Sarajevo International Airport

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Sarajevo International Airport
Međunarodni aerodrom Sarajevo
Međunarodna zračna luka Sarajevo
Међународни аеродром Сарајево
Sarajevo International.PNG
Airport type Public
Operator Bosnia and Herzegovina Directorate of Civil Aviation (BHDCA)
Serves Sarajevo,
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Location Butmir
Hub for B&H Airlines
Elevation AMSL 1,708 ft / 521 m
Coordinates 43°49′29″N 018°19′53″E / 43.82472°N 18.33139°E / 43.82472; 18.33139Coordinates: 43°49′29″N 018°19′53″E / 43.82472°N 18.33139°E / 43.82472; 18.33139
SJJ is located in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Location within Bosnia and Herzegovina
Direction Length Surface
m ft
12/30 2,700 8,858 Asphalt
Passengers 2015 (estimated) 800,000
Passengers 2014 709,901
Passengers 2013 665,638
Source (excluding statistics): Bosnian and Herzegovinian AIP at EUROCONTROL[1]

Sarajevo International Airport (IATA: SJJICAO: LQSA), also known as Butmir Airport, is the main international airport in Bosnia and Herzegovina, located 3.3 NM (6.1 km; 3.8 mi) southwest of the railway station[1] in the capital city of Sarajevo in the suburb of Butmir. In 2006, 466,186 passengers traveled through the airport, compared to 25,000 in 1996.[2] It serves as the home base for B&H Airlines.


Early years[edit]

First regular flights to Sarajevo using an airfield in the suburb of Butmir begin in 1930 when the domestic airliner Aeroput opened a regular route linking Belgrade to Podgorica through Sarajevo.[3] A year later Aeroput opened a new route which linked Belgrade and Zagreb going through Sarajevo, Split and Rijeka. In 1935 Aeroput operated three times weekly the non-stop route Belgrade – Sarajevo, which was extended to Dubrovnik a year later. In 1937 Aeroput included regular flghts linking Sarajevo to Zagreb, and 1938 was the year when first international flights were introduced when Aeroput extended the route Dubrovnik – Sarajevo – Zagreb to Vienna, Brno and Prague.[3][4]

The airfield in Butmir remained in use all the way until 1969. The need for a new airport in Sarajevo, with an asphalt-concrete runway, was acknowledged in the mid-1960s when JAT, Yugoslav national carrier at that time, began acquiring jet planes. The construction of the airport began in 1966 at its present location, not far from the old one.

Sarajevo Airport opened on 2 June 1969 for domestic traffic. In 1970 Frankfurt became the first international destination served. Most of the time the airport was a 'feeder' airport where passengers embarked for flights to Zagreb and Belgrade on their way to international destinations. Over time the traffic volume steadily grew from 70,000 to 600,000 passengers a year. The first renovation came for the 1984 Winter Olympic Games, when the runway was extended by 200 meters, the navigation system was improved, and a new terminal building was built, designed for 1 million passengers a year.

At the beginning of the Bosnian War the airport was put under control of Yugoslav federal army (JNA). When the regular flights were stopped the JNA evacuated some 30,000 people, mostly women and children, who were fleeing clashes in Sarajevo; the first humanitarian aid from the US and France arrived in this period too.[5] After JNA left, the airport was for a while under control of Bosnian Serb forces and in June 1992 they handed over the airport to the UN to use it for humanitarian purposes (UN Security Council Resolution 757). In the biggest humanitarian operation in history of the UN that followed, during the Bosnian war, some 13,000 flights were carried out and over 160,000 tons of international humanitarian aid was delivered to the besieged city of Sarajevo.[5]

The airport re-opened to civilian air traffic on 16 August 1996 and has since been renovated and slowly returned to its former glory. Since the Dayton Accord in 1996, the airport has welcomed a thriving commercial flight business which includes B&H Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, Jat Airways, Croatia Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Germanwings and others.

Development since the 2000s[edit]

On 18 October 2005, Paddy Ashdown, the High Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina, suspended a decision by Bosnian authorities to name the airport after Alija Izetbegović, the first President of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The High Representative stated that such a renaming might undermine the reconciliation process by alienating non-Bosniak citizens.[6] Also in 2005, the European branch of the Airports Council International awarded Sarajevo the award of Best Airport Under 1 Million Passengers.[7]

In 2013 Sarajevo International Airport had 665.638 passengers which is more than all of the other airports in Bosnia-Herzegovina had together and a 14.7% increase from 2012, this is the highest number of passengers per year since the reopening of the airport.

Extension of the passenger terminal, together with upgrading and expanding the taxiway and apron is planned.The EBRD is supporting the modernization of Sarajevo International Airport with a €25 million loan to expand the airport’s infrastructure and help it address capacity constraints. The loan is extended directly to Sarajevo International Airport and is guaranteed by the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[8] The existing terminal will be expanded with 7,000 square metres (75,000 sq ft).[9] The upgraded airport will also be directly connected to the commercial retail center Sarajevo Airport Center making it easy for tourist and travellers to use the time before the flight for some last minute shopping.[10] The work on preparing the space for the expansion of the arrival gate on the ground floor of Terminal B should begin in 2015, the construction of rapid exit taxiways should take place in 2016, and 2017 should be the year in which airport will enter into the reconstruction of the runway, the airstrip and the maneuvering areas.[11]

The airport welcomed its 700.000th passenger on December 26, 2014 on Austrian Airlines flight OS758 to Vienna.[12]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Control tower
Terminal building
Apron overview
Airlines Destinations
Adria Airways Ljubljana
Air Méditerranée Seasonal: Jeddah, Medina
Air Serbia Belgrade
Austrian Airlines Vienna (begins 1 April 2015)
Austrian Airlines
operated by Tyrolean Airways
Vienna (ends 31 March 2015)
B&H Airlines Banja Luka, Belgrade (suspended),[13] Copenhagen, Zürich
Seasonal charter: Bodrum
Corendon Airlines Seasonal charter: Antalya
Croatia Airlines Zagreb
flydubai Dubai
Germanwings Berlin-Tegel (ends 28 March 2015), Cologne/Bonn, Stuttgart
Gryphon Airlines Seasonal: Kuwait[14]
Lufthansa Munich
Lufthansa Regional
operated by Lufthansa CityLine
Seasonal: Munich
Middle East Airlines Seasonal: Beirut
Norwegian Air Shuttle Stockholm-Arlanda
Seasonal: Copenhagen, Oslo-Gardermoen
Pegasus Airlines Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen
Swiss International Air Lines Geneva (begins 4 April 2015), Zürich (begins 1 May 2015)[15]
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk


Airlines Destinations
Icar Air Ancona
Solinair Belgrade, Ljubljana

Destinations map[edit]


Passenger numbers[16]
Year/Month January February March April May June July August September October November December Year total  % Change
2015 43,700 - - - - - - - - - - - +21% (Jan)
2014 36,114 35,435 45,789 56,611 71,513 74,976 74,948 88,591 71,168 64,844 46.833 43.079 709.901 + 6,64%
2013 33,437 30,399 44,631 56,918 65,495 72,949 69,699 79,796 66,721 64,387 44,446 36,760 665,638 +14.75%
2012 33,247 26,278 36,765 49,709 55,107 62,491 69,346 60,787 60,323 52,115 38,612 35,278 580,058 – 3.32%
2011 30,484 34,148 40,803 49,489 56,812 62,994 81,042 59,042 59,074 52,957 39,785 33,348 599,978 + 6.5%
2010 + + + + 51,398 59,636 72,615 60,475 54,753 51,137 40,912 563,266 + 6.2%
2009 + + 87,257 + + 143,906 + + 177,762 + + 121,427 530,391 + 4.7%
2008 23,909 27,121 34,896 38,052 46,974 55,391 62,524 61,560 42,752 46,094 34,089 32,913 506,398 + 0.2%
2007 32,235 28,028 35,168 42,297 43,633 53,281 59,436 57,381 45,113 43,980 31,952 32,735 505,269 + 8.4%
Top 5 busiest routes at Sarajevo International Airport
City Airport(s) Weekly departures
(October 2014)
Flag of Turkey.svg Istanbul Atatürk Airport and Sabiha Gökçen Airport
Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airlines
Flag of Croatia.svg Zagreb Zagreb Airport
Croatia Airlines
Flag of Austria.svg Vienna Schwechat Airport
Austrian Airlines
Flag of Serbia.svg Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport
Air Serbia, B&H Airlines
Flag of Germany.svg Munich Munich Airport

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • 18 January 1977: Džemal Bijedić and his wife were among the eight people killed when their Learjet 25 crashed on the Inač mountain near Kreševo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The plane took off from Batajnica Air Base in Belgrade and was en route to Sarajevo when it crashed, ostensibly due to poor weather conditions. Conspiracy theorists have suggested that the crash was not an accident but rather the result of foul play at the hands of his Serbian rivals.
  • 31 December 1994: Belair cargo plane Ilyushin 76TD, registration EW-76836 was operating flight from Luxembourg to Sarajevo on behalf of the United Nations. At the time of landing Sarajevo airport runway was flooded and the aircraft overran runway and struck a ditch with the nose gear. There were no fatalities in crash-landing but the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.[17]
  • 23 December 2001: A Crossair Avro RJ, registration HB-IXH, skidded 100 meters off the runway when it tried to land at Sarajevo airport under snowy conditions. Nobody was injured in the accident, nor was there any damage. By next Monday afternoon, the aircraft had been recovered and was parked on the apron. The French Air Detachment (DETAIR) and local aeronautical authorities have opened an investigation to determine the cause of the accident. It was snowing on the afternoon of 23 Dec.. The airport snow plough had just cleared the runway, a 20-minute job, when an HB-IXH from Zürich requested authorization to land." In those circumstances, the air traffic controller cannot give authorization. He only informs the pilot and the pilot is the one who has the responsibility to take the decision to land," said Maj. Olivier Mrowiki, air deputy commander. "The pilot (captain) decided to land and began the IFR approach procedure. The maneuver was correct and the touch down (landing) was perfect. The problem arose when the aircraft did not stop on the runway and went beyond it and stopped just in front of the ILS (instrumental landing system) antennas more than 100 meters beyond the end of the runway,"[18]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Media related to Sarajevo International Airport at Wikimedia Commons