Would you fly an airline if you were told it’s financial situation was “alarming” and every new day at the airline is “distressing”?
The CEO of B&H Airlines, Amir Jažić, told media in Sarajevo this week that “We are just waiting to see who will shut us down first”. He questioned how the airline would be able to function and for how long!
These blunt words may not have encouraged passengers but they inspired the Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina into action. Enver Bijedić, Minister for Transport and Communication, said on Thursday that the country could not afford to lose their national carrier adding:” We will do everything for the company to survive and function properly.”
The trouble is for many countries, particularly, those in Eastern Europe is that their populations are small, domestic destinations limited, economies weak and competition too fierce to allow every one of them to have their own national carrier. Albania’s Belle Air collapsed lat week, Hungary’s Malev went last year. Poland’s LOT is struggling, Korean controls Czech CSA and JAT is now Etihad’s Air Serbia.
The government is renegotiating the airline’s leasing arrangement with Austria’s Hypo Alpe Adria Bank for the airline’s two ATR72s. The airline owes 4.3million Euros to Hypo and earlier this year had its fleet grounded and accounts frozen when it failed to make payments. It continues to look for investors after Turkish Airlines gave up their 49per cent interest and support.
The government plans to increase the airline’s current 3.5 million Euros allocation and write off the debts the carrier owes the country’s Civil Aviation Directorate.
A re-think as to whether the country can afford its own carrier, a new business plan and some positive marketing might also help. I agree with the CEO: I cannot see their survival.
Bosnian Airline back from brink