|New Bosnian airline to open base in Sarajevo|
Start-up Bosnian Wand Airlines (BWA) intends to inaugurate flights from Sarajevo in the coming months with two leased jet-engine aircraft. Currently based in Tuzla, the airline plans to move its headquarters to the Bosnian capital. It was founded back in 2010 but has remained inactive since. In a statement, BWA says, “Bosnian Wand Airlines is a newly established company based in Sarajevo and will launch flights in the coming period with two aircraft (Airbus A320 and A321), which will connect Sarajevo and other airports in Bosnia and Herzegovina to the world”. Initially, the start-up was to wet-lease an A320 from Bulgaria’s Air Via, from October 8, 2014 until May 8, 2015. However, several weeks ago, Air Via said it would not go through with the lease, without disclosing further details. The seven-year-old A320 which was destined for BWA sustained a severe tail strike upon landing in Leipzig over the summer, though the aircraft has been repaired and is operating again.
Last week, BWA began advertising job vacancies, calling on interested candidates to apply for cabin crew positions. A total of 28 cabin crew members are being recruited. Furthermore, the airline is looking for a public relations manager, IT expert, certified accountant and secretary. Applications can be submitted until November 28. Start-up airlines in the former Yugoslavia have had a poor run, with almost all suspending services prior to their planned launch. This year, low cost airline Dalmatian, which was to inaugurate flights from Zagreb, cancelled its planned services after one of its investors left the company. Meanwhile, another start-up, Air Croatia, will make a second attempt at launching flights this year, with services planned to begin during the Christmas holidays. Other start-ups in the region have included Centavia from Belgrade and Golden Air from Maribor. Both suspended operations after several weeks.
BWA’s successful launch could come as a major blow to B&H Airlines, which maintains flights from Sarajevo to four destinations with two leased turboprop aircraft. This winter, the Bosnian carrier is only offering flights six days a week. It already faces strong competition at its hub, with airlines such as Flydubai and Swiss International Air Lines launching services to the Bosnian capital in the coming months. Despite its woes, B&H Airlines has seen its passenger numbers improve in the third quarter, mainly due to charter flights and the success of its Belgrade route. The airline welcomed just over 13.000 passengers between July and September, an increase of 28% on the same period last year. Overall, the airline has handled 30.780 travellers in the first nine months, up 24% on 2013.