Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Kuwait Airways to launch Sarajevo flights


Kuwait Airways has announced plans to launch services from its hub in Kuwait City to Sarajevo. The news comes as the private Kuwaiti airline, Wataniya Airways, gears up to introduce its own seasonal summer flights to the Bosnian capital on July 13. Speaking to "Bloomberg", Kuwait Airways' Chairman, Sami Al-Rushaid, said the airline is considering introducing flights to the Bosnian capital as part of a "moderate network expansion", which will also include Seoul and Manchester. "There will be a moderate expansion and some routes may start as early as this year. This way, Kuwait Airways aims to return to profit and lure more high-end customers", Mr Al-Rushaid said. Kuwait Airways was one of the Persian Gulf’s most successful airlines before the 1990 Iraqi invasion of the country destroyed a large portion of its fleet. It has been trying to counter the growth of its bigger rivals Emirates and Etihad Airways for years.

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 Kuwait City and Sarajevo 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, Nesma Airlines and Flydubai link Sarajevo directly with the Gulf, while Qatar Airways is also due to begin operations soon.


Kuwait's Wataniya Airways, which previously announced its plans to commence flights to Sarajevo, will do so on July 13. It will mark the private carrier's return to service after it terminated all operations in 2011, two years following its launch. The airline will run two weekly services to Sarajevo, each Thursday and Sunday, until October 26 with one of its seven Airbus A320 aircraft, which have the capacity to seat twelve passengers in business and 120 in economy class. Tickets are already on sale through the carrier's website with further flight details available here. There is a possibility that the route will be extended into the winter months if there is sufficient demand.

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. 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.

126 comments:

  1. So now we have

    Riyadh - Nesma Airlines
    Sharjah - Air Arabia
    Dubai - Fly Dubai
    Kuwait - Wataniya/Kuwait Airways
    Doha - Qatar Airways

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    Replies
    1. At this rate Emirates should seriously consider Sarajevo.

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    2. Actually I think some airline like Gulf Air would be more realistic.

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    3. The only serious airline there is FlyDubai and Qatar when it finally starts. Nesma Airlines has already cancelled half of its planned flights, Air Arabia started optimistically and then canceled a lot of flights and then started flying 3 months per year to Sarajevo. The same will happen with Wataniya and I fear the same with Kuwait Airways.

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    4. Emirates and Etihad are missing.

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    5. Those two definitely won't come.

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    6. Don't be so sure. No one thought Emirates would come to Zagreb either but they did.

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    7. Didn't MEA also used to fly to SJJ?

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    8. Yes it did a few years ago.

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    9. For Christian pilgrims going to Mostar. But now there are direct charter flights from Mostar to Beirut operated by Croatia Airlines.

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    10. What equipment did MEA use to Sarajevo?

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    11. Air Arabia fares are ridiculously expensive

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    12. ... and they fly to Sharjah. It's no wonder they struggle on the Sarajevo route.

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    13. No chance for EK coming to SJJ until either:

      a) SJJ lengthens runway, expands apron.
      b) EK and FZ merge under the EK brand.
      c) EK orders smaller ac capable of landing in SJJ.

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    14. Attention everyone, expert detected...
      JATBEGMEL, Dublin and Edinburgh, while FARTHER AWAY than SJJ and with similar runway lengths, both have regular flights to Doha.
      Go figure!

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  2. Nice legacy carrier for Sarajevo Airport.

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  3. Again with Middle East...

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    1. So? The demand is there.

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    2. And no demand for Europe?

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    3. If Middle East flights work for Sarajevo then why not?

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    4. If the title of this article was Kuwait Airways to launch Zagreb/Belgrade flights you would all be celebrating, measuring your d*cks and saying how you are the most important city in the region. But since it's Sarajevo comments are "Again with Middle East". Sad.

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    5. @ 9.20 Obviously not, otherwise airlines would have started flights. Remember OU wanted to start flying from Sarajevo to a few European destinations but decided not to in the end.

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    6. I don't think a lack of demand is the reason. Look at Tuzla! It must be something else.

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    7. @9:51: You are so right about that!

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    8. Anon at 10.49am - OU wanted to start flying from alot of places in ex-yu, but didn't

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    9. Dont see the problem and the need for such a comment. There is an obvious demand for Gulf carriers to SJJ and so they cater for their market and their demands. Nothing is stopping LH, OS, OU, JU, JP from increasing frequencies or for other Euro carriers from opening routes to SJJ.

      BiH is not financing these flights and these airlines are the ones willing to pay the expensives fees the government has outlined in SJJ, unlike the Euro carriers.

      Things will change when:
      a) SJJ lowers its fees.
      b) BiH start a new adventure of having a national airline.
      c) Euro carriers accept the high fees in SJJ and open routes.

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  4. Do Kuwaiti citizens need visas to Bosnia?

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    1. No. Visa free to Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro and Albania. If these countries were smart they would do more to attract people from Kuwait since they need visas to all other European countries.

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    2. Well obviously Bosnia is attracting Kuwaitis since it is the only country from the ones you listed that will have flights to Kuwait. With 2 different airlines.

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    3. Interesting that Saudis need visas to Bosnia and Kuwaitis not. Nemsa cancelled some flights from Riyadh to Sarajevo because Saudis don't want to wait in line for a visa.

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    4. From the ME: Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait, Israel, Oman and Qatar citizens don't need visas to enter Bosnia.

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    5. Ok so Gulf Air and Oman Air are next possibility to Sarajevo :D :P

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    6. Saudis need visas to go pretty much anywhere. If Bosnia allowed Visa free access to them then EU might impose visas to Bosnians again.
      Also apparently Saudis don't really issue tourist visas - only for Hajj and business

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    7. Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina recorded a total of registered 612.000 foreign tourists in 2016. From ME Qatar contributed with 3.949, Bahrein with 8.509, Kuwait with 14.325, Saudi Arabia with 18.040, UAE 34.202 with Other Asian countries counting to 23.804 (including and mostly from Lebanon, Jordan, Oman). And those are just arrivals, you need to take in consideration that those tourist are the one who record the longest average stay.

      If we look just Canton Sarajevo then a total of 350.157 tourists were registered. Qatar contributed with 3.292, Bahrein with 5.727, Saudi Arabia with 11.576, Kuwait with 11.729 and UAE with 27.338 with Other Asian countries counting to 16.305.

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  5. Not surprised at all. The number of Kuwaitis buying property in Bosnia is significant. But this a nice addition.

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  6. What equipment would they use? Last time they flew with A300!

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    Replies
    1. Probably A320.

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    2. Have they applied the new livery to their short haul fleet?

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    3. No, just the B777. But they are getting a load of A320neos soon which will have the new livery for sure.

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  7. It will be interesting to see if they would operate this year round. The major problem with all the middle east airlines flying to Sarajevo is that they only fly seasonally.

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    1. Flydubai fljes year round.

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  8. Don't get how this Wataniya Airways expects to have good loads if they started selling ticket 10 days before the actual flights start.

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    1. Actually tour operators have been selling these flights for 2 months already but the operating airline was not publicised.

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    2. Ah ok. Thank you :)

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  9. There will be some good spotting at SJJ.

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    Replies
    1. Good spotting of Middle East and Turkish airliners.

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  10. I will be celebrating when I read the titles

    Wizz Air to launch Sarajevo flights
    British Airways to launch Sarajevo flights
    SAS to launch Sarajevo flights
    Air France to launch Sarajevo flights
    Alitalia to launch Sarajevo flights

    Until then these flight are of no benefit to the local population.

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    Replies
    1. How come it has "no benefit to the local population"?

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    2. Do you seriously think the average Bosnian is going to Kuwait and Riyadh?

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    3. Add Aegean to that list. Amazing that there are no flights between Sarajevo and Athens.

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    4. @9.29 They don't but you benefit from the fact that the Arabs from these countries are coming as tourists, spending money and boosting local economy.

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    5. Agree completely with above anon. This is a great source to get more passengers and profit on people coming from the Middle East region.

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    6. All this lack of European destinations could be resolved with a national airline.

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    7. Yeah because when B&H Airlines operated all these destinations were available... Please. That would just be a waste of taxpayers' money.

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    8. The point is that Sarajevo Airport isn't trying enough to attract European airlines - or any airline for that matter. These arab airlines are coming because they know there is growing traffic flow to Sarajevo, not because they were contacted by the airport or given an offer.

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  11. All these Gulf airlines plus the recent Atlas global launch will hurt Turkish Airlines the most.

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    1. It's notable tat this year TK did not add additional flights to Sarajevo during the summer like they do each year.

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  12. Good news for Sarajevo.

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  13. 2017 will be a very good year for Sarajevo

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    Replies
    1. It is. In July 18% growth. So far this year +7%.

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    2. OT: It seems Austrian has significantly upgraded VIE - DBV to 11pw during summer months. The additional 4 morning services to be flown with mix of E195 and Airbus fleet. The established midday services with mix of A321 and B767!

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    3. Great to see Sarajevo growing so much.

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    4. Sarajevo's growth could be around 10% this year.

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    5. As long as there is not a lot of fog during winter then it is more than possible.

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    6. Ok so if there are no adverse weather conditions how many passengers could we expect at Sarajevo Airport this year?

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    7. Sarajevo should reach 1 million passengers this year.

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    8. I think you are being too optimistic. Around 920,000 is more realistic.

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    9. For Sarajevo to reach 1 million passengers it would need 19% growth this year compared to 2016 which I think is hard to achieve. So 920,000 is plausible and then 1 million in 2018.

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  14. Go Sarajevo! So many new airlines this year - Wizz Air, TUI, Nesma, Wataniya and probably Qatar by the end of the year.

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    Replies
    1. Plus there is Eurowings which launches new route from Dusseldorf in November.

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    2. True but I was talking about new airlines that didn't fly before ;)

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  15. Da li ima nade da Sarajevo jednog dana bude povezano sa Parizom,Londonom,Rimom,Moskvom,Atino??
    Mislim, samo pitam...

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    Replies
    1. Za sada ne :(

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    2. ...i ja se pitam :(

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    3. Za Moskvu je bilo relativno nedavno ali ocigledno kupaca nije bilo. Pariz, London, Rim bi vec morali da opstanu gledajuci sve parametre kako stanovnistva tako i ekonomije. Za Atinu ne znam sta bi rekao, tokom ljetne sezone vrlo vjerovatno bi linija mogla opstati.

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  16. The more the merrier.

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  17. What I find extremely interesting is the number of Korean tourists visitng Bosnia. In 2016 41,903 South Korean tourists came to Bosnia! Where are they coming from? Are these tourists coming in when they visit Croatia? How are they getting to B&H and what do they visit? Could be another source of passengers for Middle East airlines.

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    Replies
    1. I presume a portion of those visiting Croatia are bussed to Bosnia as well.

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    2. Mostly Mostar and Sarajevo I guess.

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    3. There were a lot of South Korean tourist in Bosnia and Herzegovina the last decade. Last year 41.903 in Bosnia and Herzegovina out of which 38.686 were in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (12.891 in Canton Sarajevo) but they stay for a very short time, on average just 1,12 night for Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1,10 in Canton Sarajevo).

      In comparson tourists in Canton Sarajevo from Kuwait stay on average 3,8 nights, Qatar 3,65 nights, Bahrein 3,25 nights, UAE 3,17 nights, Saudi Arabia 2,84 nights.

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  18. Great news for Sarajevo! Now it would just be great for Wizz to add a few more destinations.

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    Replies
    1. There is Wizz in Tuzla. Why would they jepordize their passenger numbers there?

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    2. So what. There is Wizz in Belgrade too but they started Nis.

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  19. Iran Air has also said they are looking into Tehran-Belgrade-Sarajevo flights.

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    Replies
    1. This sort of routing would actually make sense and the route would be more financially viable.

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    2. These flights would be nice. Hope it happens.

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  20. It's not impossible to see Emirates in Sarajevo soon especially because it has a lot of P2P and transfer passengers. All other ex-yu cities lack P2P passengers.

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    Replies
    1. Are you joking? lol

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    2. Don't mention EK, you will immediately get people saying how they fly to Zagreb and as a result will not fly anywhere else in the world anymore.

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    3. Emirates neće sigurno doći na pistu od 2500m.

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    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  21. This livery looks disgusting on the 773.

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    Replies
    1. I find it nicer than the former one which was way too busy and messy.

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  22. This is nice and I'm not trying to hate or be negative but 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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  23. I think the market will be oversaturated with so many seats available from the Middle East to SJJ.

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    Replies
    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 passengers but who could Kuwait Airways or Iran Air handle during the winter?

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    3. SJJ needs massive capacity to and from Middle East from May to September but in winter it is a different story. Even FZ has issues filling its planes during the slow months like November and February.

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  24. So how much capacity is there between Bosnia and the Middle East on an annual basis?

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  25. 5 new airlines in Sarajevo this year - Wizz, Nesma, TUI, Atlas global, Wataniya.
    2 more to come - Qatar and Kuwait Airways

    In total 7! That's huge.

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    Replies
    1. It is impressive.

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    2. But almost all of those are seasonal!

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    3. Not true at all - only Nesma is seasonal.

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  26. Dear Admin, ask SJJ apt for info, Gryphon Airlines us coming back to SJJ as well from July 7, with A320

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    1. So there will be 3 airlines flying between Kuwait and Sarajevo? That's crazy.

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    2. On SJJ website only Wataniya Airways is listed.

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    3. Do they even have an A320?

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    4. We only need Jazeera Airways and then we will have all of Kuwait's airlines flying to Sarajevo.

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  27. 1001 nights in Sarajevo

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  28. Considering they only fly to 5 cities in Europe, it's a show of confidence in Sarajevo and Bosnia as a market.

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  29. If they can build themselves up as a Balkan hub for the Middle East, I say go for it.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  30. I doubt two operators will be able to survive on this route. Kuwait Airways has much more chance than Wataniya to have some success here.

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    Replies
    1. Agree. Kuwait Airways can get P2P + transfer traffic.

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  31. We in Bosnia are sick of these Arabs coming to our places. They only make mess. They are buying our land, our villages and destroying it by making industries. If you only see how much they changed our country, it would all be clear to you. I wish somebody forbids them entrance in Bosnia for life.

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    Replies
    1. No we are not, they are the best tourist for B&H economy.

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    2. Where and what exactly did they buy and/or destroy?
      There are other, more suitable websites you should take your propaganda to....

      Delete

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