|Užice Airport to complete work on terminal building by month's end|
Užice Airport, in western Serbia, plans to open its doors in September following the completion of a multi million euro redevelopment project. Located in western Serbia, the airport was destroyed during the 1999 NATO bombing campaign. However, the Serbian government and the European Union have jointly invested over one million euros into the creation of a project masterplan, while significant funds were put into the removal of unexploded bombs around the airport's runway. Its control tower was reopened in 2013 following a major overhaul by the Serbia and Montenegro Air Traffic Services Agency. During the week, Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport donated a further 407.000 euros to its counterpart in Užice on top of necessary equipment it provided last year. Belgrade Airport's General Manager, Saša Vlaisavljević, said, "We ended last year with a gross profit of 32.5 million euros, so we are in a position to invest. However, this is not all. We will also donate a two kilometre parameter fence".
The construction of Užice Airport's small terminal building will be completed by the end of the month,. Last week, the airport completed tender procedures for the renovation of the general aviation terminal, as well as for work on the building's roof, plumbing and electricity. By September, the airport will also install necessary lighting. "The terminal will be completed in some twenty days, while the airport will be fully functioning by September", Užice Airport's General Manager, Saša Savić, says. He adds, "We will do our part of the job. It will be up to the tourist board to attract visitors to this region. Technically, the airport will have the capacity to cater for aircraft such as the Boeing 737-300, however, we don't want to get ahead of ourselves. We will go step by step. We are negotiating for the launch of commuter flights with small aircraft that have the capacity to seat up to thirty passengers. If there is demand for larger aircraft, we will work towards adapting the airport to handle such flights in cooperation with Belgrade Airport".
Local authorities hope for the airport to be used for charter and cargo flights. The region is home to some of Serbia's most exported goods. However, it is also close to several major cities in the former Yugoslavia, with Sarajevo and Belgrade just 118 kilometres away. During the 1996 summer season, JAT Yugoslav Airlines operated a two weekly Belgrade - Užice - Tivat service. Over the past few years, small private aircraft have used the airport during the daytime. Užice is Serbia's thirteenth largest city and the administrative centre of the Zlatibor District. It has a fairly developed road and rail network. The entire redevelopment of the airport is valued at nineteen million euros. Questions have been raised whether the project is viable, following the construction of a modern passenger terminal in Kraljevo, in central Serbia in 2012, which has not been used since. Užice is one of a number of local airport project currently planned or under construction in the former Yugoslavia. You can review others here.