B&H takes big passenger hitThe national carrier of Bosnia and Herzegovina, B&H Airlines, handled only 29.459 passengers in the first half of the year, a 54.9% plunge on 2011. The figures come as a result of a major decrease in flights as well as Turkish Airlines’ exit from its partnership with the airline. The average cabin load factor stood at 66%. B&H currently operates flights to only four cities from Sarajevo (Istanbul, Zurich, Copenhagen and Banja Luka) with a single ATR72. The Bosnian carrier had its busiest year back in 2010 when it welcomed 138.241 passengers onboard. Unless there are major developments in the following months, B&H risks having one of its worst years on record, passenger wise.
Originally, plans were made for the Bosnian carrier to launch flights from Sarajevo to Skopje, Vienna, Gothenburg, Stockholm and Dusseldorf this year. However, none of the plans materialised after Turkish Airlines relinquished its 49% stake in the airline. Since, there have been reports that Buraq Air from Libya is interested in taking Turkish’s place. During B&H’s privatisation process in 2008, Turkish Airlines was not the only one to answer the tender call. Also bidding were Royal Jordanian Airlines and Malaysia’s Comintel Corporation.
B&H’s poor form has also had an effect on its hub airport, Sarajevo. However, the airport has held up well seeing only a 4% decrease in its passenger numbers. The likes of Austrian, Jat, Croatia Airlines, and Adria have profited the most from B&H’s network reductions. On the other hand, the airport has seen the arrival of several new charter airlines, including Gryphon Airlines which launched seasonal flights to the Bosnian capital from Kuwait City this summer.