Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Visa free

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
From today, passport holders of Bosnia and Herzegovina can travel to 25 members of the Schengen Area as well as Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus and Lichtenstein without a visa for up to 3 months. The visa liberalisation is anticipated to have a big impact on passenger numbers travelling to and from airports in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Last night, Sarajevo celebrated the lifting of the visa restrictions with a “New Schengen Year” party in the city centre. B&H Airlines will today operate a special flight to Strasbourg in France, carrying deserving citizens as well as politicians and members of the media. From Banja Luka, a special flight will be chartered to Brussels. Sarajevo Airport has seen a massive increase in passenger numbers mostly due to B&H Airlines’ increased flight offering. Both the airport and airline will hope to see an even better 2011. Whether foreign carriers will be enticed to commence flights to either Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Mostar or Tuzla remains to be seen.

Last December the same visa restrictions were lifted for citizens of Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia. All three countries have seen a sharp increase in passenger numbers at their airports this year. Belgrade Airport has so far recorded an increase of 13% with the visa liberalisation coinciding with the introduction of the open sky policy. Similar growth has been recorded at Macedonia’s two airports, with numbers at Skopje increasing by 12.6% and at Ohrid by 9.3%. Meanwhile, Montenegro’s two airports saw a combined passenger increase of 20% (Podgorica up by 47% and Tivat by 2%).

17 comments:

  1. I love how it writes, deserving citizens AND politicians :DD
    If anything most of the Balkan politicians are far from deserving citizens.

    Anyway, all the best to the citizens of B&H!

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  2. Where does the growth in Macedonia come from? Any figuress on individual flight offerings?

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  3. and now UK please, you *****!

    @Arturo: they came from some ministry i think

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  4. It would be interessting to see how visa liberalization for BiH citizens will impact numbers at LJU, ZAG & BEG (in long therm).

    My reasoning is:

    1. Visa liberalization => More pax at SJJ

    2. More passengers => Direct flights to more destinations

    3. Less connecting pax at airports in immediate neighbourhood.

    Bear in mind that connecting pax are counted twice (arrival/departure) and average number of pax should therefore decrease in the region.

    When looking at numbers for LJU it appears that they are oscillating around 1.5M for last few years which (at least in my mind) points that LJU is already being hurt by expansion of direct flights at other airports across former Yugoslavia.

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  5. Last year before the visa removal a lot of airline announced their plans for Belgrade, has the same happened for Sarajevo?

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  6. @ Anonymous:

    Serbia knew its visa-free date few months before us, I think as of september or beginning of october. Our date was revealed only November the 8th... So, we'll see how it goes with the new airlines, lets hope.. :)

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  7. Congratulations on visa free travel and all the best to our neighbors from B&H from Serbia!
    Wish you many new destinations from your airports and more passengers.

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  8. I am very happy for people in Bosnia. This must be such a relief for many. Now they can finally travel freely and visit their relatives and friends across Europe. Let's hope it also brings more airlines and competition to SJJ.

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  9. Finally. Now all the Ex-Yu countries are visa-free! How long has it been since visas were reinstated for Ex-Yu?

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  10. I think more then 25years , or almost 30years ago, since Yugoslavia died :( . not sure . i was kid that time .

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  11. I think the first visas were introduced by the French in 1988, if I am not mistaken.

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  12. Честитам БиХ!!! Добродошли на бели Шенген :)

    Urime për Shqipërinë!!! Mirë si vini në Shengen listës e bardhë! Lidhni rripin e sigurimit :)

    http://www.telegrafi.com/?id=78&a=362

    @ Zrak

    Just because there is White Schengen doesnt mean that connecting hubs such as ZAG or BEG would suffer. Many passengers would be economy class travellers, the choice will be what ever is more cheaper and more convienient to their itinery. Both ZAG and BEG could benifit from the visa liberation. Although, I dont think much will change considering many people in B&H had either a Croatian or Serbian passport beside their B&H one.

    @ anonymous

    People residing in Kosovo are still required to take out visas, reguardless if they have the Kosovo or Serbian passport.

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  13. @JATBEGMEL said:

    Although, I dont think much will change considering many people in B&H had either a Croatian or Serbian passport beside their B&H one.


    Hey dude, only Croatians and a very small number of Bosniaks had Croatian passport. Almost nobody had Serbian passport (including ethnic Serbs!) because the procedures for getting one is too complicated and it costs to much money. If everyone had a foreign passport than why do you think people were celebrating yesterday the visa liberalisation?

    Get some info before making silly statements.

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  14. @JATBEGMEL

    Notice that I said "countries" not territories. Unfortunately not everyone can get visa-free access, but every country can.

    @Anonymous

    I agree with you 100%. But there were quite a few people who had both passports. There were more who didn't, but there were still a lot of people who did. Once again congrats to Bosnia and Albania.

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  15. @JATBEGMEL

    In one way I agree with you - ZAG might benefit due to Western Bosnians using it as their main airport however I still see reduction of transit passengers at regional hubs like BEG/ZAG/LJU (and even more at real hubs like VIE & MUC) in case of more direct flights out of SJJ.

    Remember structure of travelers coming from Bosnia is different than structure of travelers in more developed European countries. In Bosnia people from upper & upper middle classes make bulk of the passengers. While they may not buy business class tickets they wont add additional transit points to save few € and create bunch of problems for themselves (General Bosnian sucks at foreign languages and doesn't have that much experience)

    @Anonymous

    Chill dude. It is allowed to have wrong facts :) Unnecessary to create wrong kind of atmosphere with your comments ("Get some info before making silly statements."). We all make mistakes....

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  16. Btw does anybody have historical numbers for all Ex-YU airports. It would be interesting to plot these onto one graph to see development.

    Another interessting thing could be if we could get pax numbers for JA, JU, OU, JP and see how they correlate with pax increases/decreases at certain airports.

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  17. ^

    There is only one guarantee Zrak, the graph will crash to a halt somewhere in the mid-90s.

    I wonder how much of that information is publicly available?

    Let's hope that the visa-free status allows some flights to start up from OMO again: ZAG and FCO are screaming for profitable connections.

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