Kuwait's Wataniya Airways plans to commence services to the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina later this year. Sarajevo Airport has confirmed it is in talks with the private carrier which will resume flying from Kuwait City to the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia this summer, after it terminated all operations in 2011, two years following its launch. The airline will run services to Sarajevo with one of its seven Airbus A320 aircraft, which will have the capacity to seat twelve passengers in business and 120 in economy class. Talks between Wataniya and Sarajevo Airport's management began last year and are now in their final stages. The exact launch date and frequencies are yet to be announced.
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. Furthermore, the US-registered Gryphon Airlines maintained flights between the Kuwaiti and Bosnian capitals in the past, during the high summer months, with a Boeing 767-200 jet. The service recorded strong loads and catered for the diaspora, tourists and American servicemen stationed in the Middle East. Currently, Air Arabia and Flydubai link Sarajevo directly with the Gulf, while Qatar Airways is also due to begin operations soon.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is becoming an increasingly popular destination for tourists from Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Arab investors, primarily from Kuwait, are building homes and hotels around Sarajevo and are 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. Since Bosnia does not have a national tourism authority, unofficial estimates put the total number of Arab tourists to the country between 50.000 and 60.000 a year, with about a quarter buying property in Bosnia. Visitor numbers from the Middle East are believed to have surged 200% in 2016 alone.