Friday, March 9, 2018

Qatar Airways eyes further EX-YU growth


Qatar Airways plans to further grow its operations in the former Yugoslavia in 2018 following frequency and capacity upgrades last year. The Qatari carrier will maintain double daily flights to Zagreb with its Airbus A320 aircraft throughout the summer, while services to the Serbian capital will run daily with its 182-seat A321 jet. As EX-YU Aviation News learns, the airline is considering increasing capacity on both routes next year, along with Bucharest, with the deployment of wide-body aircraft. Qatar Airways' Chief Commercial Officer, Ehab Amin, said that the region remains an important one within the carrier's network, "We feel that the Balkans are underserved and we would like to provide countries in the Balkans with a five star product they deserve. That is why we are focusing on such markets with high opportunities, which benefits both sides, the people in these countries and Qatar Airways as well. We will continue to seek opportunities in this region"

The Gulf carrier has signalled that both of its services to Skopje and Sarajevo, which were launched last year, could see an increase in frequencies in the near future. "Qatar Airways is very pleased with the results of the performance of both Skopje and Sarajevo routes. The capitals of Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are served four times a week with an Airbus A320 aircraft and our forecasts show that, as anticipated, there will be an increase in demand for business and leisure passengers from Skopje and Sarajevo travelling on our expanding routes across the world", Barbara Selendić, Qatar Airways' Commercial Manager for Croatia, told EX-YU Aviation News. Meanwhile, the General Manager of Tuzla AIrport, Rifet Karasalihović, noted, "Qatar Airways has shown interest in cooperating with us, so we can first and foremost become an alternative to Sarajevo in case of adverse weather conditions and later see the establishment of regular charter flights".

Despite interest in Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital has not been included in the airline's raft of upcoming new routes for 2018 and 2019. The Qatari carrier announced yesterday it would launch services from its Doha hub to Luxembourg, London Gatwick, Cardiff, Lisbon, Tallinn, Valletta, Cebu and Davao in the Philippians, Langkawi in Malaysia, Da Nang in Vietnam, Bodrum, Antalya and Hatay in Turkey, as well as Mykonos, Thessaloniki and Malaga. Last summer, Qatar Airways' Group CEO, Akbar al-Baker, said that "Ljubljana is being looked at". Speaking earlier this week, Mr al-Baker noted, "Qatar Airways is tremendously excited to announce further expansion with a significant number of new destinations to be added to our extensive global network throughout 2018 and 2019. We are committed to continuing our ambitious growth strategy, in order to be able to provide our passengers with as much choice as possible and to take them anywhere in the world they wish to go”. Within Eastern Europe, the airline has announced it will increase frequencies to Warsaw, Prague and Kiev, the latter two launched just last year, to double daily operations this summer.

117 comments:

  1. Seems like Ljubljana will never get flights to the Gulf.

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    1. I hope that Qatar eventually starts Ljubljana. I don't understand why Gulf carriers are avoiding LJU.

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    2. close to ZAG?

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    3. If LJU does get flights to the Gulf I think its best chance is either Flydubai or Air Arabia.

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    4. Slovenia and Macedonia have the same population size, and as repetedly posted here "Slovenians are rich" and "Slovenians like to travel" (as if the other nations in ex-yu do not) and yet, still no flights to LJU, whereas they would allegedly increase frequences to SKP- i don't get it either...

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    5. btw SKP has TAV and they have a good reputation in the middle east

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    6. I am really surprised Fly Dubai is not operating flights to LJU. Maybe they move there once Emirates start flight to Belgrade.

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  2. I expect they will send widebody planes to Zagreb next year. This year they start widebody ops to Budapest which they also fly to double daily.

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    1. Yes, I think we might see something similar in Zagreb as we see in Budapest this year.

      Doha – Budapest QR199/200 operational aircraft changes, A320 replaced by following:
      25MAR18 – 31JUL18 A321
      01AUG18 – 27OCT18 A330-200 (Selected dates by -300 in Oct 2018)

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    2. Yeah but the only difference is that BUD was increased from A320 to A321 while ZAG went the other way around. Until recently it was A321 and now it's A320.

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    3. I think that 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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    4. It was not unusual for Qatar to send the A321 to Zagreb during the summer last year especially on the afternoon flight.

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    5. They operated one of the two daily flights with the A321 last summer. This summer it's all A320.

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    6. They can still change them to A321. Bravo, ZAG!

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  3. Wasn't ZAG supposed to be a mix of A321 and A320? Strange that they changed their plans and that they are sending less seats.

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    1. Emirates must have had an impact.

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    2. Most definitely. They dumped a B773 onto a market that was working just fine with narrowbodies.

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    3. Also, 321 has payload restiction on Zagreb vs BUD or BEG that don't. Critical few extra miles :)

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    4. Didn't know about the payload restriction. Interesting.

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    5. Yes, takes quite a few seats off of DOH ZAG leg, so not much point placing it on ZAG at present. Probably once Syria/Iraq won't have restrictions for overflying it could be different.

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    6. Good the Serbian Government forbid TK to deploy the A330. So QR will send its A321! :)

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    7. Isn't DOH-BUD the same distance as DOH-ZAG?

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    8. ZAG has 150-200 miles more which increases payload restrictions (not sure if BUD can take 100% load as well from DOH).

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    9. Didn't we see Qatar regularly send an A321 at least once on their daily flight to Zagreb during last summer?

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    10. Yes, but it had payload restriction on DOH ZAG. Hence QR really avoids deploying it to ZAG cause it doesnt give any real capacity increase and now it is all 320.

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    11. No dumping on Emirates 777-300ER. Compare to Qatar or Turkish Emirates is always more expensive, at least 10-30%.

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  4. Is Skopje really doing that well? I think they recently cancelled a flight because of poor loads.

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    1. Well, QR won't admit that a route is performing badly. It's bad PR.

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    2. They have seasonal demand for this route. Strong in summer, not so strong in winter. Plus this was their first winter. Give it some time.

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    3. lol as if you knew the reason why they cancelled a single flight

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    4. It was de facto canceled because of poor loads. I flew four days later and economy was maybe 25% full, and around 20% on the way back. I have a flight in April with return in May and I can see the load is much better, 4 in business so far compared to only me the previous time, and return leg in economy is like 60% full so far for my return in May. From the conversation with the cabin crew they told me that seasonality is issue with some of their routes, but I guess during spring/summer they have healthy loads.

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    5. the routes are seasonal all over the region with poorer loads in winter and stronger demand in summer- EK has also reduced frequences in ZAG in winter,

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    6. "de facto" when you are in doubt

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    7. I wonder if the new Solun flights could cut into SKP's share of passengers from southern Macedonia, especially Bitola where much of the diaspora is from.

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    8. Macedonians from Australia would never choose Thesalonikki. ;)

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  5. Mozevsirokotrupac u BEG ako dobro podmazu direktorat...

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    1. Qatar Airways has already sent widebodies to BEG on occasion. Also, the directorate can't do anything about it because unlike the bilateral agreement with Turkey, Serbia and Qatar have a free sky agreement which allows any aircraft type to be used.

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    2. I Turkish je...

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    3. The bilateral air agreement between Serbia and Turkey restricts capacity. The bilateral air agreement between Serbia and Qatar (like with all Gulf countries) is extremely liberal and says that any aircraft type can be used. The bilateral even allows Qatar fifth freedom rights from BEG to any other country.

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    4. For BEG pax it would also be much better to first go down the path of ZAG: have 2x daily connection on A320 instead of 1x 788 - that is totally different seat capacities!

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  6. LOL I love Tuzla Airport's optimism :D

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    1. Now it's INI's turn to state how they are expecting QR to launch flights. :D

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    2. Haha true. And since when does Qatar Airways operate charters? Why would they start charters to Tuzla.

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    3. STOP making fun of airports with potential please! You might be very surprised if QR launch flights to both INI and TZL.

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    4. Of course I would be surprised, because I personally don't think it will ever happen.

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    5. If they do go for secondary cities, they will probably start Dubrovnik seasonally.

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    6. either Split or Dubrovnik

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    7. To me it would make more sense for them to go to Split since FZ will be flying to Dubrovnik.

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    8. im also missing BWK in this story- surely there must be demand for DOH-BWK flights too, ideally with a widebody as well.

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    9. I think EK is looking at extending its ZAG service to BWK.

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    10. It's all pure envy: INI, TZL and BWK...new kids on the block!

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    11. Just make fun of it. In the End Croatia will have DBV, ZAG and SPU linked to the Middle east.

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    12. No one was making fun of Croatia but at the notion that Brac will have flights to the Middle East.

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    13. Turkish Airlines and now Flydubai get 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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    14. I think Dubrovnik is next for Qatar!

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  7. These destinations they are adding - Malaga, Thessaloniki, Canberra... who on earth is going to fly on these routes.

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    1. Are you seriously doubting Thessaloniki?

      It's Greece's second larges city, a popular tourist destination and on top of that there is a massive Greek community in Australia.

      No offense, but the cities you listed above make far more sense and have far more potential than some cities in the region.

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    2. LOL have you ever been to Malaga? It's one of Spain's hottest spots. The city of Antonio Banderas, come on. The city is growing like crazy and has one of the best beaches in the country.
      Canberra is the Australian capital.
      I think QR are very clever picking up destinations.
      So save us your "who on earth is going to fly on these routes" comment.

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    3. muhaha Antonia Banderas

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    4. QR's Canberra flight allows them to stop in Sydney and collect passengers from there, meaning it's really a second Sydney flight. Otherwise I agree, it seems that they really have run out of destinations to fly to.

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    5. Canberra was introduced just so they could increase Sydney. They don't have fifth freedom between Sydney and Canberra.

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    6. All three airports you mentioned are far busier than any exyu airport.

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  8. Flydubai is more proactive than QR on this market. They fly to Tivat/Podgorica, starting Dubrovnik, increasing BEG.

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    1. flydubai has two advantages over Qatar Airways:

      1. Dubai has a lot of O&D demand and is actually a popular tourist destination.

      2. Emirates' much stronger brand and network out of Dubai.

      Also, one can argue that Qatar is still catching up to Emirates, not only in this region, but globally. Reminds me of Iznogoud: I want to be Caliph instead of the Caliph.

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    2. For example they will fly 21 weekly to Sarajevo this summer at one point and Qatar Airways will be 4 weekly.

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    3. +1 for Nemjee's comment.

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  9. It turned out that OTP and ZAG were quite successful as they quickly launched 2 daily flights.
    On the other hand SOF also will receive 4 extra flights starting end of March - total 11. I am expecting the same for BEG very soon.
    SKP - will most likely remain the same for the time being.
    SJJ - I am expecting to see an increase as there was always demand from/to Gulf.
    LJU - I think its proximity to ZAG is the reason why they are not considering it.
    ZAG - perhaps 3 extra flights by 2019
    PRN - quite unlikely

    Other possible future Balkan destinations:
    TIA, CLJ, DBV, VAR, INI, TGD

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    1. I agree with you.

      BTW Qatar Airways said last November that they will increase BEG to 10 or 11 weekly soon. It's not a rumor or something. They publicly said it.

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    2. I hope Qatar opts for frequencies rather than capacity. Their schedule is not optimal as the flight arrives way too early for a lot of Asian connections.

      They need a flight that arrives to Doha late at night, around 22.00 or 23.00.

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    3. BEG needs the same flights SOF received: late departure from BEG arriving DOH in the middle of the night to make connections with early morning flights to Australasia.

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    4. Basically BEG needs someone to fly JU 800 again.

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    5. Yap. 4 pw is enough.

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  10. dont forget that Qatar doesnt get feed from the Gulf states at the moment (embargo). Flights would be more successful once the embargo is lifted.

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    1. Agree. They flew 18 routes to UAE, Saudi and other countries participating in the blockade. Does Egypt still block QR?

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  11. Good conection BEG-DOH-SYD. with rapid growing Qarar Airways. Lot of exatments comming to South East European countrys, in air trafic...

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    1. I am not so sure if I wanted to be in a plane for 15 hours or more!!

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  12. On Wednesday, March 7, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker told reporters at the ITB travel fair in Berlin that the airline will report a "very large loss."

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    1. On Etihad's track...

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    2. All MEB3 airlines operate at a loss because they were not set up on healthy foundations. Emirates too. No matter what they all display to the public.

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    3. well obviously. Don´t want to know the losses they have on the routes they serve in the region.

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  13. I see some quality reduction in their business class product. Although there planes and the hard product is excellent, these are the things I noticed when I flow twice business this year to SIN and HND compared to my business class flight couple years ago:

    1. They reduced the quality of their champagnes and wines overall
    2. Rose champagne is running out every on every flight
    3. On all of the flights although they have dine on demand option in business, they don't have all the options available which are visible in the menu, or they have limited amount
    4. Al Mourjan lounge, the food options are limited, no more menu for choosing meals in the restaurant, repeating food choices in the buffet.
    5. No more brown/white sugar cubes on each table, they swapped them with cheap white sugar in paper package, similar to what you get in your local cafe. (I know its small detail but I noticed).
    6. Their privilege club FF program got two updates lately and both updates reduced the options for their members. I'm a silver but not too much options even for silver, after the updates.

    Compared to what they were 2,3 years ago I'm not sure if they go in positive direction. If I can choose again, I would rather choose Turkish but I might switch back to them after my last QR flight in April.

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    1. I'm not surprised. They must have massive losses.

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    2. I flow last year to NRT and this year to SIN in business. I did not notice shortage in food options on this flights or any limitation. Airbus A350-900 on the DOH-SIN-DOH leg was excellent. Only downsize is that business class hard product on BEG-DOH-BEG leg was much weaker than out of Doha to the east. Anyway, I prefer flying Qatar over EY or TK when I travel to Asia.

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  14. And in the same time they said that they are yet to announce huge losses for 2017... Reminds me of somebody :)

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  15. 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. They only offer a couple of tickets for those promotions.

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    2. These promotions are mostly PR, plus all carriers have them.

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    3. It is normal thing. EK does it nearly all the time, TK has regular fares which are more or less like EK/QR promo levels...just the appearance is different, in a nutshell they all do the same.

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  16. 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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  17. When I remember that they were flying to Zagreb via Budapest and Belgrade via Ankara. Look at them now.

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    1. Does anyone have info on QR actual loads for BEG and ZAG?

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    2. +1 11.17

      It´s amazing to think that BEG was launched in November 2012 with 3 flights per w and now, then via SOF and now 5 years leekater it went daily and will be served with an A321:

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  18. Time for B787 to ZAG.

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    1. I doubt it, this summer they downgraded the A321 by replacing it with A320..

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    2. I'm surprised they are decreasing capacity.

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    3. They will actually operate more flights than last year since flights will be double daily for the entire summer which was not the case last year.

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    4. Ne razumijem koju ekspanziju očekujete u ZAG ovu godinu, s obzirom da EK je tek prvu godinu došao sa 777, jeste li svjesni da je to skoro 100% povećanja kapaciteta prema Aziji? Treba to sve popuniti, QR je sigurno solidno izgubio, i TK također. Barem 1-2 god će biti stabilizacije i uhodavanja dok se svi ponovo popune na zadovoljavajuće postotke. Prije ljeta 2020 ne očekujem widebody QR u ZAG, niti je stvarno realna potreba. Možda se TK vrati na 14pw na zimu, i to je to... ljudi malo na zemlju stanite.

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    5. Anon 2:48PM. Konačno normalnije rezoniranje. Pouzdano znam da QR nije izgubio na broju putnika zbog EK jer potražnja raste, ali ne baš brzinom kojom raste kapacitet. Slažem se da će trebati bar dvije godine da se pojavi realna potreba za većim kapacitetom prema Aziji, i to pod uvjetom da u međuvremenu ne dođe neki novi relevantni prijevoznik. Ex YU nije rupa bez dna, sada već govorimo o ozbiljnim kapacitetima prema Aziji s obzirom na veličinu tržišta, kako u Hrvatskoj, tako i u Srbiji.

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  19. Its funny how easyjet flies to GVA 3 times a week to BEG with GVA having a massive Serbian diaspora, but ME Carriers fly 4 times daily. This shows how crazy this has become. With the airlines having massive aircraft on order they eventually will start towns like INI, SPU or PUY . Where else should they send these birds. Really worrying in the middle to long run!

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    1. 4-5k Srba u tom delu Svice svakako nije "a massive"

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    2. Pod jedan: Svajcarska-Srbija i nazad, ljudi putuju kolima, autobusima, vozovima, uz avione. Sa Katarom to bas i ne ide tako lako. I pod dva : i cenama, i kvalitetom, i frekvencijama Katar/Emirati su daleko bolja opcija za tranzit za Australiju/Daleki Istok nego Svajcarska. I sta je ona tu cudno sto ima vise ponude za ME. Plus toga jos je i ponuda jaka za Cirih pa i to donekle smanji Zenevu

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  20. Tuzla Airport CEO has announced charter flights from Doha to Tuzla. Is this guy serious??? QR does not operate charters.

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    1. He also announced Fly Dubai to Tuzla. The airline had to deny it later on.

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  21. Are their new Malaga and Thessaloniki flights seasonal?

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    1. Malaga is seasonal, 04JUN18 – 30SEP18 4 weekly Boeing 787-8.

      Thessaloniki is year round 4 weekly A320.

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    2. That is bad news for SKP, especially with Fly Dubai also stating year round Thesaloniki.

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  22. Good news for all airports involved and passengers too.

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  23. Ako mogu birati izmedju velike ptice 1x dnevno ili manje ptice 2x dnevno......biram potonje.

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  24. If we go literally by what they said, since they mentioned potential capacity increases in Zagreb and Belgrade, without changing the frequencies, that would mean at least one daily flight to Zagreb with A321. And in Belgrade, that would be one daily with a widebody...either A330 or the Dreamliner.
    However, I think that for Belgrade it would be way better if they increased the frequency to double daily, like in Zagreb, but both flights utilizing the A321. That would mean both: more capacity than one daily widebody and would also be more accommodating for the citizens of Belgrade.
    Don't know the numbers for Belgrade, but I doubt they'd be risking anything. If Zagreb can justify double daily flights to the gulf with QR and a daily EK 777, Belgrade surely could justify it as well.
    Additionally Qatar Airways is cheaper.

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    1. Croatia has far more tourists using Qatar or Emirates.

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  25. Comparing Emirates product 10% fare expensive is really small diff , this is 20-30 Eur more for real 5 star product in 777-300ER , Emirates product ex Zagreb is best on the market and WR and TK can not comate with old A320s.

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    1. To nije istina.
      da se razumjemo i ne lazemo, hrana u avionima je odvratna. razlike u kvaliteti medju kompanijama se mjere u nijansama....
      pice? TK ima najbolje vino, sve ostalo je takodjer smece.


      Kakvocu kompanije mjerim nekim drugim parametrima.
      1. i osnovni je koliko brzo me mogu prebaciti od pocetne do zavrsne destinacije u slucaju otkaza/kasnjenja leta.
      u tom segmentu su svi negdje LiLa.....mozda Qatar odskace jer se u mojem slucaju, pobrinuo da letim business klasom.

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  26. Qatar Airways operates at close to $1 billion net loss each year, which of course they don't disclose. That means that as regards route performance, every single route they operate loses money, just a question of how much.

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    1. And that fact is based on which source exactly..since you even indicate a number...?

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