Air Serbia’s first airplane, named after Serbia’s no. 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic, landed in Banja Luka today and marked the establishment of a regular flight line between Belgrade and the capital of Srpska.
Air bus A319 left Belgrade at 12.05 and landed in Banja Luka only fifty minutes later. The flight was greeted by traditional water cannons and a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by the President of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik, Srpska’s Minister of Transport and Communications Nedeljko Cubrilovic, the Serbian Consul in Banja Luka Vladimir Nikolic and the Director of Banja Luka’s Airport Miroslav Janjic.
Along with a group of journalists, Serbia’s Transport Minister Aleksandar Antic and the General Manger of Air Serbia Dane Kondic were passengers on the first flight to Banja Luka.
The President of Srpska addressed the public and journalists during a welcome ceremony held in the foyer of the airport. He stated that this flight is of high importance and that emotions are very high as this day celebrates the establishment of another firm tie between Belgrade and the capital of Srpska.
“This is a very emotional day for me and all of Srpska. This flight is of great importance and it is long awaited. We will not let that stop, we will not give up … We must develop a culture of air travel which this region does not have. From this day on, all government officials will fly on this line, this will be our small contribution to Air Serbia”, stated Dodik adding that he considers Air Serbia a part of Srpska.
The General Manger of Air Serbia Dane Kondic, explained the significance of this line for passengers from Srpska, who are now connected to numerous destinations throughout the world.
“From a personal point of view, Banja Luka has a special place in my heart. I was born and raised in Australia, but my roots are in Kozara, so I feel I have come home today. I am really happy that we are able to offer daily flights from Banja Luka to Belgrade and, more importantly, that the citizens of Srpska now have a direct connection to international destinations. This will encourage tourism and business growth”, said Kondic adding that he is especially pleased that Banja Luka is now linked to his birth place, Australia.
Serbia’s Transport Minister Aleksandar Antic, expressed his joy stating that the flight to Banja Luka is far shorter than a drive through Belgrade during the rush hours.
“This is a great day for the citizens of Srpska and Serbia. I call on them to work towards greater cooperation and collaboration. We should use this line to its full potential, to encourage the growth of investments and the creation of new jobs”, added Antic.
The flight to Belgrade will depart Banja Luka at 3: 25 pm every day, the price of a ticket including taxes is 89 EUR.
Serbia’s national airline, which currently flies to 29 destinations in the world, announced that by June of 2014 it will up that number to a total of 39 lines to 30 countries and offer 73,000 seats on more than 670 flights a week.