Italian dream for Mostar AirportSeveral Italian airports, in cooperation with the Italian government, intend to take over Mostar Airport and invest in what has become Bosnia and Herzegovina’s second busiest airport. “Mostar International Airport is on the brink of a new era”, a spokesman from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated earlier in the week. The Italian government intends to form a strategic partnership with the airport. Italian tourists, visiting the spiritual Medjugorje sight, have greatly contributed to the airport’s recent impressive passenger growth.
The Italian government states that it plans to expand Mostar Airport, improve airport safety, introduce scheduled traffic and assist with staff training. A development plan, which is in the works, is expected to be presented to the public in the foreseeable future. Sladjan Topuzović, an advisor at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in charge of coordinating the project, says that a provisional agreement with local authorities has been reached. “The interest for Mostar Airport in Italy is primarily due to Medjugorje. That is why we have begun talks on a strategic partnership which would mark a new era for Mostar”, Topuzović notes.
Mostar Airport has had a bumper year. In the first half of 2012 it welcomed 32.402 passengers, an increase of 158% compared to the same period last year. This is despite the fact that Mostar does not have any scheduled flights. Mostar has also been touted as a potential hub for low cost airlines wishing to operate to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The government recently abolished the compulsory passenger tax at Mostar Airport, making it more appealing to potential future customers.