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Sarajevo Airport has cancelled the planned 32 million euro expansion of its terminal building, CEO Ivica Veličan confirms. This is despite the airport securing a 25 million euro loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for the purpose of expanding the terminal by 7.000 square metres, building a new apron and overhauling existing jetways. “Several years ago the airport applied for a loan from EBRD on the basis of some master plan. According to this loan, which amounts to 25 million euros, through a concession we would have to hand over our trade, parking, services and free shop”, Mr. Veličan says. According to the CEO some 120 people would have lost their job as a result. He goes on to state that the loan was taken out by the previous management with the aim to destroy the airport.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Minister for Transport and Communication, Enver Bijedić (a former Sarajevo Airport employee himself), agrees that it is too early to expand the airport’s capacity. “Sarajevo Airport can function normally with the current passenger flow. We do not have to think about expanding now as it will be some time before passenger numbers rise significantly. What we have to do is think about the immediate future”, Mr. Bijedić says. Terminal expansions and airport upgrades are ongoing across the former Yugoslavia at the moment. Ljubljana and Zagreb are set to begin construction of their respective new terminals next year, Belgrade Airport’s terminals are being refurbished and expanded while a new terminal is also being built in Priština. Furthermore, Skopje recently celebrated the first year since the opening of its brand new terminal building.
So far this year Sarajevo Airport has seen its passenger numbers decrease, after significant network reductions by B&H Airlines and bad weather early on in 2012. In the first ten months of the year Sarajevo Airport welcomed 505.984, down 3.9% on the same period last year. The much talked about expansion of Sarajevo Airport was planned to begin in 2011 but was then delayed until 2012. The current terminal building was overhauled and refurbished in the early 2000s. In 2005 Sarajevo Airport was named the best European airport to handle up to one million passengers.
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