Mideast demand dominates at Sarajevo Airport


Sarajevo Airport is experiencing a significant growth in flight operations from the Middle East this summer season as demand from the region continues to surge. The airport now boasts nonstop services to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, while Muscat in Oman and Manama in Bahrain are among the most popular unserved routes from the Bosnian capital. Leading the way among Middle Eastern carriers is Flydubai, which currently maintains three daily services between its hub and the Bosnian capital. The triple daily operation commenced in mid-June, following the Eid holiday, and will run until mid-September. Flydubai’s Senior Vice President for Commercial Operations, Jeyhun Efendi, previously told EX-YU Aviation News, "Sarajevo is one of our more popular routes but it is quite seasonal. Last summer we saw almost 50% passenger growth on this route. Travellers on this service predominantly come from Dubai, as well as our connecting flights from the Gulf. This is obviously inbound tourism".

Kuwait is currently the most in-demand market from Sarajevo with Wataniya Airways being the sole operator on the route. The airline has increased its services between Kuwait City and the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with up to five weekly flights being maintained during the height of summer. Kuwait Airways has said it is considering introducing services to Sarajevo as part of a "moderate network expansion". It previously ran two weekly seasonal flights between its hub and Sarajevo in 2013 with a 232-seat Airbus A300-600 aircraft via Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen Airport. Furthermore, the US-registered Gryphon Airlines also maintained operations from Kuwait City and  during the peak 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.

Qatar Airways, which launched flights to Sarajevo last winter season, has upgauged its equipment on the route from the 144-seat Airbus A320 aircraft to the 182-seat A321 on a select number of its four weekly flights. In addition, Air Arabia resumed its seasonal operations from Sharjah to Sarajevo on June 26 with ten weekly services. Two flights per day are running on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. The airline plans to maintain operations to Sarajevo until September 8. Meanwhile, Egypt's Nesma Airlines has resumed seasonal flights between Riyadh and Sarajevo, with services currently scheduled to run until July 30 after which the Saudi-backed start-up FlyBosnia is expected to take over the route, if it is granted necessary regulatory approval.


Comments

  1. Interesting that there is demand for Bahrain and Oman. Maybe Kresimir Kucko should look into Gulf Air starting some seasonal flights to Sarajevo ;)

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  2. Would be interesting to see what the premium travel demand on these flights.

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  3. So 31 weekly flights to the UAE. Wow :O

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    Replies
    1. And in winter just 3 or 4, which tells you a lot about the seasonality of these routes.

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    2. Prosle zime su tri kompanije imale ukupno devet letova sedmicno.

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  4. Good news for Sarajevo.

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    Replies
    1. yes, for those of us who run a souvenir shop, halal hotel or brothel...
      i am still waiting to meet the first ordinary citizen to be happy about that wave

      (if even taxi drivers and restaurant owners hate them with a passion, that should make one wonder about the benefits by those tourists; they neither behave nor spent like Taiwanese or Koreans; we would really improve if we could get connections from Taipeh or Seoul)

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  5. I'm happy to see QR already upgrading equipment to SJJ after just half a year. Who knows, maybe next summer we get regular A330 flights.

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    1. +1 they already sent the A330 twice this summer

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    2. The A330 was sent because there was a group booking. It was a one off. The second flight was to return that same group. They will first increase frequencies.

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  6. I see QR sending 787 soon

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  7. Would not be surprised if we eventually see Emirates in Sarajevo.

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    Replies
    1. Maybe when they take delivery of the 787s

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  8. Flydubai, Kuwait Airways, Air Arabia, Qatar Airways - nice line up of airlines.

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  9. That's over 520 seats per day one way by Flydubai to Sarajevo!

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    1. SJJ now has the most seats to Dubai during the summer out of all ex-Yu cities. Even more than Zagreb which has Emirates B777.

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    2. Add to that 1,680 weekly one way seats from Sharjah!!

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  10. It's interesting. I think the market will be oversaturated with so many seats available from the Middle East to SJJ.

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    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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  11. What about Iran Air? They did express interest to fly to Sarajevo.

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    1. Ne trebaju nam oni,dovlačit će nam izbjeglice

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    2. We didnt lift visas for Iran like Serbia did, so I dont think they will be flying to SJJ (which is a good thing, because of the refugees)

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

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    Replies
    1. Yes it did a few years ago.

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    2. They flew with an A320. Now there are flights from Mostar to Beirut with Croatia Airlines.

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    3. Would be nice if they came back and started scheduled flights.

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  13. Not surprising really considering how much property they bought in Bosnia.

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  14. Great news for Sarajevo airport. I hope some new carriers will follow.

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  15. Do Kuwaiti citizens need visas to Bosnia?

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    1. 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. Interesting that Saudis need visas to Bosnia and Kuwaitis not

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    3. From the Middle East, the citizens of Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait, Israel, Oman and Qatar don't need visas to enter Bosnia.

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    4. @ 11.33 Saudis need visas for everywhere because Saudi Arabia itself bearly issues tourist visas. Just for Hajj.

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  16. Ok so Gulf Air and Oman Air are next possibility to Sarajevo

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  17. 2018 will be a very good year for Sarajevo

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    Replies
    1. It is. Growth is at 12%

      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2018/07/sarajevo-airport-returns-to-growth.html

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  18. Go Sarajevo!

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  19. It's not impossible to see Emirates in Sarajevo soon.

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  20. BiH just puts almost all ex-Yu countries way much behind.
    The remarkable success of TZL, the uprise of SJJ and not to mention the birth of the small monsters: OMO & BNX.
    Well done BiH. This time the big BRAVO goes out to you!
    Hopefully we see Bihać and Trebinje airports very, very soon!!!

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    1. I don't see it that way, to be honest. What I see is airlines capitalising on travel trends in spite of (and not due to) airports in the country, with high growth rates achieved only due to low bases. Bosnia still has tonnes of unused potential, which won't be tapped into while SJJ maintains its ridiculous taxes or its working hours policy.

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    2. I think SJJ will slowly lower the taxes and apply the TZL model.
      Look at INI, their 3€ airport tax made wonders!

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    3. and by wonder you mean going back to goverment ownership?

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  21. Sarajevo danas ima osam letova sa Bliskog istoka.

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    Replies
    1. Impresivno. Za svaku pohvalu

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  22. Is there some stat somewhere how many of these tourists from the middle east are coming to Bosnia Thank you in advance.

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    1. In 2017

      Saudi Arabia -20,684
      United Arab Emirates - 14.212
      Oman - 14.052
      Kuwait - 10.274

      And here is one interesting one
      Malaysia - 24.402!!

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    2. Forgot these

      Bahrain - 8.150
      Iran - 348
      Qatar - 2.338
      Egypt - 1.190

      all also for 2017

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    3. Thank you!

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    4. It is surprising that there are so many tourists from Malaysia yet so little from Iran

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    5. Any chance of charters from SJJ to KUL?
      24 thousand is super crazy high number!

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    6. That would be nice :)

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

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    Replies
    1. Fat chance as it is way too seasonal. Winter demand and loads are unfortunately very, very low as are dependent on locals...

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