Sarajevo to subsidise airline base

The Sarajevo Canton government has allocated 255.000 euros in subsidies for airlines willing to launch flights from Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital. The funds will be distributed to an airline or carriers willing to base aircraft in Sarajevo, those launching flights to cities within Europe deemed to be of strategic importance, as well as those operating long-haul flights from the capital, i.e., services of over six hours. A public tender is to be launched by the Tourism Association of Sarajevo Canton to seek out airlines that meet such requirements. “This measure will enable the development of tourism in this region. We believe there will be wide-scale interest for this program”, the government of the Sarajevo Canton said.

The development comes after Sarajevo Airport issued a public call late last year for an airline to station an aircraft in the city in return for incentives. Although the airport has said one carrier applied and a contract has been signed, the name of the airline has not been revealed so far. The airport has insisted that an official announcement is being held up by delays with regulatory approvals. “We are in talks with several airlines, and we are continuously in discussions with carriers based on demand indicators. After Wizz Air closed its base, we immediately launched a tender to find a replacement. We are in talks with both legacy and low cost carriers, among which is Ryanair. We have already signed a contract with an airline to open a base, but we still can’t make a public announcement on the carrier in question. The agreement must be ratified on behalf of our state and in line with our laws”, Sarajevo Airport said back in March.
Wizz Air’s base closure late last year has had an impact on Sarajevo Airport’s passenger performance. It is one of the rare European capital city airports to have registered a decline in figures during the first half of the year when compared to the same period in 2022, part of which was still impacted by coronavirus-related travel restrictions. During the first half of the year, Turkish Airlines was Sarajevo Airport’s largest carrier, both in terms of the number of operated flights, as well as seat capacity.

Sarajevo Airport’s largest carriers by seat capacity, H1 2023

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