Sarajevo’s time to shine
After an uneventful 2012, next year is shaping up to be Sarajevo Airport’s turn in the spotlight. Several airlines have already announced plans to launch flights to the Bosnian capital in 2013. Over the course of this year passenger numbers have declined at the airport by over 3%. B&H Airlines’ ownership woes and network reductions had a direct impact on its home base. While several potential new B&H owners were announced by the government over the past few months, none have materialised so far. However, there are signs of better things to come.
Turkey’s low cost Pegasus Airlines has confirmed it will launch flights from Istanbul to the Bosnian capital from February 4, giving passengers an alternative on the route currently dominated by Turkish Airlines. However, the Turkish national carrier won’t back down without a fight. Starting with the 2013 summer season, Turkish Airlines will operate up to eighteen weekly flights between the two cities while B&H Airlines will maintain its daily service. As a result, passengers will be spoilt for choice with up to thirty weekly flights on the route from April. Furthermore, Flydubai is set to inaugurate two weekly flights from its Dubai base to the Bosnian capital, linking Sarajevo with the Middle East. The charter operator Gryphon Airlines is also set to return with its Kuwait service, operated by the Boeing 767, over the summer months.
While Wizz Air plans to launch flights from several cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina next year, Sarajevo is still being considered as a potential destination. Still, taxes are posing a problem in attracting a greater share of no frills airlines. On the other hand, Norwegian Air Shuttle will operate a new seasonal service from Copenhagen, in addition to its existing summer flights from Stockholm and Oslo. Meanwhile, B&H Airlines has applied for slots at Amsterdam Airport from April. The airline last operated flights to the Dutch city when it was partly owned by Turkish Airlines. Furthermore, Croatia Airlines has announced the possibility of launching flights to several European destinations, direct from Sarajevo, during the summer of 2013.