|Directorate orders Bosnian Wand Airlines flight suspension|
The Bosnia and Herzegovina Directorate of Civil Aviation has suspended all flights which the Iraqi-backed Bosnian Wand Airlines (BWA) planned to operate from Sarajevo. BWA, which has delayed it launch on several occasions, was to introduce services from Sarajevo to Stockholm, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Malmo and Athens from February 20. In a statement, the regulator said, “We would like to inform the public that Bosnian Wand Airlines does not hold an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) issued by the Bosnia and Herzegovina Directorate of Civil Aviation, which is a necessary requirement for the provision of air transport of passengers and goods for commercial purposes”. BWA, which has leased an Airbus A321 aircraft from Air Méditerranée, planned to operate flights under Hermes Airlines’ IATA designator code "H3". Hermes is a subsidiary of Air Méditerranée and is based in Athens.
The Directorate of Civil Aviation notes that BWA was issued temporary permits to maintain flights between the Greek capital and Sarajevo, since it operates under Hermes Airlines’ codes, thus rights were essentially granted to the Greek carrier. However, the regulator requested clarification from BWA as to its relationship with Hermes Airlines. Since it did not receive a response by January 30, it has revoked BWA of all rights on the Athens route as well. Meanwhile, BWA has been operating ad-hoc charters between Sweden, Greece and the Middle East. The company was established by the Baghdad-based Al Wand group and has recruited 28 crew members from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
BWA, which has been selling tickets for flights from Sarajevo, says it has temporarily suspended planned services from Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital and will offer a full refund to all passengers who have purchased tickets. Officials from both BWA and the Directorate of Civil Aviation met in Banja Luka on Wednesday to discuss licensing issues. BWA has said it will continue pursuing a Bosnian AOC, which would allow it to operate flights out of Sarajevo. The company adds that none of its services from the European Union to the Middle East have been affected. BWA has so far operated only one flight from Sarajevo - a promotional service for members of the press to Athens.