|Tuzla - Vienna flights to be launched soon|
Tuzla Airport is likely to announce details of a new scheduled service to Vienna next week. Managing Director, Rafet Karasalihović says, "Talks are in their final stages. We are working on administrative matters, such as permits from relevant authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Vienna". According to Mr Karasalihović, services will operate at least twice per week. While the operator has not been disclosed, in June the airport noted it was in talks with the small Austrian airline People’s Viennaline regarding the launch of two weekly flights from the Austrian capital with its single Embraer 170 jet. However, the airline has not commented on the matter. There are no direct flights between the two cities. In 2009, B&H Airlines considered introducing a stop in Tuzla on its Sarajevo - Vienna route, however, these plans never materialised.
Services to Vienna could mark the first agreement made between the airport and a commercial carrier other than Wizz Air in more than two years. The low cost airline opened its base in Tuzla this June by basing an Airbus A320 at the airport. During the year, the no frills carrier launched services from Bosnia and Herzegovina’s third largest city to Frankfurt-Hahn, Sandefjord, Memmingen and Stockholm-Skavsta and increased its capacity from Tuzla by 70% compared to 2014. Furthermore, the airline has carried 290.000 passengers to and from Tuzla since first launching operations there in May 2013. Wizz Air maintains a total of nine routes from Tuzla, none of which are close to Vienna. A significant Bosnian diaspora resides in Austria. People’s Viennaline operates flights between the Austrian capital and Switzerland, as well as seasonal summer flights to the Italian island of Sardinia.
Tuzla Airport has struggled to attract airlines and passengers since it opened its doors for commercial use in 1998. However, its fortunes turned in 2013 when Wizz Air launched its first service from Malmo. Flights quickly proved popular and the no frills airline expanded its network. In 2014, the airport handled 151.353 passengers, a notable 146% increase on the year before. The airport welcomed more passengers last year than it did for the three previous years combined. During the first eight months of 2015, Tuzla Airport has continued to see its passenger numbers grow with 163.118 travellers handled, an increase of 76.9% compared to the same period last year. The airport estimates it will handle some 200.000 travellers in 2015.