Branko Dokić, the acting president of the transportation and communication commission in the Bosnian parliament said, “It is surprising that a national carrier would modify its inflight service in line with customs of only one group. Such behaviour goes against European values and is even uncommon in countries with a predominately Muslim population, such as Turkey where alcoholic beverages are served on all airlines”. On the other hand, another politician, Nedeljko Čubrilović, said that the owner of the airline has the right to set its own inflight rules but also adds that B&H Airlines is the country’s national carrier and as such must cater to the needs of all sizeable ethnic groups. The director of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Civil Aviation Directorate said that people should have the choice to choose the meal of their liking. “This is definitely not a wise marketing move by the airline”, he remarked.
Turkish Airlines, which owns 49% of B&H Airlines, serves alcoholic beverages on its flights. However, the airline upholds halal principles and does not serve pork. Other world leading carriers from the Middle East also serve alcoholic beverages on their flights. Other national carriers which come from ethnically diverse countries serve pork including Singapore Airlines and AZAL Azerbaijan Airlines.
The move has received substantial coverage in Croatia and Serbia, to which B&H Airlines will commence services in the coming weeks.
Since the news broke, B&H Airlines has today commented on the story. The airline said that it has 8 different menus for its flights (which are rotated on a weekly basis), none of which contain pork products. The airline said that on flights lasting less than an hour it does not serve either any food or alcohol, instead it serves juices and soft drinks, like many other European carriers. The airline denied that it does not serve alcoholic beverages on longer European flights, adding that it doesn’t serve alcohol only when laws of the country of arrival prescribe so. B&H Airlines does not have the option of special meals. Catering to the airline is provided on behalf of the DO&CO company.