Ryanair to launch Banja Luka service
Europe's largest low cost airline, Ryanair, will enter the Republic of Srpska market this year by introducing flights to Banja Luka. The carrier will introduce two weekly services from Charleroi Airport in Belgium, each Monday and Friday, starting October 29, as well as from Memmingen in Germany from October 30, each Tuesday and Saturday.
The Prime Minister of the entity, Željka Cvijanović, has said that "several additional destinations will also be launched" by the airline in the coming period. Tickets for the new routes are already available for purchase through the carrier's website.
Commenting on the new route, Ryanair’s Sales and Marketing Executive for Belgium, Helene Begasse, said, “We are pleased to announce a new Brussels Charleroi to Banja Luka route commencing this November. This new route marks Ryanair's entry into Bosnia and Herzegovina, and will operate twice weekly as part of our winter 2018 schedule". Ryanair had previously held talks with Banja Luka Airport back in 2006, however, they did not prove successful. Furthermore, the no frills carrier had also negotiated with both Mostar and Tuzla airports in the past over potential services, with flights from Hahn and Weeze suggested for the latter at the time. Ryanair will now serve four markets in the former Yugoslavia. In addition to Bosnia and Herzegovina, it also operates to Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia.
Banja Luka Airport has struggled to attract new carriers over the past few years due to is reluctance to work with budget airlines. Apart from the five weekly flights operated by Air Serbia to and from Belgrade, the airport will see charter services to Antalya from June, run by the Serbian carrier's dedicated charter brand Aviolet. In addition, talks are ongoing over the introduction of charter services to Tivat. The government has been under increased public pressure to secure new flights from Banja Luka Airport following a series of missteps in its management. Banja Luka Airport welcomed 3.064 passengers during the first quarter of the year, down 13.2%.