|Government backs down from proposed fee hike|
Wizz Air will continue flying to Tuzla Airport in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the Canton government cancelled earlier plans to hike fees for the budget airline. In a statement, the Prime Minister of the Tuzla Canton, Bahrija Umihanić, said, “After reviewing the potential negative side effects of terminating our cooperation, such as job cuts and other benefits, we call on Wizz Air to continue implementing plans on establishing a base at Tuzla Airport”. According to earlier reports, the low cost airline is considering launching up to seven new routes from Bosnia and Herzegovina’s third largest city. “Opening a base at Tuzla Airport would see an increase in business activity as a result of additional flights, destinations and passengers”, the government says.
Wizz Air warmly welcomed the government’s decision to back down on its previous insistence to increase fees. Janos Bartis, Wizz Air’s Airport Development Manager, says the airline is delighted with the decision, adding that the no frills airline will revisit plans to open a base in the city. “We will continue to negotiate and cooperate with the government over the opening of a base at Tuzla Airport, leading to the creation of new jobs, which is one of the priorities of the Tuzla Canton government”, Mr. Bartis says.
The government’s change in heart comes only a week after its Minister for Transport, Mustafa Isabegović, said, “When an airport has its own market, we can say we want this and that, do you want to work with us or not. We want Tuzla Airport to become a profitable business, as early as next year”. The government was looking at a fivefold increase in fees and taxes for the airline. Wizz Air is the only carrier operating scheduled flights to Tuzla Airport. If it is successful in establishing a base in the city, Tuzla will become its third in the former Yugoslavia after Belgrade and Skopje and the first low cost airline to also call Bosnia and Herzegovina its home.