Smaller EX-YU airlines face Covid hardship


Smaller carriers operating in the former Yugoslavia are facing increased pressure from the coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak and may not be eligible for financial assistance and stimulus packages which are being planned by governments across the region.

The Sarajevo-based FlyBosnia has been grounded since February 29 when it operated its last service between Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital and London. The airline has indefinitely discontinued services to Luton Airport. The coronavirus outbreak has severely affected its operations as it maintained two other scheduled routes – Rome and Riyadh. Italy has been the epicentre of the virus in Europe, while Saudi Arabia was one of the first countries to suspend all commercial flights. FlyBosnia planned to put a greater focus on charter services in 2020, many of which were to operate to and from Italy. However, not all is lost with the airline also having secured charters to Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia, as well as across the Middle East. FlyBosnia previously criticised local authorities for not doing more to support the carrier. “We are actually doing everything on our own and that is really difficult. As an airline, we need the support of the government and that is something we are really struggling with”, the company said prior to the Covid-19 crisis. FlyBosnia yesterday operated a rescue flight for Bosnian nationals stranded in Rome. Bosnia and Herzegovina will close its airports for commercial traffic on Monday.

Croatia’s Trade Air discontinued all domestic flights several days prior to the expiration of its four-year Public Service Obligation (PSO) contract with the Croatian government due to the ongoing pandemic. The agreement will not be renewed as the Croatian government is yet to start the six-month tender procedure to select carriers to operate the economically unviable routes. The value of Trade Air's PSO contracts amounted to 2.5 million euros per year. The largest share of the subsidies went towards the upkeep of the Osijek - Zagreb service (1.3 million euros per year), where the airline was compensated approximately 599 euros per passenger. The sharp downturn in demand as a result of Covid-19 has forced airlines to cut capacity. The aftermath of the health crisis is likely to see carriers slash routes and frequencies and shrink in size, diminishing the demand for wet-leases and ad-hoc charters. Trade Air has secured a number of contracts for leisure flights out of Ljubljana this summer with the carrier planning to base an aircraft in the Slovenian capital.

The potential set up of a new national carrier in Slovenia has been further diminished due to the ongoing crisis. Despite some interest from the country’s former administration to establish a new airline, the government in Slovenia has since changed and former Prime Minister Janez Janša, who initiated the sale of Adria Airways in 2012, is again head of state.




Comments

  1. Anonymous09:07

    Really tough times for them

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous09:07

    Let's see if FlyBosnia survives

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:10

      They were facing issues even before Covid. Let alone now.

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    2. Anonymous09:22

      Thay have a rich owner. They will pull through

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    3. Anonymous09:25

      There is a limit to everything. The owners are also affected by this. They will look to cut non essential investments once all this is over.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous16:37

      Let's wait and see. It will also depend how long this drags on for. If peak summer is affected then it will be game over.

      Delete
  3. Anonymous09:11

    I still can't believe that the Croatian government hasn't awarded PSO contracts.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:11

      Poor Trade Air. That was a very good deal for them.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:19

      It was a good source of income

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    3. Anonymous10:20

      But the same will apply for OU.

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    4. Anonymous10:40

      Yes but the government will give money to OU to cover its losses. Unlikely they will do the same with Trade.

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    5. Anonymous16:38

      Poor Osijek Airport. It will have no traffic even after all of this is over because the government could not get off its a** and start tender procedures.

      Delete
  4. Anonymous09:18

    Good luck

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous16:38

      They will need it.

      Delete
  5. Anonymous09:19

    This situation best illustrated why Slovenia needs a flag carrier.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:23

      Why? Because if rescue flights?

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    2. Anonymous09:23

      *of

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    3. Anonymous09:35

      If JP was around this would have been a perfect opportunity to provide them with a lifeline and to keep them operational.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10:20

      Talking of JP, two years ago they launched LJU-SOF flights. It was supposed to be a new chapter in ex-YU aviation but in the end it was a disaster. Yugoslav aviation will never be the same without them. They were the last legacy of a great country that's no more :(

      Delete
    5. Anonymous10:28

      @9.35 so true

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    6. Anonymous11:25

      I am an aviation enthusiast from Slovenia and would love to see JP to continue flying, but now it is clearer than before that JP's demise was good riddance for a state .... the amount of money needed to cover the losses was/is simply not paying back enough in any form. Even in normal circumstances. We could also see that connectivity of LJU was going up again nicely before COVID-19, rescue&supply flights are being flown by a number of airlines without any problem ... The money saved will be, hopefully, used for other necessary infrastructural investments (hospitals, roads, railways)...

      Delete
  6. Anonymous10:40

    Corona will definitely purge the smaller airlines around. Let's see what happens in ex-Yu but its definitely not looking good.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:49

      Everyone will struggle. It's just that some will get financial aid and some won't.

      Delete
  7. Anonymous10:50

    FlyBosnia was in trouble before corona affected Europe. Even before this they scheduled their last flight to Luton and didn't ask for slots past the middle of April. Also they cut a lot of Rome flights.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous11:12

      Such a shame they it has come to this, they had such grand plans for SJJ.

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    2. LOL. What grand plans? 4 routes to Middle East?

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    3. Anonymous12:09

      Yes I also have to ask what were their grand plans for SJJ?

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    4. Anonymous16:41

      They definitely help Sarajevo boost their passenger numbers which in turn generated more revenue for the airport. You can see in SJJ's performance over the last year that whenever FlyBosnia reduced operations, SJJ's numbers went down.

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  8. Anonymous12:10

    The good thing for Trade Air is that they own their entire fleet. That's something in these difficult times.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous12:53

      +1

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    2. Anonymous12:53

      Unlike Flybosnia for example

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    3. Anonymous15:35

      If aircraft is paid using a loan you really own the aircraft only when loan is paid in full. We don't know if Trade Air is using a credit to pay for their fleet.

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    4. Anonymous16:34

      You are right. I didn't think about that.

      Delete
  9. Anonymous12:11

    It says a lot about the state of the aviation industry in ex-Yu if you only have two non flag carriers that can even be considered as commercial airlines.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous12:52

      Considering the current situation, that may be a good thing.

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    2. Anonymous16:42

      Completely agree with 12.11. It was a sad state before, will be even sadder once this is over.

      Delete
  10. Anonymous12:13

    What about Aero4M?

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous16:35

      Do they currently even have any aircraft?

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  11. Anonymous16:36

    I don't think flybosnia will survive. Trade Air will but might sell an aircraft who knows. National airlines will all survive thanks to government funding.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous16:42

      While national airlines will survive, don't expect them to grow or expand any time soon. Most will shrink.

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    2. Anonymous18:51

      Same will happen to Alitalia. They are making it public again and they plan to fly with 25-30 aircrafts.

      Delete
  12. Anonymous12:11

    Trade air has done few flights for slovenian government in current crise.

    ReplyDelete

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