Tuzla has entered talks with a second commercial carrier, whose arrival could ease the airport's dependence on Wizz Air. Tuzla Airport's Acting Director for Development and Marketing, Enver Juknaović, recently said, "Very soon a new carrier will begin operations [to Tuzla], despite Wizz Air continuing to expand its network. The idea of bringing another airline dates back from when an agreement was signed with Wizz Air instead of Ryanair. However, we have maintained contact with Ryanair and other carriers who were initially apprehensive of our statistics and analysis". Wizz Air is currently the only airline maintaining flights to Bosnia and Herzegovina's third largest city. Last week it announced a major expansion, with two new destinations to be added this year, and a further five in 2017. In addition, the airline will boost frequencies on several existing routes.
Tuzla Airport attempted to ease its reliance on Wizz Air, which handles all of its traffic, late last year. At the time, Montenegro Airlines, in cooperation with a local tour operator, launched services to Vienna, however, these flights were short-lived and cancelled several weeks later. Although Tuzla Airport's potential new customer is yet to be disclosed, Ryanair has been eyeing a possible entry into the Bosnian market for several years and has held talks with both Tuzla and Mostar airports in the past. Within the former Yugoslavia, Wizz Air and Ryanair operate side by side at Serbia's Niš Airport. Speaking in an interview in 2011, Mr Jukanović, who was then the General Manager of Tuzla Airport, said, "We have been in talks with Ryanair since 2006. We have to secure sufficient funds from the local government to subsidise the flights. After this is achieved, Ryanair will begin a six month marketing campaign and commence operations".
Tuzla Airport initially struggled to attract airlines and passengers when it opened its doors for commercial use in 1998. However, its fortunes turned in 2013 when Wizz Air launched its first service from Malmo. Flights quickly proved popular and the no frills airline expanded its network. It is currently the only commercial airline serving Bosnia and Herzegovina's second busiest airport on a year-long basis and has fuelled its spectacular passenger growth over the past two years. Tuzla Airport continued to see its passenger numbers grow with 173.845 travellers handled during the first seven months of the year, an increase of 33.6% compared to the same period in 2015.