Wednesday, May 5, 2010

UPDATED
Pig out

No longer welcome on B&H
The national carrier of Bosnia and Herzegovina, B&H Airlines, caused a big stir yesterday after it was revealed that the airline will no longer be serving meals containing pork meat or alcoholic beverages. Politicians have also weighed in on the debate saying that the move threatens Bosnia and Herzegovina’s diverse multi cultural make up.

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.

UPDATE

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.

22 comments:

  1. What can i say, very bad behaviour and leadership from an national airline, but they should have the knowledgde that they dont are a lowcostairliner, and without a membership in Star alliance, or more rutes we are probably seeing a airline shutting down.. i feel sorry for that. Philswe

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  2. There are several non-muslim carriers that do not serve pork. Somehow that's OK. But the decision not to serve alcohol is more than ridiculous. If this would apply for hajj flights I would understand, but as an international carrier?! Very strange, very bewildering and it worries me about the state of mind of BH management.

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  3. That does not make any sense - I flew the other day from Zurich and they had beer available. All of these complaints coming from Banja Luka where authorities do not allow this so called "national airline" to fly out of Banja Luka airport....

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  4. This blog become very subjective when it comes to BH Airlines lately, I wonder why?

    First, we can read this silly politicaly motivated article taken from right-wing newspaper (it's obvious that they didn't contact BHA for statement at all, which is extremly unproffesional), and at the same time you can't read official info that BHA in period I-III 2010 had 133% passenger increase compared to same period 2009, and that SJJ had 10,8% increase for same period?

    Regarding this topic, yes you CAN have alcohol drinks at BHA flights (me recommends wonderful "Sarajevsko" beer or Blatina red wine from selected vineyards, started with "Andrija"), and yes, you CAN'T have pork meat meal on the same flights.

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  5. Lunacy. What idiots, an absolute recipe for disaster and to incite divisions and mistrust amongst a community trying to recover from a horrific war less than a generation ago.

    Here we have an airline which, after finally getting some capital and investment and wants to become *the* airline of BiH makes a TERRIBLE move. Irrespective of who technically owns it, we all know there isn't a market to have two, or even three to serve the entire country. The same goes for all other services, including railways, telecommunications and post.

    A stable Bosnia is paramount to the stability of every single one of its neighbours and the region. The excessive layers of bureaucracy aren't helping the current situation either. But we're not here to discuss politics (which we know is related to *everything* in the exYU)...

    The carrier doesn't only cater to Islamic Bosniaks - matter of fact i'm pretty sure you don't have to be a certain religion to fly any airline. And the fact that 1) the airline may be carring many non-BiH residents - even in MAJORITY on any flight, and 2) BiH is still a European, Christian majority country just shows how ideology misinterpreted can inflame the situation.

    What's stopping people who are Islamic on the flight politely refusing a wine or beer on the flight?

    The solution is simple: find out who proposed and signed off on this proposal, and get rid of them. IMMEDIATELY. The airline is a basketcase until professionals are in running the show, and turning a profit. Rečica and his team have obviously been biding time, they're amateurs and their lack of scheduling know-how or innovation for the airline is evident.

    And finally, to finish with the ultimate hypocrisy. Anyone can go down Ferhadija on any morning to see Sarajevans of any ethnicity enjoying a beer when catching up with friends, and it's not impossible to find pork products either in the many cafes and restaurants. Yet one can't enjoy one on a short, overpriced flight...

    For shame, JA.

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  6. iThis is certainly not true. I flied last night with BHA and they had beers available... where did you even get this info ?
    Glas Srpske ? :D

    Or is this JAT making some noise to ruin new coming Belgrade line ?

    Totally political article... shame on you

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  7. It says that they won’t serve alcohol and pork in the future not stop serving them immediately.

    To me this is just a pretty bad marketing move, nothing more

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  8. This news marked the day yesterday in the EX-YU aviation industry so there is no reason why it should not be published here. The article doesn’t brand this behaviour as unacceptable or put its own spin on the news. There shouldn’t be censorship because the news might be somewhat controversial.

    Racially motivated and disrespectful comments will not be tolerated.

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  9. Interesting. I guess then it would be fair to expect the same level of outrage when an airline (Air Srpska in the future, possibly) does not offer a halal (or at least non-pork) option on their flights.

    In any case, no one has a right to have pork or alcohol served to them on an airplane. No one prevents you from bringing a sandwich or drink of your choice on board. Now, if you were forbidden to have pork on board even if you brought it yourself then I would understand the dissatisfaction. However, I would understand the case for not serving alcohol on board since I have been on a number of flights (mainly to Russia and Poland) when completely drunk passengers on board behaved like idiots. It is the duty of airlines to at least not help create such a situation on board their flights. One could, of course, bring their own small bottle of wine or beer with them. Nonetheless, it is illegal to drink alcohol on London Underground and I think most people support it. Why can't it be the same on airplanes?

    But, let’s put things into perspective. These are really short flights within Europe and can one really not survive a short flight without pork or alcohol? In my opinion, it's just an opportunity for bigoted people to express their bigotry. The same people who week in week out say that airlines should drop their (poor) food and drink services on board EX-YU airlines and focus on low cost flights are now 'outraged' that pork or alcohol *may* not be offered on board.

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  10. First of all it is up to every airline to decide what they want to offer. There is no such human right that states that you must get pork while flying or chicken or anything else for that matter. I do not understand the rage expressed by some people here. It is clear case of bigotry where all animals are alike yet some more right than the others. In case you don't like it, then don't fly with them. Take your money somewhere else. This applies to everything. That is how capitalism works.

    Secondly, more important, this is BOGUS news. BH Airlines does serve alcohol.

    It is very interesting that this news has wide coverage in foreign media (most notably serbian and croatian) while no coverage in bosnian media at all.

    National television is not reporting it (BHRT), no mentions in leading news papers (Oslobodjenje, Dnevni List, Dnevni Avaz, Nezavisne Novine) and no news on leading internet portals (sarajevo-x). No news on BH Airlines site either (not that they are updating it that often anyways). So everything points out that this has been taken out of context.

    @Ex-Yu aviation:

    I think you were right to publish this article. I don't either see any negative spin on it. However what I am missing are links to source. That way it could be easier for us to judge if this is true or not. Keep up the good work

    @frequentflyer:

    Although I agree with you that this decision would be idiotic (if it was true, which I greatly doubt) I don't see what it has to do with Bosnia or its religious composition? It is up to every company to decide what kind of customers it wants to cater to. If BH Airlines want they can only offer fermented Chinese eggs for Asian passengers. It is up to them. Market is then going to punish or prise them for their decision.

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  11. Well, exactly as I thought. What update shows is that the whole news was fabricated.

    As they are not offering special meals and they have substantial customer base that would require special meal if they were serving pork products they decided simply not to have any pork products. For once it is nice to see that JA takes sound economical decisions. Other companies do the same for example LH and OS excluding beef and pork when flying to India.

    Not serving food or alcoholic beverages on short haul is nothing strange either. AY and SK are for example doing the same on their short routes.

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  12. I was flying JA last Easter on SJJ-IST-SJJ route last Easter and they did not serve alcohol even than.

    Pork was served on their flights a couple of years ago when I took the same route.

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  13. I agree with London. We don't have to necessarily look at this from the political stand point. The fact is that alcoholism is a huge problem in Bosnia regardless of what religion you are. There was one video on Youtube where two Bosnian kids in the US were commenting on typical things that Bosnian people do and one of the comment was: "You know that you are Bosnian when your father goes to the bar at 10 in the morning". There are already many drunk people in Bosnia on the ground and there si really no need to make even more drunk in the air.

    And about pork meat: it's proven that pork is not the healthiest meal choice anyway. I have flown numerous times across the Atlantic and have never had pork option offered.

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  14. And we need source!!

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  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  16. Hey, why do you make such a big scene just because of stupid pork?!

    More important news is AirBaltics' first flight RIX-BEG-RIX, started today! :)
    Does someone know something more about that? :)

    Cheers!

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  17. Dali netko zna zasto Thomson fly nije letio danas iz Londona za Tivat

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  18. Well, this seems entirely BS... Nice to see BHA using a nice catering company "Do&Co" for their meals, and so far no complaints about bad food. Pork is just wise to not have on Bosnian flights. The muslims don't eat it and i'm sure any other ethnicity will live 3 hours without it.

    Not serving alcohol on flights under one hour is understandable from an economical viewpoint.

    Seems like a way to put BHA down, but no reason not to publish the story.

    Still waiting for SJJ-LON.

    Faris

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  19. I am muslim and I drink alcohol. I want alcohol available on my flights if I choose. Noone is forcing anyone to drink just because it is available.

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  20. Glad to see the update today and that the story is lacking accuracy.

    Concerning is something along quite similar lines was tried not so long ago in Sarajevo - the renaming of the airport after Izetbegovic which caused an absolute furore, off memory in '98. My hazy recollection is the UN ambassador had to step in even... that was a real situation however!

    There's no doubt people in the exYU have long historical memories, perhaps this is partly why it caused such an uproar from many?

    @ Zrak

    One of the articles about this topic made mention of this being a religious/political move, hence my comments about a particular group (my apologies if any have interpeted as such on our forum). The link (and the vigorous comments on the issue on another forum airliners.net) have recently been removed, possibly due to vilification. I will try to chase up from where... the sources for stories are so important to allow people to make an informed decision!

    In any business - irrespective of location, size, or field - should always do its best to be sensitive to the needs of its customers. Before the update, it didn't appear this way at all!

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  21. @frequentflyer

    I think that we more or less share same opinion.

    These issues are quite sensitive for Bosnians. During Yugoslav times Bosnians have generally been culturally dominated by stronger republics in Yugoslav federation. You might agree with this or not but the fact is that most Bosnians feel this way.

    Many Bosnians feel that there is clear tendency in Serbian media (and less often in Croatian) to ridicule peculiarities of Bosnian culture and society. Holier-than-thou attitude.

    For me and I guess for other (presumably) Bosnian readers who reacted is that some of the comments on this post reflected exactly this attitude. (Observe that I do not think it was wrong to publicize post on this or that author was somehow skewed in any direction. Although I missed clear source).

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  22. This article is very pretentious and untrue even it's update is not complete. Clearly it is written purposely to hurt B&H Airlines. It is impossible to have such an article and not to contact the main objective of your story. But sadly it succeeded in steering up some nationalist minded people. Airlines as a rule aren't serving pork on flights which are likely to have more than 30% passengers who don't eat pork, no matter if they are Jews or Muslims. Try to demand pork sandwich in Lufthansa or Austrian Airlines flight to B&H, I am sure that if you are persistent you'll end up on their black lists. Response from B&H Airlines revealed that alcohol part is pyre lie and nothing else.
    I've been following this blog for some time but I have to say that some of the latest post/articles about B&H Airlines are opinionated.

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