Wizz Air to skip Banja Luka
Despite attempts to launch flights from Banja Luka, the low cost airline Wizz Air has given up on its quest after it failed to reach an agreement with the airport. The Minister for Transport of the Entity of Republika Srpska, Nedeljko Čubrilović, said, “Unfortunately we were unable to agree to the terms set by the airline. It’s not as it looks. They aren’t coming here to give us anything, they want to come here to take something”. Mr. Čubrilović added Wizz Air requested subsidies for handling as well as for possible losses the low cost airline could incur on its services from Bosnia and Herzegovina’s second largest city.
Wizz Air and Banja Luka Airport have been in talks over possible flights for the past six months. Wizz initially offered Banja Luka Airport flights from Luton, Malmo, Eindhoven and Dortmund to choose from, with the airport selecting the service from Sweden as it considered it to be the most viable option out of the offered destinations. However, problems soon surfaced over fuel prices at the airport. “During the talks they were very difficult over handling prices so we would not benefit from them in any single way”, the Minister for Transport concluded. Banja Luka Airport has faced closure over the past several years and has struggled to attract customers. It is served by B&H Airlines which operates flights to Zurich while Air Serbia will launch flights to the city from Belgrade this winter.
Wizz Air inaugurated flights from Bosnia this summer with services to Tuzla. It has recorded solid results on its flights from the city. However, Mr. Čubrilović says Tuzla is providing large subsides to the low cost airline in order for it to maintain services to the city. Wizz Air has not commented on its talks with Banja Luka Airport. It is still considering launching flights to the Bosnian capital this year.