Banja Luka Airport could soon be closed, the Ministry for Traffic and Infrastructure of Republika Srpska announced this week. The airport has not payed wages to its employees and could lose its operational license, barring any aircraft from departing or landing at Banja Luka. The airport ended 2010 with a loss of over 660.000 Euros. Adria Airways, operating flights to Ljubljana and B&H Airlines to Zurich are Banja Luka’s only two customers. However, Adria’s service is heavily subsidised and reporting big losses. Even though the Government of Republika Srpska created Sky Srpska, which was to be based in Banja Luka, and approved the purchase of 2 jet aircraft, they were never ordered due to the financial crisis, a ministry spokeswoman says. She adds that the government will do everything within its power to help the airport as its closure would be a huge loss to the community and the entire entity. Airport employees have begun court procedures against the airport for unpaid wages.
Banja Luka Airport was opened on May 21, 1985 but was restricted to domestic traffic only. The airport never had too many customers with links to Belgrade, Vienna, Frankfurt, Athens and Tivat over the years. Banja Luka Airport experienced its greatest boom from 1999 to 2003 thanks to Air Srpska, set up by JAT Yugoslav Airlines. However, with the situation normalising back home, JAT withdrew from Air Srpska and the airlines ceased operations.