Bumper year at nonexistent airport
The Minister for Transport and Infrastructure in the government of the Entity of Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nedeljko Čubrilović, has announced that Trebinje Airport has recorded exceptional results in 2012, doubling its passenger numbers on the year before. However, the only problem is there is no airport in Trebinje. The gaffe made by the minister has become the talk of the town with one resident offering fake return first class tickets from Trebinje to Los Angeles on the Internet, with local food specialities and wine served on board.
Despite the bizarre statement made by Minister Čubrilović, over the past several years thousands of euros have been invested in the nonexistent airport in Trebinje. It remains unknown as to how this money has been spent. In 2008, Zoran Okilj was named as CEO of Trbinje Airport. Construction of the airport was first planned to begin in 2009. However, in 2010, Milorad Dodik, the President of Republika Srpska, said that a Chinese corporation, which has experience in building large capital projects, was interested in Trebinje Airport. “We will know more in a month or two. All necessary documentation has been sent to the company”, Mr. Dodik said at the time. The government of Republika Srpska spent 1.6 million Convertible Bosnian Marks (820.000 euros) for the Trebinje Airport project documentation.
Trebinje Airport was planned to open in 2011 with a 2.6 kilometre runway and a terminal capable of handling 260.000 passengers per year. The airport was meant to cater for low cost airlines. “Airport Consulting Vienna” carried out a feasibility study focusing on the economic viability of Trebinje Airport which is close to Dubrovnik and Tivat . The results of the study showed that Trebinje could become a major rival to the other two well established airports. The report also states that Trebinje should strive to attract low cost carriers but might not be able to turn a profit in the first few years of operation. For now, however, Trebinje Airport remains operational only in the mind of Minister Čubrilović in the hope he will shed light on 2013 passenger figures soon.