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Record growth for Sarajevo Airport

Sarajevo Airport has recorded strong passenger growth in August on top of its busiest post war day. It handled 79.796 passengers, an increase of 31.2% compared to the same month last year. On August 31 some 3.600 people passed through the airport, making it its busiest 24 hours since it reopened its doors on August 16, 1996. The growth is being led by a significant increase in flight operations to and from Sarajevo. This year Bosnia and Herzegovina’s busiest airport welcomed the arrival of Pegasus Airlines from Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport, making it a popular alternative to Turkish Airlines and B&H Airlines. Over the summer, Turkish Airlines significantly increased its number of operations, totalling a record of eighteen weekly flights during peak season.

In August Kuwait Airways inaugurated its seasonal flights to the Bosnian capital, competing against Eastern SkyJets which is also operating regular charters from Kuwait City. Adria also operated several charters to Sarajevo this summer, carrying tourists transiting on flights to and from Kuwait. Sarajevo Airport could soon see the arrival of Alitalia as the Italian carrier is considering the city as part of its push to seize new international opportunities and streamline connections. Furthermore, Norwegian Air Shuttle has converted its seasonal summer service from Stockholm to Sarajevo to year long flights. In the first eight months of the year Sarajevo Airport welcomed 453.324 passengers, an increase of 15.1% compared to the same period last year.
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Posted in Aerodrom Sarajevo, Air Bosnia, English News0 Comments

Wizz Air to maintain Tuzla flights

The low cost airline Wizz Airline will maintain services to Tuzla Airport this winter season, following the success it has had in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s third largest city over the summer. The airline will continue operating flights from Malmo, Gothenburg and Basel to Tuzla during the winter months, though the no frills carrier will cut down on frequencies. Services from Malmo will operate two instead of three times per week, with flights from Gothenburg and Basel also to run twice per week. The timing for all the flights will be adjusted. The changes come into effect on October 27. Recently, Wizz Air’s Chief Commercial Officer, Gyorgy Abran said, “Our presence in Tuzla demonstrates our commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina and we hope to further develop our operations in this market”.

Wizz Air has been successful in Tuzla so far, providing the airport, which has been mostly deserted since it opened its doors, with thousands of passengers. In the first three month of operations up to September, the airline operated 164 flights and carried 25.096 passengers on its Tuzla flights. In addition, Wizz Air has recorded an average of 152 passengers per flight. The airline initially planned to carry 30.000 passengers on its services to Tuzla but at the time did not plan to introduce flights from Gothenburg and Basel in addition to the original Malmo service Continue Reading

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Posted in Air Bosnia, Avio Kompanije, English News, Jeftine Avio Karte0 Comments

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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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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Wizz Air from Tuzla to Basel

Wizz Air has announced the launch of its second destination from Bosnia and Herzegovina’s third largest city, Tuzla. The low cost airline will launch services from Tuzla to Basel Mulhouse from June 15. Flights are set to operate twice per week, every Tuesday and Saturday. The services will come in handy for the sizable Bosnian diaspora in Switzerland but also those in nearby Germany and France. Additional flight details for the planned new route can be found here. The low cost airline has already put tickets on sale on its website.

The news comes only a week after Wizz Air announced it was launching its first flights to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The airline will inaugurate services from Malmo to Tuzla on May 31. The no frills airline expects to carry up to 30.000 passengers from Tuzla in its first year. The service will also boost passenger numbers at Tuzla Airport which handled 4.191 passengers in 2012, its worst result in more than three years.

With the addition of Bosnia and Herzegovina to its network, Wizz Air will operate more than 260 routes across 31 countries. This summer season, the airline will boast a significant network from the former Yugoslavia. In the table below you can review which destinations the no frills airline will be serving from EX-YU cities.

Wizz Air launches 2 weekly flights to Tuzla:

Flight number: W64294

Departure city: MLH
Departure time: 17.30
Arrival time: 19.15
Arrival city: TZL
Aircraft type: A320
Day operating: -2—6-

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Return
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Flight number: W64293
Departure city: TZL
Departure time: 19.45
Arrival time: 21.40
Arrival city: MLH
Aircraft type: A320
Day operating: -2—6-
mlm-tzl

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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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B&H Airlines to resume flights

After more than a week, B&H Airlines is expected to resume services this afternoon. The carrier has been forced to suspend all flights after its ATR72 experienced technical problems and had to undergo maintenance. B&H’s other turboprop, which is in Germany, is also in maintenance and is expected to return to the fleet during the 2013 summer season. As a result, the airline has been forced to cancel flights to Istanbul, Zurich, Banja Luka and Copenhagen. “We are expecting to hear from our colleagues from aircraft maintenance and I can’t give any further information. One aircraft is in Germany while the other is in Sarajevo which has to undergo small scale repairs”, Edin Hrapović from B&H Airlines says.

However, the Minister for Transport and Communication in the Federation government, Enver Bijedić, said yesterday the airline is grounded because its account at the Hypo Alpe Adria Bank is blocked. B&H has accumulated significant debt towards the bank, mostly during the time it was run by Turkish Airlines. The Ministry for Transport and Communication says it is negotiating with the bank in order to solve B&H’s problems. Late last year several airlines expressed interest to purchase a minority stake in B&H, however, Mr. Bijedić says, “Once their delegations payed a visit to B&H Airlines, they never came back”.

B&H Airlines’ suspensions couldn’t come at a worse time for the airline. Its signature Istanbul service is in big danger following the successful launch of Pegasus Airlines’ flights between the city and the Bosnian capital. Pegasus now plans operate a sixth weekly flight between the two cities during the summer. Despite its problems, the Bosnian national carrier is sticking to plans to launch flights to Skopje from April 1. Whether it will lease a jet engine aircraft by the end of the month, as was previously planned, remains to be seen.

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B&H Airlines to Skopje from April

B&H Airlines will launch flights to Skopje Alexander the Great Airport on April 1. Services, with the ATR72, will operate four times per week. Originally, B&H intended to launch flights to Skopje during the winter holiday season but instead it opted to postpone the service until the summer. The airline also intends to launch flights to Amsterdam and there is a possibility for services to Zagreb to be inaugurated as well as the Bosnian carrier looks to strengthen its cooperation with Croatia Airlines. Flight details for the Sarajevo – Skopje service can be found here.

B&H’s return will be welcomed news for Skopje Airport. Nordic Air Sweden has already announced that it will launch flights from Copenhagen to the Macedonian capital in late February while a possible Wizz Air expansion is also on the cards. Furthermore, Jetairfly will resume its seasonal summer flights from Brussels. Skopje will now be served by four national carriers from the former Yugoslavia – Adria Airways, B&H Airlines, Croatia Airlines and Jat Airways. With 828.831 passengers handled in 2012, Skopje will need a significant 20% passenger increase this year if it is to break its one million passenger record set in 2000.

B&H Airlines has operated flights to Skopje on and off for several years. At first the airline flew to Skopje via Podgorica. The national carrier suspended the flights after some time citing low interest. It planned to return to the Macedonian capital in the summer of 2012, however, its fleet shortage and Turkish Airlines’ exit from the carrier made it impossible. A total of five weekly flights were scheduled, departing Sarajevo in the evening with the return flight to leave Skopje early next morning, so as to connect onto B&H’s services to Europe. All EX-YU airlines rely on Macedonian transit passengers to Western Europe, with B&H now ready to re-enter the game as well.

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