Turkish carrier AtlasGlobal will continue to expand into former Yugoslavia this summer with the introduction of flights between Istanbul Ataturk Airport and Sarajevo. Speaking at a media event in Belgrade yesterday, the airline's regional Country Manager, Ender Karaca, said, "We plan to expand in the Balkans. Next we will introduce flights to Belgrade and Sarajevo. The Balkans is a great place for doing business". The airline previously announced it would launch daily flights from Istanbul to the Serbian capital on March 15, which are to be codeshared by Air Serbia. Ticket sales for AtlasGlobal's new Sarajevo service are expected to commence in the coming days. The two cities in the former Yugoslavia will become part of the seventeen new destinations the carrier intends to launch this year. Others in the region include Tirana and Bucharest.
AtlasGlobal will have strong competition on its Sarajevo service. The carrier will face off directly against Turkish Airlines, which will maintain eighteen weekly flights between the two cities this summer season. AtlasGlobal will become the first company other than Turkish to operate the route since 2014. Furthermore, low cost Pegasus Airlines will run nine weekly flights from Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen Airport to Sarajevo. Previously known as Atlasjet, AtlasGlobal is a full fare carrier operating a fleet of 23 Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft in a two-class configuration. It maintains operations throughout Turkey, northern Cyprus, the Middle East, Europe and Asia and sets itself apart from the competition by offering a generous baggage allowance policy of forty kilograms of checked-in luggage in business and thirty in economy on its international flights, which is above the industry average.
|AtlasGlobal business class cabin|
Sarajevo Airport has previously said it anticipates seeing a "turning point" in its operations this year with plans to handle one million passengers. Besides AtlasGlobal, Wizz Air has announced the launch of two weekly flights from Budapest starting this April, while TUIFly Belgium will introduce seasonal services from Charleroi to the Bosnian capital. Furthermore, Swiss International Air Lines and Air Arabia will resume summer flights from Zurich and Sharjah respectively. Qatar Airways is expected to commence services from Doha, which were initially scheduled to launch in 2016. In a statement to EX-YU Aviation News, the airline said it is committed to honouring its plans of introducing four weekly flights to the Bosnian capital this year, but it is yet to schedule a launch date due to a delay in the arrival of new aircraft.