The ambitious redevelopment of Bihać Airport in north-western Bosnia and Herzegovina, scheduled to begin this February, has been effectively cancelled after the government failed to include the project in its fifteen year transportation development program and provide necessary funding. The former military base was to be transformed into a commercial airport to cater for both passenger and cargo traffic. Despite initial assurances that the Federal government would provide 13.1 million euros for the construction of a new control tower and the lengthening of the runway, it has instead opted to invest forty million euros into Sarajevo Airport between 2017 and 2019, as well as 25 million euros into Tuzla Airport and fifteen million into Mostar Airport.
The ground breaking ceremony, which was to mark the start of Bihać Airport's redevelopment, was scheduled to take place on February 26 but was cancelled after the government failed to provide the necessary funding to the newly created public operator JP Aerodrom Bihać. The only hope left for the project's realisation is for local authorities to partner up with a foreign investor. Turkey's Çelebi Aviation Holding, a ground handling services company, had previously expressed interest to partake in the project's funding through a public private partnership. "There is also interest from a Saudi investment fund based in Dubai", Smail Toromanović, the advisor to the Mayor of Bihać, previously said.
Bihać Airport's redevelopment was to include the lengthening of the runway from the current 1.200 metres to 2.000 metres, as well as the construction of a new control tower and passenger terminal. "This project is of great importance to the region for the development of both the local tourism industry and economy, even if the airport caters only for charter flights. The land around the airfield is owned by the city, so there should be no issues concerning possession rights", Mr Toromanović previously said. The Bihać-based Euroing company had completed the design of the future terminal building. Once built, it would have become Bosnia and Herzegovina's fifth commercial airport, following Sarajevo, Tuzla, Mostar and Banja Luka, which handled a record 1.129.749 passengers in 2015. Bihać is located near the Croatian border and is the country's eighth largest city.