Atlasjet plans big for B&H
The Turkish airline Atlasjet will create a regional carrier within the borders of the former Yugoslavia if it is successful in taking over a 49% stake in B&H Airlines. Atlasjet’s subsidiary would have bases in Sarajevo, Priština and Skopje, with its main operating base being in the Albanian capital Tirana. All four cities see high volumes of traffic to Turkey. Furthermore, both the airports in Priština and Skopje are run by Turkish operators. Another similarity is that neither Macedonia, Albania nor Kosovo have a national carrier. “Atlasjet’s plan to link passengers within these countries and take them onwards to other destinations across the world”, Bosnia’s Minister for Transport and Communication told the “Oslobodjenje” daily.
Atlasjet, which has fourteen aircraft in its fleet and a further ten on order, has held talks with the Bosnian government over the takeover of B&H Airlines and its plans for the region. Tarhan Tower Airlines, also based in Turkey, is vying for a stake in B&H as well. The airline has offered to provide its two MD82 jets to B&H Airlines as soon as it takes over the carrier and further invest in another ten aircraft, either Boeing or Airbus, in the coming years. The Malaysian no frills carrier AirAsia has requested more information on B&H’s business.
Meanwhile, the privately owned Libyan airline, Buraq Air, is still interested in a strategic partnership with B&H but says it is waiting for more secure times to invest. The airline says the current political instability in Libya following last year’s civil war has forced the CEO of Buraq Air to postpone talks with Minister Bijedić. In its takeover bid, Buraq has offered two of its Boeing jets to B&H, as well as a 50 member workforce. Due to the current situation in the North African country, the movement of Buraq Air employees is limited. Furthermore, the Libyan government, including the Ministry of Transport, is non-functioning, making it impossible to negotiate a deal with B&H.
Below you can view how the four abovementioned airports performed passenger wise in 2011: