Serbia, Montenegro Retain Control of Bosnia Skies


News
05 Jan 15

Serbia, Montenegro Retain Control of Bosnia Skies

The joint Serbian and Montenegrin air traffic agency will continue to control and monitor most of Bosnia’s airspace after Brussels judged that the country is still not able to do it alone.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN

Podgorica

The governments of Serbia and Montenegro and the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina are to sign a new contract soon giving air traffic agency SMATSA continued control over Bosnian airspace.

Civil aviation representatives from the three countries have already initialled the text of the agreement but the document needs be adopted by governments in each individual country.

Although Bosnia and Herzegovina announced in November last year that it will take control over its own airspace, the European Agency for the Safety of Air Navigation, EUROCONTROL, has said that Sarajevo is still not ready to take over “extremely complex work”.

Belgrade-based SMATSA, the only joint Serbian and Montenegrin institution that remains after the separation of the two countries in 2006, will also collect all revenues from civil flights over Bosnia in its area of jurisdiction.

“The Bosnian air traffic agency, BHANSA, will take over the terminal air traffic control to a certain level of flight operations, landing and take-offs while most of the flight control will remain delegated to SMATSA and the Croatian air traffic control agencies,” the new agreement says.

Until 2007, Bosnian airspace was controlled by the international peacekeeping forces that stayed in the country 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, which amounts to around 15 million euro a year.

Over the past three years, Bosnia has invested more than 23 million euro in a new air traffic control system, most of which came from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, EBRD.

After conducting final tests in October, the Bosnian Ministry of Transport and Communications said it would no longer need to engage air traffic control centres in Zagreb and Belgrade.

But after several meetings in October and November in Brussels, the EU air traffic control agency concluded that Sarajevo was still not ready to regain full sovereignty over its skies.

Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)