|Qatar to add services to Sarajevo and Skopje from September and November|
Qatar Airways will launch nonstop flights from Doha to both Sarajevo and Skopje from September and November, respectively. The carrier's CEO, Akbar Al Baker, confirmed the new additions to the airline's route portfolio at a press conference in Berlin yesterday, where a further twelve destinations were unveiled, including a new service between Doha and Auckland, which will become the world’s longest. Flights from Doha to Sarajevo will launch on September 7 and run three times per week, each Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Services to Skopje Alexander the Great Airport will commence in November and will also be maintained three times per week. Flights to the Macedonian capital are yet to be scheduled.
Speaking at the press conference, the CEO of Qatar Airways, said, “Qatar Airways prides itself on being a global connector, and most importantly, providing seamless and convenient connections for our customers, so that we remain their airline of choice. These new destinations are where our customers want to go, and where we see the most opportunity to provide a best-in-class experience at great value. We look forward to growing our network and welcoming new passengers to Qatar Airways". Services to both Sarajevo and Skopje will operate with a 132-seat Airbus A320 aircraft, featuring twelve seats in business class and the remaining 120 in economy.
Qatar Airways has been considering services to both the Bosnian and Macedonian capital cities for some time now. Last year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed Qatar's intention to launch flights to Sarajevo, while a Qatar Airways official expressed hope that services to Skopje would begin in 2016. Both Flydubai and Air Arabia (from March 18) offer nonstop flights from the Middle East to Sarajevo and will be competing for passengers against Qatar Airways. On the other hand, only Flydubai runs nonstop services from the Gulf to Skopje. The Qatari carrier will look to tap into both the Bosnian and Macedonian diasporas in Australia, who will now have a one-stop connection to their homeland. The introduction of the new destinations comes two years after the opening of Qatar Airways’ hub at Hamad International Airport in Doha. According to the airline, it currently serves more than 28 million passengers annually, and is set to grow up to fifty million in 2018.
Sarajevo and Skopje will complement Qatar Airways' existing network to the former Yugoslavia, which includes Zagreb and Belgrade. The Qatari carrier will operate double daily flights from Doha to Zagreb on select days from April 3 for a total of ten weekly services. It will introduce a second daily flight on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. All services will operate with an Airbus A320 aircraft. Furthermore, it will also launch new four weekly nonstop flights to Belgrade from March 16, currently served by the airline via Sofia. This year, Qatar Airways started services to Los Angeles in January, Sydney in March, and it is expected to start flights to Boston in the next week, as well as Atlanta in June.