Banja Luka International Airport
Me?unarodni aerodrom Banja Luka
Me?unarodna zra?na luka Banja Luka
|Operator||Bosnia and Herzegovina Directorate of Civil Aviation (BHDCA)|
|Serves||Banja Luka, Republika Srpska, 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), 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 largest city in Republika Srpska, and second largest 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, and Adria Airways flights to Ljubljana between July 2010 and November 2011, operated 4 times a week with CRJ 200. B&H Airlines operated flights to Zürich for many years until airline went out of business in June 2015. BH Airlines operated seasonal charter flights to Tivat in Montenegro.
Passenger numbers more than doubled in 2014, as Air Serbia restarted flights to Belgrade, but suffered in 2015 due to BH Airlines' bankruptcy and the suspension of the route to Zurich. Banja Luka airport owner Government of RS subsidises Air Serbia flights to Belgrade. In April 2018, Ryanair announced that it would start its first ever flight from Banja Luka (and Bosnia as a whole) with twice-weekly services to each of Brussels Charleroi and Memmingen, while in May, it added Stockholm Skavsta and, in December, Berlin Schönefeld to its list of new routes. The flights began in October 2018. Overall, the airline expects 100,000 passengers in 2019.
The following airlines operate regular flights to and from Banja Luka:
|Aviolet||Seasonal charter: Antalya, Athens|
|Lauda||Vienna (begins 30 March 2020)|
|Ryanair||Berlin-Schönefeld, Charleroi, Memmingen, Stockholm-Skavsta|
|Updated: 25 September 2019|
Media related to Banja Luka International Airport at Wikimedia Commons