Published On: Wed, Jul 15th, 2015

Mostar Airport eyes Star Alliance carriers

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Mostar to negotiate flights with Lufthansa, Austrian and Turkish Airlines

Mostar Airport will enter talks with several Star Alliance member airlines over the potential launch of scheduled year-long flights to the city. Mostar has struggled to attract scheduled services but sees a significant number of charters throughout the year, carrying religious pilgrims visiting the nearby Medjugorje sight. “This year we will attempt to bring one scheduled carrier. Primarily we are interested in talks with Germanwings, Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines, as well as Turkish Airlines. We are confident there is a significant number of people from our diaspora who would fly to Mostar”, the airport’s Managing Director, Marin Raspudić, said. He added that the airport is interested in direct links to Munich, Vienna and Istanbul.

In 2013, the Federal government of Bosnia and Herzegovina designated both Mostar and Tuzla airports as the country’s low cost hubs. Since then, Wizz Air has opened a base in Tuzla. Mostar Airport attempted to attract low cost carriers on several occasions but has had little success. Back in 2012 it held talks with Wizz Air over potential flights from Dortmund and Malmo, however, the airline opted for Tuzla instead. Last October, Ryanair confirmed it had entered negotiations with Mostar Airport regarding the possible launch of services from Germany and Scandinavia. In the end, these flights did not materialise either. “Our main objective is to see the return of those passengers that left us during the war and post-war period. They are now using Dubrovnik and Split for charters to Medjugorje and Sarajevo Airport for scheduled services”, Mr Raspudić said, noting it is difficult to compete against larger nearby rivals such as Dubrovnik, Split and Sarajevo.

Mostar Airport handled 31.633 passengers during the first half of the year, an improvement of 17.2% compared to the same period in 2014, making it Bosnia and Herzegovina’s third busiest airport behind Sarajevo and Tuzla but ahead of Banja Luka. Mostar estimates it will handle some 85.000 passengers by the end of the year, up from 68.000 in 2014. It handled a record 86.000 travellers in a single year prior to the breakup of the former Yugoslavia but has been unable to surpass that figure ever since. This summer, a total of five airlines are maintaining regular charter flights to Mostar, one of them being Croatia Airlines. The Croatian carrier operates two weekly flights, each on Thursday, to the Lebanese capital Beirut with an Airbus A320 aircraft. Services will run until October.

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