The ambitious redevelopment of Bihać Airport in north-western Bosnia and Herzegovina, initially scheduled to commence last February, has received renewed backing from the Federal government which will provide the necessary funding in order for construction to begin this year. A groundbreaking ceremony was cancelled in 2016 after the government snubbed the project and failed to provide the required funds. However, the Prime Minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Fadil Novalić, said last week, "The city of Bihać missed out on an initial investment of one million euros because they failed to submit an investment plan. We will provide one million euros for Bihać Airport this year and will inject a further million each subsequent year".
The Mayor of Bihać, Šuhret Fazlić, says construction of the airport's terminal building is likely to begin this year. "We have already formed the public enterprise JP Aerodrom Bihać, which manages the airport, while all property ownership issues have been resolved. We must now conduct a feasibility study, obtain the necessary project documentation and determine how to secure additional funding in order to begin work this year. A public private partnership is also possible", Mr Fazlić said. Turkey's Çelebi Aviation Holding, a ground handling services company, had previously expressed interest to partake in the project. "There is also interest from a Saudi investment fund based in Dubai", Smail Toromanović, the advisor to the Mayor of Bihać, previously said.
Bihać Airport's redevelopment includes the lengthening of the runway from the current 1.200 metres to 2.000 metres, as well as the construction of a new control tower and passenger terminal. "This project is of great importance to the region for the development of both the local tourism industry and economy, even if the airport caters only for charter flights. The land around the airfield is owned by the city, so there are no issues concerning possession rights", Mr Toromanović noted. The Bihać-based Euroing company was responsible for the design of the terminal. Once built, it will become Bosnia and Herzegovina's fifth commercial airport, following Sarajevo, Tuzla, Mostar and Banja Luka, which handled just over 1.230.000 passengers in 2016. Bihać is located near the Croatian border and is the country's eighth largest city.