Bosnian airliner looks for partners

BH AirlinesSarajevo  - The Agency for Privatization of Bosnia's Muslim- Croat Federation entity has issued a public invitation for submission of bids to recapitalize the only Bosnian airliner B&H Airlines, the agency said Wednesday in a statement.

On behalf of the Muslim-Croat Federation government, which owns the majority of the company, the agency offered 49 per cent of the capital stock of B&H Airlines to potential future partners.

As a deposit, the buyer of B&H Airlines' shares is expected to provide jet aircraft for the company, with a capacity of at least 100 seats, and to retain the company's name and headquarters.

The agency said the new partner should buy new aircraft or buy the new Airbus 319-100 aircraft through activation of the government's earlier order and advance payment of more than 2.8 million US dollars to Airbus in 2000.

The bidder may also buy used aircraft, not older than 10 years, or may introduce its own used aircraft.

The agency also said B&H Airlines offered great opportunities since it is the only airliner in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

"There is a possibility to open new routes (markets) and significantly increase the number of transported passengers," said the agency.

The submission of bids is to be closed on July 30.

B&H Airlines employs 89 people and owns two ATR-72 airplanes, which serve routes to Istanbul and several destinations in Western Europe.

According privatization agency officials, talks have already been conducted with potential buyers from Croatia, Turkey and the US. (dpa)