Gulf Air considering Sarajevo service


The national carrier of Bahrain, Gulf Air, is considering introducing flights between its hub in Manama and Sarajevo. According to the "Klix" portal, the development comes following the formation of the Bahrain - Bosnia and Herzegovina Friendship Society earlier this year, headed by influential local businessman Jawad Yousuf Al Hawaj, who has been lobbying the airline to commence services to Sarajevo. Manama in Bahrain and Muscat in Oman have been identified as some of the busiest unserved routes out of the Bosnian capital, as demand from the Gulf for travel to Sarajevo continues to surge. The airport now boasts nonstop services to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

The former CEO of Croatia Airlines, Krešimir Kučko, who now heads Gulf Air has been given a mandate to grow the airline following years of restructuring. In an interview earlier this year, Mr Kučko said Europe will be the main point of expansion in 2019. “We are definitely going to explore this next year. The routes we are thinking of are more towards South Europe. That should be complementary to the present routes, so we are talking Spain, Italy... This is the focus at the moment”, the CEO noted. Gulf Air has unveiled eight new destinations for this year under a major strategic reboot that has coincided with the long-awaited delivery of its next-generation Dreamliners and Airbus A320-family neos.

Arab investors are building homes and hotels around Sarajevo and are heavily promoting the destination to middle class families looking for cheaper alternatives to Western Europe, fuelling point to point travel from the Middle East to Sarajevo, particularly during the summer months. This summer has seen Flydubai operate three daily flights to the Bosnian capital. As a result, Sarajevo has registered strong passengers growth, with the airport handling a record 159.380 passengers in July alone, making it its busiest month in history. The figure represents growth of 13.8%. Aircraft movements improved 11.3% to 1.573. During the January - July period, Sarajevo Airport welcomed 589.522 passengers through its doors, up 12.5%.

MonthPAXChange (%)
JAN54.113 24.8
FEB48.986 19.1
MAR65.991 15.0
APR86.995 9.0
MAY81.026 3.7
JUN92.997 19.0
JUL159.380 13.8

Comments

  1. Emirates should seriously consider Sarajevo, at least during the summer.

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    Replies
    1. Well they operated into ZAG in May when their numbers weren't that great so maybe they would operate into SJJ for the whole summer season, maybe April to end of September.

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    2. I agree they could fly to SJJ in combination with FZ. I mean 3 B737-800s would amount to one B777.

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  2. Wouldn't it make sense for Gulf Air to launch ZAG flights as well? I mean Kucko should know what the market potential is and how many transfers they could get to the rest of Asia. I guess EK and QR booming there don't mind.

    SJJ makes sense. I am sure next summer we will see EK for at least three months.

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    Replies
    1. Actually I read how Kucko said recently that their primary focus at the moment is P2P passengers, so Sarajevo would make sense.

      He said they will try to attract transfers in a couple of years when they develop their network.

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    2. Another Gulf carrier in Zagreb would saturate the market in my opinion. Plus Gulf Air does not fly to that many cities.

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    3. Like in SJJ, ZAG has the demand. Qatar is doing really well with two daily flights being packed. I am sure next summer the morning flight (better loads) will be upgraded to Dreamliner while the evening one will stay a mix of A320 and A321.

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    4. I wouldn't say Zagreb is exactly booming. Emirates is about to reduce flights while QR isn't sending anything bigger than A320. Their LF in April/May was around 50%.

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    5. They are not sending the A321 because many seats had to be blocked. That is why next summer they will send the 788.

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    6. We have been listening to people write how they will send the Dreamliner to Zagreb for 2 years now.

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    7. Zagreb is still a small market but maturing in so many ways. But yes, Anon 09:15 is right, the city initially started with few flights to DXB and then suddenly DOH and then suddenly 2 daily A321 and then suddenly EK with B773 and then pufff..plunge and downgrade to FZ in winter.
      This happens when the the supply exceeds demand. The MEB3 will be slowly fading away, especially when TK opens its terminal.
      TK are now quietly expanding to Denpasar and I am sure they will expand much more as they lacked slots in the current IST airport.
      Also, it´s questionable for how long will the EK model last and the EY problems and so on and so on.

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    8. Demand to ZAG is there, just look at tourist arrivals from may distant and fancy destinations such as South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. EK loads will be back and there won't be a need for FZ next year. More tourists will compensate for that, there will be room for both EK773 and QR788 to be parked at the most gorgeous airport in Europe!

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    9. No room for Gulf Air.

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    10. Three weekly A332 in summer could work. They could fly seasonally, maybe even link ZAG and SJJ.

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    11. Naah, ZAG-BAH will definitely not work. 3 daily flights to the Middle East are more than enough. Maybe ZAG-DWC might work with W6 as it did quite well with BUD, OTP and SOF. The routes have been operating since 2013!

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    12. LCC link from ZAG to Dubai? Why when there is EK already. ZAG is one of rare airports in Europe that can boom without cheap airlines.

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    13. Absolutely NO need for another Gulf airline flying to ZAG.

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    14. Yes, after so many upgrade, Zagreb is downgrade some much. Especially with Korean all-year route coming in September. Huge downgrade!

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    15. He was being sarcastic.

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    16. Downgrade meaning in English: reduce to a lower grade, rank, or level of importance.
      FZ is a lower grade compared to EK. Therefore when you go from up to down, its a downgrade. This is what will happen in December 2018.

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    17. Big. Freaking. Deal.
      Most of the travelers don't care who they are flying with, but will buy the cheapest/quickest ticket.
      Also, what's with this FZ/EK obsession?

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    18. ..... and end in March 2019!

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    19. Lots of obsessions lately:
      EK ZAG downgrade
      BEG Guadaloupe flights
      INI massive expansion and SKP surpass (my favourite)
      DBV becoming number 2
      SKP vs PRN sequel
      Bravo Hrvatska!

      That's the beauty of this ex-Yu blog!

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    20. Well no FZ/EK here as a Croat mentioned potential GF flights to ZAG so mentioning EK, FZ, QR... only makes sense. No?

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    21. GF cannot do anything in ZAG as there is no P2P demand between ZAG and BAH, and GF does not have any remotely relevant and strong network beyond BAH. Case closed re GF in ZAG. SJJ has some P2P so maaaaaybe possible to give a shot.

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    22. And downgrade of Emirates service to flydubai for 3 months is so huge that Zagreb is downgrade in general. Dousen't metter that Korean, Iberia and others will open new routes or upgrate it to all year to Zagreb this winter.

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    23. Not sure if sarcastic or not...

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    24. If Emirates /Flydubai would be flying from BEG the same way they fly from ZAG, same people writing about ZAG downgrade would be writing about BEG upgrade because the flight to DXB becomes DAILY compared to 5 weekly last winter

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    25. Dubai je popularna zimska desetinacija za Srbe, O&D tržište je veće nego kod Zagreba ali je tržište putnika koji presedaju manje s tim što je bolje raspoređeno jer je BEG dobro povezan sa Bliskim istokom.

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    26. @frishki9 August 2018 at 10:15

      Some trolls jealous of EK flying to Zagreb and doing so well, and now with the arrival of Korean Air, and next year even more far eastern carriers...

      Manama is small airport, catering for needs of US armed forces and Bahrain, really not much else going there. Gulf air in Zagreb is as welcomed as hyperinflation.

      We have Qatar and Turkish, both twice daily, and Emirates with their B777ERs, I think ME is covered, Gulf air can go to Belgrade if they want to expand beyond Sarajevo.

      Zagreb needs carriers from South East Asia, China, Japan and India. If we normalize relationship with Iran, EU-Iran; yes would be nice to have direct flights to Tehran perhaps twice per week seasonally.

      Would like to see Egypt Air, or Tunis Air introduce regular service seasonally, instead of charters only.

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    27. Jealous about Iran?

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    28. Great idea, Gulf Air would be perfect addition for Belgrade. BEG already has fantastic ME coverage: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, a bit to the north three airlines with regular widebody service to Iran. In the rest of MENA, BEG has year round service to Lebanon, TLV, Egypt and Tunisia. Morocco and Saudi Arabia are also expected to be launched soon. Airline from Syria applied for service but was turned down. When you add BEG charter/seasonal service to many Greek islands, Cyprus, Malta, Sicily, Sardinia and Palma (Mallorca), BEG enjoys domineering position in connectivity from the region to MENA and Mediterranean.

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    29. Gulf Air won't work in ZAG, they don't have the Asian network. Much of the EK and QR traffic are passengers from East Asia, Australia, NZ and increasingly SE Asia. ZAG needs more Asian carriers, not Gulf carriers.

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  3. So we will have

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

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    Replies
    1. Impressive.

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    2. Sarajevo has become the ex-Yu hub for Middle East flights.

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  4. Now THIS is a TRUE legacy carrier. I especially love their new livery, puts so many other airlines to shame such as the LH new "cargo carrier logo".
    2019 will be the year of BiH! Браво!

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    1. Agree both their new livery on the B787 and the James Hogan livery look stunning.

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

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    3. No, just the B787. But they are getting a load of A320neos soon which will have the new livery for sure.

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    4. You got a hand it to James. He might not know much about handling airlines but he does know how to do beautiful liveries. Look at the Etihad one.

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    5. LOL so true

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  5. Nice legacy carrier for Sarajevo Airport.

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  6. Do Bahraini citizens need visas to Bosnia?

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    Replies
    1. No they don't. They don't need visa to only 3 countries in Europe - Bosnia, Serbia and Belarus.

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    2. Looks like Bosnia and Serbia are free land for everyone in the world.

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    3. Interesting that Saudis for example need visas to Bosnia and Kuwaitis. Bahrainis don't.

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    4. @ 9:36 Well if no one else wants to come....

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    5. Last Anon, I can't speak for Bosnia but Serbia is becoming quite popular. Foreign tourist arrivals are up by 15% in the first six months of this year and they reached 555.000.

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    6. The same is in Bosnia - first six months 639.558 tourists (up 13% compared to last year), the numbers came out today.

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  7. Whoever thought we would hear the name Kresimir Kucko on here again :D

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    Replies
    1. Kucko going back to his roots :D

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    2. LOL so so true! ;) ;) ;) ;)
      I think he is paying a tribute to his Balkan heritage.
      What a noble and loyal man he is.

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  8. Well if Flydubai can make it 3 times per day, then I don't see why Gulf Air couldn't.

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  9. Great result for Sarajevo so far this year. I expect a million passengers to be reached in November.

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    Replies
    1. I think it do so much more and it should have been handling a million 2-3 years ago.

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  10. Niti je Manama neka destinacija za potencijalne BiH turiste, niti je generalna populacija Bahreina potencijalna klijentela BiH destinacija

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    Replies
    1. Trebao je tebe Kucko da uzme za savetnika.

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    2. Да је Кучко знао боље одабрати своје саветнике не би било потребе да побегне из ОУ.

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    3. Da, Gulf Air mu je bas downgrade sa Croatia Airlines.

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    4. Pa nije baš ni neki upgrade. 32 aviona (i ne baš toliko veće od Croatie) i u prosjeku 200 milijuna USD gubitka u posljendjih 5 gdina. I nije neka mudrost voditi firmu sa 32 aviona i 200 miljuna minusa.

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    5. Verujem da mu je plata upgrade, a Gulf Air ima 46 narucenih aviona.

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    6. "i ne baš toliko veće od Croatie"

      32 vs 12....

      Rekao bih da jeste

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    7. Rekao bih da je gubitak 10 puta veći od realnog gubitka Croatie (bez ovih knjigovodstvenih čarobiranja koji stvaraju imaginaran profit). Flota nije 10 puta veća, nego 2 i pol puta.

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  11. Again with Middle East...

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    Replies
    1. Like it says in the article, the demand is simply there.

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  12. Which aircraft could they use on this route?

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  13. This would be a nice addition.

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  14. Hope it materialises.

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  15. Does Gulf Air fly any routes seasonally?

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    Replies
    1. As far as I can see, they don't.

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    2. That could be a problem because demand between Gulf and Bosnia is extremely seasonal.

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    3. What does "extremely seasonal" mean? It's like saying very normal or super standard, etc.

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    4. It means that in summer Flydubai has 3 daily flights to Sarajevo every single day, while in winter they can barely fill 3 weekly flights. I remember I read an interview published here with some guy from FZ who also said that seasonality on the Sarajevo route is very strong.

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    5. So what if they don't have seasonal routes. They could have them next year. Emirates didn't have a seasonal route until last month when they announced Zagreb as seasonal.

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    6. All of the Gulf carriers but FZ fly seasonally to Sarajevo.

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  16. Kucko has a new toy to bankrupt like he has damaged OU!

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    Replies
    1. Stop it, please. People are given a second opportunity. I think Hogan can try and apply for OU and manage it, he might be luckier this time.....

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    2. That would be third time lucky for him after Gulf Air and Etihad.

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  17. Excellent news for Sarajevo

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    Replies
    1. Which news, that someone is thinking of this route? Most of companies are thinking of lot of routes...

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  18. I hope this consideration becomes a reality.

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  19. There will be some good spotting at SJJ.

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

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  20. I will be celebrating when I read the titles

    British Airways considering Sarajevo service
    SAS considering Sarajevo service
    Air France considering Sarajevo service
    Alitalia considering Sarajevo service

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

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    Replies
    1. How can you say that local population does not benefit? The airport benefits from taxes, the city benefits from tourists.

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    2. SAS is already flying to Sarajevo :)

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  21. GF is a great airlines! Once I flew with them on the route RUH - MAN - RUH, C class. Crew is EXTREMELY nice, food is very good, accessories given on board are much much much better of the ones you get on TK C Class, LH C class etc. I would fly GF again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Sloavio, we missed you mate :)

      Oh yeah, GF is a true 5 star airline, not those lousy Skytrax ones. The product is fine, the airplanes are elegant.
      Was the cutlery metal or plastic?
      Btw, I just remembered JU when I mentioned metal cutlery...ah, the good, old days are over...

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    2. ^ What's your problem?

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  22. Good news for Sarajevo.

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  23. Da li ima nade da Sarajevo jednog dana bude povezano sa Parizom, Londonom, Rimom, Moskvom, Atinom??

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    Replies
    1. Aegean might come next year. They said they were interested in Sarajevo.

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    2. If Emirates /Flydubai were flying to BEG the way they are flying to ZAG, same people writing about ZAG downgrade would be writing about BEG upgrade because the flight to DXB becomes DAILY, compared to 5 weekly last winter.

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    3. Za sada ne :(

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    4. Anon 15:09 - technically speaking both BEG and ZAG will be treated equally. Same capacity, same airline. But yes, for BEG it's an upgrade, while for ZAG it's a downgrade mainly from a legacy carrier to a hybrid, low-cost and of course less seats.

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    5. An. 15.41
      Thanks for being honest and confirming my comment of double criteria BEG vs. ZAG. And just btw. If less seats are offered, with higher frequency and better LF, it may result in even more pax carried. And Flydubai is hardly low cost, as their economy price match EK 's and their premium product is not bad at all. But of course, "less seats and hybrid" go in a "package" with the "downgrade", which in hypothetical BEG case would be an upgrade, as you said yourself. And thanks again for honesty.

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  24. If GF ever launch SJJ, this will be a true success for SJJ. The reputation of the airport will increase and will be the 3rd airport in the Balkans, after ATH and IST to be connected. Not even PRG or WAW have those flights.

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  25. The more the merrier.

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  26. Considering they only fly to 4 cities in Europe, it's a show of confidence in Sarajevo and Bosnia as a market.

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