Turkish Airlines and B&H Airlines part waysThe Federation government of Bosnia and Herzegovina has confirmed that Turkish Airlines is leaving the Bosnian national carrier in which it had a 49% ownership stake, thus ending four years of partnership. “We shouldn’t hide the fact that Turkish Airlines is leaving B&H”, Enver Bijedić, the Minister for Transport and Communication said yesterday. The Minister added that talks have already begun with future potential investors. Rumours are circulating that Buraq Air, a Tripoli based airline which operated flights to Sarajevo prior to the uprising in Libya last year, is interested in taking over Turkish’s stake.
Ominous signs that something was wrong between the two owners of B&H Airlines (the government and Turkish Airlines) surfaced late last year. They continued into 2012 with B&H cancelling many of its flights, Turkish grounding the Airbus A319 it had been leasing to the Bosnian carrier and finally the withdrawal of the Turkish management from B&H several days ago.
In January, the Association of European Airlines warned that B&H Airlines would go bust if Turkish Airlines was to withdraw. However, the government assures that it will keep the national carrier in the air. The airline has two ATR72s, one of which has been grounded in Germany since January with many of its parts now missing. The other is in operation on B&H’s flights to Istanbul, Zurich and Copenhagen. The two aircraft are being leased but should be in the airline’s ownership by 2016.