Sarajevo International Airport
|Sarajevo International Airport
Međunarodni aerodrom Sarajevo
Међународни аеродром Сарајево
Međunarodna zračna luka Sarajevo
|Operator||Bosnia and Herzegovina Directorate of Civil Aviation (BHDCA)|
Bosnia and Herzegovina
|Elevation AMSL||1,708 ft / 521 m|
Sarajevo International Airport (Bosnian: Međunarodni aerodrom Sarajevo/Међународни аеродром Сарајево); (IATA: SJJ, ICAO: LQSA), also known as Butmir Airport, is the main international airport in Bosnia and Herzegovina, serving Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is located 3.3 NM (6.1 km; 3.8 mi) southwest of the Sarajevo railway station in the Ilidža municipality, suburb of Butmir. In 2016, 838,966 passengers traveled through the airport, compared to 323,499 in 2001.
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. 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 flights 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.
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 People's 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. 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.
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 Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, Air Serbia, Croatia Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Germanwings and others.
Development since the 2000s
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. In 2005, the European branch of the Airports Council International awarded Sarajevo the award of Best Airport Under 1 Million Passengers.
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. On 26 December 2014, The airport welcomed its 700,000th passenger on Austrian Airlines flight OS758 to Vienna.
In May 2015 work has started on expansion of Sarajevo International Airport. Current work is undergoing on expansion of arrival area, adding more passport control check stands and rearranging whole arrival area to make it more passenger friendly. Next to follow is expansion of check in area which will include three more check in counters making it total of 15 check in counters. By the end of the year the airport will begin with platform expansion and the construction of rapid exit taxiway with scheduled completion by mid of the next year. 2017 should be the year in which airport will enter into the reconstruction of the runway and the maneuvering areas. Expansion of the airport at the current level is financed by Sarajevo Airport own funds. On 6 June 2015 Pope Francis visited Sarajevo arriving on an Alitalia Airbus A320-200 from Rome Fiumicino Airport. Welcome ceremony was held at Sarajevo International Airport.
The airport served as the home base for the country's flag carrier, B&H Airlines, until July 2015 when the airline ceased operations. During December 2015, Sarajevo Airport experienced very low visibility and fog. About 40% of flights were canceled which impacted passengers growth and financial loss to the airport. Airport handled only 28.167 passengers of 50.000 planned (last year in December 43.079 passengers were handled). For Sarajevo International Airport one of major restrictions is a mountain terrain that requires a high approach precision and a big inclination angle in a procedure of unsuccessful approach and landing. Mr Vlado Jurić, Head of the Office for aviation safety, presented the information about problems caused by reduced minimums at Sarajevo Airport.For the implementation of ILS categories (CAT II or CAT III), the terrain in front of the runway start should be free of obstacles for at least 1000 meters. It means that the RWY 12 threshold should be moved for additional 200 meters which would reduce the runway length and as such is unacceptable. From the point of view of procedure design, the reduction of minimums is not an option and therefor it is necessary to find other solutions for improvement of landing conditions at Sarajevo Airport. The biggest problem at Sarajevo Airport is fog. The representative of Sarajevo Airport, Mr Nermin Zijadić informed that there is a relevant plan regarding this problem. He also presented the information about future projects of Sarajevo Airport among which the most important one is a reconstruction of the runway including its lighting system.
In 2016, Qatar Airways announced a new route from Doha to Sarajevo. However, the start of this service was first postponed and then moved to 31.10.2017. with four weekly flights. On 5 December 2016, The airport welcomed its 800,000th passenger on Air Serbia flight JU113 to Belgrade.
On 3 May 2017, the airport announced a major terminal expansion. The project is worth 20 million Euros and scheduled to be completed in 2018. A new, 9000sqm building on four levels will be built as an addition to the current terminal building. The new terminal will have capacity to handle 2 million passengers per year and will be equipped with four jet bridges.
In 2016 Sarajevo International Airport welcomed six new airlines: Atlas Global (Istanbul), Wizz Air (Budapest), Wataniya Airways (Kuwait City), Nesma Airlines (Riyadh), TUI fly Belgium ( Brussels South Charleroi) and Qatar Airways (Doha)
Airlines and destinations
The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights at Sarajevo International Airport:
|Air Arabia||Seasonal: Sharjah|
operated by Germanwings
|Nesma Airlines||Seasonal: Riyadh|
|Norwegian Air Shuttle||Stockholm-Arlanda
Seasonal: Oslo-Gardermoen, Copenhagen
|Pegasus Airlines||Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen|
|Qatar Airways||Doha (begins 31 October 2017)|
|Swiss International Air Lines
operated by Helvetic Airways
|TUI fly Belgium||Seasonal: Charleroi|
|ASL Airlines Switzerland||Basel/Mulhouse|
operated by Icar Air
|Ancona, Bergamo, Sofia|
|Year||Passengers||Change from previous year||Aircraft operations||Cargo (metric tons)|
|Istanbul||Atatürk Airport and Sabiha Gökçen Airport||31||Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airlines,||281.482|
|Dubai||Dubai International Airport and Sharjah International Airport||19||Flydubai, Air Arabia||N/A|
|Vienna||Schwechat Airport||14||Austrian Airlines||121.202|
|Zagreb||Zagreb Airport||13||Croatia Airlines||67.737|
Centrotrans Eurolines, in cooperation with Sarajevo International Airport, introduced a new bus service Airport – Baščaršija City Center-Airport, starting from August 1, 2016. Bus stand is just outside of arrivals area in main terminal. WiFi internet is available on board.
Accidents and incidents
- 18 January 1977: Džemal Bijedić, then prime minister of Yugoslavia, 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.
- 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,"
- 3 June 2015: A Turkish Airlines 737-800 registration TC-JFH, bursted two rear tires as it was landing at Sarajevo Airport on the flight from Istanbul Atatürk Airport. The incident happened at 19:10 as flight was scheduled to land. Luckily no passengers reported any injuries, nor the damage to the plane. The departure scheduled for 20:35 was delayed due to tires replacement, the flight departed next day.
- "EAD Basic - Error Page". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- Drustvo za Vazdusni Saobracaj A D – Aeroput (1927–1948) at europeanairlines.n
- Aeroput, the First Airline that Landed in Sarajevo at sarajevotimes.com, 21-4-2014, retrieved 19-7-2014
- High Representative Suspends Decision Renaming Sarajevo International Airport
- Excellence in airport operations: 1st ACI Europe Best Airport Awards, 29 June 2005.
- "Sarajevo-Airport.ba - Međunarodni aerodrom Sarajevo". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- ch-aviation.com - Sarajevo to shut down B&H Airlines citing mounting debts 1 July 2015
- sarajevo-airport.ba - Timetable retrieved 11 May 2016
-  EX-YU Aviation News: Air Arabia downgrades Sarajevo service
-  Eurowings: Flight schedule
-  eTurboNews: Historic city of Sarajevo to join Qatar Airways’ expanding global network. August 8, 2017.
-  Wizz Air - Booking
- "Sarajevo-Airport.ba - Međunarodni aerodrom Sarajevo". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- Harro Ranter (31 December 1994). "ASN Aircraft accident Ilyushin 76TD EW-76836 Sarajevo Airport (SJJ)". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- "Crossair aircraft has slid off the runway of Sarajevo airport". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
Media related to Sarajevo International Airport at Wikimedia Commons