|Central German Tourism Development Company eyes B&H stake|
The Central German Tourism Development Company is in talks with the Federation Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the takeover of its ailing carrier B&H Airlines, which has been grounded since July. The German company, set up in May this year and based in the city of Weimar, is prepared to take over B&H's employees and debts, according the Federal government. "The German company MD Mitteldeutsche Tourismus Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH 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", Denis Lasić, the Federal Minister for Transport and Communication said.
At a government meeting in Mostar on Thursday, it was concluded that B&H Airlines is incapable of paying off its debts and that talks with the Central German Tourism Development Company should continue in a joint effort by the Ministry of Transport and Communication, the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Federal Prime Minister. The German company is said to have expressed "overwhelming" interest to take over B&H. Furthermore, the government is seeking a solution to deliver unpaid wages to B&H employees. A part of the airline's workforce has been transferred to Sarajevo Airport, which is need of additional staff.
B&H Airlines has been grounded since July 2 after the country’s regulator suspended its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) on a temporary basis until October. The move came in response to the airline’s dire financial state and mounting debt, which ballooned to 20.3 million euros by the end of 2014, and has since increased further. Last week, the Federation’s Prime Minister, Fadil Novalić, confirmed that investors from Germany have shown interest in the fledgling carrier. B&H Airlines was set up in 2005 on the foundations of Air Bosna, which also went bankrupt after amassing significant debt. The Deputy Federal Minister for Transport and Communication, Amadeo Mandić, believes a solution to B&H’s problems will be found, which will offer consumers a new and improved product. “I personally think we will come to a positive outcome which will be in favour of employees, as well as the passengers and citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina”, Mr Mandić said recently.