Sarajevo Airport’s year to remember

Busy year for Sarajevo Airport

Sarajevo Airport has recorded its busiest year since opening its doors in 1969. In early November the airport handled more passengers than during all of 2012. In the following year, the airport will see the arrival of new airlines and will continue to invest into its infrastructure. “In the first half of November we welcomed our 600.000th passenger of the year, which is of big significance for us since it is the greatest number of passengers we have ever handled in a single calendar year. All this is the result of the constant business efforts of the Management Board and all the employees at our company”, Ivica Veličan, the CEO of Sarajevo Airport, says. Over the past two weeks the airport has been experiencing problems with poor visibility with many flights cancelled. This has reignited the debate whether Sarajevo’s airport should be relocated.

During 2013 Sarajevo Airport welcomed several new airline including Pegasus Airlines, Kuwait Airways and Moskovia Airlines which is to launch flights to the Bosnian capital tomorrow. For the coming year, SAS Scandinavian Airlines has announced the launch of seasonal summer flights from Stockholm to Sarajevo. Negotiations are continuing with the low cost airline Wizz Air and Etihad Regional has also shown interest to launch flights to the Bosnian capital. Talks are also being held with Libyan based airlines for the resumption of the Sarajevo -Tripoli service, which was last operated by Buraq Air prior to the rebellion in the country. B&H Airlines recently announced plans to launch several new regional flights next year.

Despite the increase in passenger numbers, Sarajevo Airport has cancelled its expansion project until further notice. However, there have been some improvements inside the existing terminal building with the refurbishment of the business class lounge, expansion of the duty free area and the extension of the airport’s catering facilities. “The improvements we have made in recent times has reflected in our financial performance. We have seen an increase in revenue in almost all segments (passenger services, aircraft handling, trade, cargo and complementary services). The growth in revenue has been particularly visible in the area of increased passenger flow and airline operations”, Mr. Veličan concludes. As it currently stands, 2014 promises to be another busy year for Sarajevo Airport.


  1. Anonymous10:22

    OT: VintageEx-Yu photo (JAT DC-10 and Qantas 747)
    Are you sure this is Zagreb Airport. Qantas used to have a regular service to Yugoslavia, to Belgrade only.

    1. Yes, it is Zagreb Airport

    2. Anonymous15:36

      Lot of people here speak and write of Zagreb as of an airport with no past and no future. The facts are quite opposite - in former Yugoslavia, Air Canada and ELAL used to fly to Zagreb only, not to Belgrade. PanAmerican used to fly to Zagreb nonstop from NewYork, and Panam's flights to Belgrade and Dubrovnik were operated with stop, and plane change in Frankfurt, 727/737 actually being seen in BEG and DBV. Please don't think that I'm speaking against BEG - no, it was, and still is, the biggest airport in ex-YU, and yes, BEG was one to have regularly Qantas B747, and Zambia Airways, and Kuwait Airways (B707), and Air China (B767). However, ZAG had, after disintagration of Yugoslavia, regularly Malaysian with B777, and still has JAL and KoreanAir regular charters on B777/B747.
      This just as an info for people who constantly write here about ZAG as it was Osijek, Maribor, or Nis. And I apologize for off-topic and wis one more good, even better year to Sarajevo, and all other ex-yu airports.

    3. Anonymous15:49

      Well, the thing is that for example I knew that Zagreb had all those flights but I never knew they had any from Qantas. So like the first anonymous I was surprised to see it in Zagreb.

    4. Qantas made stops in Zagreb on its Sydney-Bombay-Frankfurt service in the early 1980s

    5. Dejan Milinkovic16:53

      It's not true. Qantas didin't have scheduled flights to ZAG from 1979 and any time later, this is what I can confirm. And also very likely not before that year. As I couldn't find any info on the internet about Qantas flights to ZAG during seventies I highly doubt there have ever been any. If someone could provide any reliable info about that, it would be very welcome. As for Pan Am, during eighties they didn't fly to ZAG nor to BEG directly but mostly over FRA with B737-200 and B727-200. Whether thy flew directly to BEG or ZAG during seventies I don't have a clue.

    6. Just to clarify. The Qantas flights to Zagreb were operated as charters in the early 1980s.

    7. Dejan Milinković17:04

      Here is a list of scheduled flights to BEG during eighties where widebodies were used. Qantas B747-200 to FRA, AMS and ROM over BEG. Also to BEG over ATH. Air France to IST over BEG, equipment was A300 (B747-200 two times). ALIA (Royal Jordanian) L1011-500 and A310 over BEG to LHR and AMS. Swissair A310 to BEG over ZAG or nonstop. Air China B767-200 to BEG over BUH. Occasional visitors were also Iraqy Airways B747-200, Aeroflot IL86 or Turkish A310 on regular flights as an equipment upgrade.

    8. Anonymous18:25

      You can be greateful to the mod for posting that picture and trying to help you with that complex of inferiority of yours but regardless, that doesn't changes the essence of things.

    9. Did Air Afrique fly to Belgrade at some point? For some strange reason I believe they did, even for a little while.

    10. The picture shows Zagreb airport as you would like it to be, but not as it is neither it has never been. That was a one-off occurence. Zagreb barely handled more than 2 million pax this year, slightly above Pristina which is recording higher pax figures and might overtake Zagreb in a few years.

    11. Anonymous19:14

      Pan Am had regular flights to Zagreb 4 times per week till 1990. Adria had code-share connections from ZAG to DBV, SPU and BEG

    12. Anonymous19:17

      If Zagreb is bareli over 2 million than PRN is bareli over 1 million. ZAG has 50% more pasenger than PRN

    13. That's not true. Pristina is about to serve 1.7 million passengers this year while Zagreb is at 2.2 and stagnating. If that's what you call 50% then i would ask you to check your maths.

    14. Anonymous19:53

      Pristina also has better infrastructure.

    15. Dejan Milinković20:43

      Anonymus at 6:25 PM, first of all, you probably mean grateful as greatful doesn't mean anything, at least as I know. What does gratefulness have to do with facts? How much I respect blog admin work he knows well. I can publicly say now that he helped me two months ago to get access to some of Air Serbia promotional events and, of course, I am very grateful to him for that matter too. But facts are facts. What does common sense say to you about possibility that there were charters operating on SYD-BOM-ZAG-FRA route? Actually, Qantas flew on SYD-BOM-BEG-FRA route (of course, it was scheduled flight) as well as AMS-BEG-BKK-SYD and several other similar routes. This is from my memory but I will be back here with exact data taken from Qantas and JAT timetables. So, admin probably mixed things up, of course, without having any bad intentions, unlike you.

    16. Dejan Milinković21:08

      Što se tiče kompleksa od istih očigledno patite vi pošto imate problem sa prihvatanjem činjenica. Nadam se da će vam biti lakše ako primetim da je Zagreb imao redovne letove Er Kanade krajem 80-ih (L1011 i B767) ili Malejžijana krajem 90-ih (B777-200) koje Beograd nikad nije imao. Da se malo opustite možda će pomoći i sledeća informacija. Pre malo više od mesec dana sam sa suprugom i dvoje male dece došao u Zagreb na dvodnevni spoterski izlet, naravno sa ciljem da vidimo, a ja usput i fotografišem, AN-225. Mogu vam reći da smo svi uživali u onim otvorenim turističkim autobusima obilazeći Antonov a i neke druge avione na platformi. Nekoliko fotografija je već na a u sledećih par nedelja biće ih još dosta objavljeno. Pitam se da li biste vi došli u BEG iz sličnih razloga. I da li biste na takav put poveli malu decu. Hoće li vam biti lakše i ako kažem da je nivo saobraćaja na BEG ravan nivou saobraćaja seoskih aerodroma u SAD ili omanjih gradića u Evropi? I da je to sramota kako za Beograd tako i za ceo region. I šta ćemo sad? Zar svaka informacija mora da se koristi za besmislena i krajnje detinjasta prepucavanja na relaciji ZAG-BEG? Ideja je samo bila da se isprave pogrešne informacije i ništa više. Get a life!

    17. Dejan Milinković21:18

      Nemjee, Air Afrique has never had regular flights to BEG. Some of JATs B727 were leased to Air Afrique and painted in their colours.

    18. Thanks for that, it must have been because of it that I got confused.

    19. Dejan Milinković22:43

      For those who prefer facts to wishful thinking. Summer '81, QF 15: SYD-MEL-PER-BOM-BEG-FRA.
      Summer '82, QF 005: SYD-MEL-PER-BOM-ATH-BEG-FRA and SYD-MEL-BKK-ATH-BEG-FRA (two times per week). QF 006: AMS-BEG-ATH-BKK-MEL-SYD and this one must be real hit, nowadays unthinkable: AMS-FRA-BEG-ATH-BOM-PER-MEL-SYD
      Summer '83, QF 17: MEL-SYD-BKK-ATH-BEG
      Summer '84 - the same as in summer '83
      This is how the things looked like in the first half of eighties, really unforgettable times :)

    20. Anonymous22:54

      Thank you Dejan!

    21. Anonymous23:31

      Zagreb will, for sure, have 2,3 million this year. And on this blog was information that PRN will have 1,5 million this year, even that there is danger that SPU will be better. So, after all it will be 50% more. Or in real number SKP is much near to PRN than PRN to ZAG.

  2. Anonymous11:30

    It's good that Sarajevo airport is working again this morning. Air Serbia had an extra flight this morning, I suppose to take the passengers who could not fly yesterday or the days before.

  3. Anonymous11:33

    Too bad the airport was basocally closed from 21-24 december. One of the busiest periods and this could dasily have cost them some 5000 pax..

    Looking forward to what 2014 will bring at SJJ

  4. Anonymous12:17

    No any of all those airlines which couldn't have flown to SJJ during those days hasn't diverted to BNX except BH Airlines. Does anyone know whether those airlines used TZL and OMO as an alternative to SJJ or not?

  5. Anonymous12:52

    Guys, do you think those record numbers in SJJ and BEG are anyhow linked to neglection of other country airports such as Mostar, Nis, Kraljevo, Banja Luka... Or there is simply no market demand for them?

    1. Well, airlines did try to serve Nis airport but they failed to sell the seats. Even Montenegro Airlines who fares were rather cheap did not manage to survive there.
      When it comes to Banja Luka, Adria failed miserably and if I remember correctly they had 4-5 passengers per flight. Air Serbia seems to be doing ok, now, it could be because of a larger O&D market or because a better pricing policy... who will know.
      I think that these other airports could get a few more flights but I think that the growth in both Belgrade and Sarajevo is not because other airports were neglected.
      Belgrade's future growth will be directly linked to how well Air Serbia performs. After all, without it we would not have additional flights by Tarom, B&H Airlines, Etihad Regional and double digit growth at BEG.

      Just my 2 cents

    2. Anonymous13:32

      Well, we wont find it out untill we establish proper flights from Kraljevo and Nis. I dont even know if Nis is possible, they failed too many times. I think Nis has enough demand for Wiena flights, they could loosen up BEG link (37 flights per week according to Wiki). If only 20% of those passengers actually go to somewhere in Nis airport gravity area, its enough for 4-5 weekly flights.

      BNX - I agree with nemjee. I think nobody would ever launch flights from BNX if there was not for subsidies or political reasons.

    3. Anonymous14:48

      The essence is in the very well known idiom in Serbian, "kadija te tuži, kadija ti sudi".

      So, the local politicians who are rather corrupted and stupid than honest and clever, and their so greedy tycoons, decide about everything regarding Ex-Yu, and so the civil aviation. And what is worse, things will not change easily.
      Might be, for some of these which are counted by Anonymous from December 26, 2013 at 12:52 PM, a change will occur in 2015.

  6. Anonymous13:19

    Off Topic...
    What is Transaero 737-800 doing in Belgrade? Maintenance or ? I've noticed it on FR24 doing a test flight.
    Also A321 from Aeroflot did a go-around on it's first approach, then made it to land on second approach.

    1. Yes, their B737-800 are regularly serviced in Belgrade. Usually when they are done they fly them around Serbia and Montenegro.

      When the Aeroflot A321 was landing it was a true mess. In about 15 minutes 6-7 flights landed. Maybe it had something to do with it? Maybe a plane did not clear the runway in time so it had to make abort its landing?

    2. Anonymous21:03

      Okay! Thank you for reply! :)

      I saw that it was messy, also the wind wasn't so great today. I would love to experience go-around, that's one of rare moments when you can feel the engines on their full thrust.

    3. No problem. I never experienced an aborted landing but the closest to it I got was an aborted take off on board Lufthansa's A300-600. Not the best feeling I must say. :P

    4. Pera Kojot21:54

      to Anonymous 9:03pm ... No you would not like to experience go-around. :) Had it couple of times, always was terrible feeling... there is some delay in reaction of the plane in comparison to noise that you hear.

      Terrible noise starts from engines, airplane still goes down and then suddenly it start to gain height.. No not the best feeling. :)

  7. Anonymous14:28

    Do you think that daily Belgrade - Banja Luka flights will affect B & H on Banja Luka - Zurich?

    Air Serbia has quite competitive fares on that route in some cases.

  8. Anonymous18:37

    Get real! No one would fly 500km more, wasting two hours and a half on that idiotic route. Why would one fly from BNX to BEG, to east and then to ZRH which is in the west, looking from BNX. Using the BH Airlines flight, the passengers on the direct BNXZUR route can get to Zurich in an hour and 45 minutes. The two flights via BEG would take at least 4 hours what is more than double.
    And the PAX should change the aircraft at BEG risking loss of their luggage there. Do you really think the PAX that gravitate to BNX are that stupid that they’d exchange their direct flight for the two mentioned, but in the wake of a few bucks? For those PAX, BEG is a good hub for travelling to north, east and south. But not to west. Except they wanna fly over the pond... one day when it’s possible.
    In conclusion, and in my opinion, BEGBNX and BNXZRH are both of a great help to BNX in its efforts to establish something what can be called regular air traffic. Presence of two companies instead of just one will for sure boost the passengers’ faith into travelling to or from BNX. One flight or just one airline can not be a successful story to any airport.

    1. Anonymous18:38

      ZRH, sorry

    2. Anonymous18:51

      You seem not to know anything about aviation. How often B&H flies to Zurich anyway?

      There you got your answer.

    3. Anonymous19:45

      Maybe BNX-ZRH wont be affected, but one can save 65 euros flying from Sarajevo to Belgrade, and then to Zurich. Plus Air Serbia goes daily there, unlike B&H, so a passenger who uses BEG to transfer has more opportunities.

      B&H rarely has good fares.

    4. Anonymous19:51

      Plus, Sarajevo-Belgrade is double daily so a passenger has a choice between an earlier and a later flight to Zurich from Belgrade.

  9. Anonymous21:57


    Its the end of 2013, any projections for this year guys ?

    My projections for 2013, 2014 and 2015.


    Belgrade - 3.54 million passengers
    Zagreb - 2.30 million passengers
    Pristina - 1.61 million passengers
    Split - 1.59 million passengers
    Dubrovnik - 1.52 million passengers.
    Ljubljana - 1.31 million passengers
    Skopje - 1.01 million passengers
    Podgorica - 730 000~ passengers
    Tivat - 690 000~ passengers
    Sarajevo - 655 000~ passengers
    Zadar - 487 000~ passengers
    Pula - 384 000~ passengers
    Rijeka - ~124 000 passengers
    Ohrid - ~92 000 passengers
    Mostar - ~76 000 passengers

    and 2014,

    Belgrade - 3.83 million passengers
    Zagreb - 2.55 million passengers
    Split - 1.72 million passengers
    Pristina - 1.70 million passengers
    Dubrovnik - 1.61 million passengers.
    Ljubljana - 1.44 million passengers
    Skopje - 1.16 million passengers
    Podgorica - 810 000~ passengers
    Sarajevo - 785 000~ passengers
    Tivat - 745 000~ passengers
    Zadar - 525 000~ passengers
    Pula - 425 000~ passengers
    Rijeka - ~167 000 passengers
    Ohrid - ~110 000 passengers
    Mostar - ~90 000 passengers

    and 2015.

    Belgrade - 4.13 million passengers
    Zagreb - 3.05 million passengers
    Split - 1.87 million passengers
    Pristina - 1.81 million passengers
    Dubrovnik - 1.73 million passengers.
    Ljubljana - 1.71 million passengers
    Skopje - 1.31 million passengers
    Sarajevo - 955 000~ passengers
    Podgorica - 900 000~ passengers
    Tivat - 795 000~ passengers
    Zadar - 575 000~ passengers
    Pula - 505 000~ passengers
    Rijeka - ~210 000 passengers
    Ohrid - ~135 000 passengers
    Mostar - ~100 000 passengers

    post your predictions, and lest see who's gonna be closest.

    Lets call my prediction Anoon 3

    1. I don't think any of us should really predict the results for 2015, especially not in a region like ex-YU where fundamental changes can occur any time.

      This is at least my prediction for Belgrade:

      2013: 3.535.000
      2014: 4.065.000

      I know that some might attack me for proposing that Belgrade will pass the 4 million mark in 2014 but I think it's realistic. That means that the airport will record passenger growth of 15%. With Air Serbia's upcoming expansion and all the new carriers launching Belgrade, I think it's more than possible. Let's also not forget that Belgrade will not only become Air Serbia's hub but it will also be a place where other carriers feed its network. The other day I was reading a discussion on a Greek aviation portal and a guy who works for Aegean said that there is a possibility for them to keep Belgrade flights and to offer connections through an interline agreement with Air Serbia. If that happens then it will be a major shift in Balkan aviation.

      Regards from Belgrade.

    2. Your numbers are more than realistic. The original post is crazy. ZAG is not breaking 3 mil any time soon. Those numbers for Pristina are also too low.

      2013 ~3.53
      2014 ~4.00

    3. Anonymous22:48

      Belgrade airport will surpass 4.5 mil., it is quite obvious

    4. Anonymous22:53

      I absolutely agree, starting from January BEG will see an tremendous growth of the number of flight operations, some +35%.

    5. Anonymous23:02

      I just don't get it where he see Zagreb growth coming from, perhaps from Air Serbia launching flights?

    6. I think the most we can realistically expect is 20% growth throughout the year or 4.242.000 passengers. I wouldn't be surprised if January and February growth is over 20% as those two months were VERY weak in the past. However, 2014 will be the first year when we are not going to depend on O&D passengers for growth but transit ones.

      January 214.000
      February 173.000

      January 210.000
      February 173.000

      So January saw a decrease while February remained unchanged. I am sure this year both of these months will be considerable growth.

    7. Anonymous23:05

      Post your predictions, and try to post for at least airports with over 250 000 pax, no matter how outlandish, lets see who comes closest, we can go back to this post at the end of 2014 and 2015, I'm sure admin can save these stats on his blog.

    8. Anonymous23:11

      I forecast 4.2 million in BEG for 2014.

      - Aэrologic

    9. Anonymous23:11


      2013 - 2.30
      2014 - 2.45


      2013 - 1.65
      2014 - 1.90

  10. Anonymous22:03

    Guys, I, Anonymous from December 26, 2013 at 6:37 PM, am sorry for you.

    1. Anonymous22:19

      I didin't mean of NEMJEE.

  11. Anonymous22:16

    Anonymous from December 26, 2013 at 9:57 PM, lets get back into 2012. What was your prediction for TZL for 2013?

    1. Anonymous22:42

      @AnonymousDecember 26, 2013 at 10:16 PM


  12. Anonymous23:09

    It makes me wonder. If Air France manages to sell City Jet, what will they use to operate flights to Zagreb? I know it will be HOP! but will it be on a CRJ or maybe on an Embraer 190? I hope it's not that CRJ though.

    1. Anonymous23:20

      How pathetic ZAG can't generate more traffic to one of the largest airports in the world. Incredible. I'm clearly disappointed.

    2. Anonymous23:37

      at least AIR FRANCE IS IN ZAGREB. It is not in Belgrade!!!!

    3. Anonymous23:46

      They're in Belgrade through two daily flights on which they code-share, that offer a far superior services than HOP's aircraft. Deal with it.

    4. As mentioned above, Air France is present in Belgrade through its codeshare with Air Serbia.

      1. It's much easier for Air Serbia to operate these flights since Air France's cost structure is still far from allowing it to operate effectively on this market.

      2. Even if they were to launch Belgrade at this stage, it would be on HOP!. Paris-Belgrade is almost three hours flight. Who in his right mind would want to fly on an Embraer for that long when he can do it on the Airbus? Air France needs to keep in mind who they are competing with when decided whether to launch a new flight.

    5. Anonymous00:39

      And one day, if they work hard, maybe Air France will be near to Air Serbia... But for now, they understand they can not compete Air Serbia, so they run away...

      Hahahahahahahahaha... oh, you are so prepotent and so nothing! You just don't know how nothing you are!

  13. Anonymous23:16

    If Belgrade keeps its growth at least 14% in August, then we will finally get a month with more than 500.000 passengers handled in a month!

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. OT: New Lingviston - Italian carter company take the line Roma - Skopje from bankrupt Belle Air Europe... to the end of 30 March 2014 - for now!

  16. Purger23:41

    UNITED on 16 December 2013 launched codeshare operation with Croatia Airlines, which sees “UA” code appearing on following Croatia Airlines service, under flight number range UA9785 – 9811.

    Split – Munich
    Zagreb – Amsterdam
    Zagreb – Brussels
    Zagreb – Frankfurt
    Zagreb – London Heathrow
    Zagreb – Munich
    Zagreb – Paris CDG
    Zagreb – Zurich

    1. Didn't Croatia Airlines code-share with US Airways as well? If yes, I suppose those will be no longer valid after the merger?