Tough times for B&H Airlines
The CEO of B&H Airlines, Amir Jažić, has told local media the situation at the company is “alarming” and every new day at the airline is “distressing”. Mr. Jažić added it is questionable as to how and until when the airline will be able to continue to operate. The comments come as B&H Airlines finds itself with outstanding loan payments it doesn’t have the means to repay to several banks. “We are just waiting to see who will block us first”, the CEO adds. B&H Airlines has outstanding loans to the Hypo Group for the purchase of two ATR72s.
Recently, the Hypo Group delivered a report to the Bosnian national carrier outlining debt owed to the bank. “According to the report the debt is enormous. They are demanding from us to pay it back. Everything has to be checked first since a lot of things do not add up”, Mr. Jažić explains. Earlier this year the airline was grounded for several weeks after the Hypo Group blocked its accounts. The issue was resolved when the Federation government approved a 1.3 million euro cash injection for B&H Airlines. More than half of the allocated funds were used for fuel, followed by handling, landing and maintenance fees. The government forks out 3.5 million euros for the carrier on an annual basis. It has blamed Turkish Airlines for leaving B&H last year in a worse state than prior to the acquisition in 2008.
Comments made by the CEO regarding the airline’s finances might not be the smartest of PR moves and won’t do much to comfort potential passengers. B&H Airlines will launch flights to Belgrade on December 16. The Federation government has been searching for a part owner for B&H ever since Turkish Airlines relinquished its 49% stake in the carrier.