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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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