The opening of Užice's Ponikve Airport in Western Serbia is not expected any time soon, becoming the country's second airport to boast a new terminal building with little or no traffic. The airport was initially to open for commercial use last August, following the completion of a new passenger terminal. "The runway is 3.100 metres long, of which 2.200 metres have been overhauled. The length is more than enough to accommodate larger aircraft. However, the main problem, and the reason we are still unable to handle any flights, is the lack of a perimeter fence", the General Manager of Užice Airport, Saša Savić, said. A further three million euros are required to complete the work, however, funding issues have delayed the opening until further notice. Local municipalities have called on the government to provide the necessary finances as the airport would boost both tourism and the local economy. "We are trying. We have a development plan, ambitions, big hopes and few resources. We built a terminal to try and bring the airport to an acceptable standard. We had big plans for 2016 but unfortunately the funds that were promised to complete the runway overhaul and set up a fence never came. We have deferred those plans for this year and now we can just sit and wait to see what will happen", the airport's General Manager said.
Užice Airport was destroyed during the 1999 NATO bombing. However, the Serbian government and the European Union have jointly invested over one million euros into the creation of a project masterplan, while significant funds were put into the removal of unexploded bombs around the airport's runway. Its control tower was reopened in 2013 following a major overhaul by the Serbia and Montenegro Air Traffic Services Agency, while Belgrade Airport also donated funds. Late last year, Mr Savić said, "There is interest for flights, especially from foreign tourists who would like to visit nearby Zlatibor Mountain and Mokra Gora. We are already in talks with a local hotel in Zlatibor and have discussed the possibility of operating promotional charters to several European countries (Cyprus, Greece, Russia and Slovenia) with both smaller and larger aircraft, including Boeing jets with the capacity to seat 150 passengers". He added, "If these prove successful, we hope to have regular charter flights next year". Low cost airline Wizz Air has shown its support for the new airport development and said it would consider flying to the city.
The Užice region is home to some of Serbia's most exported goods. On the other hand, it is also close to several major cities in the former Yugoslavia, with Sarajevo and Belgrade just 118 kilometres away. During the 1996 summer season, JAT Yugoslav Airlines operated a two weekly Belgrade - Užice - Tivat service. Over the past few years, small private aircraft have used the airport during the daytime. However, questions have been raised whether Užice Airport will follow in the footsteps of Kraljevo, in central Serbia, which opened a new modern terminal building in 2012 which has not been used since.