Qatar Airways eyes Sarajevo

Qatar Airways Chairman to visit Sarajevo

A delegation of political and business leaders from Qatar, among which is Qatar Airways Chairman, his Excellency Ali Shareef Al Emadi, will be attending the upcoming Sarajevo Business Forum taking place on May 14 and 15 in the Bosnian capital. The visit by the high ranking delegation has raised speculation by local press that the Qatari national carrier could either launch flights to Sarajevo in the near future or possibly acquire a minority stake in B&H Airlines. The visit comes only weeks after Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker, said the airline is again pursuing acquisitions in foreign carriers after being offered to invest in the likes of Olympic and Jat Airways in the region.

Despite its small size, B&H Airlines has managed to garner interest from foreign carriers on several occasions. Prior to Turkish Airlines relinquishing its shares in B&H, Royal Jordanian Airlines also bid for the Bosnian carrier as well as a consortium of companies from Malaysia. In addition, Libya’s Buraq Air showed strong interest in B&H last year. The Federation government of Bosnia and Herzegovina is desperately looking to offload a minority stake in its national airline to a foreign investor and has been on the lookout for a strategic partner.

Sarajevo Airport does not have scheduled, year-round, flights to the Middle East. Currently, the Lebanese national carrier MEA operates seasonal services from Beirut to the Bosnian capital while there are also charter flights to Sarajevo from Kuwait City during the peak of the summer season. In late 2012, low cost airline Flydubai announced plans to launch two weekly flights to Sarajevo from April 2013. Ultimately, plans for the service were shelved in early 2013 with the airline citing crew duty times as the reason for the route’s cancelation. Qatar Airways currently operates flights to both Zagreb and Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia. In a week’s time the airline will mark two years since it inaugurated flights to the Croatian capital via Budapest. Qatar enjoys fifth freedom rights between Budapest and Zagreb, allowing it to sell tickets between the two cities. Soon after, the Qatari national carrier launched flights to Belgrade via Ankara. Turkish authorities have not issued the airline fifth freedom liberties between its capital and Belgrade. Whether Sarajevo is next in Qatar Airways’ line of new destinations remains to be seen.


  1. Anonymous09:05

    If BiH can sell itself to Kuwaiti tourists successfully, what's to say that it cannot do the same with Qatar? There already is visa liberalization for Qatari passport holders. I think this route has potential.

  2. Anonymous10:26

    Again not good news for Croatia Airlines and its so called Ceo Mr. Kucko .If even BH can get sold and CTN not that means there is something wrong with Croatia Airlines maybe Mr. Kucko business plan which proves in the business world that the plan is actually not a plan but just to put extra money in his pocket in the modern world this is known as coruption.

  3. Anonymous10:41

    This is investors conference. I don`t think that they would participate on that event just to open a route.

    Mr. Ali Shareef Al Emadi is not even in charge of that company sector.

    I have a feeling that QA want to compete with Etihad in the region after AOC for their "Al Maha Airways" company in KSA was refused due to tense diplomatic relations between two countries.

  4. Anonymous11:00

    OU is dead if they buy BH.

  5. Anonymous11:19

    I don't understand how could anyone buy BH Airlines over Adria or Croatia Airlines, countries in th EU, higher GDP and standard, many tourists (especially Croatia), infrastructure already built, no visas needed in most countries...

    1. Anonymous11:42

      "countries in the EU"

      There's your answer :)

    2. Anonymous11:45

      But you forget .The main problem by Croatia Airlines is their Ceo Mr.Kucko, it will not be in his interest if any none Croatian company buys CTN.That would mean he would be replaced by a capable Ceo .For his financial situation it would not be interesting because nowhere he will find a Company that pays his private trips to Amsterdam + children's schools and not forgetting helping to pay his mortgage of his house in The Netherlands and his daily allowances when he travels every weekend to Amsterdam on business

    3. Anonymous12:06

      That's correct he manages CTN only 3 days a week because on Friday his off to Amsterdam and Mondays he fly back to Zagreb .It's true he gets daily allowance for the days in Amsterdam my question since when do you do business every weekend .wake up people , we from Croatia we can only complain I think it's time to take action not only due to Croatia Airlines also the government ..Croatia Airlines is a copy of what's happening in our country.

    4. Anonymous12:39

      What a bad luck for unfortunate OU and JP... Once again a rich foreign investor will prefer 'the poorest country in Europe' over them. Their countries are so shiny and rich and uber worth, but stupid investors keep going to those poor places where average salary cannot even cover the price of a shorthaul ticket. What a pity for the master race and its master carriers. Tears just keep falling...

    5. Anonymous12:58

      Sorry , OU has arrogant Ceo and investors dont like to talk with arrogant people with big EGO

    6. One thing I don’t understand is this constant argument about Mr. Kucko and how he is the biggest crook and thief ever. The argument they use to support this statement is how he lives in Amsterdam, how OU pays for him to work 3 days etc. etc. But if you think about it, you can’t really blame the guy since he was given all of these things when he was asked to become the CEO. I would take such a package if it was offered to me, you would too. If you think this is not appropriate you should really blame the government or the transportation minister or whoever signed his package. Rather than this, you should concentrate on his business acumen. Guy obviously lacks vision or common sense on many levels (the other question is what he could do differently under these political and economic circumstances) . The fact that he’s got some CEO type perks with his job is irrelevant, they all do.

    7. Anonymous17:25

      Well thats why everybody wants to buy CTN. Because Ceo with such labour agreement working 3 days a week Do you really think that it is in his interest that OU gets sold dont think so. Because then he will have to pay everything himself and work for his money

    8. Anonymous18:54

      All this was given to him by his friend in the goverment not thanks to his qualities so please. That you get it due to your qualities I dont think anybody has a problem with that.

    9. Anonymous18:55

      Hope Qatar has plans for BH Airlines, or they plan to introduce flights to Sarajevo... Croatia Airlines simply missed all the chances to become a good carrier and our government does nothing to help them!

    10. @ Anon 6:54 PM

      Again, I fail to understand how come you are frustrated with him and not his friend who gave him all of this.

    11. @ SM
      I think anyone with common sense would become frustrated by such behavior of a CEO that is leading a state owned company and spending taxpayer’s money for his own promotion and benefits. I agree that Mr. Kucko is not the only problem. He is just a reflection of an overall attitude that prevails in Croatian economic as well the political sphere. This attitude of entitlement and irresponsibility has to end if the country wants to make any progress. While we have bunch of educated professionals who are leaving the country to get a job someplace else, we reward those crooks and peasants with falsified diplomas, who just fill up their own pockets and devastate state companies to the extent that they have to be sold or have to be shut down altogether because no one wants to buy them anymore.

  6. OT

    Today 5 regular flights from Sarajevo to Istanbul:

    08:50 Turkish Airlines, A321, 188 seats
    11:50 Pegasus, B737-800, 185 seats
    12:40 Sun Express, B737-800, 185 seats
    14:15 Turkish Airlines, B737-800, 165 seats
    20:35 Turkish Airlines, B737-800, 165 seats

    Sarajevo Airport reports huge demand for Istanbul flights.

    In summer 2014, on selected days, there will be up to 7 daily flights from Sarajevo to Istanbul including B&H Airlines and Onur Air.

    In summer 2014, Sarajevo - Istanbul route will be the most frequent and will carry most passengers in former Jugoslavia.

    1. These are just crazy numbers. congrats SJJ. Unfortunately none of these is BH airlines - such a shame.

      @Sarajevo do you have a feeling what kind of pax fills these seats? Is it mostly transfer pax, Bosnian nationals …? That’s A LOT of seats for such a small city and relatively small country and I know there is a big Bosnian diaspora in Turkey but not to fill 800+ seats a day

    2. @SM

      Sarajevo metropolitan area is home to some 600.000 inhabitants. There are about 1.5 million inhabitants which are potential customers of Sarajevo Airport.

      60% passengers fly directly from SJJ to Istanbul, other 40% use Istanbul as transfer hub.

      P.S.: I heard it yesterday: Sarajevo Int. Airport expects 500.000 passenger on the Istanbul route till 2020.

      2. There are many companies from Turkey doing business in Sarajevo and Bosnia.
      Recently, Al Shiddy group opened the most modern shopping mall in former Jugoslavia, Sarajevo City Center, and opened way for more investments from near east in Sarajevo and central Bosnia.
      On the other hand, Sarajevo´s companies Energoinvest and Ans Drive use Istanbul as transfer point for their workers in Near East.

      Also, there is huge Bosnian diaspora i Australia flying via Singapore and Istanbul to Sarajevo/Bosnia.

    3. And Sarajevo is on the way to become Balkans most important congress center.

      Right now, Sarajevo is home to the biggest business forum in Southeast Europe, Sarajevo Business Forum.
      The city also plans to construct Sarajevo Congress Center in order to carry out all business meetings at one place:

      All this contributes to passenger improvement of SIA.

    4. Anonymous15:48

      "Sarajevo metropolitan area is home to some 600.000 inhabitants." LOL. What a metropolitan area that is!!! Don't be so funny. Sarajevo might have the biggest congress center in the world, yet it is among the last congress cities in the Balkans, not talking of Europe.

    5. Anonymous15:50

      FYI - SIA is the IATA code of Xian airport, not that you think Sarajevo might compete with it :D

    6. He probably meant SIA as Sarajevo International Airport. I have noticed that many people call BEG as ANT. Gets a bit confusing with all those acronyms :)

    7. Anonymous17:04

      I am against calling Belgrade "ANT", that's very stupid and shallow.

    8. @ Sarajevo

      Thank you for the info, it's very interesting as I said. I’d love to know what’s the next busiest route out of SJJ and what’s the number there.

      Being from Sarajevo myself, I’ve never heard any of my Muslim friends going to Turkey or having relatives there before the war. But I guess a lots of things changed since then both in BiH and especially Turkey (economy, tourism etc.). It is easy to see from these numbers alone what country has the biggest influence (economy and politics) in Federacija. The only issue I have with all of this is that people working for JA see very little or no benefit out of these big numbers (I guess it’s people working for the airport do)

    9. I would think that VIE is probbaly the 2nd busiest route out of SJJ

    10. Anonymous00:30


      What happened to all the new routes you mentioned from Sarajevo a while ago?

      "all the contracts were signed" remember....

    11. @AnonymousMay 2, 2014 at 3:48 PM

      Why are u so full of hate? Had a bad day?
      Which congresses does for instance Belgrade or Sofia have?
      Should I remember you, that Sarajevo is home to Sarajevo Business Forum (biggest in Southeast Europe) and home to Sarajevo Film Festival, also one of the biggest in Europe?

      SIA = Sarajevo Int. Airport

      The second busiest route to of Sarajevo is clearly Vienna, being followed by Munich.

  7. Anonymous14:20

    Croatian Airlines does not have any proper eastern destination on their map. Western destination are not unique and they are meant for feeding Star hubs.So what happens if they can't even feed austro-german hubs the right way?

    That is where B&H can step in, with Qatari support.

    B&H can concetrate on those eastern destination that are not being served or wont be served by AirSerbia. For example Lebanon, Libya, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen, Jordan, Kuwait. Also another interesting destinations could be Azerbaijan.

    AirSerbia on the other hand would turn towards eastern and mid european places like Poland, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Israel, Bulgaria etc etc.

    In my oppinion, every normal Croat would prefer either driving to the country that speaks the same (however we may call it) language as he/she does or transfering there, then doing it in FRA or TXL. If the prices are good, that is. So that is how you take the most precious jewel OU has - feeding Star hubs.

    And that's how you punish Croatia Airlines.

    But, I think OU would never go totally bankrupt, because they have 6 mil foreign tourists. Still, if they focuss only on summer season, that is also not so good especially with all those charter airlines, low cost airlines and seasonal lines.

    All in all, B&H must not miss this opportunity.

    1. Provided that there is one which I'm not so sure about.

      Remember,this is just a business forum meeting that Qatar's Chair is attending. Remember in the past transportation minister was announcing interest from many different companies and nothing ever happened.

  8. JU520 BEGLAX15:04

    Today 2 LX A321 ZRH BEG plus A320 GVA BEG
    Air Serbia with A320 and A319 BEG ZRH

    1. SuisseOuest15:49

      Impressive! I hope this high demand keeps capacity high and prices reasonable :)

    2. Anonymous18:42

      Maybe Swiss will consider a third daily flight in the summer season ?
      Or Etihad Regional complimenting the existing Air Serbia flights with additional daily nonstops from ZRH.

    3. With the current loads, the introduction of the A320 into JU's fleet has been more than justified. Today the Moscow A320 flight arrived completely full.

    4. Anonymous20:38

      Etihad will soon start codesharing on JU BEG-ZRH route.

    5. That should be good, anyway, there are always quite a few passengers connecting onto JU's ZRH flight from EY's one.

    6. Anonymous21:17

      Current bilateral between Serbia and Switzerland prevented this, but they have been renegotiated (at request of JU), so it should pave the way for EY to codeshare on JU flights to CH, as well as for the introduction of new flights and routes.

    7. Anonymous00:42

      Nemjee my brother, give me more info on loads on flight operated by Air Serbia

    8. JATBEGMEL05:51

      Years ago, while YU-AMB was still in the fleet, it was frequently sent to ZRH :) Would like to see JU upgrade ZRH to 3 x daily

    9. JATBEGMEL, I think that this route will first become exclusively operated by the A320 before the third frequency is added.
      The third flight is a tricky one. Where to put it? Unless they would go for the O&D market then there isn't really any time that would suit them, as far as connections go.
      From this point of view, adding a third Zurich flight would make sense if they would add more regional cities in the morning or the evening waves. When I say regional routes I mean destinations to the east that would be interesting for people in Switzerland.
      Of course, for this to materialize we would first need a few more Atrs in the fleet. Not to mention a few more bus gates at the airport, however, I just hope future airport gates will not be as ugly as the C7 one they have recently added.

      To my anonymous brother, the loads have been more than decent. These days it was even common for Banja Luka to have around 30 passengers! Two days ago, both Budapest flights had around 50 passengers, from what I can remember around 20 passengers in both directions came from Athens. The morning arrival from Moscow is always packed to the last seat. As is always the case with Moscow, popular destinations are Athens, Tivat, Podgorica...
      What really surprised me the other day is that on the Aeroflot's noon arrival (A321) there were 46 passengers that connected onto JU's afternoon departures. It seems that this cooperation is working well. There were a few passengers to Skopje, Athens, Thessaloniki, Sofia, Bucharest and finally there were 24 to Tivat and 15 to Podgorica.
      What makes me happy is that loads to Larnaca has considerably improved and there are between 90 and 125 passengers per flight.

      The return of the Atr really did improve the overall situation in the airline. It's so much easier to breathe now especially when an aircraft breaks down the whole system doesn't fall apart.

    10. Oh... I would also like to add that the renovation of the C gates is almost complete and I think gates C5, C6 and C7 should be operational within two weeks.

    11. Anonymous08:23

      Well, not surprising since SU codeshares on JU flights to both TGD and TIV.

      As for the C gates - it is not complete until they finish C3-C4 gates as well.

    12. Anonymous08:45

      So why didn't those passengers fly directly from Moscow to TIV.There were 5 flights TIV-DME yesterday.

    13. Anonymous09:08

      Sometimes I wonder if people that post comments here know anything about the industry, or, have ever flown in a plane.

      Reasons can be numerous:
      - airport not being convenient (DME and SVO are in different part of a HUGE city)
      - timings
      - price
      - availability
      etc. etc.

      Your questions is the same as wondering why people transit in BEG (or anywhere else in the world) if they have a direct option available.

    14. Yeah but even if they close off C3 and C4 they can use the rest of the gates which is a huge improvement given the current situation on the C platform. The current situation with the gates at BEG can be tight at times, C7 should help big time especially since there is one more Atr in the fleet now.

  9. Anonymous15:26

    Obviously we are not aware of the potential that Balkan has.

    After Etihad took a steak in Air Serbia a lot of aviation gurus had a second thought. Cheap operating cost, fast developing tourism ( Bosnia has one of the highest growths in the world and various profiles of tourist that are visiting it for different historical reasons ) and pretty good geo position.

    I believe that QA is looking for European hub for part of its 150 aircrafts on order. It is impossible to place them all in Doha, same goes for other ME and Far East comapnies.

    Not being part of EU is huge benefit for both Bosnia and Serbia from aviation perspective.

    1. Anonymous16:07

      Sure as hell, it is only a matter of time before both QA and Etihad relocate most of their widebodies to SJJ and BEG. I keep wondering what makes the people all around the Balkans think their little colonies are the center of the world predestined to become global financial, tourist and transport hubs...

    2. Anonymous16:37

      Not global, but Belgrade will indeed become an European transport hub.

    3. Anonymous21:11

      Anon @ 4:07

      If you replace "Balkans" with "UAE" in your last sentence you will get the sentiment major EU airlines had 10-15 years ago. It turned out to be major FAIL in their neocolonial thinking.

  10. Taking into consideration that there are so many larger and more viable airlines in the region than the tiny B&H Airlines, it would really shock me to see QR making an investment. However, as someone mentioned, it appears that being outside EU can have its advantages such as cheaper labor, easier to deal with unions, less protectionism and EU bureaucracy but at the same time you have that proximity to a large market that can be easily exploited. Qatar obviously has some interest in the region. Two years ago they opened Al-Jazeera Balkans TV station that has become highly popular in ex YU and an example of professional and high standard reporting and journalism in the region. I am not a big fan of Qatari taking over businesses in the region due to their treatment of employees working not just for the airline but for their country in general. We have seen many reports on horrible conditions foreign employees are facing while working in Qatar with basically no rights at all. I hope they resolve these issues and become more socially responsible company that has a long-term vision and strategy and not just for sheik’s prestige.

    1. Anonymous16:13

      I one hand I agree with you. However, not as shocking as somebody taking over company with 200 mil e debt.

      I have lived in Qatar for nearly five years. It is true that worker right are not followed and that some people work to exhaustion. This is not the case with QA it is the case in construction industry.

      Fingers crossed for a long-term vision and honest vision unlike Turkish Airlines did.

    2. Anonymous16:17

      The Sheikh of Qatar is a disgusting fat morse, a hypocrite responsible for many deaths in Syria and all the Arab world. Fortunately they have a smart and capable CEO, with a great character as a bonus.

    3. I know. I understand we are talking about aviation here but sometimes it's hard to escape the political notion that's attached to it. With its basically unlimited financial assets, Qatar has resurrected as an important political and economic force in the Middle East causing lots of discomfort for Saudi Arabia and UAE. The revenues from the gas and oil boom will eventually dry up and the lavish lifestyle of monarch families in these countries won’t be sustainable.. They can build as many skyscrapers and airlines they want but if they don’t have democratic principles in place and ways for regular citizens to benefit from this growth, the system will sooner or later fail. I always like to bring up Norway as a perfect example of how to plan for future and take care of its citizens, not by building energy wasting skyscrapers and unsustainable business models, but investing and saving for future generations to overcome ever-growing volatilities in the global economy. While I welcome any interest and investment into Ex Yu region, it is also very important that we look up to right models for prosperity and growth of all citizens and not just selected elite. The models Qatar, Saudi Arabia and similar represent, in my opinion, should not be the exemplifying ones.

  11. Anonymous16:13

    OT: Do we know when are additional A320 joining Air Serbia fleet? Thanks!

    1. Anonymous16:47


    2. What's the current status of JU's fleet? How many A319s and A320s are currently in the fleet? I know they said they would have 8 A319s and 2 A320s or this has changed?

    3. Anonymous19:53

      I think A320(YU APG) will join earlier,in first half of May.It is already painted and reconfigurated in Munich.
      In use:6 319 and 1 320.YU APB(319 is in Munich for reconfiguration,it is already painted)

    4. Anonymous20:48

      Isn't there third A320 for Air Serbia? This site mentioned that some time ago, here:

  12. Anonymous16:13

    Could they maybe open it as DOHA-BELGRADE-SARAJEVO and cut the Ankara line?

    1. Anonymous16:49

      Hardly due to crew working hours. To expensive to bring dhc crew

    2. Anonymous17:03

      They say due to crew duty hours, while SJJ-DOH is almost the same distance as DOH-BEG, difference being 100km. FlyDubai used the same excuse not to launch the Zagreb flights, while the actual reason has been extremely poor sales.

    3. JATBEGMEL05:44

      No need to dead head crew for QR. They could always move the layover from BEG to SJJ. Problem with BEG for QR was catering, as it wasnt to QR standards and is being loaded in ESB, I am sure Air Serbia catering is now up to QR standard and could be loaded in BEG for the SJJ shuttle as well as for DOH. But I think the problem would be the BEG route wouldnt be profitable as direct because QR fills the a/c in ESB and not in BEG.

      As for FZ, crew duty hours arent the problem as their crew have a couple of layover destinations such as CMB. I as well see it more as a lack of yield/market for SJJ. As for ZAG, I am surprised neither FZ nor OU have a direct ZAG-DXB line.

  13. Anonymous17:41

    Turkish Airlines does a great job in Sarajevo.
    What i do not understand is why Pegasus does not add three more flights to Belgrade to become daily nonstop?
    I mean with four times a week they can not compete .
    They are a good airline,great value for money,
    i have no doubt they can fill dailies.

    It is a proven fact that you can increase loadfactors and profitability with daily flights.

  14. I think of the main reasons why they will not invest into B&H is because of Sarajevo airport.
    If Qatar does invest in a foreign airline then it will be to do what Etihad does around the world, create a hub of some sort. Sarajevo simply lacks the infrastructure for it.

    The best we can hope for is for them to launch their own flights. I am actually curious, is there a market for them there?

  15. Anonymous20:27

    OT: Dubrovnik 87 774 passengers in April

    + 12,6%

    1. Source can be found here:

  16. Well, I am glad to see a different kind of wind blowing not just on this blog but in general. It appears that people finally are focusing more on real issues instead of fighting each other on the basis of national identity. Many people are realizing that when it come to corruption, poverty, unemployment, crime and similar there really is no difference regardless if you are from Slovenia or Serbia. The only way forward is to exterminate, not each other but corruption, bribery, nepotism, etc. We have to fight for transparency, foreign investments, better education and more jobs that will see lives of our people and neighbors improve for a better tomorrow of all of us. We have to stop blaming others for our own mistakes and take responsibility for our own actions. I am sure that we have enough professionals in many different fields who can take leading positions based on their qualities and skills and not based on their family ties and political affiliations. Being on the crossroads between East and West, between Modern and Traditional, between Muslim and Christian World, between Corporativism and Socialism, we have always had this idealistic opportunity to take advantage of both. A successful nation is not the one that goes one or the other way, but the one that keeps in balance both.

  17. malo sam tanji sa engleskim,ali Sarajevo nije " bosnian capital" nego capital city of B&H . takodje nije "federal goverment of bih" nego "goverment of federation of B&H" dovodite citaoce u zabunu. od tacne vesti greskom se uvodite u netacan komentar.

    1. Anonymous21:48

      Ma hajd se podrazumijeva :) Dok covjek jos napise Hercegovina i Federacija, zaboravi vise sta je mislio reci lol

  18. Anonymous14:35

    Ovaj sto pise kako Sarajevo postaje kongresni centar Balkana..Organizuje nekakav biznis samit..Boze boze..Koliko su nasi ljudi u zabludi pa je svakom svoje selo najjace i najbolje.

    Sarajevo koje ima 650k putnika, i nijedan normalan kongresni centar, jedva da moze da bude kongresni centar Bosne.

    Beograd s druge strane jeste proglasen 4. kongresnim centrom u Istocnoj Evropi, i ovde su kongresi svaki dan fakticki i to oni medjunarodni. Da ne objasnjavam dalje, sava centar.


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