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News 08 May 12

Bosnia Finally Takes Control of its Airspace

After years of relying on Serbia and Croatia to undertake some of the services, Bosnia is ready at last to manage air traffic control over the whole country.

Elvira Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

Bosnia is finally taking control of the whole of its airspace, having completed its own system of air traffic control.

After conducting the final tests on May 7, the Ministry of Transport and Communications said it will no longer need to engage air traffic control centres in Zagreb and Belgrade.

The country was losing large amounts of revenue each year from flights over its territory owing to the incomplete system.

Until 2007, Bosnian airspace was controlled by international peacekeeping forces, which stayed after the end of the 1992-95 war.

Since then Bosnia has had to pay to Croatia and Serbia to perform some of the same services. As a result, the two countries collect 52 per cent of the revenues that commercial airlines pay to fly over Bosnia, worth around 12 million euro a year.

“This is a small step for a region, but a big one for Bosnia,” said Damir Hadzic, Transport and Communications Minister.

“We suffered big [financial] losses, using the services of our neighbours, but the money will from now stay in our pockets,” Hadzic added.

Part of the system of airspace control will be based in the Bosnian Serb entity in Banja Luka, as well as in Sarajevo, and the two centres will function together, Djordje Ratkovica, director of the Directorate for Civil Aviation, said.

“This is one of the most complex projects implemented in Bosnia,” Ratkovica said.

More than 23 million euro was invested in the new air traffic control system, most of which came  from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, EBRD.

 

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