Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Qatar Airways to announce Balkan expansion


Qatar Airways' CEO, Akbar Al Baker, has said his company plans to further expand operations in the Balkans following the launch of its Sarajevo service last week and is considering investing in the region's hospitality sector. Speaking to the "Aljazeera" network, Mr Al Baker said, "We still have several destinations in the Balkans which we will launch. We will announce these new destinations soon. I am not prepared to reveal them now because I don't want to give my competition the opportunity to have an insight into our strategy". He added, "Eastern Europe was neglected, it was an empire of the carriers of Western Europe, which used to put a lot of financial pressure on the Balkan people. We have broken that stranglehold. So now you have a world class product coming to your doorstep and making your travel very efficient and painless, to say in a few short words".

Qatar Airways noted that its recently launched four weekly service between Doha and Sarajevo will be bolstered in the coming period, with plans to increase the route to daily and introduce the larger Airbus A321 aircraft. Mr Al Baker also sees further potential in the Bosnian market. "Qatar has a lot of investments in Eastern Europe and these investments are growing. We hope Qatar Airways itself will be able to invest in Bosnia, primarily in the hospitality sector. As I mentioned before, it is Qatar Airways' strategy to have a portfolio of at least fifty hotels. We already have six and we hope that number rises very quickly", the CEO noted. He added, "Katara, which is the hospitality arm of the Qatar Investment Authority, has a lot of plans for the Balkans but Qatar Airways has its own plans. As far as I'm concerned, if I have a good opportunity in Sarajevo to either build a hotel or to purchase a property, where we would then convert this property into a five star rated hotel, we will do it. There is an environment for it".

Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker (centre), in Sarajevo

The Qatari national carrier has expanded significantly in the region this year by introducing flights to Skopje and Sarajevo, as well as boosting both frequencies and capacity on its services to Zagreb and Belgrade. Speaking at the Paris Airshow in June, the airline's CEO said that "Ljubljana is being looked at" as a potential destination as well. Furthermore, Qatar Airways is also said to be considering potential seasonal services to Dubrovnik after it recently announced plans to serve the island of Mykonos in Greece, which would cater to a similar market. "This region is growing. It is becoming affluent and at the same time there is economic growth here and an airline plays a very important part in the economic growth of a country. So we intend to continue our expansion in Eastern Europe", Mr Al Baker concluded.

169 comments:

  1. I think Dubrovnik 2 weekly seasonal could work for them.

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    1. I agree. It would also make them well positioned to compete against Emirates' ZAG flights.

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    2. Kad počinju letovi za Dubrovnik?

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    3. ^I didn't say they were starting I just said that I think it could work for them if they chose to start it.

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    4. Turkish Airlines got a head start on them to Dubrovnik but they would definitely pull a lot more passengers from Japan, South Korea and China then Turkish. And I think it could work year round. Add to that tourists from Australia.

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    5. * than Turkish

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  2. Was nice seeing QR A333 glide into BEG this morning on my way to work. Hope this becomes a regular occurrence....

    Regarding QR plans... little birdy tells me LJU appeared in one of their recent trade presentations...

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    1. It would be great to finally see them in Ljubljana. Like the article says they confirmed that they are considering LJU so it makes sense. Fingers crossed.

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    2. Dubrovnik and/or Split!

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    3. That will hurt EK in Zagreb!

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    4. It won't, more tourists are coming to Croatia in 2018, so, plenty of space for everyone!

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    5. Slovenia would be logical. It is the only ex-yu country with no flights to any Gulf country.

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    6. but surely they don't mean Slovenia when they talk about Balkan expansion- Slovenia is not on the Balkans ;)

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    7. Ahahahahah anonymus 9:50 +1000

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    8. Geographically, at least 1/2's of Slovenia is at the Balcan Peninsula.
      (by the border of Dunabe, Sava, Soca) Politicaly was always Balkan.

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    9. I was just waiting for the comment how Ljubljana flights would hurt Zagreb ones, like the numbers of visitors in Zagreb are stagnating it reducing.

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    10. Who said the number of visitors in Zagreb are stagnating or reducing? No one even mentioned it.

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    11. I referred to the comment about airlines in Zagreb and how they will be hurting of Ljubljana flights will be launched. I'm saying that there's enough passengers every year and that Zagreb surely don't be "hurting" from possible Ljubljana flights.

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    12. Geographically (which is not related to politics) more than 75 % of Slovenia is part of the Balcan peninsula. Even with the restrict definition over 50% of Slovenia is part of it. There is no doubt about it. Politically too. What's wrong with being part of Balcan? Slovenia joined the Danube alleance but the river is not passing there (just the tributary). Slovenia considers themself like a Mediterranean country when in fact is not. That's 100% sure. Just a tiny portion of it has submediterranean characteristics and it's not Mediterranean at all (considering the internationally recognised definitions for climate an vegetation zones).

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    13. You are right. The real Mediterranean starts from Zadar. Even the whole Istria is submediterranean.

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    14. Please, go tell someone in Venice they are not Mediterranean.

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  3. I don't see many other destinations they could expand to in the region. Podgorica, Pristina?

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    1. Nish and Tuzla :D

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    2. Don't forget Maribor, codeshared by VLM Airlines Slovenia.

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    3. Don't think Pristina will happen soon. DBV and LJU look likely but I think it will be just one of those.

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    4. It will be LJU because that destination can be served year-round.

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    5. LJU is not in the Balkans

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    6. Tirana, maybe?

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    7. does QR actually fly to SKG?

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    8. Ponikve, 100%. Pa vidite kakve oni planove imaju, čim se otvore odmah će nahrupiti Qatar, Lufthansa, Aeroflot, Emirates, Delta, Singapore...

      Sam ta pista da se dovrši i....

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    9. Ниси смешан.

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  4. It has been an impressive expansion by QR this past year which I don't think would have happened if the crisis in the Middle East wasn't unfolding.

    Anyone know how many passengers on today's QR A330 flights to/from BEG?

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    1. I'm not sure but Serbia's football team is flying on the outbound flight.

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    2. * Outbound from BEG I mean.

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    3. They would have flown Air Serbia instead if the i****s were still flying.

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  5. Investment in the hotel industry? Interesting.

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    1. Would have preferred if they invested in an airline in this region.

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  6. Any info on how their Sarajevo flights are performing?

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    1. I was looking at some flights for September next year Sarajevo - Doha, and some of them are already sold out?!

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    2. Could it be because of Eid?

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    3. No wonder then that they already plan to go daily to Sarajevo and start A321 ops. I think it will happen as early as next summer.

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    4. hey anon 11:01..DOH SJJ is not even in the system after March...what are you looking at? :D

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    5. It could not be because of Eid – QR is not allowed to fly to Saudi Arabia, remeber?

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    6. Anon 12:29, sorry then I mustve mixed something up when searching lol. But I was looking at some date to buy tickets for my parents and it said sold out?

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    7. Maybe the reservation system equals sold out with no flights for some reason...but, for now, no flights are filed after winter time table. I think they are still waiting for summer slots.

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  7. QR would be a fantastic addition in Ljubljana.

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  8. Does Qatar Airways currently have 29 weekly flights to ex-Yu?

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    1. Yes

      Zagreb 14x weekly
      Belgrade 7x weekly
      Skopje 4x weekly
      Sarajevo 4x weekly

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    2. Hopefully they add Pristina and Ljubljana, these are only logical places they could expand to, perhaps Split and Dubrovnik in summer months.

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  9. Any plans to possibly upgrade equipment on Zagreb flights?

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    1. I think this two daily arrangement works for them best so not sure if there is a need for them to add more capacity at the moment but probably at one point they will switch to A330 or B787.

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    2. Or they could join two daily into one using a380

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    3. It's never more feasible to have one flight with more seats than two flights a day.

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    4. It is! But probably only if it concerns a congested and therefore heavily slot restricted airport.

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  10. Great news. Hope to see some more destinations soon.

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  11. Replies
    1. If they do go for secondary cities, they will probably start Dubrovnik seasonally.

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    2. Dubrovnik is not a secondary city

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  12. Qatar Airways has the best position of MEB3 when it comes to ex-Yu. Perfect aircraft for this market.

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    1. FZ flies to more destionations than QR in ex -yu plus they codeshare with EK flies to ZAG.

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  13. I know about DBV and VAR that are topping their list. It will be interesting to see what else they will have in their hands.

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    1. I think that LJU and TGD will go before them.

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    2. VAR is a sure candidate for them but not sure they included it when they were talking about the "region"... it must be something from ex-yu

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    3. Region is all the Balkans. There is no political region called - Ex-Yu

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    4. Za exYu se naravno koristi termin zapadn Balkan.

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  14. And just a few years ago having Qatar Airways seemed like something no airport in ex-Yu could accomplish. Now they fly to more ex-Yu capital cities than Lufthansa :D

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    1. Alen Šćuric PurgerNovember 7, 2017 at 9:55 AM

      Not true

      Qatar ZAG, BEG, SJJ, SKP
      Lufthansa ZAG, SPU, DBV, RJK, ZAD, BEG, SJJ + Adria and Croatia nonstop code-share to FRA and MUC

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    2. I said more ex-Yu CAPITAL cities. As far as I'm aware Split, Dubrovnik, Rijeka and Zadar are not capitals.

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    3. Also there is a difference between lh and eurowings

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    4. Alen Šćuric PurgerNovember 8, 2017 at 12:05 AM

      Sorry did not see word "capital". But what is so important in capital? SPU and DBV are much bigger airports than most of ExYU capitals? So, why are capital airports so important?

      I did not speak about Eurowings. Lufthansa has flights to SPU, DBV, ZAD and RJK. Eurowings also.

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  15. People here were claiming how they were launching DBV in 2016, 2017, now 2018... I mean I do hope it happens but...

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    1. It goes to show that they have been considering it for some time.

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  16. Does QR fly with a320 to ZAG?

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    1. Yes both flights are with the A320. During the summer one was operated by A321.

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    2. Yes, on some days even with A321

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    3. Last couple of months they sent the A321 near daily at least once.

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    4. @AnonymousNovember 7, 2017 at 9:43 AM

      Mostly A321, sometimes 2nd flight is A320, however it is double daily with A321, has been since September. During June, July and august they sent only A320 cause they had A321 fleet shortage.

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  17. "Eastern Europe was neglected, it was an empire of the carriers of Western Europe, which used to put a lot of financial pressure on the Balkan people".

    hahaha

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    1. Incredibly honest and true.

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    2. shows how stupid that guy from qatar is.

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    3. Stupid!!!
      His airline is strong, making money, expanding constantly and has the power to challenge Airbus, cancel deliveries last minute. I wouldn't cal that stupid.

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  18. Judging by the amount of promotions they have on an almost daily basis I don't think they are doing so well financially and are probably in need of quick cash.

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    1. My thoughts too. I am signed up to their newsletter for promotions. Last year they were very few, this past 6 months I'm getting them on a weekly basis. Just yesterday they send one for business and economy. They are often selling 2 business class seats for the price of one. Tickets to southeast Asia are dirt cheap.

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    2. ... whereas most of the promototions
      of QR are nothing else than PR- they distribute very few tickets at prices mentioned in these promotions.

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  19. Great news. With world cup being hosted in qatar in a few years numbers will continue to go up. Good luck to QR on their ex-Yu routes.

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  20. I'm surprised none of the Mjd-east airlines fly to Pristina.

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    1. One word - Skopje. It's close by and cater for both markets.

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    2. *and caters for both markets.

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    3. Air Arabia used to fly from Sharjah to Pristina a few years ago.

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    4. For two weeks...

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  21. What on earth are they going to do once the blockade is over? They won't have enough planes to restart those routes plus keep all the upgrades.

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    1. Doesn't seem that blockade will be lifted anytime soon.

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    2. Well, take into account that they receive new aircrafts as well, plus it is very unlikely that they will have a need for same capacity to GCC once (and if) blockade is over. Maybe they will not need so much flights since the damage over blockade will be longlasting.

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    3. They are getting planes all the time so they don't know what to do with them. They have 5 planes flying for BA all the time. Also if worse comes to worse they can always drop some flights. I can just imagine the losses they will have on routes like Canberra.

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    4. Well, note that CBR granted them second daily service to SYD, as CBR is flying via SYD. It is pretty obvious they are using CBR just to gain more access to SYD (as bilateral allows them to have more SYD flights if they operate to non primary city like CBR). So, CBR is no the focus of that route, 2nd daily SYD is.

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    5. They get a lot of heavies at the moment, so QTR upgrades a lot of flights. Lastly this frees up 320 aircraft.

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    6. Exactly, Canberra is just being used to get greater access to Sydney.

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  22. "Eastern Europe was neglected, it was an empire of the carriers of Western Europe, which used to put a lot of financial pressure on the Balkan people."

    The Empire is strong in LJU. Only one member of the Skyteam empire is still insisting in this totally Star Alliance environment.

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    1. +1
      Sarajevo is not much better either. Star Alliances playground.

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    2. Skopje too- total dominance of Star Alliance-no member of Sky team or Oneworld flies here

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    3. In Ljubljana Air France, Transavia, Finnair (summer), Air Serbia, Montenegro Airlines, easyJet, Wizz air, El Al (summer) are all non-*A.

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    4. if people have conspiracy theories- let them have.

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    5. Please... EasyJet and Wizzair dont offer connection flights. But they killed Slovenian market for British Airways, so you're forced to take Star Alliance when flying overseas. There is also no company from OneWorld empire. I know Spanish that are coming to Slovenia and they have to fly to Trieste. But there is no demand for LJ? Please... Star Alliance & Fraport evil at work.

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    6. correction: QR flies to SKP and its in one world- but still, all the others (OS, TK, OU, JP, and soon A3) are star alliance. I don't count Wizz & JU, since they are in no alliances

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    7. Well, Finnair is OneWorld, AirFrance and Transavia are SkyTeam and easyJet offers connections via Gatwick Connect.

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  23. Someone tell the guy that Balkan is not Eastern Europe.

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  24. Probably Ljubljana and 1 or 2 coast-cities (Dubrovnik, Split or Podgorica), maybe only seasonal. It is also possible to upgrade existing routes. I can't see any other possibilities.

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    1. I do find it interesting how middle east airlines have suddenly started flying seasonal routes which was unthinkable a few years ago. Etihad fles Venice seasonally, Qatar will be flying Mykonos, Flydubai has Tivat and Batumi. Not sure if Emirates flies any season routes.

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  25. I expect Qatar will add Ljubljana in 2018 4x per week and keep Zagreb at double daily.

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  26. There is planned huge investment from Qatar investors in Ohrid for hotel resorts. If that eventually be done, we might see Ohrid on their map too, who knows...
    I'm not sure how SKP is doing so far for Qatar, any (serious) input on this is very welcome.

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    1. That's great news!

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    2. If this is true it will be bad news, not a good one!

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  27. It's interesting that Al Baker went to Sarajevo for the inaugural flight. He rarely goes to these first flight ceremonies.

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  28. My inside dources say that SKP is actually doing way better than BEG, higher load factor.

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    1. Yes that's why they increased Belgrade from 4 to 7 per week in winter and increased capacity from an A320 to an A321. Stick to your inside "D"ources.

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    2. they don't have anywehere to fly so they are pumping up otherwise totally losing destinations like ZAG and BEG.

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    3. It seems that today's BEG 330 came full and is also full back to DOH! BEG is killing it!

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    4. ... and anon 12:35 please don't start with yet another story that somebody else may be better than BEG in anything.... we have enough discussions between Serbs and Croats- we don't need another thread and the mantra is: BEG is the best in everything

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    5. Nobody is claiming it's the best. I'm just looking at facts.

      SKP - 4 weekly route
      BEG - daily with A321

      Now if you tend to trust his inside "D"ources instead of visible facts, that's your issue and judging by your writing it is obvious why you would. I can smell he is a troll from a mile away.

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    6. QR cannot fly more than 4 weekly to SKP due to bilateral, but load factor and yield is way better on SKP.

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    7. well, SKP became world famous with its architecture, I would trust his source
      and expect daily flights soon

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    8. I must ask anon 12.35 and his friend 12.55 why they increased capacity to Belgrade and not Skopje? Maybe his inside sources could shed some light.

      The thing you write about bilateral is utter bull. Macedonia has a free sky agreement with Qatar which is published on the internet. There are no restrictions in the number of operated flights. Stop trolling.

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    9. We have gone from load factor is better to load factor and yield is better :D The guy is taking you all for a ride. Nice touch with the bilateral though that is completely false since you can check it online.

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    10. His inside dource is Al Baker himself when he has insight into yields on each route.

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    11. How low can you people go? I can't imagine the intelectual makeup of a person who posts bull as a provocation. Grow up!

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    12. so easy to fire you guys up, hahahahah

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    13. Why do you people even bother to answer him. If it gives the guy and his Croatian compatriots the satisfaction let it be.

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    14. Just goes to show how easy is to rile up people from the ex yu with honestly totally obvious trolling.

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    15. @Anon at 1:21 PM Yes, because anyone trolling Belgrade just has to be a Croat. No way it could be someone from Macedonia, or Bosnia, or Kosovo, or Montenegro, or Bulgaria....

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    16. Yes, interestingly enough, anon 1:21PM actually said a lot more about himself than 'Croatian compatriots'.

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    17. It looks to me that most people who troll Serbia are from Serbia. Its team Jat v team Air Serbia more than anything else.

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  29. ZAG is also half empty. SJJ is much better and it is expected to shift some ZAG flights to SJJ, reduce ZAG back to 10 weekly.

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    1. Lol. And shift Emirates as well.

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    2. Anonymouse 12.38 samo se ti okani Zagreba u ovoj vasoj svađi i nemoj nas uvlaciti u te gluposti.

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    3. Mislim da je vise nego ocigledno ko je zapoceo 'svadju'. Veruj mi da nije ni iz Makedonije ni iz Srbije ;)

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    4. Ko nas bre zavadi!:)

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  30. Don't understand why so many airlines are avoiding LJU like the plague. I know it is close to bigger hubs but it can also attract passengers from smaller cities. Hope to see QR in Ljubljana soon.

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  31. OT: Air Transat begins nonstop Zagreb flights from Montreal on 30 May 2018.

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    1. Not in the system and tkts can't be bought...

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    2. ok then look again.

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    3. I did. You can buy connecting tickets but flights operate via Toronto with B737-800 on YUL-YYZ sector so false info.

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    4. Oh sorry you are right. Its just one flight that operates from ZAG to YUL on 30. May.

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    5. At the moment you can book 5 diresct flights ZAG-YUL in May and September

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    6. Does Montreal have a large diaspora in its metroregion?

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    7. Most Croats live in the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec and Manitoba, and in the cities of Toronto, Mississauga, Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, etc.

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  32. I think that in the context of the Balkans they might be talking about Tirana or Thesalonikki. Anyway hope we see another EX-YU route.

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  33. it is always great to see al baker
    wouldn't like to work for the man, but he is certainly fun to watch.
    giving interview in regards with this last crisis in quatar - saudi relations, falling mid-east demand and USA travel ban, the guy looked very confident saying something like "this is no biggie, we will just find other markets to develop".
    in time when even emirates are shaking seeing this man as confident as he was, was really a model how a leader should act.

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    1. I agree with you. Although in his last interview he did admit that they will have a loss in 2017 but he said this was because of the gulf ban.

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    2. They are even worse than TK profitability wise... THE most unprofitable of all the ME3

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    3. U have some report to confirm that? Or are you saying it 'by feeling'?

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  34. I love the photo with the girls in national dress and cabin crew :)

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    1. I don't get it ... who are they supposed to represent ?

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  35. I want to puke when I see anywhere this narcisstic fascist

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    1. His reputation is worse than Harvey Weinstein... just ask any of their cabin crew

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  36. Stekaju se pare za Bihac, zapamtite to ime i taj grad a uskoro i taj aerodrom.

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  37. For those interested, Qatar Airways A330-300 landing in BEG today
    https://youtu.be/Xut5wUtxRlE

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    1. Thank you. The most interesting part of the video was the RO A318.

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  38. I would not be surprised if Qatar sends a 332 or 788 instead of a 321 during the 2018 season to MZLZ, the predicted passenger numbers would surely allow that.

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    1. Load factor is really good on Doha flights, 205 000 Aussies and 37000 Kiwis visited Croatia this year so far, next year 250 000 Aussies and 50 000 Kiwis in Croatia, at least!!!

      Emirates and Qatar won't even come close to meeting the needs of these two markets and potential there is...

      India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia are all major emitting emerging markets for Croatia. 65000 Indians, 40 000 Malaysians and 35000 Thy visitors expected in Croatia this year, 15000 Indonesians.

      140 000 Taiwanese visitors, 37 000 HK visitors, 170 000 Chinese Visitors, 150 000 Japanese visitors expected to visit Croatia this year.

      Total number of visitors to Croatia this year will be in the region of 18.4 million, 103 million nights.

      If Qatar doesn't use B787 next year, 2019 is certain they'll have to, at least on morning flights.





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    2. Not all tourists would be flying in directly many would be coming in by car or other transportation from nearby countries. There are many Serbians on Aussie passports who visit what is now Croatia but are visiting their villages, they mostly fly into Serbia and drive across. That’s the problem with tourist statistics don’t always show the correct details

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  39. Qatar Airways is pleased to announce that it will launch flights to Thessaloniki, Greece next year. The award-winning airline will operate four weekly flights to the Greek city commencing 27 March 2018.


    https://www.qatarairways.com/en/press-r ... s-releases

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