BiH: Sarajevo Airport wants to host long-distance flights

BiH: Sarajevo Airport wants to host long-distance flights

Sarajevo Airport is in the process of negotiating its first long haul flights with airlines from the United States, Canada and China.

“In early June we successfully undertook a TSA [US Transportation Security Administration] audit as a precondition for the establishment of flights between the United States and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Based on the existing plan, Sarajevo Airport will have one weekly service with the States,” the airport’s General Manager, Alan Bajić, told the local media.

He added that Airport is in talks with airlines from the US. “Furthermore, we are in negotiations regarding the launch of nonstop flights between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Canada, as well as China and several European markets with whom we lack connectivity, such as Italy, Spain and Poland”.

As emphasized, Sarajevo has never had scheduled nonstop flights to the United States, Canada or China. US-based carrier Eastern Airlines planned on launching operations between Chicago and Sarajevo this summer but cancelled ticket sales within days. It intended on operating the route once per week on a seasonal summer basis with its 238-seat Boeing 767-200ER aircraft.

In 2019, 5.348 passengers flew indirectly between Sarajevo and Toronto, 1.895 between Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital and Montreal and a further 900 between Sarajevo and Vancouver. On the other hand, Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of just a handful of European countries to allow visa-free entry for Chinese passport holders. There have been prior attempts to establish flights between Sarajevo and Beijing via Belgrade, however, these never materialised. In 2019, 4.297 passengers travelled indirectly between Sarajevo and Shanghai, and a further 3.625 between Sarajevo and Beijing. “The increase in the number of flights, the introduction of new destinations and arrival of new airlines is primarily the result of Sarajevo Airport’s shifting business policy which now includes incentives for airlines aimed at overcoming the crisis resulting from the coronavirus pandemic”, Mr Bajić noted.