Once featured as our Airline Startup of the Week, FlyBosnia has recently completed its inaugural flight from Sarajevo (SJJ) to Kuwait (KWI). According to news website Kongres, on May 2nd the airline’s lone Airbus A319 made its landing three hours later than the original plan. Nevertheless, waiting to greet the plane was a traditional water cannon salute. This was the first of two special FlyBosnia flights between the two cities. The 2nd flight will take place on May 7th. After this, regularly scheduled service will begin on June 4th.
As stated in our previous article (link above), FlyBosnia plans to operate this route three times per week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The flight will have the number FBS118 from Sarajevo to Kuwait and last 4 hours and 30 minutes. The return journey will be FBS119 and take slightly longer – 5 hours and 5 minutes.
As seen in photos via the tweet below, passengers getting off the plane were given a warm welcome by Kuwaiti representatives.
لحظة وصول المسافرين بالسلامه ودخولهم لمطار الكويت
— الشدي للسياحة | Shiddi Tourism (@shiddi_tourism) May 2, 2019
There isn’t any direct competition on this route as they are both relatively small cities. As evidenced by an old announcement on the blog Exyu Aviation we can see that there was once a flight operated by Kuwait Airways to Sarajevo. That destination is no longer an option and has since been cut.
An airline by the name of Wataniya Airways was also offering direct service between the two cities but was shut down in 2018 due to unreliable operations. A Kuwaiti minister via Gulf News said it was “negatively affecting the national aviation sector and Kuwait’s image abroad and undermining passengers’ interests”.
Therefore the only competition FlyBosnia will face is from airlines offering connecting services through their hubs. Some of these include Pegasus, Turkish Airlines, Etihad Airways, and Air Serbia. But how much are you willing to pay for a direct flight?
At the time of writing this article, a FlyBosnia flight from Sarajevo to Kuwait departing on June 25th and returning June 29th will cost you €559 for “Basic” fare. This does not include any hold baggage. However, a flight with Turkish Airlines on the same days will cost you just over €306.
This fare does include hold baggage. Knowing that Turkish Airlines often offer a fairly high standard of service on their flights, the key difference is convenience. The fastest flight we could find that had a stopover was almost 7 hours with Pegasus. However, most options were 7 to 11 hours each way – much longer than the four and a half hours with FlyBosnia.
We will have to wait and see how this route does – especially with the price difference we are currently seeing. In speaking with the Sarajevo Times, CEO Chris Gabriel said:
“We want to be a safe, reliable and affordable airline. We want to care for our customers and give them the ability to finally experience the beauty of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We don’t want to be all things to all people. We will be a niche market. We are focusing where there are markets and where there is demand where direct flights do not exist”
I am personally in favor of some healthy competition and would love to see this underdog do well. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a beautiful country and more people certainly need to see it.
What do you think? Would you pay an extra 80% or more to save yourself the hassle of having to make a stopover at another airport? Is it worth saving 2.5-6 hours each way, or would you rather save the money and endure the airport transfer?