|Podgorica and Sarajevo airports register busiest year on record|
The airports in Podgorica and Sarajevo have recorded their busiest year on record in 2015 despite a disappointing December for the latter, affected by poor weather conditions which resulted in the cancellation of over a quarter of all flights throughout the month. Bosnia and Herzegovina's busiest airport reported that it handled 772.851 travellers throughout the year, an increase of 8.7% compared to 2014. Passenger figures declined over 35% in December due to low visibility, which saw the airport shut its doors for several days, resulting in the cancellation of numerous flights. "We are still evaluating the financial losses incurred, but it is apparent they are significant", the airport's spokeswoman, Belma Čureković, said earlier this week. Despite the December hick-up, the airport has seen record figures throughout the year and has maintained its position as the ninth busiest in the former Yugoslavia, fending off strong competition from Podgorica, from which it took over the position last year.
Podgorica Airport also reached a milestone in 2015. It handled 748.175 passengers, up 6.7% on the year before. "2015 will be remembered as the year Podgorica broke records on a monthly basis", the airport said. Aircraft movements grew 5% during the year. In contrast, Tivat Airport saw its figures decrease slightly, 1.7% on its record 2014 result. It welcomed 895.033 travellers through its doors. "The decline comes purely as a result of the Ukraine crisis, which had an impact on Montenegro's tourism industry as a whole. Therefore, we view this result as an achievement", Tivat Airport's operator said. Montenegro Airlines, which has aircraft based at both airports, saw its passenger numbers increase 4% on last year's 557.000 travellers. Its operated 6% more flights during 2015.
Sarajevo Airport enters 2016 with plans to improve its facilities and attract new carriers. Czech Airlines is expected to launch services to the Bosnian capital in May with ticket sales to begin later this month. The two sides are in talks regarding landing and departure slots which could see the airport extend its business hours to accommodate for the carrier's planned late arrival and early departure. Furthermore, Qatar Airways is expected to launch services to Sarajevo, according the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina. "Preparations are in their final phase and we can expect for Qatar Airways to make a final decision on the establishment of nonstop Doha - Sarajevo flights very soon”, the Ministry said recently. In addition, the airport is expected to begin work on the construction of rapid exit taxiways and the expansion of its apron. On the other hand, Flydubai is planning to introduce two weekly services to Podgorica next June.