Sarajevo Airport will handle its 800.000th passenger for the first time in a single year this coming Monday, December 5. It comes following a record summer season, although it registered a disappointing November. The 800.000th traveller is set to travel on an Air Serbia flight to Belgrade. "This will be an important day for us since it will be the first time we have welcomed 800.000 passengers in a single year", the airport said in a statement. Its previous record was set in 2015 when it saw 794.785 travellers pass through its doors during the entire year. With almost a full month to go, Sarajevo anticipates strong growth in the lead-up to 2017 as the airport was hampered by poor weather conditions, which forced it to close its doors for most December last year.
During November, Sarajevo Airport handled 47.352 passengers, a decrease of 8.7% compared to the same month last year. The number of aircraft movements also decreased, from 828 to 793, or down 4.2%. Despite the setback, the airport has already handled more passengers during the January - November period than for the whole of last year. It welcomed 794.785 travellers over the past eleven months, up 6.7% on 2015. The airport has already announced new arrivals for 2017, with Wizz Air to launch flights from Budapest and Qatar Airways to commence its long-awaited service from Doha, which was originally set to start this year. Furthermore, TUIfly Belgium will inaugurate flights from Charleroi starting March 31, while Air Arabia will resume its seasonal service from Sharjah. Several other Middle Eastern carriers have expressed interest in commencing operations to Sarajevo next year.
The General Manager of Sarajevo Airport, Armin Kajmaković, said earlier this year that 2016 would be remembered as a "turning point" in the airport's history. In 2017, work will begin on overhauling the runway and taxiways. Earlier this year, the airport adopted a Reform Agenda up until 2019, which foresees the construction of a new passenger terminal in the near future. Depending on the cost, the airport will either build a brand new facility or expand the existing terminal building. Furthermore, a VIP lounge, car park, office building for staff and support services, as well as an expansion of the apron are foreseen under the plan. "All development projects are planned in line with international standards with the aim of meeting the expectations of passengers, airlines and other customers using our services", Sarajevo Airport said. This year, the airport overhauled part of its terminal in a bid to boost capacity at check-in, customs and the arrivals gate.