Niš Constantine the Great Airport (Serbian: Аеродром Ниш – Константин Велики / Aerodrom Niš – Konstantin Veliki) (IATA:INI, ICAO: LYNI), located 4 km (2.5 mi) northwest of Niš, is the second largest international airport in Serbia.
The first airfield serving the city of Niš was established in 1910, near the village of Donje Međurovo. In the 1930s, Aeroput, used the airport for civil service. In 1935 Aeroput included a stop in Niš in its route linking Belgrade with Skoplje. 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 and119th Aviation Brigade. A portion of the airport is still used by the Serbian Air Force and Air Defence.
In 1952, on the location of today’s airport in Niš, the first concrete runway, measuring 1,500 m (4,921 ft), was built and served for military purposes. In order to maintain the pace with the development of military as well as civil aircraft, in 1972 the length of the runway was extended to 2,200 m (7,218 ft) to accommodate larger contemporary commercial aircraft.
In the 1970s, the airport was used for occasional service to the Adriatic coast. 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”.
In 1986, the main 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 during runway approaches at night.
A gala opening ceremony was held on 12 October 1986 accompanied by the airfare and the landing of the first Boeing 737. Since then, the airport in Niš has been considered as another airport in Yugoslavia. From that moment on, the competition in traffic had begun and still lasts with greater or lesser intensity. Regular service by Jat Airways to Belgrade 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.
Changes on the political scene in Yugoslavia and deteriorated relations among the republics in 1990, brought to the sharp decrease in travelling to the Adriatic Sea, Ljubljana and Zagreb, 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 Breakup of Yugoslavia, United Nations sanctions imposed on the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia included a ban on international air travel from Yugoslavia. In these circumstances the volume of traffic reached its lowest point with the only form of traffic were flights to Tivat Airport 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 which was out of use because of numerous foggy days during which the traffic was successfully carried out from Niš. The airport was heavily damaged during the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.
The airport was reopened in 2003 with the financial assistance from government of Norway. Damage sustained during the bombing was repaired, including the building of a new control tower and renewal of the main terminal.
Jat Airways and Montenegro Airlines resumed flights from Niš to Zurich, Paris, and Tivat. In 2010, Wind Jet connected the airport withForlì, Italy while Montenegro Airlines linked it with Podgorica 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.
Niš Constantine the Great has successfully conducted TAM program (Turn Around Management) of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (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 announced plans for the construction of a cargo and logistics handling centre.
Emergency Response Center
In 2009, the Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations, established a joint emergency response center at the airport. In 2011 a Russian Mil Mi-26 and Beriev Be-200 were dispatched to the center for aerial firefighting duties. The center was completed and put into operating in 2012.
Airlines and destinations
Source: Official website
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.
Cost of the cab transportation is relatively low. Average cost within the city is approximately 200 RSD (about €2 or US$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.
The content above was published at Airports-Worldwide.com in 2014.
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