Tuesday, April 13, 2010

From Banja Luka with love

Rejected
All indicators point that B&H Airlines, the national carrier of Bosnia and Herzegovina, will not commence 11 weekly flights between the country’s 2 largest cities – Sarajevo and Banja Luka. Banja Luka Airport, which has the power to decide whether the airline will serve the city, is yet to give an answer to B&H’s flight permit request, even though it was lodged more than a month ago. The flights are supposed to begin in just over 2 weeks.

It is believed that Banja Luka Airport does not want to let B&H Airlines to pose as a competitor to a future airline to be based at the airport – Sky Srpska. The Government of Republika Srpska, the entity in which Banja Luka lies, has said that it does not want to get involved in the issue but believes that one international route should be kept operational from the airport. Until recently B&H Airlines operated flights from Banja Luka to Zurich. These have been cancelled with the start of the summer season and were to be substituted with the Sarajevo service.

The CEO of B&H Airlines, Nudžeim Rečica, said that the airline is loosing its patience with Banja Luka and would turn to other destinations, “There are so many destinations we can serve, from Skopje to Rome”, Rečica told the “Dnevni Avaz” newspaper.

If B&H is not granted rights to operate flights to Sarajevo, Banja Luka will be left without any customers. Currently, the airport doesn’t have a CEO as the previous one was recently removed from his post.

Together with Banja Luka, Zagreb is also expected to be dumped as a destination. Fights to the Croatian capital were supposed to begin in May as well. Skopje seems to be the front runner as a substitute to the cancelled regional services.

7 comments:

  1. Isn't it less than a 3 hour drive from Banja Luka to Sarajevo? Who in their right mind would make the trip by plane? B&H Airlines would be better off focusing on profit-making routes. Also, I'm puzzled by the title given to this news item. It implies maliciousness. Why does everything in the Balkans always have to be imbued with ill will & conspiracy theories?

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  2. @Anonymous

    Not really. I would say it is more than 5 hours drive to Banja Luka. So it makes sense to have route.

    Although it is always a question how profitable such route is going to be.

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  3. Banjaluka airport authorities is most corrupted institution in Balkan and It's a public secret.
    Someone form BH Airlines didn't offer enough money to management of Banjaluka airport... that's the key issue here

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  4. Most of the airports in the world would be more than happy to get additional flights and eventually more revenue but that's not the case with BNX and their authorities. They seem to prefer having an empty airport just so they can say they have one. Why is this all reminding me of North Korea???

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  5. Couple of things.
    The new CEO is appointed, don't want to talk names, but the person's no noob to aviation, but completely new to airport management.

    Sarajevo-Banjaluka is min. 3 hr, max 4 hours apart, this comes from a person who traveled up and down for a few years on twice a week basis.

    Would I fly a plane to SA....maybe, maybe not. Arriving to SJJ on plane and than relying on taxis and public transportation would be as frustrating as driving to Sarajevo in the first place.

    The point about BNX management is not so much corruption, IMHO, as much as incompetence. No person there has relevant experience and/or education to make that potentially profitable airport work. Same goes to Sky Srpska, no person involved there can make it profitable, lawyers and economists can't learn the ropes of airline operation and economics fast enough to make Sky Srpska a success.

    Sad, in my opinion, since there is potential, but with these people and mindset, it can never work...

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