Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Qatar woes to impact EX-YU operations


Qatar Airways has been forced to cancel flights and reroute aircraft after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Libya, Yemen and the Maldives cut diplomatic ties with the nation yesterday, accusing it of destabilising the region. A number of those countries, most notably Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain, have also banned Qatar Airways from flying into their airspace, significantly affecting the carrier's operations. Both of the airline's services to Zagreb this morning strayed off their usual flight path in order to avoid Bahrain's large airspace, which runs up to Kuwait to the north, the UAE to the east and Saudi Arabia to the south and west. "Airspace will be impacted ‎by flights being re-routed, especially for Qatar Airways who will no longer be allowed to use the expansive airspace of Saudi Arabia on flights to Europe and North America", Saj Ahmad, the UK-based Chief Analyst at StrategicAero Research, said.

Within the former Yugoslavia, the airline also maintains flights to Belgrade, however, its next scheduled service is planned for tomorrow. "The litany of narrow-body jets that Qatar Airways has to park which can't be used for intra-Gulf flights will hit operations at Doha since ramp space will be at a premium - this could lead to flight delays and incur more costs", Mr Ahmed said. The majority of passengers flying Qatar Airways from both Zagreb and Belgrade transfer through its hub in Doha to onward destinations, primarily in Australia and New Zealand. However, the carrier recently told EX-YU Aviation News that it has witnessed a significant surge in travellers from the former Yugoslavia connecting onto the airline's services to other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE). "We have seen a strong demand for flights from Zagreb and Belgrade and we remain committed to providing passengers with flexible and convenient travel options. The routes have also provided those from the Middle East, GCC and beyond our network with easier access to discover this part of the world”, it said. Qatar Airways maintains ten weekly flights to the Croatian capital, as well as four weekly services to Belgrade, which will grow to daily from late September. Furthermore, the airline is set to launch flights to Skopje on July 17, while services to Sarajevo are also planned to start this year, but are yet to be scheduled.

Qatar Airways has cancelled flights to all countries which have severed ties with the nation. "There is a wider impact than Qatar Airways not being able to land in markets like Saudi and UAE since those markets are significant sources for transfer traffic", Will Horton, a senior analyst at CAPA Centre for Aviation, said. He added, “Diverting around closed airspace means higher fuel costs and longer flight times. The network impact is huge, while the financial impact depends on the length of the closures". Meanwhile, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Egypt Air, Air Arabia, Flydubai and Gulf Air have all suspended operations to Doha as of this morning until further notice.

135 comments:

  1. Excellent. Now just missing to ban SV as well

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    1. Saudia ? Well Saudi regime is exporter of terrorism worldwide. The day we stop using blood oil from Saudi wells, the sooner that cesspool of hate is no more an issue for the western civilization.

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    2. The irony of it all is, Qatar is being blockaded in response to Qatar’s support of Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood, and its perceived tolerance of Iran.

      Saudi regime is in bed with ISIS, finances it, arms it, and even gives it a shelter.

      A true terrorist state, and we're dealing with these terrorist...

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    3. Exactly ban them too. They are the worst of all them

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  2. Chances of Sarajevo being launched this year are slim to none now. The majority of their passengers from SJJ would have been to other Gulf states.

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    1. This whole crisis might not take that long.

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    2. I think its chances were slim before the crisis too.

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    3. Hope they finally put SJJ tickets on sale!

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    4. There might be even bigger chances. The reason they have not yet scheduled Sarajevo is because they did not have enough planes. With them suspending so many routes to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Egypt, they have enough metal to operate these flights.

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    5. @AnonymousJune 6, 2017 at 9:03 AM

      Actually, I doubt Qatar will expand their network this year, after this fiasco with Saudis. They'll first need to sort out airspace over Qatar, from what I understand above 32000 feet it is controlled by Bahrain.

      This needs to change, so most likely their next move is to train staff and build ATC system that controls their own airspace. This can be done with the US help, rather fast.

      Once this is sorted, it'll take about 6 months to get things rolling and 2-3 years to get first batch of trained ATC staff, till then I guess they'll employ western ATC staff.

      They won't expand any time soon before this is done. So no new routes before 2020, and most likely they'll cancel some existing ones in Africa and South America if they have any.

      Qatar airways needs to add Prague, Lisbon, Helsinki and Dublin before they add any new routes.

      If these 3 routes are added in 2017, Sarajevo could be added as early as 2018, but I remain doubtful.

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  3. The Middle East is a very unstable region of the world and these are results of it.

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    1. Ironically, Qatar last year ranked 34 in the Global Peace rankings, ahead of countries such as Italy, France, UK, Serbia, BH, Montenegro, Greece, the US.

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  4. EK couldn't have asked for a better time for this to happen when their ZAG route is concerned. A lot of people are cancelling their ticket with QR and will simply transfer to Emirates instead.

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    1. EK will definitely of course get GCC traffic for the time being, however it is questionable how long will the crisi continue. That being said, it can have negative effect on all ME3 carriers: if this is perceived by travelling public from Europe as general instability.

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  5. We might see some dumping fares from Qatar soon, similar to the ones Turkish put for sale after the failed coup.

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    1. Has anyone looked at the fares? Have they decreased them? TK started dumping the next day after the coup.

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    2. * unsuccessful coup

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  6. The situation is quite serious and will have a massive impact on QR.

    What could end up happening is the boost of cargo uplift from both Belgrade and Zagreb as food imports surge from new, non-traditional markets as Saudi shuts is border - the supplier of 40% of food to Qatar.

    On the other hand, pax traffic will take a hit from our region as indeed, many people used QR for transiting to other GCC destinations.

    I hope they manage to ride out this storm as long term sanctions could be lethal for the Qatari airline.

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    1. Hope for promo prices from both BEG and ZAG!

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    2. Same here. Hope they ride this storm out, as Qatar is definitely NOT the only country in that region in which certain structures have been supporting/financing ISIL. To mention Saudi Arabia is enough. What a hypocritical excuse for this onslaught against the entire country and against the main airline competitor to the rest of the Gulf carriers!

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    3. Honestly I think this is in large part aimed at Qatar Airways by the Gulf countries.

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    4. Michael, +1000
      When I read the news, I did not know whether to laugh or cry.

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    5. @9.23 would not be surprised. They were the only one of the meb3 not affected by declining oil prices.

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    6. No, they are the only ones who didn't show so publicly that they are affected. But even they have now started offering lounge access to economy class passengers for a fee and in introduced other similar measures to Etihad and Emirates.

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    7. Qatar's most famous "export" and only global brand is indeed Qatar Airways, this is what put them on the global map.

      The World Cup will come and go...

      By including airlinks as the first line of sanctions, GCC states knew all too well where to him them and where it will hurt... food is obviously essential but they can source it from Iran and elsewhere...

      This sudden move by the GCC is actually no surprise at all, it has been simmering and going on behind the scenes for years now. They already had a diplomatic fallout 3 years ago, but this time round, things are far more serious and more complex with no easy resolution in sight. If Iran meddles in, could get drastically worse for the country, the region and all the airlines out there, not purely QR.

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    8. Concerning food cargo.... all those Qatari C-17 make sense now.

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    9. @MichaelJune 6, 2017 at 9:21 AM

      Qatar isn't supporting ISIS or ISL, what ever they're called these days, Qatar's ethnic and religious structure ensures Qatar is on good terms with Shia Iran as well as Sunni Saudi.

      Saudi, are Sunni and they support ISIS. Qatar's media Al Jazeera is another problem for despots in the region, they hate Al Jazeera and constant reports of human rights abuses. Al Jazeera in Europe and North America in particular is very much independent of Qatar's regime and often used freedom of the press in the west to expose human rights abuses in Saudi and the Gulf.

      Saudi's regime are the real terrorist.


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    10. Situation in Qatar is not good.

      In the initial hours of the news, hundreds flocked to supermarkets to stock up on supplies, emptying shelves. Lots of rumors and talk has spread that isn't easing the situation.

      The news has made expats in neighboring countries a bit nervous as well.

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  7. This is not very good for them in this market with EK just launching ZAG.

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    1. True. Especially since they already decreased capacity on the Zagreb route since EK launched flights.

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    2. Maybe they step out completely and ZAG sees double daily 773 by EK :)

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    3. I doubt they would give up that easily. :)

      But I do remember Al Baker saying how they can easily adjust to competition and how they drastically cut capacity when EK launched flights to some German city (can't remember which one) and then he even said that they realized straight away they couldn't compete with EK on that route. I can't find the link to that interview but I read it very recently.

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    4. @9.21 what capacity did they cut?

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    5. The only route from Germany QR left was STR that EK never served; and it was canceled due to bilateral restrictions so that MUC could go to double daily. For that matter, QR constantly upgraded capacity to Germany. I don't think it will 'leave' ZAG, which is very good for them and actually is not seeing any negative passenger development, in spite of EK. Market is growing. Seldom changes A321/A320 are more related to overall operations than 'lack' of passengers, as 321 on DOH ZAG has also a payload which limits capacity nearly to 320 anyway.

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    6. @9.32 from A321 to A320

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    7. A321s are currently not used at all throughout their network. Anyone knows the reasons?

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    8. That's not true. I see A321s operating yesterday for them.

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    9. OK, where to?

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    10. Goa (A7-ADS)
      Amritsar (A7-ADT)
      Ahmedabad (A7-ADV_

      etc...

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    11. In the unlilely event they step out EK will be able to maintain the 773 what is now highly questionable, especially in winter.

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    12. I don't see QR leaving ZAG, especially since GCC is not their bread and butter here anyway. Plus, it is unlikely that this crisis drags for very long.

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    13. They will not leave either ZAG or BEG. In the article it says they are seeing more and more pax to GCC but that could mean that instead of 2 they now see 10 transfer passengers to GCC. What this might do is prologue Sarajevo launch.

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    14. @10:18 are you saying EK will cancel ZAG in winter if QR continues flying. LOL please.

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    15. I think QR will suffer quite a bit against EK in Zagreb regardless of the present crisis. I mean EK just added 600+ sreturn eats every day on the market. That is massive capacity growth.

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    16. I will put it this way; EK will suffer over QR and QR will suffer over EK. They are fighting for nearly same traffic flows and both have their strenghts here. EK may have bigger aircraft, but QR has frequency and 5 years cooperation with the market..so, tough for both and good for the market which will surely grow in size.

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    17. For this Summer af least, Qatar would have secured a lot of the Asia, Australia and NZ market so I don't think they will see to big an impact on their operations to Zagreb and Belgrade.

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    18. @Q400June 6, 2017 at 12:02 PM

      I think the crisis will be over by end of this month, back to normal. QR and EK have just started seeing the potential of Zagreb, for QR Zagreb is best performer regionally, they won't stop flying to Zagreb cause of Emirates coming, they'll just reduce their ticket price a bit to be even more competitive. Daily QR has 700 pax on Doha-Zagreb-Doha route.

      6 years ago, QR didn't even fly to Zagreb.
      Emirates is offering same, 700 pax on Dubai-Zagreb-Dubai route. Croatia is getting 1.75 million visitors from Asia and Australasia/Oceania. By 2020, that number will hit 3 million if not more.

      Plenty of spare capacity for Turkish, Qatar and Emirates. Even if all of them flew double daily 365 days, in 2020, they'll barely be able to cover a third of the market. This is all 3 ME airlines.

      I can see by 2020, Qr sending B787 double daily, Emirates A380 and B777, and Turkish increasing to 3 daily flights.

      Even arrival of ANA, Korean Air, China Eastern or China Southern, with year round flights wouldn't even dent the demand.

      We just need to see normality returning back to the region.








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    19. Hold your horses my friend, not that fast :)

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  8. What a shame. I hope this does not impact on their expansion in ex-Yu.

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    1. Except for Sarajevo being further delayed I don't think so. Skopje is still scheduled to start next month.

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    2. I would have thought Sarajevo would have been of a greater priority, given the feed they would get to other Gulf nations, especially Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

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  9. Does anyone know what their loads are like from Zagreb and Belgrade?

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    1. I don't know about Belgrade but they are doing extremely well from/to Zagreb. Almost 100% loads.

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    2. I think BEG is also doing great, both ZAG and BEG results regarding Qatar are something to be proud of!

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    3. past month 81% BEG - DOH (both ways)

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    4. That's pretty good considering they started off with just 20-30 passengers with a stop in Ankara and later Sofia.

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    5. BEG has improved so much for them since they introduced nonstop flights.

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    6. Number of Serbian residents there is on a constant rise as well.

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  10. I have noticed on FR24 that QR´s A321 are almost not in use at all. Any reason behind this?

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  11. I really like them since they were the first to show confidence in this region by launching ZAG and BEG and now SKP and SJJ.

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    1. Actually I think Fly dubai was the first of the Gulf airlines to show interest in ex-Yu.

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    2. First of the MEB3

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    3. You mean to Belgrade and Zagreb?

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    4. ^ They are launching Skopje next month and Sarajevo this year probably.

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    5. I am still shocked that none of the gulf airlines have considered Ljubljana. I'm sure it would work.

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    6. Zagreb is too close for major ME airliners to start serving Ljubljana

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    7. If Turkish can serve Ljubljana double daily while flying to Zagreb at the same time, I don't see why a Middle East airline couldn't do the same.

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    8. TK has Turkey to sell, plus TLV, BEY, Central Asia....a bit different catchment area vs ME3.

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  12. Saw some pics from Doha Airport this morning. Looks like a zoo at the moment.

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  13. Most passengers to GCC countries are being rerouted to Oman.

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  14. It depends how long this lasts for. It will definitely take away a few passengers on flights from ZAG and BEG but I don't think the impact will be too great. The big advantage is that despite flightpath change the flight times to BEG and ZAG have stayed the same.

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  15. The MEB3 are much more vulnerable then we think and the cracks are starting to show for all three this year.

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    1. Maybe so, but in this case the vulnerability came from within the Gulf, not outside of it.

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  16. I really hope this does not lead to some reduction of frequencies to BEG or ZAG. They are my favorite of the big three middle east airlines.

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  17. Just goes to show how easily things can change in aviation.

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  18. Now flying from Zagreb to Doha it's taking longer. Can someone quantify? How many minutes? (without counting the narrow corridor from Doha to the Iran airspace that is reducing the amount of Qatar flights that can fly simultaneously)

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    1. QR216 from Zagreb will take around 20 minutes longer. This morning it departed 10 minutes early and will arrive late in Doha.

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    2. Flight routings to Doha were over Iran anyway...I don't think that those are extended now.

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    3. They are because the flight did go via Iran but they went straight via Bahrain into Iran. Now they have to bypass Bahrain and the congestion around Doha Airport is greater. Again it is very small. Just 15-20 minutes longer.

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    4. How come Bahrain has such a huge airspace? Qatar has none?

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    5. Alen Šćuric PurgerJune 6, 2017 at 10:17 AM

      That is so strange, isn't it?

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    6. Any historical insight into that?

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    7. Qatar does not have its own FIR. The airspace around the peninsula state is controlled by Doha Radar up to around FL 250 (i.e. 25,000 feet ASL). From there upwards, air traffic control rests with Bahrain. As such, inbound and outbound traffic to Doha are keeping to below the threshold of 25,000 feet upon entering/exiting Iranian airspace.

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    8. Previous and present routing for ZAG/BEG flights

      http://i.imgur.com/duWBNCS.png

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    9. It's interesting. I have noticed that all of their flights are attempting to depart Doha around 10 minutes ahead of schedule. Same happened this morning in Zagreb.

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    10. @ 10:19. Historically Bahrain was much more developed and a pioneer in aviation in the region. Gulf Air was the national airline of Qatar and Qatar had no infrastructure to control its airspace or had people with the skills to do it.

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    11. The majority of this job in Bahrain is still done by foreign people. I agree anyway that Gulf Air was the pioneer in aviation in the region. Qatar can easily build the infrastructure and import the specialist with skills. The main problem is the changing of the existing agreement between the countries in the area.

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  19. Alen Šćuric PurgerJune 6, 2017 at 10:15 AM

    They have huge problem. Bahrain surround Qatar air space what is totally illogical, but that is fact. Qatar must fly over Bahrain who control huge airspace even with part that is not connected to country, or UAE, or Saudi Arabia.

    So Qatar is in big problems. Bahrain said they will allow them to fly on just one single corridor. Saudi Arabia not even that.

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    1. I think that is because oil prices are too low for them.

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  20. Alen Šćuric PurgerJune 6, 2017 at 10:20 AM

    Admin why I can not see my comments on yesterday topic. Not a single one?

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    1. You have to click on the "load more" button at the very bottom of the page in order for all of the comments to load. Unfortunately, when there is a large amount of comments they don't display all unless clicking on the button.

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    2. Alen Šćuric PurgerJune 6, 2017 at 11:24 AM

      I did several times yesterday and today, but still nothing.

      You should do something about it, as we can see more and more comments on each post. Regular practice is more than 100 comments. And for sure in near future you will have so many responds. So, you should do something about it.

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    3. I can see all your comments by clicking on the "load more" button. After clicking once, you will have to click again for all the comments to load. It's the limitation of the Google-hosted platform, not my own doing, but I will look into it.

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    4. Alen Šćuric PurgerJune 6, 2017 at 1:30 PM

      I know it is not your mistake, don't worry.

      Not even a bigy that it can not be seen. Bot as far as you grow, you should find better solution. ;-)

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  21. I think it's way too soon to be writing off QR just yet the way some of you are doing.

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  22. They will manage. I mean El Al avoids the majority of airspace controlled by Arab countries. But this is a hit for them definitely and will impact all routes, ZAG and BEG included because 99% of passengers on these flights are transfers and many will try to avoid Doha of fear of this escalating. God forbid but remember how quickly the war between Iraq and Kuwait escalated over night.

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    1. Didn't know about El Al. Interesting.

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    2. Yep, have a look at the routing for their Tel Aviv - Bangkok flights. They go via Africa and the flight takes some 2 hours more than normal.

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    3. You cannot compare the 2.

      - El Al isn't as reliant on transit pax as is QR.
      - QR has had to cut a lot of flights to countries it suddenly cannot serve, unlike El Al.
      - El Al has no problem serving anything west of Israel, where as QR is restricted to 1 corridor in and out of Qatari airspace.
      - Some QR flights have practically doubled in flying time.

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  23. Qatar Airways is a fantastic airline and it is interesting they will operate the most flights to ex-Yu out of all the Gulf carriers. Hope this mess sorts out soon.

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    1. Fantastic? Perhaps in the premium cabin. Mediocre in economy. Below average meals and IFE not worth switching on. Cabin crew sterile. Their narrow body aircraft between Europe and DOH - seriously? No wonder EK will clean up

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    2. Alen Šćuric PurgerJune 6, 2017 at 1:31 PM

      Ma experience is totally different!

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    3. Yeah but Purger you had one return flight, that's hardly enough to get a professional opinion.

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    4. I had about 20, and their economy service was really above average. Seats on A320 are quite comfortable too. It is still economy, but I would't place EK above it. Those two airlines have similar quality with QR being slightly better up front (on wide bodies).

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    5. Alen Šćuric PurgerJune 6, 2017 at 11:54 PM

      So you want to tall me that on that one return flight I had lucky and service much better than average service? I really don't think that Qatar have different level of service in different planes or routes.

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  24. When could this end?

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  25. I wonder whether Air Serbia may reconsider ending its AUH service.

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    1. Doubt it, knowing them.

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  26. Plus they have the electronics ban which makes them a less appealing transfer option.

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    1. Who on earth would go from Zagreb/Belgrade/Skopje/Sarajevo to Doha and then fly to the US?

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    2. You would be surprised.

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    3. I'm one of the ppl who did that. In business class. Best flight experience in my life. 14 hours in QR B777 Business Class.

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  27. OT
    Hainan expects to get 5th freedom between BEG and PRG. More good news for the Serbian consumer.

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    1. This isn't happening. They didn't grant it even to QR when they wanted to have between SOF and BEG

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    2. They will get it. Hainan flights are of national importance, QR wasnt.

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    3. They will if the Czech authorities grant it. However, if the Czech's say no, then it doesn't matter what the Serbs say

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    4. I think both sides will agree to give 5th freedom. After all, no Czech airline flies between the two cities so why would they oppose?

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    5. This is the 7th freedom you are talking about btw

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    6. Anon 8:24
      No it's not. It's the 5th freedom.
      7th freedom would be if Hainan was not continuing to China.

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  28. Just to illustrate the extent of the cuts, these are QR suspended services

    Doha – Abha 2 daily
    Doha – Abu Dhabi 6 daily
    Doha – Bahrain 7 daily
    Doha – Borg el Arab/Alexandria 10 weekly
    Doha – Cairo 17 weekly
    Doha – Dammam 5 daily
    Doha – Dubai al Maktoum (DWC) 4 daily
    Doha – Dubai International (DXB) 17 daily
    Doha – Gassim 2 daily
    Doha – Hofuf 5 weekly
    Doha – Jeddah 4 daily
    Doha – Luxor 7 weekly
    Doha – Madinah 3 daily
    Doha – Ras al Khaimah 4 weekly
    Doha – Riyadh 24 weekly
    Doha – Sharjah 2 daily
    Doha – Taif 1 daily
    Doha – Yanbu 4 weekly

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    1. Yes, Egypt, UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabian destinations.

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    2. Still it's 124 flights per week O.O

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    3. Cool, now they can use one of those aircraft to finally launch SJJ. :P

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    4. 17 daily :O

      Now I just wonder how many daily flights by single airline between two destinations is the most?

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  29. OT

    Seems like Aegean and Air Serbia will not be extending their code-share agreement into the winter season. JU is selling its one stop options via Rome now.

    In addition to that, Aegean has revised its flight times and they are:

    1-3-5-7
    ATH-BEG 12.10-13.05
    BEG-ATH 13.35-16.30

    Equipment: Q400

    Seems like Aegean is after the O&D and transfer passengers connecting onto their domestic network.

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    1. One stop via FCO? Is JU terminating it's own ATH flights?

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    2. AnonymousJune 6, 2017 at 8:28 PM
      No, ATH is one of the best routes

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    3. No, no... the direct flight is sold as usual but the code-share option was replaced by a one stop flight via FCO to ATH. Then again, given how expensive their code-shares are I doubt anyone will be using them.

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  30. I love tbe photo on this article haha

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  31. Nadam se da ce BEG imati i dalje normalno sa QR i svi ostali gradovi u EX YU .
    INN-NS

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