|New Bosnian national airline to launch with two aircraft|
The Central German Tourism Development Company (CGTDC) has ruled out buying a stake in Bosnia's embattled B&H Airlines and will instead form its own carrier to be based in Sarajevo with two aircraft. As a result, the German company, founded in May this year, has denied statements made by the Federation Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina last week that it is in talks to take over B&H's name, Air Operator's Certificate, employees and debt. The CEO of CGTDC, Norbert Dotterweich, says the company will create Bosnia and Herzegovina's new national carrier, which it will wholly own. "The Federation will have neither a direct or indirect stake in the airline", Mr Dotterweich said yesterday. He added, "Our discussion with the Federation Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina was not aimed at taking over B&H Airlines, because the situation there is irreparable. Instead, we wanted to check market conditions for the creation and development of a new airline".
Last week, the Federal Minister for Transport and Communication, Denis Lasić, said, "The German company is prepared to take over B&H Airlines, including the company's debts. Our aim is for B&H Airlines to keep its name and save jobs, as well as for the company to recover. We are on the right path to find a solution to this problem". CGTDC says it might take on some of B&H's employees as it will be in need of aviation professionals. The German company aims to set up a new carrier in Sarajevo and launch operations on December 1 with two aircraft - one Boeing 737-600 and one Bombardier Dash 8 Q300. It will initially operate with a foreign Air Operator's Certificate (AOC). In 2016, it will hire local crew and staff before obtaining a local AOC, Mr Dotterweich said, outlining future plans.
There has been increased scrutiny in CGTDC since it announced its interest in the Bosnian aviation market. In 2014, the same management team founded Rostock Airways which purchased Innsbruck-based Air Alps. The Austrian carrier had previously ceased operations. However, just two weeks after resuming services under its new owners, Air Alps suspended all services. B&H Airlines has been grounded since July 2 after the country’s regulator suspended its AOC on a temporary basis until October. The move came in response to the airline’s dire financial state and mounting debt, which amounted to 20.3 million euros by the end of 2014, and has since further grown. Earlier this year, the Iraqi-backed Bosnian Wand Airlines (BWA) also aimed to set up a base in Sarajevo but ultimately failed.