Turkish Airlines plans to launch flights to its second destination in Bosnia and Herzegovina following several years of negotiations. Mostar Airport's General Manager, Marin Raspudić, says talks with the Turkish carrier have entered their final phase and flights from Istanbul are expected to commence next summer season. According to Mr Raspudić, the service will operate via Sarajevo to which Turkish Airlines maintains ten weekly flights. The Turkish Consulate in Mostar has given its support for the new route. "This airport has the capacity to handle Turkish Airlines aircraft. Therefore, there are no obstacles to broaden our cooperation and finally link Mostar with Istanbul", the Turkish Consul General in Mostar, Ayse Selcan Sinli, said. She added, "Mostar Airport, Turkish Airlines and the Consulate are all prepared to work on this matter".
Turkish Airlines is the only foreign carrier serving all capital cities of the former Yugoslavia. This year, the company introduced flights to Dubrovnik and boosted its services to Ljubljana. On the other hand, the airline reduced its operations to Sarajevo, Zagreb and Pristina amid lower demand caused by safety concerns in Turkey, as well as a failed coup attempt in the country earlier this year. Turkish Airlines is the largest by capacity and frequency at Sarajevo Airport, offering over 3.000 seats from the Bosnian capital each week. Mostar Airport's General Manager previously noted, “Our main objective is to see the return of those passengers who left us during the war and post-war period. They are now using Dubrovnik and Split for charters to Medjugorje and Sarajevo Airport for scheduled services”.
Mostar Airport handled 52.539 passengers during the first ten months of the year, a decrease of 27.9% compared to the same period in 2015, making it Bosnia and Herzegovina’s third busiest airport behind Sarajevo and Tuzla but ahead of Banja Luka. Mostar has struggled to attract scheduled services but sees a significant number of charters throughout the year, carrying religious pilgrims visiting the nearby Medjugorje sight. It handled a record 86.000 travellers in a single year prior to the breakup of the former Yugoslavia but has since been unable to surpass that figure. The airport expects to secure the arrival of a low cost carrier next year following talks with local authorities who are prepared to grant 255.600 euros in subsidies in order for the airline to launch scheduled flights to the city. Both Wizz Air and Ryanair have previously expressed interest in serving Mostar.