Proposed new look for Užice AirportWith the construction of Morava Airport in Kraljevo in full swing, plans are being made for yet another airport project in Serbia, this time in the country’s West in the town of Užice. Ponikve Airport, a military base which served as a civilian airport during the 1990s before its complete destruction in 1999, is anticipated to get a new passenger terminal building, which would open new opportunities for the local economy. However, for construction to take place, mines, which are scattered throughout the airport complex, must first be removed. At a recent donors conference in Belgrade a total of 4 million Euros was donated for the removal of the mines which will begin in 3 months. A total of 15 countries along with Slovenia and Serbia will take part in the project. Construction of the new terminal and supporting infrastructure should begin in the second half of 2012 if finances are secured.
However, Užice is not day dreaming of becoming a passenger hub. The city’s mayor says that Užice can only attract cargo and charter airlines. The city has a population of just over 100.000 but also has a developed industry, a lot of which is exported.
During the 1990s, JAT Yugoslav Airlines used the airport as an occasional stopover for flights bound from Belgrade to Tivat or Podgorica in order to increase flying times for pilots, needed to retain their license since, at the time, the airline was only able to operate within its country’s boarders.
According to local media, the Serbian Government has drafted a post economic crisis plan which sees planed investment for 16 airports throughout the country, one of which is Užice’s Ponikve Airport. Currently the former Ladjevci airbase in Kraljevo is being transformed into an airport for civilian use and is expected to be open in either September or October.