Austrian could make Banja Luka comebackAustrian Airlines could begin flights from Vienna to Banja Luka, after the head of the airport, Davorin Mišić, said he put in a request for negotiations with the carrier to begin this summer. Talks are likely to be held in either May or June. During the late 1990s Austrian operated scheduled flights to Banja Luka. “It is very important that we have at least a daily flight to one big city, operated by an established airline, to either Vienna or Belgrade”, Mihić says, adding that Austrian could begin flights to the city either during the 2012/2013 winter season or the 2013 summer season. Jat Airways was offered to operate subsidised flights to Vienna via Banja Luka, however, due to its fleet being fully utilised over the summer, the Serbian carrier rejected the offer.
Nevertheless, Banja Luka Airport’s management has made a last ditch attempt to lure Jat. It has proposed for the airline to make a stop in Banja Luka on its services to Pula and Split, which are set to launch this summer. The Serbian carrier discontinued services to Banja Luka several years ago due to extremely poor loads. Similarly, Adria Airways operated flights to Banja Luka in 2010 and 2011. After the airport could no longer afford to subsidise the flights, which saw only a handful of passengers, Adria suspended its service from Ljubljana.
Meanwhile, a private Montenegrin airline has expressed interest to begin charter flights to Banja Luka from Podgorica and Tivat this summer. While the airline in question hasn’t been officially named, sources suggest it is the Podgorica based Di Air. Flights would be operated with the 19 seat L-410 Turbolet aircraft. Banja Luka Airport has been struggling to attract passengers lately. B&H Airlines’ woes with Turkish Airlines, which has led to constant flight cancellations over the past two months, have had an impact on Banja Luka Airport whose only customer is the Bosnian national carrier with flights to Zurich.