FlyBosnia Hands Back A319 And Fires 50% Of Staff

The leading business portal in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Biznis Info, reports that FlyBosnia has fired almost half of its workforce while more than half of the pilots left voluntarily. As Simple Flying reported recently, FlyBosnia has not been able to find a business model that adequately serves its home market.

FlyBosnia’s second Airbus A319 (E7-FBB) has been returned. Photo: NeXtro via Wikimedia

The returned A319: E7-FBB

Data from Flightradar24 shows that FlyBosnia returned one of its Airbus A319s this week also. This took place on Wednesday, as E7-FBB, was returned to Phoenix Goodyear Airport in the United States.

It was only four months ago that this A319 arrived in Sarajevo, with the intent of it joining the fleet long-term. In fact, the airline had plans to acquire several more Airbus A319s.

Throughout the summer, FlyBosnia utilized E7-FBB alongside its existing A319 to provide extra capacity. The two aircraft operated FlyBosnia’s seasonal routes to the Middle East. Destinations that FlyBosnia served this summer include Gassim, Jeddah, Kuwait City, and Manama.

But these flights almost exclusively serve inbound passenger demand. They are highly seasonal and centered around the summer holidays when Bosnia and Herzegovina receives an influx of Muslim tourists.

Since it ended summer operations last month, FlyBosnia has been unable to make use of its second A319; even the first one is hardly being utilized. FlyBosnia is operating just three routes at the moment.

Thus, FlyBosnia returned E7-FBB – despite obtaining it as a long-term addition to its fleet.

Half of all FlyBosnia employees fired

Biznis Info reports that, out of FlyBosnia’s 100 employees, 40 have been fired. This includes employees in management positions. Also, eight of the 15 FlyBosnia pilots have left.

FlyBosnia A319
One of FlyBosnia’s two A319 aircraft (E7-FBA). Photo: Smooth O via Wikimedia

Biznis Info also reported that employees have not received their salaries for the past two months. Furthermore, no employer contributions have been paid since April.

Because of this, employees have reported FlyBosnia to the civil aviation authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The company responded to this with the following, as reported by Biznis Info (translated from Croatian):

“Going to [the civil aviation authority] and reporting the company is completely unacceptable. You are all adults, you have your freedom of choice, thought and expression, but with this behaviour you are responsible and should not be anywhere near our aircraft spreading negativity amongst the crew”

Other problems

FlyBosnia continues to face several serious challenges. As previously reported on Simple Flying, this is not unusual – all previous attempts to establish a national airline in Bosnia and Herzegovina have failed.

In just half a year of commercial operations, FlyBosnia has accrued over half a million USD in debt to its home airport Sarajevo. Local media are calling this a scandal.

The airline is also publicly threatening to withdraw from its home in Sarajevo and relocate to one of the other airports in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Recent attempts by FlyBosnia to strike an agreement with Sarajevo International Airport resulted in no success. Dnevni Avaz reports that Sarajevo is increasingly likely to terminate its contract with the airline. FlyBosnia also owes money to local suppliers of fuel and catering.

FlyBosnia’s first and now only A319 parked in Sarajevo. Photo: FlyBosnia

As outlined by Sarajevo Airport, there were five national carriers in operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina over the last 30 years. These include Air Commerce, Air Bosna, B&H Airlines, Bosnian Wand Airlines and Arnoro. They have all gone bankrupt.

Will FlyBosnia be next to join that list?