Sarajevo sees strong February growth while B&H Airlines’ numbers plummet
Sarajevo Airport has recorded its fifteenth consecutive month of passenger growth, maintaining its successful run following last year’s record breaking results. In February, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s busiest airport handled 35.435 passengers, an increase of 16.6% compared to the same month last year. At the same time the airport also recorded a surge in the number of flight operations with a total of 387 arrivals and departures recorded, up 21.3% on 2012. “These results confirm the management’s expectations that Sarajevo Airport will record growth in both passenger and traffic volume”, the airport said in a statement. In the months to come Sarajevo Airport will see several new routes launched including a new service by Germanwings from Berlin, Turkish Airlines from Istanbul’s second airport Sabiha Gokcen, Middle East Airlines from Beirut and SAS Scandinavian from Stockholm.
Despite the strong showing by Sarajevo Airport, B&H Airlines has recorded its third consecutive year of passenger decline in 2013 with numbers down by almost a half on the year before. The carrier is yet to recover from the pullout of its one time part owner Turkish Airlines. In 2013, the Bosnian national carrier welcomed only 31.705 passengers on board its aircraft, down 46.8% on the year before. Out of all the national carriers in the former Yugoslavia, B&H has the lowest market share at its home base, averaging only 5% of all passengers last year.
However, 2013 was a trying year for B&H. The airline was grounded for several weeks due to outstanding loan repayments for its aircraft. Later it was again forced to cancel many of its flights as its aircraft went in for regular maintenance and had to deal with poor weather conditions at Sarajevo Airport near the end of the year. As a result, B&H operated just over 20% fewer flights than in 2012. The Bosnian government is still looking for a new partner for its airline.