FlyBosnia struggles to stay afloat

FlyBosnia struggles to stay afloat

FlyBosnia, the only BiH based airline, has dismissed almost half of its entire workforce and has been struggling to pay wages to employees, as its debts towards Sarajevo Airport and other suppliers continue to grow.

According to Ex-Yu aviation, out of the 100 employees, including the company’s management, forty have been fired, while eight out of fifteen pilots have also left the carrier. Furthermore, the airline has failed to pay two-months worth of wages, while contributions have been withheld since April.

“When we ask when we are going to get paid, the management responds by saying we should look for work elsewhere if we are unhappy”, an employee said.

The airline has been reported to the Bosnia and Herzegovina Directorate of Civil Aviation (BHDCA) over workplace violations.

FlyBosnia, which this week inaugurated two weekly flights between Sarajevo and Rome and will resume services to Riyadh in the coming days has written to its employees warning them of their conduct.

“Going to the BHDCA and reporting the company to someone in the Directorate is completely unacceptable behaviour”, the company wrote.

It added, “all of you are grown people, have the freedom of choice, opinion and expression but with this sort of behaviour you are a liability and should be nowhere near a plane spreading negativity among the crew”.

The airline has also been struggling to attract passengers on its existing services to London with the flight regularly registering a load factor of below 10% on the Airbus A319 aircraft. A recent trip report published online between London Luton and Sarajevo had only sixteen passengers on board.

The Sarajevo-based airline recently returned one of its two A319s to its lessor AerCap and said it would operate a single-member fleet for the duration of the 2019/20 winter season, which runs until late March. The carrier further noted it would add another A319 to its fleet in April once it resumes seasonal operations to the Middle East.

However, earlier this year it signed a deal with AerCap to take on another two A319s and set a target to boast a fleet of eight jets by 2023. The carrier’s CEO, Tarik Bilalbegović, recently said the company would introduce services to Paris and Barcelona, with flights to the French capital expected to be launched in January. Last month, FlyBosnia noted it was considering shifting its operations away from Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital to Mostar and Tuzla due to its deteriorating business relations with Sarajevo Airport./ibna