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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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Peaceful parting

The Federation government of Bosnia and Herzegovina is set to approve Turkish Airlines’ exit from its 49% stake in the Bosnian national carrier, B&H Airlines, this week and take over all of the airline’s shares. The government is looking to make the “divorce” between B&H and Turkish Airlines as painless as possible so as not to have an impact on passengers or the carrier’s employees, which have been caught in the middle of the spat that has lasted for half a year between the two sides. Up for discussion will be code share agreements between the two carriers as well as other arrangements the two companies had over the past four years such as staff sharing at foreign airports.

The main objective of the newly appointed management at B&H Airlines will be to boost passenger numbers and revenues while at the same time decrease costs. For the time being, the airline will have to do so with a single aircraft. In the first quarter passenger numbers decreased 43%. The government will also have to decide whether it will try to find a new partner for the carrier. However, such a move is unlikely to come immediately, despite informal talks with potential investors. The Bosnian government has ruled out any possibility for it to become a minority stake holder in the company, meaning it will hold on to its 51% share in any future arrangement.

In late 2008, Turkish Airlines took over a 49% share in B&H. By May 2010 it provided the airline its first jet engine aircraft, a Boeing 737-400, allowing it to launch flights to Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Dusseldorf. However, this hasty expansion led to the termination of flights to Prague and Berlin due to poor interest. Similarly, newly introduced flights to Podgorica were also cancelled. In 2010 the B737-400 was replaced with an Airbus A319. The airline continued to expand with new flights to Amsterdam, Belgrade and Zagreb, with the latter two cancelled shortly after. In 2011, the airline cancelled its flights to Vienna, Dusseldorf, Stockholm and Gothenburg. The relationship between Turkish Airlines and the Bosnian government deteriorated after the New Year with the A319 taken back by Turkish Airlines leading to the suspension of its popular Amsterdam flights and the grounding of an ATR72. Now, a new chapter begins for B&H Airlines.

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Zračna luka Mostar Aerodrom

Zračna luka Mostar je otvorena za civilni zračni promet 1965. godine, isključivo za domaće letove.

Godine 1984, Zračna luka Mostar je proglašena alternativnom zračnom lukom za Međunarodnu Zračnu luku Sarajevo tijekom Olimpijskih Igara time stječući status međunarodne zračne luke.

Kasnije se ovaj novi status pozitivno primjenio na rastući interes domaćih i međunarodnih prijevoznika za Zračnom lukom Mostar, uzimajući u obzir činjenicu da je selo Međugorje svjetski poznato svetište, smješteno samo 20 km zapadno od Mostara, a zračni put sigurno najbrzi i najucinkovitiji način dolaska.
Rekordni broj od 86.000 putnika u predratnom razdoblju je bio 1990 godine. Bilo je opravdano očekivati da će 1991 godina donijeti povećani broj od 100.000 putnika, no nažalost počeli su oružani sukobi i s tim je prekinut i civilni zračni promet s zadnjim letom izvršenim u studenom 1991.

Zračna luka Mostar je ponovno otvorena za zračni promet 07 srpnja 1998. godine. Spaljena i devastirana zgrada terminala s kompletnom infrastrukturom je u potpunosti renovirana financiranjem Europske zajednice.
Postoji značajan interes charter prijevoznika prema Zračnoj luci Mostar, sa svojom geografskom lokacijom, kao prednošću, susjednog svetišta Međugorje.

Zračna luka Mostar je na prelazu u novi razvojni period, označenim ulaganjima Europske zajednice u modernizaciju njenih objekata i nabavke opreme za prihvat zrakoplova i putnika.

Sa sigurnošću možemo reći kako će Zračna luka Mostar, dosegnivši visoke standarde opremljenosti i stručne osposobljenosti njenog osoblja, ući u novo tisućljeće i igrati važan gospodarski subjekat cijele regije.
Značajan porast putničkog prometa u Zračnoj Luci Mostar imamo zahvaliti upravo činjenici da je mostarska zračna luka smještena samo nekih 20 kilometara od Međugorja a zračni put sigurno najbrzi i najučinkovitiji način dolaska.
Danas je za očekivati porast zainteresiranosti turističkih operatera i avio-prijevoznika za organiziranje čarter letova za Zračnu Luku Mostar.

Dobra opremljenost i stručno osoblje Zračne luke Mostar se brine da u svakom trenutku promet zrakoplova, putnika, prtljage i robe bude siguran, na najvišem nivou i prema standardima ICAO-a.
Zračna luka je sposobna i opremljena prihvatiti sve zrakoplove do kategorije “C” uključivo (najveća take-off težina do 200 tona).

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Fresh Suspensions from B&H Airlines – Airbosnia

B&H Airlines has temporarily suspended services to Zurich, Copenhagen and Banja Luka, leaving the carrier with a single daily service to Istanbul. Services to Zurich, via Banja Luka, will resume on April 24, while flights to the Danish capital return to the airline’s network on May 2. The suspensions highlight continuing problems the carrier is having with its part owner Turkish Airlines, which has taken back its Airbus A319 from the B&H fleet, unhappy with the government’s attitude towards its national carrier.

B&H currently has one ATR72 in its fleet. The other is formally still undergoing maintenance. However, there is hope that the aircraft will return soon. According to the official schedule the carrier will increase services to Istanbul to double daily from April 25, operate five weekly flights to Zurich and three weekly services to Copenhagen. The current scheduling would require a second aircraft.

Airlines operating to and from Sarajevo have profited from B&H’s woes and Malev’s demise. With inflated prices, Austrian is now operating two daily flights to the Bosnian capital, with much success. Jat Airways will be doubling capacity during the peak summer months as the Serbian carrier will operate flights with its Boeing B737-300 instead of the ATR72.There is still no word from Niki which is conducting a feasibility study into launching flights to Sarajevo.

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Turkish Airlines may exit from B&H Airlines – Airbosnia

Local media have tipped that Turkish Airlines, which owns a 49% stake in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s national carrier B&H Airlines, could soon relinquish its shares. The Turkish carrier accuses the Bosnian government and its lack of cooperation for the current state the airline is in. “The partnership started off well. We wanted to export our know-how to the airline. However, the CEO of B&H had to wait three months to get an appointment at the Ministry of Transport. Our ideas were not met with understanding and the ministry did nothing to secure licenses to other countries. This caught us by surprise”, Hamdi Topcu, the Chairman of the Executive Committee of Turkish Airlines told the “Oslobodjenje” daily.

B&H Airlines is today operating with one ATR72 since another has been undergoing maintenance for over a month. Turkish Airlines’ Airbus A319, which operated for B&H has returned to its owner’s fleet and will not be returning to Sarajevo. The airline has been forced to cancel numerous destinations and many are beginning to avoid the national carrier due to uncertainty. In 2010, B&H Airlines recorded a loss of 10.230.000 euros. The airline is yet to publish its 2011 financial report although the Ministry of Transport warns that substantial losses were also recorded last year. “Bosnia does not care for B&H Airlines. This was a big disappointment for us. The main reason for the current state of the airline is a complete lack of interest and understanding”, Topcu concludes.

Enver Bijedić from the Ministry of Transport says Bosnia needs a national carrier. “It is our aim to survive with these two aircraft. We have to keep the airline and keep flying until there are better conditions on the market”. Earlier in the month the ministry accused Turkish for not adhering to its purchasing contract. B&H Airlines was set up on the back of the bankrupt former national carrier Air Bosna. The Bosnian government subsidises its national carrier with 3.4 million euros on an annual basis. B&H carried 129.435 passengers in 2011, a decrease of 6.7% compared to the year before.

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BH Airlines

Tomorrow, the 2012 Northern Hemisphere summer season begins. Following on from last week, when changes and additions were published for Croatia Airlines and Jat Airways, this week amendments for Adria Airways, B&H Airlines and Montenegro Airlines can be viewed.

Adria Airways’ summer season sees a big reduction in operations compared to last year. Flights to Paris, Warsaw, Toulon and Banja Luka were all suspended last year. Seasonal flights to Athens, Dublin, Kiev and Stockholm won’t be resuming this summer. The airline will reduce frequencies on regional flights with services to Priština, Tirana and Skopje taking a hit. On the other hand, the Slovenian carrier will launch new flights to London Luton Airport, increase frequencies to Copenhagen and operate numerous charters.

B&H Airlines will operate flights only to Istanbul, Copenhagen and Zurich via Banja Luka. The airline currently has a single ATR72 in operation. However, if its Turkish part owner manages to make amends with the Bosnian government other aircraft could be returned to the B&H fleet which would lead to some destinations being resumed.

Finally, Montenegro Airlines will reduce frequencies to several destinations. The most notable is a reduction of nine weekly flights from Podgorica to Zurich. The airline will also halve the number of flights to Moscow. However, the Montenegrin carrier will introduce a new service from Tivat to London Gatwick and will strengthen frequencies to Paris.

By clicking on the links below, you can view the 2012 summer season changes in more detail.

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Sarajevo Low Cost Flights…starting

Sarajevo could soon see low cost flights from London, Rome and Dusseldorf as the Bosnian government relaxes its conditions towards no frills airlines. The government currently requires low cost airlines to pay a levy of ten euros per passenger in order to operate flights to the country. Until recently, the levy amounted to fifteen euros but the state government gave up on its share of the takings while the Federation government is expected to follow suit. According to the Al Jazeera Balkans network, interest has been shown for flights to commence from London, Rome, Dusseldorf and a city in Sweden to Sarajevo this summer. Recently, the low cost Austrian airline Niki, owned by Air Berlin, said it was evaluating the Bosnian market.

New airlines would be more than welcomed by airports in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In February, the country’s busiest airport, Sarajevo, suffered a 21% passenger decrease by handling only 26.278 passengers. During the month the airport was affected by bad weather but also B&H Airlines’ route suspensions. However, the full brunt of the carrier’s woes is to be felt at the airport in March. Currently, B&H operates a single daily flight to Istanbul with an ATR72. During February, Banja Luka Airport welcomed 424 passengers and Mostar 318. Tuzla did not manage to attract any passengers last month.

Sarajevo Airport is served by two low cost airlines – Germanwings and Norwegian Air Shuttle. Norwegian operates flights on a seasonal basis and will be resuming services from Oslo and Stockholm to the Bosnian capital this summer. On top of its all year round service from Cologne, Germanwings will resume seasonal flights from Stuttgart to Sarajevo this summer as well.

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The end of B&H Airlines

B&H Airlines has suspended all operations until further notice but has not ceased the sale of tickets to Zurich, Istanbul and Copenhagen. The airline is currently scheduled to resume operations to Istanbul on March 13, according to the Amadeus global ticketing system. However, the Bosnian carrier has suspended its planned seasonal flights to Gothenburg and Stockholm. It comes a week after it indefinitely suspended services to Amsterdam.

Currently, B&H Airlines does not have an aircraft in Sarajevo. Its two ATR72s are in Monchengladbach in Germany’s west. The ATR registered E7-AAD left weeks ago while the other, E7-AAE, took off for Monchengladbach on March 9. They are officially there for regular maintenance. Meanwhile, the Airbus A319 has been grounded in Istanbul since February 27. The government maintains that it too is undergoing technical checks.

It is believed that recent talks between Turkish Airlines’ management, the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Turkish ambassador in Sarajevo and B&H Airlines’ management broke down earlier in the week. The Bosnian daily “Oslobodjenje” reports that B&H’s part owners, Turkish Airlines, have requested for the Bosnian government to cover debt which has been accumulated by the carrier. Turkish maintains it took over B&H not to make a profit but rather to help the struggling airline back in 2008. The government says it no longer has the means to finance its national carrier. It has ordered B&H Airlines to draft a business plan for 2012 after which talks with Turkish Airlines could resume. Whether B&H can bounce back remains to be seen.

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