Sarajevo International Airport

Sarajevo International Airport
Međunarodni aerodrom Sarajevo
Međunarodna zračna luka Sarajevo
Међународни аеродром Сарајево
Airport type Public
Operator Bosnia and Herzegovina Directorate of Civil Aviation (BHDCA)
Serves Sarajevo,
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Location Butmir
Elevation AMSL 1,708 ft / 521 m
Coordinates 43°49′29″N 018°19′53″E / 43.82472°N 18.33139°E / 43.82472; 18.33139Coordinates: 43°49′29″N 018°19′53″E / 43.82472°N 18.33139°E / 43.82472; 18.33139

Location within Bosnia and Herzegovina

Direction Length Surface
m ft
12/30 2,600 8,858 Asphalt
Passengers 2015 772,904
Passengers 2014 709,901
Passengers 2013 665,638
Source (excluding statistics): Bosnian and Herzegovinian AIP at EUROCONTROL[1]

Sarajevo International Airport (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[1] in the Ilidža municipality, suburb of Butmir. In 2015, 772,904 passengers traveled through the airport, compared to 323,499 in 2001.[2]


Early years

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.[3] 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.[3][4]

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.[5] 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.[5]

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.[6] In 2005, the European branch of the Airports Council International awarded Sarajevo the award of Best Airport Under 1 Million Passengers.[7]

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.[8]

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.[9] On 6 June 2015 Pope Francis visited Sarajevo arriving on an Alitalia Airbus A320-200 from Rome Fiumicino Airport.[10] Welcome ceremony was held at Sarajevo International Airport.[11]

The airport served as the home base for the country's flag carrier, B&H Airlines, until July 2015 when the airline ceased operations.[12]

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.[13]

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 2017 without stating an exact date.[14]

Airlines and destinations


Main building
Check-in hall
Apron view and control tower

The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights at Sarajevo International Airport:[15]

Adria Airways Ljubljana
Air Arabia Seasonal: Sharjah[16]
Air Serbia Belgrade
AtlasGlobal Seasonal charter: Izmir, Jeddah, Medina
Austrian Airlines Vienna
Borajet Seasonal charter: Antalya
Croatia Airlines Zagreb
operated by Germanwings
Cologne/Bonn, Stuttgart
flydubai Dubai-International
Freebird Airlines Seasonal charter: Antalya, Medina
Lufthansa Munich
Mistral Air Seasonal charter: Catania
Norwegian Air Shuttle Stockholm-Arlanda
Seasonal: Copenhagen, Oslo-Gardermoen
Pegasus Airlines Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen
Swiss International Air Lines Seasonal: Zürich
TUIfly Belgium Charleroi (begins 31 March 2017)[17]
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk
Seasonal charter: Antalya


Silver Air
operated by Icar Air
Ancona, Bergamo[18]
Solinair Ljubljana[19]


Traffic figures

Passenger numbers[20][21]
Year/Month January February March April May June July August September October November December Year total Change
2016 41,208 42,567 53,438 68,085 85,738 66,429 109,141 118,350 91,123 71,360 47,352 - 794,785 +6,72%
2015 43,700 39,908 50,273 63,064 80,143 74,855 89,319 101,307 79,120 71,255 51,793 28,167 772,904 +8,87%
2014 36,114 35,435 45,789 56,611 71,513 74,976 74,948 88,591 71,168 64,844 46,833 43,079 709,901 + 6,64%
2013 33,437 30,399 44,631 56,918 65,495 72,949 69,699 79,796 66,721 64,387 44,446 36,760 665,638 +14.75%
2012 33,247 26,278 36,765 49,709 55,107 62,491 69,346 60,787 60,323 52,115 38,612 35,278 580,058 – 3.32%
2011 30,484 34,148 40,803 49,489 56,812 62,994 81,042 59,042 59,074 52,957 39,785 33,348 599,978 + 6.5%
2010 + + + + 51,398 59,636 72,615 60,475 54,753 51,137 40,912 563,266 + 6.2%
2009 + + 87,257 + + 143,906 + + 177,762 + + 121,427 530,391 + 4.7%
2008 23,909 27,121 34,896 38,052 46,974 55,391 62,524 61,560 42,752 46,094 34,089 32,913 506,398 + 0.2%
2007 32,235 28,028 35,168 42,297 43,633 53,281 59,436 57,381 45,113 43,980 31,952 32,735 505,269 + 8.4%

Busiest routes

Top 5 busiest routes at Sarajevo International Airport[22]
City Airport(s) Weekly departures
(Winter 2016/17)
Airlines Passengers (2015)
Istanbul Atatürk Airport and Sabiha Gökçen Airport 17 Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airlines
Zagreb Zagreb Airport 13 Croatia Airlines 59.497[23]
Vienna Schwechat Airport 12 Austrian Airlines 115.938[24] Data for 2014
Munich Munich Airport 7 Lufthansa 75.841[25]
Belgrade Belgrade Airport 7 Air Serbia


Bus stop in front of the terminal building

By car

Sarajevo Airport is connected to the SarajevoZenica-Mostar highway (A1) via a nearby Stup Interchange and Brijesce Interchange.

By bus

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. [26]

Accidents and incidents

See also


  1. 1 2 "EAD Basic - Error Page". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  3. 1 2 Drustvo za Vazdusni Saobracaj A D – Aeroput (1927–1948) at europeanairlines.n
  4. Aeroput, the First Airline that Landed in Sarajevo at, 21-4-2014, retrieved 19-7-2014
  5. 1 2
  6. High Representative Suspends Decision Renaming Sarajevo International Airport
  7. Excellence in airport operations: 1st ACI Europe Best Airport Awards, 29 June 2005.
  8. " - Međunarodni aerodrom Sarajevo". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  12. - Sarajevo to shut down B&H Airlines citing mounting debts 1 July 2015
  15. - Timetable retrieved 11 May 2016
  21. " - Međunarodni aerodrom Sarajevo". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  27. Harro Ranter (31 December 1994). "ASN Aircraft accident Ilyushin 76TD EW-76836 Sarajevo Airport (SJJ)". Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  28. "Crossair aircraft has slid off the runway of Sarajevo airport". Retrieved 6 June 2015.

External links

Media related to Sarajevo International Airport at Wikimedia Commons

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