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Last chance for Banja Luka Airport

Banja Luka Airport has been given a final lifeline before it loses its international operating license. The airport was ordered to fulfil several technical requirements by June 20 including the lengthening of taxiways, purchase of new security equipment and the installation of a new security fence in order to keep its license. However, none of these requirements have been met. The airport has now been given another two months by international monitors to do so. If it fails to adhere to international standards it will lose its license, effectively forcing the airport to close.

Banja Luka Airport has said it does not have the money to finance the needed upgrades. The airport faced similar problems last year, while its employees have also staged several protests over unpaid wages. A total of 460.100 euros is allocated for the airport on an annual basis, while the entity government has been forced to inject additional funds in the past few years.

Banja Luka Airport is currently served only by B&H Airlines. In 2011 Adria Airways operated subsidised flights from Ljubljana to Banja Luka but cancelled the service once the subsidies dried up. The airport has announced that it plans to negotiate with Austrian Airlines later this summer for the carrier to restart flights from Vienna in 2013. Jat Airways was invited to launch flights from Belgrade and onwards to Vienna this summer season but the Serbian national carrier’s fleet is stretched to the limit with its existing network. Meanwhile, talks with Di Air to launch summer charters from Tivat have broken down with the airline showing little interest for the route.

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