FlyBosnia Missing A Hub Airport After Sarajevo Cuts Contract

FlyBosnia, the flag carrier of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has had its contract with Sarajevo International Airport terminated. The airport was the hub for FlyBosnia up until last week when the two parties broke ties over unpaid debts. This news comes despite FlyBosnia’s recent announcement that it has signed a contract to lease a 26-year old United Airlines Airbus A320.

FlyBosnia A319
FlyBosnia and its partner airport, Sarajevo International Airport, have broken ties. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia

Sarajevo breaks ties with FlyBosnia

Last week, on Tuesday 17th November, Sarajevo International Airport terminated its contract with FlyBosnia, which has a base there. The termination comes as a result of FlyBosnia failing to settle its debts to the airport, and it follows a suspension that started on 18th September.

Back then, in September, FlyBosnia was given a period of 60 days during which it had to settle its outstanding payments toward Sarajevo. A suspension was in place for the duration of this period.

But FlyBosnia has not managed to settle its debts, despite previously already negotiating a repayment plan. As a result, Sarajevo Airport has now booted out the airline.

FlyBosnia Missing A Hub Airport After Sarajevo Cuts Contract
FlyBosnia kitted out for the European Youth Olympics Festival, during happier times at Sarajevo Airport. Photo: FlyBosnia

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In a statement to Klix, Sarajevo International Airport confirmed the news, explaining:

“Given that the airline did not settle its debts within the provided period of 60 days, and given that it also did not accept our proposed debt repayment plan, the contract for the provision of aircraft services concerning aircraft, passengers, and luggage between Sarajevo International Airport and FlyBosnia was terminated on 17th November 2020.”

Furthermore, Sarajevo Airport expressed an intention to pursue a legal course of action against FlyBosnia:

“Relating to our aim of protecting our financial interests, a request has been submitted today for the activation, and the claim, of the bank guarantee.” 

FlyBosnia Airbus A319 International Airport Sarajevo cargo
FlyBosnia was instrumental to Bosnia and Herzegovina this year when it handled cargo flights for medical equipment from China. Photo: FlyBosnia

FlyBosnia is already a virtual airline

Earlier this year, long before Sarajevo Airport terminated this contract, FlyBosnia retired the only remaining aircraft in its fleet, an A319. The aircraft had had virtually no scheduled services for all of 2020. Its last flight was for the airline’s flagship route between London Luton and Sarajevo in February.

The A319 then carried out several cargo rotations to China for various medical purposes in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the height of the COVID-19 health crisis. Simple Flying published an article with a series of photos from these cargo flights in May.

Now that Sarajevo has closed its doors to FlyBosnia, where will the airline fly the A320 from?

Where do you think FlyBosnia will base itself next? What future does the airline have when it has not paid its debts to its base? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.