Wizz Air is revisiting plans to launch flights from Sarajevo Airport to several European cities. It comes after talks between the two sides over possible new routes stalled last year due to high airport fees. However, a new incentives scheme launched in December 2016 has made operations from the Bosnian capital more affordable. The low cost airline launched its first route to Sarajevo this morning, with the Hungarian government subsidising two weekly services from Budapest. Commenting on potential new flights, Sarajevo Airport's spokeswoman, Sanja Bagrić Arnaut, said, "Following a positive experience with this new route, Wizz Air will probably decide to launch some other flights from Sarajevo Airport as well".
Wizz Air's CEO, Jozsef Varadi, previously said, "We need to make a proper commercial agreement with Sarajevo. We are in talks with Sarajevo Airport but they are simply too expensive. They need to lower their costs. The country is absolutely right for our business plan”. In addition, the company has noted, "After Tuzla, which continues to be our main base in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we intend on establishing flights from Sarajevo, which we consider a very important destination. Furthermore, we are also interested in investing in Sarajevo Airport". Talks between the two sides commenced last May and continued into the summer, however, little progress was made thereafter. Low cost carriers have generally avoided Sarajevo Airport due to a double tax surcharge. Apart from a standard eighteen euro fee per passenger, travellers are also subjected to an additional ten euro Federal tax, introduced in 2005. Both Tuzla and Mostar airports have been exempt from the additional charge.
Sarajevo Airport is confident that its new incentives policy will lead to Wizz Air opening new routes from the airport. "Each airline conducts its own commercial analysis of the market and feasibility studies. What we do is offer incentives for the launch of new destinations, incentives based on the number of passengers carried on an annual basis, as well as incentives for an increase in frequencies", Ms Bagrić Arnaut noted. Wizz Air is introducing a total of nineteen new routes from cities in the former Yugoslavia during the course of this summer. On the other hand, Sarajevo will also see the arrival of several new airlines, with TUIfly Belgium recently launching services from Charleroi, while Atlasglobal will commence flights from Istanbul and Nesma Airlines will run seasonal services from Riyadh.