Sarajevo Airport says talks with budget airline Wizz Air over future operations are still at an early stage and that no definite agreement concerning potential flights has been made yet, following media reports of an imminent deal. The comments come just a few weeks after the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina said Wizz Air will expand services from the country with the launch of "several European destinations" from Sarajevo this year. However, the airport notes it will "analyse all options" when it comes to future cooperation with the budget airline, adding that no routes have been negotiated thus far. "When it comes to launching operations to Sarajevo, it is important to note that each carrier conducts its own market research and studies the commercial viability of introducing a new route. Other than Wizz Air, we are currently not involved in talks with any other low cost airline".
Wizz Air itself remains coy on its future plans for Sarajevo. Last week, when questioned on the matter, the airline said, "We speak with a number of airports at all times about possible future growth as we will continue growing with those who offer low costs". However, in April, Wizz Air's Head of Airport Development, Jozsef Ujhely, visited Sarajevo and said, "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". Wizz Air held drawn-out negotiations with Sarajevo Airport's former management but failed to reach an agreement over fees. "It is true that the former management held talks with the Hungarian carrier, but that process was never completed. In the future, all potential negotiations regarding the arrival of this company will start from the beginning and in case both sides reach a deal over all parts of the agreement, it will be signed", a Sarajevo Airport spokesperson said.
Sarajevo Airport saw its passenger numbers decline sharply in June. The airport handled 66.429 passengers, a decrease of 11.3% compared to the same month last year. The number of aircraft movements stood at 992. Travel was slightly affected by the month of Ramadan, with Air Arabia temporarily suspending all flights between Sharjah and Sarajevo in June. Services on the route resumed last week. Furthermore, unlike last year, Swiss International Air Lines no longer maintains flights between Geneva and the Bosnian capital. Services were suspended in April. So far this year, Sarajevo Airport has welcomed 357.465 travellers through its doors, an increase of 1.6% on 2015.