Banja Luka Airport will expand its terminal building and build a new cargo facility in a bid to boost its passenger and storage capacities. The 3.1 million euro project will be carried out over the next six to nine months and will include the expansion of the existing terminal building by 397 square metres and the construction of a new cargo storage depot, which will stretch over 1.360 metres. “The cargo facility is the focus of the investment and will cater for requirements made by carriers concerning the protection and special conditions necessary for freight transport”, the CEO of operator Airports of Republika Srpska, Miroslav Janjić, said. The operator, which reported a 72.900 euro profit during the first half of the year, said it would take out a loan to finance the expansion project.
The Prime Minister of the Entity of Republika Srpska, in which Banja Luka is located, Željka Cvijanović, recently said that significant investments would be made in the airport and its infrastructure, including its equipment. Banja Luka Airport has been unsuccessful in its bid to find new customers despite talks with several low cost airlines over the years. The airport says negotiations with budget carriers are generally more "complicated, difficult and extensive", as they require financial backing. Since 2013, it has been involved in drawn out negotiations with Wizz Air. Two years ago, the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure of the Entity of Republika Srpska, Nedeljko Čubrilović, commented on the talks with Wizz Air by saying, “Unfortunately we were unable to agree to the terms set by the airline. It’s not as it looks. They aren’t coming here to give us anything, they want to come here to take something. During negotiations they were very difficult over handling prices so we would not benefit from them in any single way”.
During the first seven months of the year, the airport handled 12.535 passengers. Air Serbia launched flights between the Serbian capital and Banja Luka in December 2013. The service, which is codeshared by Air Berlin, Alitalia and Etihad Airways, is operated five times per week. The Serbian airline is Banja Luka's only customer since B&H Airlines, which ran flights from the city to Zurich, suspended all operations in June last year. Over the years, the airport has been in talks with several carriers including Aegean Airlines, Austrian and Edelweiss Air.