No end in sight for B&H dramaTurkish Airlines CEO, Temel Kotil, said yesterday that the carrier is still undecided whether it will pull out from its 49% stake in B&H Airlines. However, B&H’s chances have been somewhat boosted after Turkish Airlines announced it was leaving takeover talks of LOT Polish Airlines. In a statement the airline said that a possible deal would have made a limited contribution to its medium to long term plans. B&H has been struggling to maintain passengers in the last few months as Turkish accused the carrier’s majority owner, the government, of not adhering to the 2008 share purchase agreement.
Employees at B&H Airlines have been aggravated by the growing spat and the uncertain future of their company. The final hit from Turkish came when it decided to suspend B&H’s lucrative morning flights to Istanbul and replace it with its own services. Due to a fleet shortage the carrier has also been forced to move around flights and passengers.
Last week Turkish Airlines withdrew the management it appointed to the Bosnian carrier. “We love to grow. But we can stop the growth if it makes sense for passengers”, Kotil said. The Centre for Aviation, an aviation analysis group, says B&H could soon follow in the footsteps of Cirrus Airlines, Czech Connect Airlines, Malev, Spanair, Cimber Sterling, City Airline, Skyways and Spain’s Mint Airways which have all declared bankruptcy this year. It should be noted that in 2008 Turkish Airlines was not the only one to answer the tender call for a 49% stake in B&H. Also bidding were Royal Jordanian Airlines and Malaysia’s Comintel Corporation. However, the government gave the Jordanian consortium a mark of 32.20 (out of a possible 100) for the bid while Comintel was ruled out due to the fact that it did not deliver all necessary documentation. The Turkish carrier received a mark of 82.50.