|Wizz Air to establish flights to Sarajevo and maintain Tuzla base|
Low cost airline Wizz Air says it plans to launch flights to Sarajevo in the near future while continuing to maintain its base in Tuzla. The airline's Head of Airport Development, Jozsef Ujhely, said on Thursday, "After Tuzla, which continues to be our main base in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we intend on establishing flights from Sarajevo, which we consider a very important destination. Furthermore, we are also interested in investing in Sarajevo Airport". The comments were made following a meeting between Mr Ujhely and the Deputy Minister for Communications and Transport of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Saša Dalipagić, in Sarajevo. It comes just weeks after the Hungarian government said it would subsidise services between Budapest and the Bosnian capital. Wizz Air is Hungary's largest airline. The carrier says that in addition to Tuzla and Sarajevo, it is looking to further strengthen its presence on the market, which could result in potential flights to Mostar as well.
Last year, Wizz Air's CEO, Jozsef Varadi, confirmed the airline was in talks with Sarajevo Airport. "We need to make a proper commercial agreement with Sarajevo. We are in talks with Sarajevo Airport but they are simply too expensive. They need to lower their costs”. He added, “We are highly excited for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Wizz Air is very well suited for that environment and we hope to replicate the success in Tuzla across Bosnia. The country is absolutely right for our business plan”. The budget carrier opened its base in Tuzla in June last year. It currently operates flights from the city to eight points in Europe. It handled 268.748 passengers to and from Tuzla in 2015, up almost 75% on the year before.
Sarajevo Airport announced last week it would be upgrading its terminal building in a bid to increase capacity and improve services. Furthermore, it is in talks with several carriers over potential new flights. Sarajevo Airport handled 53.438 passengers in March, an increase of 6.3% compared to the same month last year. The number of aircraft movements stood at 843. During the first quarter, Sarajevo Airport welcomed 137.213 travellers through its doors, up 2.5% on 2015. Its growth over the past three months was dampened by an underperforming January, which was affected by poor weather conditions, resulting in the airport's closure on several occasions.