Sarajevo International Airport
Sarajevo International Airport, also known by the airport code SJJ and as Butmir Airport, provides the bulk of the international air service for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The airport is located near the capital city of Sarajevo in the smaller community of Butmir.
The airport continues to serve as the principle provider of air services to the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Recent years have found the Sarajevo airport handling as much traffic as all other airports in the country combined. As interest in traveling to the region increases, the amount of passenger and flight traffic at Sarajevo is also anticipated to continue to grow.
History of the Airport
Commercial air service began in the area in the 1930s with limited regional schedules. The current facility came into use in the 1960s as air traffic was growing and the larger jet aircrafts of the day required larger paved runways. The first international flights occurred in 1970 although the airport served as a feeder to regional hubs.
Usage of the airport peaked in 1984 with about 1 million passengers largely destined for the Winter Olympics held at Sarajevo that year. In the years that followed, internal strife within the region reduced interest in region and led to the closing of the airport to all but humanitarian flights from 1992 to 1996. During this period, the airport handled about 13,000 flights delivering more than 150,000 tons of aid to the war-torn city under the auspices of the United Nation.
The first years of the reopened Sarajevo International Airport saw limited traffic of about 45,000 passengers. The airport now serves about 600,000 passengers each year. Since its reopening, the airport has also undergone a number of expansions and upgrades to improve safety and passenger comfort.
Currently, Sarajevo International Airport operates a single terminal for passenger operations. The terminal has a stated capacity of about 800,000 people each year served by 12 check-in counters and five gates. The airport offers limited shopping opportunities but does include most of the common amenities but does not offer free wireless Internet. There are a number of Internet kiosks available around the terminal space. The airports baggage handling facility makes a special point of handling skis and other winter sports equipment carefully. However, travelers are always limited by the regulations of their airline for the size and shape of any baggage.
The airport utilizes a single runway of about 2,700 meters or 9,000 feet. The runway is lit and equipped with an instrument landing system. The airport limits flight operations to 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time with no noise restrictions in place. Flight check-in counters open an hour before the start of air operations.
While passenger and aircraft numbers haven’t returned to the prewar levels, the current level of increases will soon surpass the capacity of the airport. An expansion plan includes lengthening the runway and expanding the current terminal building.
Along with rebuilding its traffic, officials at Sarajevo International Airport have rebuilt the service aspect of the airports operation. The Airports Council International awarded the airport the top honor for European airports of less than 1 million passengers during 2005. The award is based on interviews with the traveling public concerning their experiences in the airport.