Friday, November 4, 2016

Middle East carriers plan new Sarajevo flights


Carrier's from the Middle East have shown growing interest in launching services to Sarajevo with Kuwait Airways and Iran Air both considering flights to the Bosnian capital in 2017, while Qatar Airways is set to commence operations next year as well. Kuwait Airways told EX-YU Aviation News that it is mulling a number of new destinations for 2017, including Sarajevo, as part of its five-year transformation strategy. Bosnia and Herzegovina's Ambassador to Kuwait, Mehmed Halilović, said that in addition to Kuwait Airways, a privately-owned carrier, tipped to be Jazeera Airways, is also eyeing services to Sarajevo next year. The low cost Jazeera Airways, which is considered Kuwait's second national airline, recently announced plans to expand into Europe. Previously, Kuwait Airways operated seasonal services between its hub and the Bosnian capital in August and September of 2013. Flights ran twice per week with a 232-seat Airbus A300-600 aircraft via Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen Airport.

Iran and Bosnia and Herzegovina are considering the removal of visa restrictions and the establishment of a direct air link between their respective capital cities. The matter was discussed in Tehran last week by a high-ranking political, economic and cultural delegation headed by the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegović, and Iran's President, Hassan Rouhani. Both sides have already taken steps for the service to materialise in 2017. Iranian officials said the establishment of direct flights between Tehran and Sarajevo would help promote tourism and boost economic and cultural cooperation. Further talks on the matter are expected to take place in Sarajevo next month.

Qatar Airways, which was to introduce flights from Doha to Sarajevo in October, has pushed back its service launch due to an ongoing fleet shortage. A new date is yet to be set, however, an airline spokesperson told EX-YU Aviation News that the route has priority and will be launched "as soon as possible". The carrier has reiterated it is not backing away from the new service and the delay is purely a result of operational circumstances. This summer saw increased competition among Gulf carriers vying for the Bosnian market with Air Arabia launching flights between Sharjah and Sarajevo to rival Flydubai. Ultimately, the Dubai-based carrier proved victorious with Air Arabia downgrading its Sarajevo operations to summer seasonal flights. However it has vowed to return to the Bosnian capital from March 16, 2017.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is becoming an increasingly popular destination for tourists from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Qatar. Arab investors are building homes and hotels around Sarajevo and heavily promoting the destination to middle class families looking for cheaper alternatives to Western Europe, fuelling point to point travel from the Middle East to Sarajevo, particularly during the summer months. The number of visitors from the United Arab Emirates surged to 13.000 in the first seven months of this year from 7.265 last year, according to hotel data from the Sarajevo Tourist Board. In 2010, there were only 65 visitors from the UAE. Bosnia does not have a national tourism authority, as a result, unofficial estimates put the total number of Arab tourists at between 50.000 and 60.000 a year, with about a quarter buying property in the country.

70 comments:

  1. This is nice and I would like to see more and more flights to Sarajevo but I would prefer more if they focused on getting European carriers first because there are so many destinations in Europe which are currently unserved and require attention.

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    1. +1 agree doubt anyone from Bosnia will be using these flights (except Qatar for transfer purposes)

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    2. To tell you the truth I highly doubt Sarajevo Airport management went around to persuade these Middle East airlines to fly there. These airlines are coming because there is demand and they have recognised it not because they were lured by Sarajevo Airport's marketing and commercial team.

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    3. Well TUI is coming with Charleroi flights.

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    4. Yes I saw that but it's only seasonal and its Charleroi - a city in Belgium I would try to avoid at all costs. But it is moving in the right direction. I would have loved if Transavia introduced flights from Amsterdam to Sarajevo or Easyjet's new flights from Pristina from places like Paris and Berlin would have been ideal for Sarajevo too.

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    5. Sarajevo should be handling around 1 million passengers already. It lacks connections to most major European hubs including Rome, Paris, Brussels, London, Moscow, Frankfurt and the list goes on. From October no more flights to Zurich either.

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    6. Doesen't matter as long as there are 20 daily flights to Istanbul lol.

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  2. Good news for Sarajevo.

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  3. I am really hoping Qatar Airways doesn't opt out in the end. They have been delaying Sarajevo three times already and at one point were actually selling tickets for these flights.

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    1. Well in the article it says they will fly to SJJ and they recently hired a lot of local staff to be based in Sarajevo so I am confident it will happen.

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    2. It will be interesting to see how the competition between Fly Dubai and Qatar will play out.

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    3. They could easily launch. Ljubljana - Sarajevo - Qatar service during winter to fill planes.

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  4. This is a great source to get more passengers and profit on this wave of tourists coming from the ME region. But I do think Sarajevo has to do more to attract EUROPEAN airlines which can benefit the local population, diaspora and western tourists. They can try and attract LCC and legacy carriers since there is a lot of unserved routes.

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  5. Wow. 2017 could be a very good year for Sarajevo.

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  6. It's interesting. I think the market will be oversaturated with so many seats available from the Middle East to SJJ.

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    1. Winter is the main problem. During the summer all flights are packed but in the winter that's not the case so that will be the real test.

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    2. That's where I think all these airlines will fail. Fly dubai has transfer passangers but who could Kuwait Airways or Iran Air handle during the winter?

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    3. True, SJJ needs massive capacity to and from Middle East from May to September and during this time no matter what any airline would have good results. At the same time, FZ is struggling in Sarajevo during November-March period. Regardless very interesting development for Sarajevo.

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  7. Does anyone know how is Qatar doing in BEG? Last week when I had my flight from BEG in front of the gate for DOH flight it was only 1 person waiting and the flight was about to depart in an hour. I know it's too early to be at the gate one hour before the flight but in Belgrade many people do so, so I was just wondering if their performance at BEG is still that low

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    1. Don't worry too much about QR, they have a really competent sales team which managed to consolidate their position in BEG.
      In April their numbers rose by more than 90%!

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  8. Hopefully Kuwait, Qatar and Wizz in 2017 :)

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  9. Nice to see Iran eyeing our region. Hope to see them in all the Balkans very soon!

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  10. Purger (Alen Šćuric)November 4, 2016 at 9:36 AM

    srijeda 2.11. 14:30
    Amsteram - Zagreb
    KLM Embraer 190

    100/100 = 100% i u business klasi

    tražili su se dobrovoljci zbog owerbookeda, za rerutiranje preko Praga navečar sa ČSA

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    1. Great! I think it's one of the routes with most passengers to/from Zagreb!

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    2. Purger (Alen Šćuric)November 4, 2016 at 11:00 AM

      No, more passengers than AMS are on routes:
      - Frankfurt
      - Split
      - Dubrovnik
      - Munich
      - Vienna
      - London
      - Paris
      - Istanbul
      - Doha

      So, it is 10th the best route. Very near to AMS are Brussels and Zurich.

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    3. Next summer KLM will add frequencies so it will have even more passengers because of all the extra connecting passengers.

      I think that OU will turn AMS into a seasonal route before suspending it or going bankrupt.

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    4. I dont really believe that, I always fly Ams-Zag-Ams with ou because they have better fares and you can take baggage <23 kg with you. And the flights are always packed, during summer totally full and in winter just a few open seats.

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    5. Yes but KL is becoming increasingly aggressive and OU simply can't compete since they are too financially weak. Unfortunately if they failed in LHR they will also fail in AMS, especially with Transavia launching LJU which is becoming somewhat of a lowcost airport for ZAG.

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    6. Maybe if Transavia launches some kind of busservice, or if someone can bring and pick you up from the airport. In my case this is not possible, and I have been looking to fly to lju but the departure in the morning is too early. Which means I would have to sleep a night in LJU and would lose my profit instead of flying for 130 euros directly to ZAG.

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  11. Great news for Sarajevo although I'm not so sure Air Arabia will come back even though they are selling tickets.

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    1. Air Arabia was ridiculously expensive and they flew to Sharjah which no one in Bosnia knows where it is. No wonder they failed.

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    2. They failed so many times in ex-YU. First in Tuzla, then Pristina, now Sarajevo.

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  12. Fly dubai has most operations to Sarajevo out of all ex-Yu cities. Would not be surprised if we see Emirates here before other cities in the region.

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    1. Hardly, BEG and then ZAG are the only cities with (minimal) chance of getting Emirates flights in the region.

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    2. But SJJ has the most passengers and flights with Fly dubai.

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    3. This summer

      SJJ-DXB double daily, DXB-BEG 4/7, ZAG-DXB 3/7. Now they have cancelled Zagreb.

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    4. BEG has 18 weekly flights to the UAE, 4 to DXB and 14 to AUH.
      Also, don't forget that FZ increased BEG from 3 to 4 weekly this winter which means they are performing well.

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    5. Unlike zagreb, which they suspended

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  13. Great news for Sarajevo airport. I hope some new carriers will follow.

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    1. If Wizz Air starts flights and Croatia Airlines opens a base, next year SJJ will definitely handle 1 million passengers.

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  14. I honestly doubt this interest from the Middle East has much to do with passengers and profitable routes - in all ex-YU countries, and especially in Serbia and Bosnia. I think it's more of a territory-marking by their governments, for future ventures into the regions natural resources, such as agriculture, forestry, water, as well as real-estate. I think these flights and airline acquisitions are more triggered by our governments' willingness to give these resources away for free to the Arabs, than by any demand for passengers and airline profit.

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  15. OT: Any numbers for October for ZAG or SJJ?

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    1. Dubrovnik airport in October

      2015: 148615 pax
      2016: 202703 pax

      Excellent numbers!

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    2. Really great, 36% growth...Dubrovnik and Split are really doing great...

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    3. Wow that's beyond fantastic! What's behind all this growth? Imagine if Ryanair flew from DBV!

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    4. Almost all airports published their numbers, what's ZAG waiting for? Mybe they are not as great?

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    5. ZAG is always late doesn't metter if numbers are good or bad.

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    6. Wow, Dubrovnik, really great news! Beyond expectations!

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    7. What's your next tip? Will Dubrovnik achieve 2.000.000 pax this year?

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  16. Nice news for Satajevo. I hope we get some firm confirmation of these new routes.

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  17. OT: http://www.jutarnji.hr/vijesti/hrvatska/sva-zaduzenja-novog-ministra-goran-maric-kontrolirat-ce-sve-strateske-tvrtke-i-imenovanja-u-njima/5220727/

    Goran Maric will be in charge for OU as well, I suppose?

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  18. I am hoping that SJJ will manage to attract more serious air carriers in the near future.

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    1. You don't think Kuwait Airways and Qatar Airways are serious carriers?

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  19. Gryphon Airlines also used to operate Kuwait City - Sarajevo flights with a B767 a few years back.

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    1. They even had flights to Banja Luka!

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    2. It was actually operated Kuwait City-Sarajevo-Banja Luka if I remenber correctly.

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  20. Flydubai, Kuwait Airways, Iran Air, Air Arabia, Qatar Airways - now that's an exotic line up at a European airport :D

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  21. Middle East Airlines from Beirut also used to fly seasonally to Sarajevo. Anyone know what happened with that?

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    1. Those flights were for Christian pilgrims going to Medjugorje. Eventually the tour operator chose Croatia Airlines to fly Mostar-Beirut during the summer so MEA flights ended.

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  22. Znao sam ja da će promocija Bosanske piramide Sunca kad-tad biti turistički hit.
    Mora obavezno i neki kontakt sa Kairom. Oni su već odavno izgustirali svoje piramide. Treba im neko osveženje.

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  23. OT - BEG-OTP today 90% LF almost all transfers, namely from Israel.

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  24. OT: Sarajevo in October 2016

    71360 pax (+0,1%)

    2015/2016

    747439 pax (+7,9%)

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  25. OT: Nordica will end its partnership with Adria by the end of November (19NOV). LOT will take over the controlling stake (49%), all flights will be LOT-codeshare and 2 of their CRJs will fly from WAW.

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  26. OT

    For all interested, here is a hilarious new ad by Ryanair. Really great job!

    https://scontent.fbeg1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/t31.0-8/14940003_1298992270131930_8014173903936299318_o.jpg

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    1. Hahahahaha, great job!

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    2. I DIED!! They really know how to get your attention!

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    3. I was expecting something uninteresting, but I was so wrong! This is gold

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