B&H suspends Belgrade and Vienna

No more B&H flights to Belgrade
B&H Airlines is set to suspend flights from Sarajevo to Belgrade and Vienna at the start of the 2011 summer season. The airline has already terminated services from Banja Luka to Vienna, which were originally set to end in March. B&H will operate its final flight from Sarajevo to the Austrian capital on Friday, March 25. During the winter, a total of 4 weekly flights operated to Vienna, however, recently, there have been frequent cancellations as the airline has been unable to fill seats. Meanwhile, B&H’s 6 weekly flights to Belgrade will also come to an end. The airline will continue to codeshare on Jat Airways’ service to and from Sarajevo. According to sources close to the airline, B&H planned to suspend flights to Frankfurt as well as loads have been light but in the end decided to keep the service until further notice.

With B&H cancelling many of its flights and no new destinations planned for the summer season, the national carrier of Bosnia and Herzegovina once again faces the prospect of having too many aircraft and only a handful of routes. Furthermore, the scheduled arrival of an Airbus A319 this summer is also under review. Amongst employees, dissatisfaction with Turkish Airlines (a 49% share holder), is growing as the airline continues to operate with multi million Euro losses and seems unable to expand. Turkish is keen to buy out the airline but the political limbo in the Federation is blocking the purchase.


  1. Peter from Sydney09:05

    With so many routes dumped, what's the point of B&H Airlines, and where does future expansion lay?

  2. Purger10:02

    Problem is not in lines and potential of the market. Problem is in management of BH Airlines. One can not open line without any promotion and propaganda at all. Also it is very unprofessional that you open line, and terminate it on just few flights, or not more than 2-3 months of flying. Basics:

    - new route have to be announced at lest 4-5 months in advance.
    - new route must be on sale at least 3 months in advance
    - promotion of new route must be intensive all the time (they even don't have information or banner in their own web page)
    - you can terminate new routes from time to time but not 50% of all routes, because potential passengers would not have confidence in airline and will not choose them (I would think twice if I would buy ticket with BH Airlines especially several months in advance)

    I don't think that Turkish doesn’t know what they do. They do just what they plan to. And that is to make even bigger debt and to force BiH government to sale all 100% to Turkish for peanut. And than...

  3. Anonymous10:57

    Best example for state interference due to political agenda. BH Airlines is a political investment due to state policy of Turkey to expand activities in the Balkans. Programmed to fail.

  4. Peter from Sydney11:18

    @ Purger, what you say sure has some merit, but fundamentally, can Bosnia as a population support those routes? You only have to look at the lack of other major carriers at Sarajevo to suggest that maybe it's just not profitable. Surely being so close to other major airports makes things difficult for lil ol Sarajevo aswell.

  5. Anonymous11:47

    Has anyone thought about the prices here too? I REALLY wanted to fly to BNX from Zurich, to support domestic airline and to finally land at my hometown's airport( as there was no connection flight LON-BNX) I thought to arrange separately a flight from London to Zurich and then book Zurich-BNX, but when I saw the prices with B&H Airlines jus found it ridiculous. I simply do not find NORMAL to fly LON-Zurich 3-4 times cheaper (with SWISS or BA, not a LCC) than Zurich-BNX simple as that. Bosnia needs a cheap airline with a good marketing, not an airline with such bad management and marketing team who are doing NOTHING. I really hope that one of LCC will start flying to BNX, TZL, OMO and more to SJJ. Wizz would be great to fly from any destination. All this is just not good news at all :-(

  6. Anonymous12:01

    Have you tried Adria for LGW-BNX?

  7. frequentflyer12:39

    I find myself agreeing with both Peter and Purger on this one. Fact is, this airline has been a ship without a rudder for a very long time.

    No concept of network growth or design, promotion, forward planning. Remember this was an airline who used to post their seasonal timetable *after* the prescribed date, possibly due to lack of know how.

    TK has only been able to shake things up so much without having direct control. But when you have staff trained in poor methods, they will continue these methods if they know no different... TK either have to go in and retrain, or simply replace the staff with people who haven't been tainted with the old JA brush!

    Let's look at one area that they fail miserably: Route Design.
    Apart from their 'core' network (ZRH, IST and FRA) - all of which could be operated daily with just one AT7, they have no concept either of fleet utilisation (a key to their problems) or sustaining growth and repeat passengers on routes. Fact is that ZAG, BEG, VIE should all be profitable and have been aborted prematurely!

    I do hope also that they look at specialist flights from the forgotten airports of BiH: BNX and OMO. As a state carrier, they not only have an obligation, but can work even better to find niche markets...

    This is an airline with the right fleet and enormous opportunity, just incompetent management.

  8. JU520 BEGLAX13:38

    as long the economical situation in certain ex YU capitals is as it is now, it makes no sense to run own airlines and have direct flights to various cities.

    Look at BNX. Since July 2010 JP operates 4 weekly flights and guess what, in average there is 1-4 passengers on board per flight. complete non sense and waste of money to operate this route. but it s the taxpayers money and the government downthere gives anyway a damn about their taxpayers as everywhere else in the ex YU region. And that s why the entire region sees only very slow developments or no developments at all. No one really cares. And the ones who have a chance to fill pockets, they do it shameless without taking in account victims.

    What is it? First of all the laissez faire mentaility of the Balkans Region and secondly the inheritance of the communist period mentality. The leaders were stealing money and didn t care about the population and the population was raised up with no thinking, no saying, no taking responsability and waits still today with the question what can the government do for me and my future to develop it to? The only solution to the problem is that the population needs to take their future into own hands and distance them from old habits. As long the egoistic behaviour will last and the population does not realizes that only a public welfare thinking and doing is needed to get out of the misery as long they will sit in the shit.

    Kennedy said decades ago:

    And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.

    This is valid for ever and everywhere. Once this is being relaized we will see a brighter future for the ex YU aviation region

  9. Purger14:33

    You are absolutely right

  10. ex-JA-now_private14:38

    Since Turkish Airlines coming as a partner, it showed 2 face of them towards JA.

    One is real investing, one is in "kill em quickly" and take everything. To local people it means: "zavadi pa vladaj".

    JA management, has no influence from local government and does not implement any locally brought decisions, altough it is party oriented company ( as any in the region) bur it listens orders from Istanbul through its worthy "runners" at JA. According to JA website, JA management has two ex Turkish airlines employees, and their word is last.

    Agree that opening of lines is due to incompetence of executive staff who brings decisions at wrong times, with no budgets for promotion, and certenly does not allow prices to be competitive. Who can open new line, with no sales representative at airport, as JA did with Zagreb flights. This was certenly no idea from Bosnian side management, but surly from Turkish end, and line was so costly that debt made, gives right to THY to buy another 2, 5 or even 51% out of JA. I am sure then, that they will not make mistakes then.

    Fell sorry for JA with people who leads them. BTW, prices are bit high for service they are giving.

  11. Anonymous15:54

    Services are OK, was just buying tickets to Sarajevo for Easter period...JA is over 100CHF more expensive than Austrian, so Vienna here I come.
    Also they are not reliable if you want to buy your tickets months in advance, as most of us do anyway.
    If I would be in their shoes I would have everyday FRA,ZUR, AMS and VIE throughout the year, plus IST of course. And do everything to code share Zurich and Amsterdam. Rest of the fleet can compete with Zagreb and Belgrade route...and stay in there, do not expect fantastic loads in two months of operating not publicized route

  12. Zrak17:07

    I do not really see how TK can be blamed here. Complete problem is inside management culture of BH Airlines.

    Purger summarizied it perfectly in the second post of this thread. To his list I would add not understanding fundamental concepts of airline industry like stop-overs,connecting flights and code share agreement. Just look at the new Amsterdam line - they opened it without any code share agreement with KLM, expecting that travellers flying in from NA will themselves book separate tickets (and hence pay the costs of any possible delays and cancelations).

    Currently company is in the vacum. There is no management, TK is pushing to one side and government as always is trying to install somebody totally incompetent.

    The only reason why state owned companies should exist is if they benefit the citizens of the country in some extraordinary way. I don´t see it here.

    @Peter from Sydney

    I don't see why Sarajevo area wouldn't bee able to sustain routes to such major European cities and hubs like Frankfurt or Vienna.

  13. Zrak17:12

    Btw I flew to SJJ from CPH, ARN and IST during the last few months and the prices were one of things I couldnt really complain about (nor the service onboard).

    On Scandinavian routes where they are going head to head with Norwegian (LCC) they are having generally lower prices (with full service onboard).

  14. "According to sources close to the airline, B&H planned to suspend flights to Frankfurt as well as loads have been light but in the end decided to keep the service until further notice."

    Could someone explain to me what is meant by 'sources close to the airline?' I am after the (precise) definition of 'close to.'

    Clearly those 'close to' the airline wish it well by, essentially, warning people not to book flights to Frankfurt.

  15. FRA remains 5x/week in current Summer Schedule '11.

    Why VIE is suspended is not really clear to me, except for bad marketing probably.

    Also, it really bums me that on their website bhairlines.ba, tickets are much more expensive then when you book 'em on Cheaptickets or whatever site u prefer..

    Not professional, although I wish them all the best.
    (It is stated that it is a software issue, that should be resolved ''quickly'')

    Just my 2cts.

  16. Anonymous16:59


  17. Anonymous14:41

    VIE should be a prime route for B&H with the number of diaspora there and I know a large number of them fly "home" multiple times a year. However, obviously the marketing is lacking. Someone also mention lack of codesharing and I would have to agree with that too, you have to go out of your way to connect with BH from a transcontinental flight.

  18. Maria21:22

    I cant understand why JA is not opening new route to Athens. Greece is really popular destination for citizens of Bosnia during summer. They could also try to make some agreement with Olympic air or aegean for connecting flights so people could go to islands as well.


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