B&H Airlines still on the market
The Federation government of Bosnia and Herzegovina has announced it is still searching for a strategic partner for B&H Airlines. It comes almost two months after the Minister for Transport, Enver Bijedić, held talks with potential investors from the United Arab Emirates. However, the investors have still not sent an official request to begin talks with the government. “There is still nothing concrete to go on, so the Bosnian government is still looking for a partner. I believe the only solution is for someone to buy this company. We are ready for all sorts of talks”, Minister Bijedić says.
B&H Airlines was the first EX-YU airline to be privatised. Back in 2008 Turkish Airlines bought a 49% stake in the airline, only to relinquish all of its shares last year due to disagreements with the government which later branded the Turkish takeover as “a bad adventure”. Since then, the Bosnian government has made several attempts to sell a minority stake in the company which has since been hit by several groundings due to financial problems. Turkey’s Tarhan Tower Airlines, Libya’s Buraq Air and Malaysia’s AirAsia all expressed interest in the Bosnian carrier last year.
In the coming period, B&H Airlines will continue normal operations as a state owned company and will strengthen its cooperation with Jat Airways’ successor, Air Serbia, with more details to be published in the coming period. After Turkish Airlines relinquished its shares in B&H in early 2012, the government was left to deal with debt amounting to 6.3 million euros. The losses were accumulated over the three year partnership period. The government has reiterated that it won’t change its position when it comes to selling only 49% of the national carrier, meaning it will remain the majority share holder.