Sarajevo International Airport , also known as Butmir Airport, is the main international airport in Bosnia and Herzegovina, located just a few kilometers southwest of the capital city of Sarajevo in the suburb of Butmir.
Since the Dayton Accord in 1996, the airport has welcomed a thriving commercial flight business which includes B&H Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, Jat Airways, Croatia Airlines, Turkish Airlines and others. In 2006, 466,186 passengers traveled through Sarajevo airport, compared to only 25,000 in 1996.
In 2005 the European branch of the Airports Council International awarded Sarajevo the award of best airport under 1 million passengers.
The Sarajevo-Ilidža Airport opened on June 2, 1969. In 1970 Frankfurt became the first international destination served. During this period the airport was still a 'feeder' airport where passengers embarked for flights to Zagreb and Belgrade on their way to international destinations. During this period between 70,000-100,000 passengers passed through each year. The first expansion came for the 1984 Winter Olympic Games, when the runway was extended by 200 meters and several adjustments were made.
In the first weeks of the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina the airport was taken over by Serbian forces who seriously damaged and looted the airport. From June 1992 until the end of the war the airport was under UN control which used it to fly in humantiarian aid when the besieging Serbs permitted it. The airport was the site of many tragedies during the war since the only way to leave the city was to cross the airport runway and reach government territory on the other side. Around 800 people were killed in the attempt by Serb gunners on three sides of the airport, until a tunnel was dug under the runway.
The airport re-opened to civilian air traffic on August 16, 1996 and has since been renovated and slowly returned to its former glory. 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 Izetbegovic, the first President of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Citing his reasons, the High Representative stated that such a renaming might undermine the reconciliation process by alienating non-Bosniak citizens.
Former airlines and destinations
Serbs Launch New Assaults Across Bosnia; U.N. Urged to Consider Use of Force to Halt Fighting as Powerful Offensive Continues
Jul 14, 1992; Serb militia forces stepped up their artillery- and armor-backed offensive throughout Bosnia-Hercegovina today as the republic's...
In rebuilt Bosnia, no terror toehold; Bosnia-Herzegovina's postwar success is a nation-building model.(WORLD)
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