FlyBosnia acquires first jet, unveils plans


The Sarajevo-based start-up FlyBosnia has acquired its first aircraft, a sixteen-year-old Airbus A319 from AerCap, as it prepares to launch operations. The Saudi-backed airline has applied the FlyBosnia livery to the jet, which is currently in Sofia undergoing a cabin retrofit. It has been named Sarajevo. Originally, the airline planned to commence services between Sarajevo and Riyadh in June but failed to obtain an Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) from the Bosnia and Herzegovina Directorate for Civil Aviation. In a recent company presentation, FlyBosnia said, "Operating initially one Airbus A319 aircraft under a dry lease agreement, FlyBosnia will add a second A319 within six to twelve months to provide extra capacity on the Sarajevo - Riyadh route, as well as new destinations when operationally viable".

According to the carrier, it's first aircraft will be fitted with 156 seats, twelve of which are in business class and 144 in premium economy. "FlyBosnia has conducted extensive market research into creating an innovative, sustainable concept. The airline will offer passengers: a simple and clear pricing structure, allocated seating, combined business class and premium economy class configurations and on-line check-in at point of purchase". It added, "With no competitors presently operating a direct Sarajevo - Riyadh service, FlyBosnia anticipates that a successful launch and strong demand will fuel further expansion of the route network and fleet. Ticket pricing will be dynamic and highly competitive, supported by an extensive, integrated marketing campaign and promotion. Existing connections with hotel and travel agencies will support and drive passenger demand. FlyBosnia’s on-line booking system will account for up to 80% of all ticket sales, enabling the airline to minimise distribution costs and, therefore, maintain a strong competitive pricing advantage".

FlyBosnia staff pose with first jet

FlyBosnia has been set up by Saudi Arabia's Al Shiddi Group, which was founded in 1975 with interests in various fields, including construction, real estate, agriculture and tourism. It has been operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2006, where the group consists of four companies - SRE Investment, Shad Invest, Sarajevo City Center (SCC) and Hotel Bristol. To date, they have committed in excess of twenty million euros in start-up capital to FlyBosnia. "FlyBosnia has conducted extensive market research and detailed operational and financial business planning. Bosnia and Herzegovina is an emerging tourist destination, experiencing year-on-year growth of between 10% - 20%. There is no existing national airline serving Bosnia and Herzegovina, so FlyBosnia will immediately apply for national carrier status", the company said in its presentation.

The new airline plans to primarily focus on catering for the strong demand between Bosnia and the Middle East. It noted that it has already gained practical experience through operating charter services between Sarajevo and Riyadh through Nesma Airlines. "Recent changes to immigration policies will further boost passenger demand. In the high season, FlyBosnia will add extra flights and/or aircraft to match increased seasonal demand and potential new routes to Jeddah, Doha, Manama (Bahrain) and Kuwait City". The carrier's projected average annual load factor in its first year of operations stands at 56.7%, in its second year at 67.9% and in its third year at 68.3%. "These assumptions have been based on established performance results of existing charter services. Initial plans are to operate twenty days per month, allowing time for safety training, maintenance and ad-hoc charter services", it added.

FlyBosnia planned route network and service frequency goals

In May, the airline's future cabin crew completed their training. Out of 300 applicants, a total of ten female and five male cabin crew were selected and trained. The start-up has previously said it will officially unveil all of its plans once it is granted an AOC.


Comments

  1. Great, Bosina is bocoming the new Middle East :)

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  2. wow this is actually happening. I'm surprised.

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    Replies
    1. I am particularly surprised about the obvious professionalism and thorough research carried out. They seem to have picked only such routes where they know their business (Arabia) and their customers. They don't offer European routes where they would be smashed instantly by OS and others regarding fares. BIH is a very price sensitive market after all, especially outbound. I am also positively surprised they calculate with LF in the 50s and 60s in the first few years which also seems realistic. Therefore they know very well that their ops will not be commercially viable at the beginning but it seems they know they will need (and probably have) deep pockets.

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    2. This struck me too. No megalomania. They seem realistic.

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  3. It's good news for Sarajevo Airport which will grow passenger numbers but at the end of the day, with that route network, it seems this will mostly cater for Middle East travelers and not the common Bosnian passenger.

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    1. They are going for routes where money can be made.

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    2. Well what did you expect, they are a Saudi Arabian company first and foremost.

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    3. well, in the earlier article about FlyBosnia (published here on ex-yu aviation portal), the company said it will launch services to Frankfurt and Amsterdam from Sarajevo, but only after they cover the middle eastern market, i asume it will be somewhere at the end of 2019, or in the begining of 2020.

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  4. Kuwait and Manama are one of the top unserved destinations from Sarajevo at the moment.

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    Replies
    1. I'm still surprised by the ammount of interest from the Middle East to BiH.

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    2. What about Beirut? No airline has started flights.

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    3. The top destinations from Sarajevo that people transfer to in this order is:

      1. Kuwait
      2. London
      3. Copenhagen
      4. Frankfurt
      5. Amsterdam
      6. Zurich
      7. Paris
      8. Ankara
      9. Chicago
      10. Berlin

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    4. wow interesting but it also shows that traffic really needs to develop from Bosnia if so many people have to transfer to get to Frankfurt, Paris or Zurich.

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    5. Also what's with the craze from Kuwait in particular?

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    6. @9.53 Lebanese passengers are mainly interested in Mostar. Croatia Airlines flies charters from there during summer.

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  5. Replies
    1. Why? It will mostly be Arab tour groups.

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    2. arab tourist groups will certainly not book through an anonymous airline

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    3. They will not book through an airline. The parent company has a tour operator in Saudi. That's how they filled Nesma Airlines' planes. Tickets weren't sold online.

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    4. Like they say "Existing connections with hotel and travel agencies will support and drive passenger demand."

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    5. Yes but they also say: "FlyBosnia’s on-line booking system will account for up to 80% of all ticket sales, enabling the airline to minimise distribution costs and, therefore, maintain a strong competitive pricing advantage".

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  6. "According to the carrier, it's first aircraft will be fitted with 156 seats, twelve of which are in business class and 144 in premium economy."

    Now I'm interested to see what the hard product will look like :)

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    1. Sounds like something Wataniya had.

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    2. ^Well that went well.

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    3. How can they have business and premium eco when 156 is a maximum number of seats for the A319 ?

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    4. It's probably just a regular economy seat. They will just have better food.

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    5. Yeah, premium class with 156 seats in 319??

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    6. Editorial error.
      12C/120M normal configuration, 138M charter

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  7. The logo on the tail reminds me of Air Italy (Qatar).

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    1. The Fly Bosnia design was released before Air Italy :D :P

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    2. They could have been a bit more creative with the livery.

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    3. Reminds me of Bosnian Wand Airlines
      https://cdn.jetphotos.com/full/6/90530_1422028517.jpg

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    4. An 9:09, it doesn't matter, the Air Italy one is a stylization of the qatari oryx. And the Air Italy livery and logo are waaaaay nicer than Fly Bosnia. Sorry ;)

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  8. Can they compete with Qatar Airways to Doha?

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  9. But will they get an AOC this time?

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    Replies
    1. I think so. The main reason they didn't get it the last time is because they didn't have a plane.

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  10. So no flights to western Europe whatsoever?

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  11. Anyone know the registration of the plane?

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! I see it's been with Rossiya, Finnair, and Donavia.

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  12. There were three members of FlyBosnia employees in my office and we spoke about company. I could tell you they have impressive funds, they are not they are not overwhelming and they are they are aware of the risk.

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    1. Do you think they will make it?

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    2. So, what is the number of that impressive funds?

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    3. Really don't know if they will make it?

      You would understand that it would be so unprofessional from me to tell you about their finances.

      Let me just tell you that line maintenance will be operated by Croatia Technics.

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    4. It's even more unprofessional to self-praise on the forum by telling nothing. I don't think that gives you additional competence. So, talk thru or walk you ego away.

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    5. Because I said they have impressive funds, they are not overwhelming and they are aware of the risk?

      God bless you.

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    6. Anon@17:26

      Cut the attitude.

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  13. Finally we get some more info on this start-up. Thank you. As for their plans, I don't know... I hope it works out. Like someone said, this will mainly be for Middle Eastern passengers, at least at the beginning.

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  14. Bosnia needs to establish its national carrier that will serve its own people.

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    Replies
    1. That would require two governments working together, probably two bases etc. etc. All of this almost guaranties losses.

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  15. Oh good. I always wanted to go for a night out in Manama. Now I will finally get the chance.

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    1. I think that is pretty normal.Tourists from Gulf are the most common in Bosnia.Flights are there where the interest exists.

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    2. Anon@09:21 if this was a sarcasm then I need to tell u that Manama has one of the most vibrant night scenes in the ME (after Beirut and Dubai). Muslim weekends (thu evening to saturday night) are PACKED with saudis (check the bridge traffic on thursday at 19h local time) getting drunk and having sex with literally everyone/everything who/what has 2 legs ;)))))

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    3. They used to do the same in Doha before the blockade.

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    4. Night out in Manama????

      Produzi odmah za Tajland

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  16. 68% load factor
    20 days per month
    -----------------------

    this airplane will be one of the most uninitialized assets out there

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    Replies
    1. Almost like Air Serbia's A330 in winter :D joking

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    2. A 09:46 you mean 40% ;) ;) ;) ;)

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    3. Load factor is higher than that in winter
      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2018/06/air-serbia-eyes-profitability-on-long.html

      But let's not turn this into a JU topic.

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  17. Another airline which will be of no use to locals.

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    Replies
    1. Well if it brings in tourists from the Gulf it will help the local economy and locals will have use of it.

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    2. Potrosnja ovih turista je mnogo veca od potrosnje vecine drugih.

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    3. Ovo bi bilo svakako odlicno za turizam u i donelo bi dosta doprinosa.

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    4. The company will be bringing tourists with money from the KSA. This money will go to locals and their businesses. Is it really hard to understand this?

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    5. Let's not forget that a lot of ME people own properties in and around Sarajevo. So, they are not true tourists in the sense. They will come more often, maybe even several times within the same year.

      I know of at least 2-3 gated type communities with houses owned purely by ME people.

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  18. I hope this does not end up like Wand Airlines

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    Replies
    1. I think the top tier management is the same.

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    2. It's not the entire management, it's just one guy, the CEO, who used to work at Wand.

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  19. No matter what happens the good thing is it's private airline. No public money spent, unlike with B&H Airlines.

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  20. Will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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  21. Good luck Sarajevo!

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  22. Their website is still under construction.

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  23. i am puzzled by all this tourism from mid east
    met a guy on a business trip. he has some exclusive apartments in sarajevo that he rents to these mid-east tourist, with an apartment they also get a audi 8 to drive around. some them take audi and drive down to montenegro (budva) and stay there for a couple of days.
    main touristic attractions are alcohol, parties & affordable ladies

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    Replies
    1. lol don't they come with their wives / harem? :D or it does not matter

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    2. A question, is this travel from the Middle East highly seasonal? Do they come mostly during summer or is there year round demand?

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    3. It is very seasonal. Reason why there are almost no flights to the Middle East in winter except for Dubai and that's down from three daily to three weekly.

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    4. So how will FlyBosnia make their flights sustainable year round?

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    5. That's why they plan to have in winter the same amount of flights they will have to just one destination during the summer. They will more than halve the number of flights.

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    6. The whole Balkan region is beautiful. Bosnia has probably special appeal for these people considering its majority muslim population, and it should be used.

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    7. they own four of the largest hotels in bih; only one is a budget hotel (ibis styles), the other 3 are anywhere from pricey to very pricey; an a319 feels just about right to fill those beds; there is no reason to anticipate that this will fill any other beds here (except those that are billed hourly)

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  24. So when do they exactly plan to launch flights?

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    Replies
    1. When they get AOC.

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    2. It's good that they are going the right way about it and first getting an AOC. Wish them good luck.

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  25. Ther risk of making it up to break even is too high. Even if you have unlimited founds, it does make no sense. With one or two a/c's your overhead costs are to high. This makes sense only if someone finance it for political reasions, but then the question is why, and for how long?

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  26. They have backers with lots of money. I think they could work.

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    Replies
    1. Wand Airlines also had backers with lots of money.

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    2. they did but they didn't fail because of money but because their operations were illegal.They didn't have a Bosnian AOC.

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    3. Exactly. This time they are going the right way about it.

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    4. Al Shiddi Group have made excellent investments in Bosnia so far.

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    5. Yeah sure but airline industry is a black hole business. There is nobody in this universe imune to it. We have seen other ultra reach Arabs pulling back out of the business.

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    6. two of al shiddi's hotels are still bleeding money (because they are rather empty); they desperately need to find ways to fill them

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  27. Sarajevo Airport could really benefit.

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  28. Great news. Wish all the best for SJJ.

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  29. Hope it works out this time.

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  30. I support this. It's good that there will be a local airline hiring locals and increasing connectivity from Sarajevo. Will it work? I don't know but the group has had many good investments in Bosnia so far.

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  31. It will be of no use to the local population if they only fly to the Middle East so hopefully those Europe flights start soon too.

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  32. Saudi Arabia is introducing tourist visas. Maybe there will now be some demand the other way too.

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    Replies
    1. I highly doubt it. The average Bosnian wants to go to Paris, London, Milan, Madrid... not Riyadh and Jeddah.

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    2. The muslims in bosnia will go on hadž. Isn't that in jeddah? :D

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    3. Yes, one goes to Jeddah for the Hajj, but it's only one week of the year, what about other 51? I mean you don't introduce scheduled flights for the Hajj, it's charters that cover the event

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  33. Let's wait and see before we pass judgment.

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  34. just goes to show that SKP / OHD also deserve a national carrier

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  35. This blog wrote that there was interest from Saudi Arabian tour operators to do charter flights to Belgrade. In the end they did not - they said they could not find an airline willing to make it for them. Flybosnia really should go after them ...
    If a Airline from Serbia as Aviolet can fly Banja Lukea to Antalya then Flybosnia should also have the right to do Riyadh/Jeddah-Belgrade .

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  36. It is good if Fly Bosnia venture works. No taxpayer money is involved into it. There is no harm to any of us if Fly Bosnia does not make it.

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  37. 6 months, tops...

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  38. I guess there won't be any champagne aboard that flight? Another airline the world doesn't need...

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  39. The airline will serve its purpose, which is essentially to fly high paying tourists to Bosnia and Herzegovina. It does not matter what they will serve on board or where these birds will fly. These tourists are usually families with kids, and Al Shiddi sees potential for improving his hotel chain utilization. Obviously, he is trying to close up on the vertical integration and pull the demand for his hotels. I wish him all the best and hope there will be more efforts by other big players in this direction. We all benefit in some way by attracting new tourists' demand regardless of their background, race, religion beliefs, sexual orientation, etc. This is a business decision and does not have anything to do with rubbish mentioned above.

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  40. Ako se ja dobro razumem u matematiku 24+32=56, kao i 5x8=40, tako da mi nije bas jasna njihova racunica i total od 54 i 24 letova...

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