Banja Luka International Airport
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|Banja Luka International Airport
Međunarodni aerodrom Banja Luka
Међународни аеродром Бања Лука
|IATA: BNX – ICAO: LQBK|
|Operator||Bosnia and Herzegovina Directorate of Civil Aviation (BHDCA)|
|Serves||Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Elevation AMSL||122 m / 400 ft|
Source: Bosnian and Herzegovinian Directorate of Civil Aviation BHDCA
Banja Luka International Airport (IATA: BNX, ICAO: LQBK) (Bosnian: Međunarodni aerodrom Banja Luka/Међународни аеродром Бања Лука), also known as Mahovljani Airport, after the nearby village of the same name, is an airport located 18 km (11 mi) north northeast of the railway station in the city of Banja Luka, the second largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The airport is managed by the government-owned company "Aerodromi Republike Srpske".
The construction of the Banja Luka International Airport began in 1976. In accordance with the development plans, capacities were built defining Banja Luka as an airport of secondary importance, restricted to domestic air traffic on the territory of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
After the Bosnian War, Republika Srpska was established with Banja Luka as the de facto capital. That gave Banja Luka Airport new importance and a completely different role. Banja Luka International Airport was opened for civilian air traffic on 18 November 1997.
From 1999 to 2003, the airport served as the main hub of Air Srpska, which was the official flag carrier of Republika Srpska. The company was founded by Jat Airways and Government of Republika Srpska. The company ceased all operations in 2003 after increasing debt, and the withdrawal of Jat Airways from the partnership. There were plans for Sky Srpska, a state-owned airline founded in 2007, to start flights, however the airline, which never had any aircraft, was closed in 2013.
The airport's facilities were greatly improved in 2002 and 2003, ahead of the visit by Pope John Paul II to Banja Luka in June 2003.
On 15 December 2010, to celebrate the abolition of visa requirements for Bosnian citizens traveling to the Schengen Area countries, a symbolic charter flight was organised from Banja Luka to Brussels.
In 2011, Banja Luka airport handled 8,367 passengers, a rise of 74% compared to 2010.
Over the years, the airport has had flights connecting Banja Luka to Athens, Belgrade, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Ljubljana, Salzburg, Tivat and Vienna, partly thanks to Air Srpska which was an airline based at the airport. Austrian Airlines and Montenegro Airlines served Banja Luka during the late 1990s and early 2000s from their respective bases in Vienna and Tivat.
Since Air Srpska stopped operations, the Government of Republika Srpska has tried to attract new airlines to fly to Banja Luka through various subsidies. Subsidised flights included:
- Jat Airways flights to Belgrade between November 2007 and December 2009, operated with ATR 72
- Austrojet flights to Salzburg and Tivat between July and December 2008, operated 3 times a week with Dash 8-100
- Adria Airways flights to Ljubljana between July 2010 and November 2011, operated 4 times a week with CRJ 200
Other airlines with flights from Banja Luka in the past:
- Edelweiss Air, which was to launch two weekly seasonal summer flights from Zurich to Banja Luka in July 2015, but later decided not to launch the route
- B&H Airlines flights to Zurich from 2005 to 2015 and seasonal charter flights to Tivat from 2013-2015 (until it suspended all operations in 2015)
Airlines and destinations
The airport was built in the area of Laktaši and Bosanska Gradiška municipalities, in a wide valley of the Vrbas River expanding into Lijevče polje. It is connected to the new Banja Luka – Bosanska Gradiška motorway.
- Airports. Bhdca.gov.ba.
- EAD Basic. Ead.eurocontrol.int.
- Statistical data for Bosnia and Herzegovina airports:Banja Luka Int. Airport. Bhdca.gov.ba.