The following is an interview with the Minister of Transport and Communications of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ismir Jusko taken from the December 2016 issue of Sarajevo Airport Magazine.
We are proud of the results of the Sarajevo airport
Ismir Jusko was appointed as Minister of Transport and Communications of Bosnia and Herzegovina 11th. May 2016. For the Sarajevo Airport Magazine, we talked with him about the airport now and then, the expansion of capacity, the development of air traffic, the control of the domestic airspace, the famous Sarajevo fog because of which flights are always canceled …
SAM: This year marks the 20th. anniversary of the reopening of the Sarajevo airport. You had a chance to see the airport in 1996. Can you recall some pictures from that period?
JUSKO: After four years of war, the Sarajevo Airport looked depressed and gloomy, his surroundings and itself were filled with war scars. Today it is a place full of life. The Airport rose from the ashes and we can all together be proud of the results that it achieved in the transport of passengers and providing services to a number of international airlines.
SAM: Within the Framework Strategy of Transport in B&H 2016-2030 it is planned to expand the existing terminal and access roads. How will the Airport be upon that?
JUSKO: The Framework Transport Strategy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the action plans for its implementation were adopted at the 64th. session of the Council of Ministers of B&H. The Government of the FB&H adopted the Proposal of the Transport Strategy of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegov-ina for the period 2016 - 2030. The Government of the Republic of Srpska adopted a draft of the Transport Strategy of the Republic of Srpska for the period 2016 - 2030. The Government of Brcko District of B&H adopted a Conclusion on the adoption of the Draft of the Framework Transport Strategy of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the period 2016 - 2030.
All international airports in B&H are important for us and we expect that they expand the capacity and scope of operations. To my knowledge, Sarajevo International Airport is planning to expand the existing terminal and access roads, because every year there is an evident increase in the number of passengers and flights. Existing terminals and the runway of 2,600 meters length and of 45 meters width allow the maximum annual capacity of 800,000 passengers, which is already showing a limiting factor for the development of the airport.
As I have been informed by the management of the Airport, the planned investments, expansion of the existing terminal and access to the airport, were estimated at 40 million euros. Also, they informed me that the road access to the airport was assessed as good.
SAM: When can we expect the start of the construction works?
JUSKO: To my knowledge, certain works at the Sarajevo International Airport, when it comes to upgrading capacity, should begin as early as next year.
SAM: Are you satisfied with the development of air transport in B&H in general?
JUSKO: The interest is huge and therefore we are fully satisfied. But because of the increasing interest of airlines to establish their lines at our airports it increases the number of passengers, which requires a larger spatial capacity of all its services and service overall.
In 2015, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the number of transported passengers was 1,130,023. In that number, the Sarajevo Airport is participating in 68 percent, 23 percent Tuzla, Mostar seven percent and two percent Banja Luka. Tuzla airport, for example, in 2015 recorded 259,074 passengers, which is 71.2 percent more than in 2014. Only in September 2016, 131,047 transported passengers were registered. It is interesting that in July, the Sarajevo International Airport served a total of 109,141 passengers, which represents an increase of 22 percent compared to the same month last year, breaking the record for the number of passengers in one month.
The volume of transported goods in air transport in B&H increased in 2015 to 373.4 percent compared to the year earlier.
These figures increase the need for the development of services and infrastructure of the air traffic in every aspect. Planned activities have been identified as well as in the aforementioned strategic documents in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
SAM: One of the objectives of the Transport Strategy is to improve the quality of services of passenger in air traffic. What can we expect in this regard during 2017?
JUSKO: In terms of the infrastructure, it is, as mentioned, the capacity expansion of the Sarajevo airport: restructuring of infrastructure, expansion of terminal capacity and improving the accessibility of roads, improvement of ICT perspective in parallel with the development of infrastructure. Next, we plan to expand the capacity of Mostar Airport, and develop the airport Banja Luka and Tuzla. The biggest challenge is securing sources of funding for infrastructure projects and technical improvement of airports.
SAM: In July 2016, you pointed out that 67 people will attend training for air traffic controllers „so that Bosnia and Herzegovina, within the next two years, takes over the control of the sky over 10,000 meters and thus earns millions". Is the training process in progress?
JUSKO: The process of training, and procurement of services of professional training of staff required for the implementation of Phase II of acquisition, management and control of air traffic in the airspace of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall be carried out in accordance with the Law on Public Procurement of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Council of Ministers has approved the decision to initiate the vocational training of staff required for the implementation of Phase II acquisition, management and control of air traffic in the airspace of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Agency for the provision of air navigation services in Bosnia and Herzegovina carries out the procedure of the public procurement, which is still ongoing. The choice of the school center for conducting the training of personnel is expected by the end of 2016 or at the latest beginning of 2017. It will be known after the completion of the procurement of services of professional staff training.
SAM: What kind of training is it? Where will future air traffic controllers be deployed, in which of the airports?
JUSKO: It is a comprehensive training of candidates for the approachable and airport air traffic controllers and flight controllers. Upon completion of the training, the candidates will be arranged in units of access and airport air traffic controls in locations in Mostar, Tuzla, Sarajevo and Banja Luka, and the Area Control Centre in Sarajevo and Banja Luka, in accordance with the completion of the training, all in order to meet the highest standards of safety and efficiency of service delivery in the airspace of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
SAM: When can we expect for B&H to start controlling its sky and what benefit will we have from that?
JUSKO: After the transition of the entity Directorates of Civil Aviation ie. The Federal Directorate for Civil Aviation and Directorate of Civil Aviation of the Republic of Srpska into BHANSA on 13th November 2014, this agency claimed the responsibility for the provision of approachable and airport air traffic control with the associated services, in controlled zones of international B&H Airports in Banja Luka, Mostar, Sarajevo and Tuzla, with associated services, in part of the airspace of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at an altitude up to 10,000 meters (FL 100 to FL 325) by the Operative Unit of Flight Control in Sarajevo (ATCU I). The goal is clear in front of us, and it is a huge challenge, and it is reflected in taking over the providing of air navigation services in the layer of airspace above 10,000 feet (FL 325 – FL 660). Currently, these operations are carried out by the competent authorities to which these tasks were delegated, those are the air traffic control services of Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro. The fee that belongs to them for the performance of delegated responsibilities will be transferred to Bosnia and Herzegovina as soon as the necessary conditions are met, that is when the activities that will ensure safe control of the sky above Bosnia and Herzegovina are fully implemented.
SAM: Are B&H air regulations in full compliance with EU regulations?
JUSKO: B&H has ratified the Agreement on the Establishment of Joint Aviation Authorities (European Common Aviation Area - ECAA) and signed a working arrangement with EASA, thus accepting the obligation to implement the regulations of the European Union in the field of civil aviation. BHDCA has issued a set of regulations in the field of civil aviation that puts the B&H legislation into line with EU legislation. The total number of transposed legislation is 41, which represents 80 percent of the total number of regulations that need to be implemented.
SAM: Is there a plan to attract more air operators in Bosnia and Herzegovina and is there the need for it?
JUSKO: We have announcements for the establishment of new air lines from operators, and some of their plans and wishes are transferred to us by diplomats that come from the countries of interested airlines.
At this time, in addition to existing destinations, the direct connection with Budapest and Doha and other destinations for which operators expressed interest have already been announced. The procedures are implemented by the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, so that Sarajevo and other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina are as better connected with the world.
SAM: With the arrival of winter the Sarajevo International Airport is facing its biggest problem - thick fog, because of which flights are often canceled. Can this problem be solved and in what way?
JUSKO: The Sarajevo airport is very demanding by itself, but when you add the element of fog to it, it further complicates the situation. The Sarajevo Airport has adopted a plan to work on this issue, on which , as I have been informed, intensive activities are implemented. I believe that through the expansion of the capacity of other airports in Bosnia and Herzegovina we could create a high-quality mutual cooperation in the sense that at the time of fog and difficult landing at the Sarajevo airport, the flights are diverted to airports in Tuzla, Mostar and Banja Luka
SAM: What is your biggest challenge when it comes to air traffic?
JUSKO: The biggest challenge is to take complete control of the B&H airspace from Croatia and Serbia. There is also the further harmonization of national legislation with EU standards. When it comes to regulation, in particular, we must review the toll model and continue with the realization of the strategic goals.
Of course, we expect to intensify in the coming period the works on the expansion of the existing airport terminal and the construction of a new and as well as the extension of the landing runway where it is also necessary to modernize the access roads.
Source: Sarajevo Airport Magazine