Tarhan Tower Airlines close to B&H takeover
Turkish based Tarhan & Tower Airlines and the low cost AirAsia are interested in taking over a 49% stake in B&H Airlines, Enver Bijedić, the Federal Minister for Transport and Communication confirms. The surprise announcement is in stark contrast from previous government claims that Libya’s Buraq Air, a Middle Eastern carrier and a regional European airline are looking into the offered share package.
Tarhan & Tower Airlines (T&T) is a charter airline based in Istanbul but has been out of operation for the past five years due to concerns over its maintenance procedures. The airline has offered to provide its fleet of two MD82s 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. T&T has offered to develop B&H’s scheduled network as well as its charter services and introduce cargo operations, a government prerequisite for the future minority share holder. T&T has sent a letter of intent to takeover B&H.
On the other hand, AirAsia, which was recently connected to a possible takeover of Jat Airways, has said that it has requested additional information on B&H’s operations. The Malaysian low cost airline is looking to set up a regional hub in Europe to aid its network back in Kuala Lumpur. However, according to Minister Bijedić, Sarajevo Airport is unsuitable for the no frills carrier due to the weather conditions and is looking at Mostar Airport instead due to its tourism potential. Earlier this year the government designated the airports in Mostar and Tuzla as low cost airports.
Talks with interested parties are set to begin “soon”. The Federation government is hoping to sell 49% of B&H Airlines, previously held by Turkish Airlines. Meanwhile, B&H is still finalising its schedule for the upcoming winter season. Unlike this summer, the airline has an additional aircraft to utilise.