Back in SarajevoB&H Airlines’ second fleet member, an ATR 72, has returned to Sarajevo after spending more than eight months grounded in Germany. Officially, the aircraft was in Monchengladbach at the Rheinland Air Service maintenance company for a technical overhaul. Some rumours have suggested that the government did not pay the leasing fees for the aircraft which is the reason why it spent such a long time on the ground. B&H owes just over two million euros for the lease of the ATRs. During its stay in Monchengladbach, the aircraft was seen missing parts of its tail. The ATR 72-212 (registered E7-AAD) returned to Sarajevo on Tuesday. It was first delivered to Air New Zealand back in 1995. Ten years later, in 2005, it joined B&H Airlines.
The aircraft begins commercial operations today. Its return raises hope that the airline might introduce new flights along with its existing services to Istanbul, Zurich, Copenhagen and Banja Luka during the upcoming winter season. The Bosnian national carrier was planning to resume services to Vienna, Skopje and Amsterdam earlier this year, before its partnership with Turkish Airlines ended. B&H’s two ATR72s are being leased but should be in the airline’s ownership by 2016.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that potential future partners of B&H Airlines have been visiting the country recently so as to explore the market and gain more insight into the carrier’s operations. Earlier in August, the Bosnian Minister for Transport and Communication, Enver Bijedić, announced that two airlines are vying for a 49% stake in the national carrier, vacated by Turkish Airlines. Talks with the two interested parties were set to begin after Ramadan in mid August. One of the interested airlines is said to be from Europe while the other is “globally known and respected”.