Sarajevo Airport anticipates seeing a turning point in its operations next year with plans to handle one million passengers, overhaul its runway and expand its terminal building. Talks are underway with several carriers over the introduction of new flights to the city. "We are in contact with several airlines concerning the Scandinavian market, but I do not wish to name them yet. There are also plans for new flights to the Middle East, namely Kuwait, but we are still in the early stages of negotiations. Our analysis, which is undertaken on a regular basis, shows there is certainly room to expand in that area", Sarajevo Airport's General Manager, Armin Kajmaković, says. So far, Wizz Air has announced the launch of two weekly flights from Budapest starting next April, while Qatar Airways is expected to commence services from Doha, which were initially scheduled to launch this year. "Although it is not official yet, we expect for these flights to start in March", Mr Kajmaković adds. Furthermore, TUIFly Belgium will introduce seasonal services from Charleroi to the Bosnian capital, while Swiss International Air Lines and Air Arabia will resume summer flights from Zurich and Sharjah respectively.
During 2017, Sarajevo Airport will begin work on overhauling its runway. "Runway reconstruction is an extremely challenging project valued at 10.2 million euros. It will have to be done, since the runway was last upgraded in 1998. We are currently undertaking some studies which will show us in which way, what part and which zones work has to be carried out and whether total reconstruction is necessary. This decision will be influenced by how long the airport will have to be closed for commercial traffic", the General Manager says. He notes that the airport will trial a system which will help increase visibility during the winter, as Sarajevo continues to struggle with the effects of fog, which often results in flight cancellations and diversions. "The system we are trailing includes expelling gas in certain areas which have been identified as critical. The gas would then reduce fog to an acceptable level. However, following the trial, we will see whether this is applicable in Sarajevo".
Sarajevo Airport also anticipates expanding its terminal building next year based on a project drafted in 2010. Mr Kajmaković notes, "We are now reviewing this project since the passenger structure has changed over the past six years. It is a complex task linked to our projections and estimates. The facility should stretch over 9.000 square metres over four levels". Sarajevo Airport's existing terminal building has the capacity to handle one million passengers. Earlier this month, the airport welcomed its record 800.000th traveller of the year. In 2012, the former management cancelled a planned 32 million euro expansion of the terminal building despite securing a 25 million euro loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to finance the project.