B&H's entire fleet in the sky by Monday
B&H Airlines’ second ATR72, which has been grounded for several months, is set to return to service next week. The aircraft experienced technical problems back in April at the same time its other ATR72 was grounded, undergoing maintenance, which forced the airline to wet lease an ATR for several days in order to maintain operations. “I believe the aircraft will be back in service on Monday allowing us to operate to full capacity”, Amir Jažić, B&H Airlines’ CEO says. The CEO adds that despite the problems the airline has faced this year it is now operating normally without cancelations or delays. Earlier in the year B&H’s accounts were blocked, forcing it to cancel flights for several days.
B&H Airlines had plans to launch services to Skopje this summer and kept its slots at Amsterdam Airport in the hope of resuming flights to the Netherlands. Earlier in the year the airline confirmed it had plans to lease a 100 seat jet engine aircraft. However, these did not materialise after the carrier’s accounts were blocked in March. Despite B&H’s woes throughout the year, its hub has gone from strength to strength. Sarajevo Airport has seen a considerable rise in passenger numbers so far this year.
B&H Airlines is facing increasing competition. The airline is battling both Turkish Airlines’ dominance and Pegasus Airlines’ relatively low fares on the carrier’s signature route to Istanbul. As a result, B&H itself has launched several promotional ticket sales to Turkey’s largest city in an attempt to lure passengers. Furthermore, Wizz Air recently launched flights from Tuzla. While not directly competing with the low cost airline, the CEO of Sarajevo Airport, Ivica Veličan, recently said talks with Wizz Air were entering their “final phase”. In addition, Norwegian Air Shuttle has turned its seasonal Stockholm - Sarajevo service into all year long flights and will continue to operate to the Bosnian capital during the winter months. The Scandinavian market, to which B&H Airlines operated when it featured an Airbus A319 in its fleet, is one of the most profitable from Bosnia due to a large amount of diaspora passengers using the service.