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Recent developments in air transport in the Balkans

by Michele Tempera

Abstract

In the last ten years, following the breakup of the Yugoslav Federation, the process of institutional consolidation and development of the respective economies gained momentum. These countries managed to overcome many of the most serious problems that plagued them throughout the turbulent years of the 1990s.
In the decade 2000-2010 political forces in the Balkans (Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Romania and Bulgaria), inspite of many obstacles, proceeded to take on the challenge of leaving behind the events of the recent past. The positive influence of the European Union on the entire Balkan area has enabled economic growth to be anchored to European growth. One important example of this is the airport system in the Balkans, which has undergone marked progress in terms of development and modernization.
It is possible to identify a common trend: generalized economic progress in the region and surprising improvements in terms of technological development and efficiency.
One important example of this is the airport system in the Balkans, which has undergone marked progress in terms of development and modernization. Airports and their use by the national authorities are part of a wider transport policy which can be seen as one of the fundamental conditions for achieving the economic development goals in the Balkan capitals. A two-pronged strategy has been implemented over the last decade in this sector.
The first part of the strategy has been to attract foreign investors to enlarge airport infrastructure in the Balkans and make it more efficient.
The second approach Balkan governments have taken has been to coordinate with the rest of Europe. In fact, modernization of airport infrastructure must coincide with frequent, stable connections between Balkan and west European air space, as the latter is the main market for destinations and departures for civilian and commercial routes with stopovers or final destinations in the Balkans (both eastwards as well as toward western Europe).
It is sufficient to note that from 2001 to 2007 air traffic between western Europe and the Balkans increased by 130%. The process of organizing Balkan airports mainly based on west European routes follows the most well defined orientation of trade (and political and institutional) relations between the two areas. In the last fifteen years the majority of Balkan countries’ trade has decisively turned westwards and this situation appears to be further consolidating.

Original title: Recent developments in air transport in the Balkans

The Italian version of this article can be found here

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