Saturday, May 20, 2017

Wataniya Airways plans Sarajevo service


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.

65 comments:

  1. Pity it's not Kuwait Airways. Would be a nice legacy carrier for Sarajevo Airport.

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    1. I'm surprised they only flew to SJJ one season.

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  2. Again with Middle East!! Europe please!

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    1. Again you with this stupid comment. There is demand for flights to the Middle East.

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    2. 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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    3. ^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 recognized it not because they were lured by Sarajevo Airport's marketing and commercial team.

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    4. Wrong!
      There is demand from ME not to ME.

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  3. Replies
    1. Wataniya was a high-end premium carrier with a luxerious cabin product before they suddenly went bankrupt few years ago. I know them from VIE flights. They also had a very good codeshare with OS. They seem to want to keep this business model when they restart operations this year. Look at their A320 instead of 186 seats that even legacy carriers in Europe use, they only put 132 seats inside the bird. Tells you something about seat pitch and extreme room that every person has in the cabin.

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    2. That airline is really "boutique"!!! JU take note!

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  4. Not surprised at all. The number of Kuwaitis buying property in Bosnia is huge because it is cheap.

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    1. because it is a Muslim country. Its cheaper in Albania and Moldova.

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    2. Albania is more muslim than Bosnia, 70% of Albanians are muslim, 50% of Bosnians...

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  5. Well I do hope Wataniya takes off the ground and that they have more of a business sense this time around. They used to have a 26 seat business class with 2x2 configuration and just 96 in economy. No wonder they went bust.

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    1. They also used to fly out of the private terminal at Kuwait and their economy class was more like the premium economy you see in the air today.

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    2. They operated a First-Business and Premium Economy service - heck they had 34" pitch at the back, from a plush private terminal at KWI. They used to offer a full, premium product but at low-fare competitivity prices. Attempt was to capture the market that way.

      They managed to attain interest and loads, but never the yields - heck their First Business was often cheaper between Kuwait and Dubai than Emirates in Economy.

      To top it off, Jazeera ate into their market nicely as they bet (correctly) on the premise that people don't mind flying low-cost on short and high frequency routes.

      I wish them luck in all honesty but it won't be easy. Kuwait Airways is no longer a lost-cause anymore and Jazeera maintains a market following in a country that has a limited market size and virtually zero tourism. Gulf competitors have also cemented their market positions since their original presence...

      Sarajevo wise, they probably will do nicely on P2P but will struggle beyond Kuwaiti market.

      Interesting development nevertheless, wish Wataniya my best...

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    3. wow no wonder they went bust.

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    4. Seats looked good

      http://www.zdistrict.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/WataniyaDec02.JPG

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    5. That was a LH Consulting business model and concept - turned out into a disaster for investors...

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    6. Strange airline with a strange business model.

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  6. Talk about exotic :D

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  7. SJJ needs serious airlines, come on mate. Still hoping it finally reaches 1 million pax this year.

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  8. Sarajevo seems to have the weirdest demand patterns in ex-Yu.

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    1. 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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    2. Winter is the main problem. During the summer all flights are packed but in the winter that's not the case.

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    3. True, SJJ needs massive capacity to and from Middle East from May to September. In winter even Fly dubai struggles.

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  9. And the two towers that are on the tail of their planes wertr built by Energoprojekt from Belgrade ;)

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  10. Good news for Sarajevo.

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  11. I think soon or the later, Sarajevo will become a hub. I thing Zagreb, is slowly getting behind and Sarajevo in rising,

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    1. LOL why don't you compare passenger numbers and growth levels.

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    2. What growth levels in ZAG? The one month of large growth that was mosrtly thanks to Easter? SJJ on the other hand is growing organically

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    3. Dude, please. You're embarrassing yourself. If Zagreb has something for the last few years is organic growth. Please, explain us noobs where SJJ is the on it's path to out grow ZAG. Go.

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    4. Next year will be very exciting year for Zagreb. at least when it comes to LCCs. at least 5 LCCs are expected to start flying to Zagreb from next year onward, year round that is.

      Vueling, Norwegian supposedly (plans to open an base and station 1 aircraft), Transavia, return of EasyJet and Volotea, Monarch plans to add Edinburgh and Birmingham from next year and German Wings might add Hamburg year round too. Return of TAP and arrival of Aer Lingus wold be icing on the cake. This year projections are between 11 and 15.5% Growth, next year could be 17% if all goes according to plans.

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  12. Good news for Sarajevo.

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  13. Someone's sugar lever dropped and is writing nonsense.

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

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  15. Very cool. Great for Bosnia. No doubt this will also be good news for Croatia.

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  16. More and more Bosnia Vilayet😀

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    1. And this is in new route launches section o.O

      http://www.exyuaviation.com/p/nesma-airlines-riyadh-sarajevo.html

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    2. Or Belgrad Paşalığı ��
      http://www.exyuaviation.com/2017/05/atlasglobal-to-boost-belgrade-operations.html

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    3. Beograd je za razliku od Sarajeva odlično povezan sa velikim brojem evropskih gradova, ne znam kakva je poenta komentara "Belgrad Paşalığı". Sarajevo 60% a i više, prometa bazira prema istoku, što je jako poražavajuće za jedan takav aerodrom koji se nalazi u Evropi.

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    4. Po kojem osnovu je saobracaj prema istoku porazavajuci? Predpostavljam da znas da se avio linije otvaraju po potraznji a ne po lokaciji. Voditi se tvojom logikom, Beograd je za Sarajevo istok takodje.

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    5. Za mene je poražavajući što ja kada putujem u NYC plaćam kartu +900 evra, a ljudi iz Beograda i Zagreba mogu leteti po ceni i od 360 evra preko raznih hubova. Eto ti jedan primer poražavujuće činjenice i ne privlačenja kompanija koje bi održavale letove prema zapadu Evrope.

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    6. Kada sam napisao ovo +900 evra mislio sam na let iz Sarajeva. To važi i za ostale destinacije, iz Sarajeva je sve skuplje.

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    7. Vecina letova iz Sarajeva ti ide prema zapadu, Bec Minhen Cirih Brisel Copenhagen Keln Oslo Stokholm Ljubljana itd..o kakvom ti prometu od 60% prema istoku pricas? Da nikako ne pricam o tome da iz Tuzle gdje Wizz ima bazu letimo po cijeloj Evropi za budiposto, a ujedno i komsije iz Srbije i Hrvatske cija auta okupiraju skoro cijeli parking ispred tuzlanskog aerodroma.

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    8. Drugo, evo sad za random datume u devetom mjesecu sam nasao SJJ-New York 630€, ZAG-New York 500€, aman razlike..

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

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  19. Never heard of this airline.

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  20. Gryphon Airlines used to operate Kuwait-Sarajevo-Banja Luka.

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  21. Arab countries are going to make big shoppings in Bosnia, land, houses and resorts.

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    1. well it is a Muslim country in the middle of Europe. So they will try to increase their influence.

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    2. Bosnia is not a muslim country.

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    3. The Bosniak part is. The Republika Srpska is not. And all these middle easterners are buying property in the Muslim part because it is part of Europe.

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    4. Excuse me but the Bosniak part is not either! Croats live there and they are Catholic like we are!!!!

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    5. Bosnia as a whole has a slight muslim majority, bit over 50%, but the Federation has an absolute muslim majority..either way, catholic are a minority on both the country and the entity level.

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  22. OT: Maybe we will have strike in Croatia Airlines.

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    1. Maybe it will rain tomorrow.

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    2. Rain for sure tomorrow, in Croatia.

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    3. Alen Šćuric PurgerMay 20, 2017 at 7:11 PM

      Strike is almost sure.

      No, social agreement (collective contract) since March (management had "more important" things to do than negotiation with employees), mechanics exodus, and now example of cancellation of the instructor's contract without explanation why to captain Andre Šarinić who is the one of the best instructor in Croatia without any mistakes, but in same time it was "mentioned" that he was on several meetings in Government about new CEO (and he is not supporting present one).

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  23. 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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  24. Nice news for Sarajevo.

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  25. OT:
    LX2512/19 ZRHINI 1/113
    LX2513/19 INIZRH 1/82
    CS1 version 3/120

    LX2512/21 ZRHINI 1/114
    LX2513/21 INIZRH 2/165 (-3)
    A320 version 12/162

    It seems that ZRH is rolling good from INI. Can't wait to see peak summer months.

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