Site preparation work for the construction of a new commercial airport in Bihać, in north-western Bosnia and Herzegovina, has commenced. An access road to the future airport complex is under construction, while a perimeter fence has also been erected. The Federal Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina allocated a further 1.3 million euros for the project this week, on top of the 3.3 million euros provided over the past two years. “We will carry out preparatory work and finalize the project itself by the end of the year. We have already started the procedure for land expropriation, since the airport currently sits on 26 hectares. Of course, we will need much more space for this project. We are also currently raising additional funds for the runway”, the General Manager of Bihać Airport, Elvedin Sedić, said.
The ambitious development of Bihać Airport is set for completion within the next three years. However, the Prime Minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Fadil Novalić, has expressed his disappointment with the pace of work. “Some things have been done but I visited Bihać twice last year and there was a completely different set of deadlines. The airport’s management simply isn’t sticking to them. The Federation has invested significant funds in this project and provided professional assistance. A few months ago the General Manager of Tuzla Airport, Rifet Karasalihović, visited Bihać on my orders and shared his knowledge and expertise”, Mr Novalić said. He added that his government is aware there are insufficient funds for the construction of the runway and, as a result, is seeking a private investor to partake in the project. The Kuwaiti Investment Fund and Turkey’s Çelebi Aviation Holding, a ground handling services company, have both expressed interest in providing funds and managing the airport in the future.
Despite plans for the construction of the runway to begin by the end of the year, this is now unlikely to occur. The winning design for the airport’s terminal building was selected earlier this year (pictured above), with the entire project valued between twenty and 25 million euros. It includes the construction of a runway, passenger terminal and a control tower. “We must continue to provide financial support because this region won’t see a boom in tourism it deserves without an airport”, the Bosniak member of the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegović, said. Bihać is located near the Croatian border and is the country’s eighth largest city.