The Government of the entity of Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina has suggested for Air Serbia to station an aircraft at Banja Luka Airport and open a subsidiary in the city. The Minister for Transport of the entity government, Nedjo Trninić, who recently said that the Serbian carrier's existing three weekly flights between Belgrade and Banja Luka were "unsustainable", noted, "There is potential for flights to Austria and Scandinavian countries. It is our wish for Air Serbia to base an aircraft and open a subsidiary here". Mr Trninić said he held informal discussions with Air Serbia's CEO. The Serbian airline is the only scheduled carrier flying into Bosnia and Herzegovina's second largest city. The carrier's fees at Banja Luka are covered by the airport operator. "We are considering daily flights to Belgrade or to destinations other than Belgrade. That would be very good and we are currently in discussions with Air Serbia", Miroslav Janjić, the General Manager of Banja Luka Airport said.
The only airline ever to have been based in Banja Luka was Air Srpska, jointly established by the airport and JAT Yugoslav Airlines in 1999. The deal helped JAT maintain its aircraft and keep its crew flying in face of international sanctions imposed onto Yugoslavia. With two ATR72s, the airline launched flights to Zurich on January 29, 1999 and had an interline agreement with Swissair. Additional flights were eventually launched and Banja Luka Airport handled record passenger numbers. However, the airline ceased operations in 2003 when JAT was forced to withdraw from the joint venture due to regulations set out in Bosnia and Herzegovina's new aviation law. The government of Republika Srpska set up a new airline, Sky Srpska, in 2007. Over the years the airline signed Memorandums of Understanding with Adria Airways and Jat Airways, while cooperation talks were also held with Montenegro Airlines. The company intended to lease two seventy-seat aircraft. A total of ten weekly flights were planned and an estimated 30.000 passengers to be carried per year. Initially, Sky Srpska was to commence flights to Vienna and Belgrade. Despite 400.000 euros in funding each year, the company was unable to secure aircraft and was formally shut down in 2013.
Air Serbia has not publicly commented on calls to set up a subsidiary or review its operations into Banja Luka. The airline has been an advocate of a hub-spoke model and has previously rejected calls to base an aircraft at Niš Airport. "Air Serbia has a different business model which includes turning Belgrade into a hub, meaning all flights are launched from there", the carrier said in a statement in 2015. The government of the entity of Repblika Srpska recently said it was also in talks with Israeli and Irish carriers to set up flights to Banja Luka, however, the Transport Minister noted, "Low cost carriers are not our future. We are more focused on serious airlines to whom we can offer fair conditions. We must offer passengers both attractive and scheduled routes because the population is large enough for the airport to function properly and develop in the right direction. Low cost airlines are very demanding in terms of subsidies and airports do not benefit from them".