 cities throughout Europe this winter and offers excellent connections to South East Europe. It is a Star Alliance member since 2004 and a Lufthansa...


During the 1990s

Changes on the political scene in Yugoslavia and deteriorated relations among the republics in 1990, brought to the sharp decrease in traveling to the Adriatic Sea, Ljubljana
Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and its largest city. It is the centre of the City Municipality of Ljubljana. It is located in the centre of the country in the Ljubljana Basin, and is a mid-sized city of some 270,000 inhabitants...

 and Zagreb
Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Croatia. It is in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately above sea level. According to the last official census, Zagreb's city...

, once the most attractive flights from Niš. At the end of this initial period, with a drastic decrease in traffic due to the crisis in the country, the business organization "Airport Niš", according to the decision of its founders, the Municipality of Niš, was transformed into an independent social enterprise and gave in to the market.

During the 1990s after the outbreak of the Yugoslav Wars
Yugoslav wars
The Yugoslav Wars were a series of wars, fought throughout the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1995. The wars were complex: characterized by bitter ethnic conflicts among the peoples of the former Yugoslavia, mostly between Serbs on the one side and Croats and Bosniaks on the other; but also...

 the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 sanctions imposed on the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the Yugoslav state that existed from the abolition of the Yugoslav monarchy until it was dissolved in 1992 amid the Yugoslav Wars. It was a socialist state and a federation made up of six socialist republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,...

. The sanctions also included a ban on air travel. Under these circumstances the volume of traffic reached its lowest point with the only form of traffic were flights to Tivat Airport
Tivat Airport
Tivat Airport is an international airport located from the centre of Tivat, Montenegro in the center of the Boka Kotorska bay....

 during the summer period. During the 90s, the company significantly improved its personnel structure. It also initiated the positioning of Airport Niš in the field of air traffic in Yugoslavia at that moment. In the period of decreased volume of traffic, thanks to good weather conditions, the airport came into more frequent use as an alternative solution. In 1998, the traffic volume increased owing to the heavy air traffic from Pristina International Airport Adem Jashari which was out of use because of numerous foggy days during which the traffic was successfully carried out from Niš.

However, the following year, 1999, was marked by NATO bombing of Yugoslavia
1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia
The NATO bombing of Yugoslavia was NATO's military operation against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War. The strikes lasted from March 24, 1999 to June 10, 1999...

 which left heavy damages to the airport. The almost hopeless situation after reaching a truce enabled only the lowest level of business operation.

2000 - 2011

The Norwegian government
Politics of Norway
Politics in Norway take place in the framework of a parliamentary representative democratic constitutional monarchy. Executive power is exercised by the King's council, the cabinet, led by the Prime Minister of Norway. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Storting, elected...

 spotted the potential and importance of the area and due to their donation, the airport was reopened. From December 2002 until 12 October 2003, in cooperation with the Yugoslav Army, the disposal of remaining inactivated cluster bomb
Cluster bomb
A cluster munition is a form of air-dropped or ground-launched explosive weapon that releases or ejects smaller sub-munitions. Commonly, this is a cluster bomb that ejects explosive bomblets that are designed to kill enemy personnel and destroy vehicles...

s was carried out in the runway area; manoeuvering surfaces were coated with asphalt; the flight control tower
Control tower
A control tower, or more specifically an Air Traffic Control Tower , is the name of the airport building from which the air traffic control unit controls the movement of aircraft on and around the airport. Control towers are also used to control the traffic for other forms of transportation such...

 was built; and part of airport equipment was renewed.

Airport Niš was reopened on 12 October 2003. During 2004, Jat Airways and Montenegro Airlines
Montenegro Airlines
Montenegro Airlines d.o.o., operating as Montenegro Airlines, is the national carrier airline of the country of Montenegro, and flag carrier of the Montenegro, headquartered in Podgorica. It operates scheduled services in Europe, as well as charter flights throughout Europe during the summer...

 organised flights from Niš to Zurich, Paris, and Tivat
Tivat is a coastal town in southwest Montenegro, located in the Bay of Kotor...

. In the period from 2004 until 2007, the number of passengers who arrived and departed Airport Niš was constantly growing, which was in accordance with the rate of development defined by the Business Plan of Airport 2004-2008.

Due to the Montenegrin independence referendum
Montenegrin independence referendum, 2006
The Montenegrin independence referendum was a refe­rendum on the independence of the Republic of Montenegro from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro that was held on 21 May 2006.The total turnout of the referendum was 86.5%...

 as well as the general politics carried out by Serbian authority in the area of air traffic (during 2006 and 2007), the number of passengers decreased in 2007 and the annual rate was reduced by 14% compared to the previous year. This had a great impact on the total economic situation in the company. Preparing the set of measures which would unite the resources of the city of Niš and the rest of Serbia to enable normal development. During 2007 the following has been realized: the long term business plan (2007-2022) was made.

In 2010, Wind Jet connected the airport with Forlì
Forlì is a comune and city in Emilia-Romagna, Italy, and is the capital of the province of Forlì-Cesena. The city is situated along the Via Emilia, to the right of the Montone river, and is an important agricultural centre...

, Italy while Montenegro Airlines linked it with Podgorica
Podgorica , is the capital and largest city of Montenegro.Podgorica's favourable position at the confluence of the Ribnica and Morača rivers and the meeting point of the fertile Zeta Plain and Bjelopavlići Valley has encouraged settlement...

 on a daily basis. The timetable with Montenegro Airlines is compliant to allow many passengers continue to travel from Podgorica to other European destinations such as: Frankfurt, London, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Vienna and Zürich.

In 2009 Ivica Dačić
Ivica Dacic
Ivica Dačić is a Serbian politician. He is the leader of Socialist Party of Serbia and is First Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia and Minister of Internal Affairs....

, Minister of Internal Affairs
Minister of Internal Affairs (Serbia)
Minister of Internal Affairs is the person in charge of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia. The current Minister is Ivica Dačić, since 7 July 2008.-List of ministers:-External links:*...

, and Sergey Shoygu, Russian Minister of Emergency Situations, set up a joint emergency centre to serve the region, including neighbouring countries. In 2010 two Russian water bombers
Aerial firefighting
Aerial firefighting is the use of aircraft and other aerial resources to combat wildfires. The types of aircraft used include fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. Smokejumpers and rappellers are also classified as aerial firefighters, delivered to the fire by parachute from a variety of fixed-wing...

 were at the airport and in 2011 a Mil Mi-26
Mil Mi-26
The Mil Mi-26 is a Soviet/Russian heavy transport helicopter. In service with civilian and military operators, it is the largest and most powerful helicopter ever to have gone into production.-Design and development:...

 helicopter and a Beriev Be-200
Beriev Be-200
The Beriev Be-200 Altair is a multipurpose amphibious aircraft designed by the Beriev Aircraft Company and manufactured by Irkut. Marketed as being designed for fire fighting, search and rescue, maritime patrol, cargo, and passenger transportation, it has a capacity of 12 tonnes of water, or up...

 were stationed there and used Oblačinsko and Gruža Lakes.


Traffic figures at Niš Constantine the Great Airport
Year Passengers Change Aircraft movements Change Cargo (kg) Change
2004 19,040 927% 284 13% 147,322
2005 26,787 41% 315 11% 452,874 207%
2006 35,518 33% 382 12% 112,117 75%
2007 30,453 14% 456 19% 448,619 300%
2008 22,870 24% 353 23% 163,510 64%
2009 17,159 25% 349 1% 390,645 139%
2010 23,627 38% 558 60% 1,554,864 298%
2011 (31.10.11) 20,804

Thomsonfly was a British airline, previously known as Britannia and a business within TUI UK prior to September 2007. Following TUI UK merging with First Choice Holidays in September 2007 it became part of TUI Travel PLC...

 has successfully completed their mission for winter season of 2005–2006 and winter of 2006–2007, having 13 flights and more than 3,500 tourists, which were transported from London Gatwick, over Niš Airport to the Serbian ski resort Kopaonik
Kopaonik ; is one of the larger mountain ranges of Serbia. It is located in the central part of Serbia, while a small portion extendeds to North Kosovo. Its highest point, Pančić's Peak, is above sea level....


35,518 passengers passed through the airport in 2006 thanks to 111 Montenegro Airlines flights, 118 Jat Airways flights and 14 Thomsonfly flights. Niš Constantine the Great Airport has had 30,461 passengers go through the airport during 2007. It is a decrease from the results in 2006 due to Montenegro Airlines not having permission to operate flights to Zürich that year.

Investments and development

With only a few flights a week from Niš Constantine the Great, the airport has had a successful second year of operation. It recorded around 27,000 passengers in 2005, approximately 42% more than in 2004. The rate of growth was the same in 2006, although 2007 saw a fall in passenger numbers.

Niš Constantine the Great has successfully conducted TAM program (Turn Around Management) of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Founded in 1991, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development uses the tools of investment to help build market economies and democracies in 30 countries from central Europe to central Asia. Its mission was to support the formerly communist countries in the process of establishing their...

 (EBRD) whose goal is to improve the work of the management and strategy preparation for the development of the Niš airport. TAM program's expert, Michael Kellaway estimated Niš Constantine the Great Airport as great potential and that with 28,000 passengers could in the next few years get to the level of 200,000 passenger a year. The director of Niš airport Radisav Radojković said that thanks to this program of management of Constantine the Great Airport it succeeded in identifying and focusing on the most important aspects of its business according to the market's principals.

In October 2008, Austrian company Eyemaxx and Chayton Sava Property Fund LP, advised by London-based Chayton Capital LLP, announced the construction of a cargo and logistics centre. Over 100 million Euros will be invested in this project. The two investors expect that the final phases of this project will be completed in four years.

Airport services and accessibility

The airport is operational 24 hrs per day on request. The airport is very close to the downtown (about 4 km (2.5 mi)). There is a dedicated "Airport Niš" bus line that connects airport to most of the Niš suburbs (line 34). Taxi service is available at any time for any city destination and more. If calling from a cellular phone, it is useful to know that the dial code for Serbia is 381, and for Niš, 18. When calling from a pay-phone in Niš, it is not necessary to use a dial code. From other places in Serbia, dial 018 prior to the phone number indicated.

Cost of the cab transportation is relatively low. Average cost within the city is approximately 200 RSD
Serbian dinar
The dinar is the currency of Serbia. An earlier currency also called dinar was used in Serbia between 1868 and 1918. The earliest use of the dinar date to 1214. Today's Serbian dinar is a continuation of the last Yugoslav dinar...

(about 2€ or USD$2.5). The airport staff can request taxi drivers that are able to communicate in English in order to make the trip more convenient for tourists. There are also many 'rent-a-car' agencies at the airport baggage claim area.

External links

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