B&H airlines privatisation: Deadline extends as Turks confirm interest

The government of Bosnia and Herzegovina has agreed to extend the deadline of the tender for the sale of its national airline, BH, by 30 days. The new deadline has now been established to be August 29, 2008. The decision was made due to a new firm interested in becoming the airlines strategic partner – The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector. Interest has also been declared by Croatia’s national airline and a company from Malaysia however Turkish Airlines has expressed the greatest interest so far.

The CEO of Turkish Airlines expressed an interest in bidding for a 49% stake in BH Airlines after meeting with the premier of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Dr. Nedžad Branković. “Turkish Airlines representatives have confirmed their already expressed interest in taking part in the process" he said in a statement. "They said the extended tendering was a chance for them to prepare a high quality offer... to bid for becoming a strategic partner”.

The federation government owns 99% of the company, with 1 percent held by regional engineering group Energoinvest. BH Airlines went bankrupt in 2003, but resumed operating in 2005 after a deal with Hypo Alpe Adria bank to settle most of its debt. The company employs 89 people and transported some 70.000 passengers in 2007.