Jat in Banja Luka ... been there done thatJat Airways has finally terminated services to the second largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Jat’s off-again on-again flights from Belgrade to Banja Luka were suspended in late October although it was expected that the line was on hiatus and would be resumed in January as was listed in global reservation systems. These have now been removed. Jat has blamed low interest for the closure of this route.
After many years, Serbia’s Jat resumed services to Banja Luka in 2007. Flights were operated by an ATR72 and during 2008 were subsidised by the Government of Republika Srpska, which covered all the losses the airline had on this route that year. Speaking to a Belgrade newspaper, a spokesperson from Jat said that in 2008 the airline carried 2.678 passengers on 170 flights. The average cabin occupancy index on these flights amounted to 26%, meaning that there were approximately 17 passengers on each flight. Results for 2009 are even less impressive. “In October we transported a total of 45 passengers", a Jat spokesperson said. The CEO of Banja Luka Airport said that the airline did not terminate flights due to low interest rather due to the fact that it did not have any available aircraft.
This year Jat suspended flights to Banja Luka for 4 months, however they were resumed. It is not clear whether Jat will resume the service some time in 2010. The suspension poses as a predicament to Jat Airways’ CEO who recently estimated that the airline would carry 50.000 passengers out of Banja Luka in 2010. Ticket prices on this service amounted to 90 Euros.
Belgrade is no more and Banja Luka has been left with 3 weekly flights to Zurich, operated by B&H Airlines. Jat is a supporter of the stalled Sky Srpska project.