BiH: Banja Luka Airport back in the game

BiH: Banja Luka Airport back in the game

Banja Luka International Airport negotiates with yet another airline over the introduction of flights, airport’s General Manager, Milan Račić, confirmed.

He did not want to reveal which company is on the other side of the negotiation table. The airport currently services flights of Air Serbia and Ryanair confirmed that the lines to Memmingen and Charleroi, as of today, will be opened again. Currently, Air Serbia maintains flights between Belgrade and Banja Luka, while Turkey’s Freebird Airlines is running charter flights from Antalya. The Ryanair airline’s remaining routes are planned to resume at the start of the 2020/2021 winter season, in late October.

“Depending on the epidemiological situation in the European Union and entry rules and regulations, we expect the resumption of other flights earlier than planned, perhaps in September or early October”, Račić said.

Ryanair also intends to go ahead with the launch of its new route from Bergamo to Banja Luka on October 26, while its subsidiary Niki will inaugurate flights from Vienna on the same day.

Ryanair’s manager for communications for Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans, Olga Pavlonka, stated that the company, in order to celebrate the continuation of flights from the Banja Luka airport, started selling tickets with prices of 25.99 euros by the end of October.

Tickets must be reserved by Wednesday, August 5, on the company’s website. Račić said that the continuation of “Ryanair” flights is good news for everyone and added that this airport is ready for all passengers.

“Prior to the coronavirus crisis, we discussed the possibility of an airline opening a base in Banja Luka. We will see what will happen after the pandemic. We also had discussions over the launch of an intercontinental service, and after this situation passes, we hope to resume those talks. A Turkish carrier is also interested in cooperating with Banja Luka Airport. For us, it was important to open up to the world last year and for some flights to begin. We must now seek out new airlines and partners and expand our destination network”, Račić explained.

Commenting on plans for the development of a second commercial airport in Republika Srpska, near the town of Trebinje, Račić said, that he is disappointed that this project was not finalized earlier. “If we had Trebinje Airport, we would be able to immediately negotiate at least five new routes. Trebinje Airport has potential and should be built. It would bring benefits for tourism and the local economy in Herzegovina. It would not pose as competition to other nearby airports, instead, we would all cooperate and further boost travel in the region”.

He added that prior to the collapse of the former Yugoslavia, plans were made to build an airport near Trebinje./ibna