Shaky start for B&H Airlines takeover talks
Turkish based Tarhan Tower Airlines (TT) has begun talks with the Federation government of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the takeover of 49% of national carrier B&H Airlines. The delegation from Turkey met with the country’s Minister for Transport and Communication, Enver Bijedić. Following the meeting, the minister said, “These were preliminary talks without any concrete agreement. After the meeting the Turks visited B&H Airlines to see what they are buying”. However, Mr. Bijedić was also confused with some of Tarhan Tower Airlines’ questions, “There are a few things I don’t understand. TT was interested whether B&H Airlines still has any links to Turkish Airlines”. The Turkish national carrier relinquished its 49% stake in B&H earlier this year.
Tarhan Turkish Airlines is a charter carrier based in Istanbul. It has had its license suspended due to issues with its maintenance procedures, with the airline sporting two MD82s in its fleet. Tarhan has offered to provide its two jets to B&H Airlines as soon as it takes over the carrier and further invest in another ten aircraft, either Boeing or Airbus, in the coming years. TT has offered to develop B&H’s scheduled network as well as its charter services and introduce cargo operations. However, Minister Bijedić did not see TT’s vision. “I wasn’t able to understand their ambition and vision for the development of B&H Airlines”, Bijedić said, adding that the talks were neither successful nor unsuccessful.
The Minister did not miss an opportunity to take a swipe at Turkish Airlines, saying, “We don’t want some sort of adventurers to come in, like our previous partner”. The statement came days after Turkish Airlines’ CEO put blame on the Bosnian government and political instability for the carrier’s exit from B&H. Other airlines interested in the Bosnian carrier are Buraq Air from Libya, Atlasjet from Turkey and AirAsia from Malaysia. Mr. Bijedić says talks with these parties could take place in the coming days.