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Air Serbia to be subsidised for Nis flights

Serbia's government has disclosed that the sole valid bid to operate 12 subsidised routes from Nis airport was submitted by the national flag carrier.

"Several carriers showed interest in taking part in the international tender, which was carried out in accordance to European regulations," says the ministry for construction, transport and infrastructure.

Contracts are to be formally awarded within days.

Five of the destinations declared to be of public interest for the southeast Serbian city are in Germany: Baden Baden, Friedrichshafen, Hahn, Hannover and Nuremberg. Two are in Italy: Bologna and Rome. The list is completed by Hungarian capital Budapest, Gothenburg in Sweden, Slovenian capital Ljubljana, Salzburg in Austria, and Tivat in Montenegro.

All of the destinations bar Tivat will be served at twice-weekly frequency on a year-round basis. The Montenegrin city, meanwhile, be served thrice weekly during summer.

Air Serbia will be required to base an aircraft with capacity for at least 125 passengers at Nis. The subsidies are worth €5 million ($5.6 million) per annum over the next five years, FlightGlobal understands. Constantine The Great airport in Nis has recently been taken over by the Serbian government, having previously been in the city's hands. This has drawn protest from local community.

Serbia is to limit passenger-numbers growth at its airports other than Belgrade on a temporary basis, as part of the 25-year concession agreement with Vinci for Belgrade Nikola Tesla airport, worth €1.2 billion. After initial denials, the government confirmed that figures would be confined to 1 million passengers for each Serbian airport within a 230km radius of Belgrade until Nikola Tesla reaches 12 million travellers per annum.

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