Banja Luka’s fight for survival beginsBanja Luka Airport has just over a month before it loses its international operating license. The airport has been ordered to fulfil several technical requirements including the lengthening of taxiways, purchase of new security equipment and the installation of a new security fence. If it fails to adhere to international standards it will lose its license, effectively forcing the airport to close. The airport’s management says it does not have the necessary funds to carry out the required improvements. A total of 460.100 euros is allocated to the airport on an annual basis, while the entity government has been forced to inject additional funds in the past few years.
However, Banja Luka could be given a lifeline by the government of the entity of Republika Srpska. Its Prime Minister, Aleksandar Džombić, says his cabinet won’t allow the airport to be shut down. He insists that local authorities will discuss possible ways to help the airport carry out the necessary improvements. “On an annual basis we allocate significant funds so the airport can continue to operate. From them we expect a clear financial analysis on how the airport can function. In such case, the government will help”, Džombić says.
International monitors will arrive at Banja Luka Airport in mid August to assess whether the airport has done enough to keep its operating license. Closing down Banja Luka Airport would prove as a disaster for the authorities ahead of local elections taking place in Bosnia and Herzegovina on October 7. Banja Luka is currently served by B&H Airlines with flights to and from Zurich. In 2011 the airport welcomed 8.367 passengers.