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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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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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