First quarter passenger growth for B&H AirlinesBosnia and Herzegovina’s national carrier has had a good start to the year. In the first quarter of 2011, B&H Airlines handled 27.513 passengers, an increase of 59.4% compared to the same period last year. In December last year, citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina were freed from visa restrictions to some 27 European countries, which is believed to have contributed to the passenger rise. The airline operated almost the same number of flights as it did over the same period last year, yet it carried 10.000 passengers more. B&H Airlines’ average cabin load factor is amongst the highest between the former Yugoslav national carriers, standing at 80%.
Meanwhile, the three main national EX-YU carriers - Croatia Airlines, Jat Airways and Adria Airways, also reported passenger growth in the first quarter of 2011. Croatia Airlines remains the front runner, followed by Adria Airways in second place and Jat Airways in third, 3.000 passengers behind its Slovenian rival. If the same pattern continues as has been the case the past few years, Jat will overtake Adria during the summer, while Croatia Airlines will significantly increase its lead over the other 2 carriers. Financially, the national carriers all reported multi million Euro losses in 2010 and the trend is set to continue this year.