Gulf carriers plan new flights to Sarajevo

Gulf carriers continue to show interest in launching services to Sarajevo, with Bahrain’s Gulf Air being the latest to schedule flights, joining Kuwait Airways, Jazeera Airways, Air Arabia, Flynas and Flydubai. Sarajevo Airport has confirmed that Gulf Air will begin a two-week charter operation between Manama and the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina from next Saturday. It is in accordance with earlier talks between the country and the carrier. In addition, Saudi Arabian Airlines has expressed interest in launching flights to Sarajevo, as well as Flynas in launching services from Dammam, in addition to its existing operations in Riyadh and Jeddah. However, a recent decision not to lift visa requirements for Saudi nationals entering Bosnia and Herzegovina has deterred Saudi airlines from announcing new flights. On the other hand, residents of other Gulf countries can enter the Balkan state without a visa.

Another Gulf carrier from a country not currently linked to Bosnia is also considering operations to Sarajevo this summer. The city is heavily promoted in the Gulf as a destination for middle-class families looking for cheaper alternatives to Western Europe, fueling point-to-point travel from the region during the summer months to those who wish to escape the heat. As a result, demand is very seasonal. This summer, there is additional interest due to entry bans and quarantine requirements imposed by the majority of European countries for residents and nationals of the Gulf.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has the greatest demand for Gulf flights from any other state in the former Yugoslavia, almost all of which are generated by tourists during the summer. The busiest unserved route from Sarajevo Airport in the Middle East is Kuwait City, followed by Muscat and Tel Aviv. Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines were the big winners, jointly managing 64% of the indirect traffic flow Sarajevo – Middle East. They are followed by Flydubai with a 20% share. Meanwhile, FlyBosnia, which planned to maintain flights from Sarajevo to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain this summer, only has regular flights to Riyadh so far, which are due to start tomorrow.

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