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UAE investors eying B&H Airlines

UAE investors eying B&H Airlines

Investors from the United Arab Emirates recently held talks with officials regarding the possible purchase of B&H Airlines, Bosnian media reports. The Federal Minister for Transport and Communication, Enver Bijedić, confirmed talks were held with a delegation from the United Arab Emirates. “It is true that we have held talks and we offered for them to become a strategic partner of the government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by acquiring a 49% stake. That means, they have been offered everything which was previously offered to Turkish Airlines”, Mr. Bijedić said. He added the airline interested in purchasing B&H also wants to launch flights from the UAE to Sarajevo.

In a recent statement to broadcaster TV1, Mr. Bijedić unconvincingly said, “We have held talks with… I don’t know… some “Atlas Tours” and some “Airlines”. We are looking for a solution to find a way out of the crisis which has hit all neighbouring carriers”. The daily “Dnevni Avaz” speculates Etihad Airways, which has recently been linked to possible acquisitions of LOT Polish Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Alitalia as well as possible investments in the Slovak aviation industry, is behind the latest drive to purchase a 49% stake in the Bosnian national carrier. Sarajevo has never had scheduled flights to the United Arab Emirates. Late last year, Flydubai announced plans to launch a two weekly service to Sarajevo in April 2013. The planned flights were shelved in January under the explanation that crew duty times would have been exceeded on the return leg to Dubai, thus requiring a mandatory rest in Sarajevo and pushing up costs. Continue Reading

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B&H Airlines looking for partner

Following Jat, Adria Airways and Croatia Airlines, B&H Airlines is the latest in search of a strategic partner. The Federal Minister for Transport and Communication, Enver Bijedić, said talks have been held with several potential investors. “We have held talks with… I don’t know… some “Atlas Tours” and some “Airlines”. We are looking for a solution to find a way out of the crisis which has hit all neighbouring carriers”, the minister said. Last year, following Turkish Airlines’ exit from B&H Airlines, several carriers expressed interest to step in and take over. They included Libya’s Buraq Air, Tarhan & Tower Airlines from Turkey and AirAsia from Malaysia. In the end, they all backed away from a potential purchase.

The acting CEO of B&H Airlines, Amir Jažić, says that while the airline is operating normally, a strategic partner would solve all of its problems. “The solution is for someone to purchase us. That would be best for all. This way I doubt we can survive another year. B&H Airlines can’t compete against the large number of airlines which have taken over our flights”, Jažić says. He adds that Pegasus and Turkish Airlines operate up to 25 weekly flights from Sarajevo to Istanbul making it impossible to compete. “We have lost the fight for the Turkish market. You know the saying – big fish eats small fish. The government allowed for other airlines to step in. A few years ago Germanwings took over the German market. Now we have nearly lost Turkey. We can’t compete with two planes”, Mr. Jažić concludes.

Despite all of its problems, last year B&H Airlines posted a profit for the first time since the airline was launched. During this year the carrier repaid all of its loans to the Hypo Bank Group which saw its bank accounts frozen earlier this year due to late payments.

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BH Airlines: Nismo pred kolapsom, poslujemo uspješno

Bosanskohercegovačka aviokompanija BH Airlines objavila je kako u posljednje vrijeme posluje uspješno i veoma konkurentno na aviotržištu. Reagirajući na informacije da je BH Airlines pred kolapsom, iz ove kompanije su saopćili   kako su uspjeli da konsoliduju snage i da uspješno krenu u ljetnu turističku sezonu.

„Putnici su imali priliku da kupe avio karte po akcijskim cijenama na svim destinacijama. Oba aviona su raspoloživa u floti, i kao takva su angažovana kako na redovnim tako  na charter i drugim destinacijama po potrebi. Ovi navodi ukazuju na pozitivna kretanja u svim segmentima kompanije, kojoj je cilj sigurnost letenja čime je i sama kompanija nagrađena sa maksimalnih 7 zvjezdica za sigurnost od strane Airlinereatings.com. Dugoročni sanacioni kredit iz 2005. je u cijelosti je otplaćen, a napravljen je sporazum o izmirivanju dugovanja nastalih po osnovu neredovnog finasiranja obaveza kompanije u vezi finansiranja leasinga za nabavku postojeća dva aviona ATR72-212“.

Iz BH Airlinesa navode da je u protekloj poslovnoj godini ova kompanija, prvi put u istoriji njenog postojanja, ostvarila pozitivan finansijski rezultat.

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BH Airlines pruža usluge avioprijevoza po redu letenja

SARAJEVO – Nakon deblokade poslovnih računa BH Airlinesa, nacionalni avioprijevoznik BiH nastavlja s operacijama s Međunarodnog aerodroma Sarajevo. Operativne službe kompanije svakodnevno obavljaju svoje zadatke prema redu letenja za 

2013. i pružanju usluga avio prijevoza na postojećim destinacijama (Istanbul, Kopenhagen i Cirih-via Banja Luka), te finaliziraju detalje za uspostavu linije prema Skoplju, saopćeno je.

Svojim putnicima, B&H Airlines je osigurao super povoljnu cijenu za mjesec april na letovima prema glavnom međunarodnom aerodromu u Istanbulu “Ataturk”, saopćeno je iz Odjela za odnose s javnošću BH Airlinesa.

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B&H cancels all flights until further notice

The CEO of B&H Airlines, Damir Jažić, has confirmed that the Bosnian national carrier has cancelled all flights until further notice after its only ATR72 in operation suffered technical problems. “You never know what can happen, we can’t take risks. We have made the issue known to the plane manufacturer which overlooks all key components”, Mr. Jažić said. “We will take off as soon as they give the all clear”, he adds. B&H’s other ATR is still in Germany. While work on the aircraft has been completed, the maintenance company is awaiting for payments to be made in order to return the plane. Mr. Jažić says that while the Federation government has cleared funds to make the payments for the aircraft, it still has to make the decision official.

According to global reservation systems, B&H Airlines has cancelled all of its flights until next Saturday, April 27. The airline suspended services last week, though flights were planned to resume yesterday. Furthermore, the airline has cancelled the launch of its Sarajevo – Skopje service. Services were originally planned to be inaugurated on April 1 but were later moved to May. Flights have now completely disappeared from reservation systems and tickets can no longer be booked.

Despite B&H’s woes, Sarajevo Airport recorded strong growth last month. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s busiest airport handled 44.631 passengers, up an impressive 21.4% compared to the same month last year. In the first quarter Sarajevo welcomed 108.467 passengers through its doors, up 12.6%. Meanwhile, Tuzla notched up another month without a single passenger. However, all of that will soon change as Wizz Air launches flights from the city to Malmo and Basel. Yesterday the airline introduced an additional third weekly flight from Tuzla to Malmo, indicating that ticket sales are going extremely well. The added third weekly flight will be launched from June 19.

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B&H Airlines cancels all flights … again

B&H Airlines has cancelled all of its flights again until Tuesday April 16. Services to Istanbul, Zurich, Copenhagen and Banja Luka have all been cancelled as the airline’s sole operating ATR72 is believed to be undergoing scheduled maintenance. The carrier’s other ATR, grounded in Germany, is expected to return to Sarajevo soon. A total of 460.000 euros has been accumulated from the departure tax at Sarajevo Airport, which is the amount needed for the aircraft’s maintenance in Germany to be paid, Amir Jažić, B&H CEO says. The Federation government now has to clear the funds which will then be transferred to Germany.

Last week the Federation government approved a 1.3 million euro cash injection for B&H Airlines. More than half of the allocated funds will be used for fuel, followed by handling and landing and maintenance. B&H Airlines plans to launch flights to Skopje in less than a month. With the arrival of its second ATR the carrier will have the opportunity to launch another new destination during the summer. The airline has given up on previous plans to lease a jet engine aircraft.

B&H is facing stiffer competition with the recent arrival of Pegasus Airlines in Sarajevo and the potential arrival of Wizz Air. In May, Gryphon Airlines is expected to launch seasonal summer flights from Kuwait City to the Bosnian capital with its Boeing 767. It will be joined by Kuwait Airways which will operate the route through August and September with its Airbus A300-600 via Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport. Meanwhile, local authorities have agreed for promotional flights to be operated between Moscow and Sarajevo in either June or July by Moskovia Airlines. The promo flight should serve as a prelude to regular services between the two capitals in the near future.

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B&H Airlines is here to stay

B&H Airlines has denied recent claims by the “Dnevni Avaz” newspaper that the Federation government of Bosnia and Herzegovina is planning to shut down the carrier. “Since our accounts were reinstated, B&H Airlines continues to operate flights from Sarajevo Airport normally. We are carrying out flights according to the 2013 timetable and final preparations are underway for flights to Skopje to be launched”, the airline said in a press release.

B&H Airlines is currently operating services to Istanbul, Copenhagen, Zurich and Banja Luka with a single ATR72 which has forced the carrier to reduce its flight offering. However, the airline’s second ATR, which has been undergoing maintenance in Germany for the past few months, is set to return to the fleet on April 22, after which B&H plans to boost frequencies. Officially, the airline still plans to lease a jet engine aircraft, with global reservation systems displaying a Fokker 100 operating flights from Sarajevo to Istanbul starting May 1. While the airline hasn’t included Amsterdam in its summer timetable, it has been granted slots at the Dutch airport for the upcoming summer, indicating a possible return for the carrier to the city.

Earlier this week, the popular daily “Dnevni Avaz” broke the news that the Federation government of Bosnia and Herzegovina has decided to shut down its national carrier. It added that cabinet members are set to vote in favour of the airline’s closure as it can no longer support B&H which has accumulated significant debt for its relatively small size. The government forks out 3.5 million euros for the carrier on an annual basis. The government has blamed Turkish Airlines for leaving B&H last year in a worse state then prior to the acquisition in 2008.

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Dnevni Avaz: B&H Airlines to cease operations?

According to the “Dnevni Avaz” newspaper, the Federation government of Bosnia and Herzegovina has decided to shut down its national carrier B&H Airlines. Cabinet members of the Federation government are set to vote in favour of the airline’s closure as it can no longer support B&H which has accumulated significant debt for its relatively small size. The government forks out 3.5 million euros for the carrier on an annual basis. Dark clouds began to gather over the airline early last year when Turkish Airlines relinquished a 49% stake in the carrier, blaming the government for its inability to develop the Bosnian carrier. Similarly, the government has blamed Turkish Airlines for leaving B&H in a worse state then prior to the acquisition.

B&H Airlines has not commented on the news which has been circulated across other media in the region. The airline is still selling tickets and operating services normally. Recently, B&H was grounded for over a week after its bank accounts were frozen due to outstanding debt on loans taken out for the purchase of two ATR72s, only one of which is active in the B&H fleet. The Bosnian carrier has plans to lease a jet engine aircraft and launch flights to Skopje from May 1. A source from the Bosnian government told the “Avaz” newspaper that several airlines showed interest in taking a minority stake in the carrier late last year but all abandoned such plans once they saw the state B&H was in. Last week Turkish Airlines and B&H ended all cooperation after the Bosnian carrier ceased code sharing on Turkish Airlines flights to Istanbul.

B&H Airlines employs 108 people. It marks the second attempt at a national carrier in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Its predecessor, Air Bosna, operated services from 1994 until 2003 before it went bust due to outstanding debt. B&H Airlines launched flights in 2005. Besides Air Bosna, only two other national carriers from the former Yugoslavia have ceased operations. They are Palair Macedonian Airlines and MAT Macedonian Airlines.

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B&H Airlines resumes normal operations

B&H resumes normal operations

B&H Airlines has resumed normal operations after the Hypo Alpe Adria Bank unblocked its accounts. “Unblocking our accounts was the condition for us to resume operations. Without it we would be unable to do business. After this we can breathe more easily”, Amir Jažić, the acting CEO of B&H Airlines says. Mr. Jažić claims the blockade of its accounts on behalf of the Hypo Group was uncalled for. He adds, “We still haven’t made flight plans for next week but we will operate services to three destinations (Istanbul, Zurich and Copenhagen). We will look into boosting our frequencies”.

Since March 1, B&H Airlines’ services have been affected by the blockade of its accounts. Hypo claims the carrier has outstanding payments on its loan for the purchase of two ATR72s. With the help of the Federation government a deal has now been struck, although no further details have been revealed. B&H Airlines had plans to lease a jet engine aircraft this summer season and intends to launch flights to Skopje from April 1. One of B&H’s ATRs is currently in Germany undergoing maintenance. The carrier has deposited 30.000 euros for the aircraft to be serviced.

B&H Airlines’ CEO says passengers have not been affected by the carrier’s recent troubles. Most passengers were rerouted onto other airlines, most often Croatia Airlines and Jat Airways. B&H also payed for accommodation for its passengers when it was required. The CEO says, “None of our passengers experienced any trouble. They were even treated to more comfort”.

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B&H to resume flights tonight

The national carrier of Bosnia and Herzegovina plans to resume flights tonight by operating its service to Zurich after cancelling flights to Copenhagen and Istanbul today. The cancellations come as B&H’s bank accounts have been frozen due to mounting debt and unpaid loans. The airline’s only ATR72 in Sarajevo has been on the ground for more than a week, the only exception being a flight to Istanbul operated on Wednesday. B&H’s other ATR is in Germany undergoing maintenance. The Federation government of Bosnia and Herzegovina is determined to save the carrier but has warned it faces bankruptcy if its issues with Hypo Alpe Adria Bank are not resolved soon.

Enver Bijedić, the Federation Minister for Transport and Communications, explains that flights have been suspended due to debt to the amount of 3.5 million euros owed to Hypo Bank. Furthermore, the airline owes 2.8 million euros on a leasing loan for two ATR72 aircraft and a 767.000 euro rehabilitation loan. Mr. Bijedić said B&H Airlines had deposited collateral of roughly the same amount with the bank. Under a 2005 contract with Hypo Alpe Adria, B&H Airlines bought two ATR72s worth a total of fourteen million euros. “The company has paid back 11.4 million under the leasing loan, while these two planes are today worth 6.8 million euros”, Mr. Bijedić said. He blamed the airline’s previous management for its current financial problems.

B&H Airlines has offered to settle its issues with the bank by selling the two aircraft, topped with a further half a million euros from the government. B&H Airlines receives an annual government subsidy of 1.3 million euros, as well as proceeds from departure taxes at Sarajevo Airport.

 

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