Source: eKapija | Tuesday, 05.12.2017.| 15:59
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Ponikve Airport to bring tourists and investors to Western Serbia – Development of Uzice airport entails construction of hotels, small production facilities...

Planned purpose of the areas, General Regulation Plan of the Ponikve Airport
The Ponikve Airport near Uzice might soon become a traffic hub of the Zlatibor District and the entire Western Serbia. The activation of this airport and the entire complex around it would considerably intensify the tourist development of this area, but also facilitate the arrival of potential investors who are already interested in raising new production and hospitality facilities.

– By the Masterplan of the expropriation of the military property, the City of Uzice was given the right of use of the Ponikve Airport and the Krcagovo barracks in 2010. At that point, we started preparing planning documents in order to develop the area in the best way possible and designate it for both public features and features each airport complex should have – Ruza Penezic of the PE Uzice Razvoj, which prepared the General Regulation Plan of the Ponikve Airport, says in her interview for eKapija.

She explains that, at the moment the city took over the management of the airport, only the control tower building, the runway and a few caponiers capable of being reconstructed had remained of the military airport. The airport, which was built for military purposes back in the 1980s, was not operational at the time, as it had been bombed, and it needed to be prepared for a new kind of activity.

The GRP of this area, which was exhibited at the recently held 26th International Urban Planning Salon in Nis, and which was adopted back in 2015, defines and elaborates on possible purposes of the entire 230-ha complex.

In the meantime, in late 2016, the terminal, that is, the airport building, was built, and the then director of the Ponikve Airport, Sasa Savic, explained that the 550-m2 building, which had served as the hangar, had been turned into a small modern passenger terminal.

In order for the reconstruction to be completed, the runway needs to be fully reconstructed, light systems need to be installed and the entire airport needs to be fenced.

– The plan also defines a new runway, and the caponiers will be turned into a fire unit for the airport's own needs. Commercial activities are planned as well, as the arrival of investors interested in opening hotels or restaurants is expected. The plan even includes a small amount of production facilities of the industries which are not harmful to the environment, of course – Ruza Penezic explains.

Several potential investors were interested in investing in the Ponikve Airport – there was talk about companies from China, Saudi Arabia, a low-cost company... One of the still viable options is a public-private partnership, and, according to the latest estimates, around EUR 2.3 million is needed to fully enable the airport to handle civil traffic.

Big expectations from activation of airport complex

The Ponikve Airport complex is located 12 kilometers away from Uzice and is relatively well connected by traffic routes to the city. Our interviewee confirms that there has been interest in developing Ponikve in the past period, but she says that the City is still deliberating about what the best option is.

(Photo: YouTube/screenshot)
– The airport, which is part of the air traffic system of Serbia, has a permit for the handling of smaller aircraft. Practically, Ponikve should cover this part of Western Serbia, as we are designated as a regional center, whereas Kraljevo, that is, the Ladjevci Airport, belongs to another system and has a mixed, military-civil function. Furthermore, a small sports airport is planned within our complex as well – Ruza Penezic says.

According to her, the runway at Ponikve is one of the longest in Europe at 3,085 meters. It is 45 meters wide and very suitable for flights of up to 45 minutes. The activation of this airport would contribute considerably to a more intensive development of tourism in the Zlatibor District and the entire Western Serbia, and it would also facilitate the arrival of potential investors.

– There have been certain indications that a violation of the airspace of Bosnia and Herzegovina, during takeoffs, due to the proximity of the border, might be a problem, but that is not correct – our interviewee claims and adds that, no commercial profit from the airport's operations should be expected in the first few years, but that benefits for the economy of the area would be considerable.

Regarding infrastructural equipping, the water supply should go through the Cebic spring, whereas the power supply should go through a special substation, and the construction of impermeable sewer pits is also planned. A smaller waste water treatment facility should also be built.

– The controlled activity zone of the airport is fully defined and the plan is to fence off that zone, so there will be no problems in that sense. By the way, one of the ideas proposed in the project documentation is the construction of a dog asylum in the territory, as the City of Uzice experiences problems with abandoned animals. All those features are compatible and will not stand in the way of each other, and traffic connections are very good as well.

Our interviewee explains that there was previously a general conception of the development of the Ponikve Airport prepared by CEP, based on which the conception of the entire airport and its complex was reached.

– The City and all of us expect a lot from the realization of this plan, that is, from the activation of the Ponikve Airport and the accompanying features. Our desire is for the airport to become operational and to contribute to the development of tourism and economy in this area – eKapija's interviewee concludes.

Marko Andrejic
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