Kuwait Airways will be flying from its base at Kuwait International Airport to the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, starting 9 June 2020. Why is it launching this route?
The new flights
Kuwait Airways is already selling the flights for this route, scheduled to run between 9 June and 12 September. The flights will run three times weekly, each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The scheduled flight duration is five hours and five minutes.
All flights will be operated by Kuwait Airways’s Airbus A320 aircraft, and most of them with the A320neo. The Kuwaiti airline received its first A320neo last year.
The flights are scheduled to depart Kuwait at 13:00 each Tuesday, to arrive in Sarajevo at 17:05. On Thursdays, they will fly twenty-five minutes later. The aircraft will then leave Sarajevo at 18:05 on Tuesdays and 18:30 on Thursdays, to arrive in Kuwait City just before midnight in the former case, and just after midnight in the latter.
On Saturdays, flights will depart Kuwait City at 14:25 to arrive in Sarajevo at 18:30. They then depart Sarajevo for Kuwait City at 19:30, arriving at 01:10 the next day.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of only six European countries in which more than half of the population identifies as Muslim. At the same time, it is one of Europe’s most friendly tourist destinations, ranking eighth in a World Economic Forum Competitiveness Report.
At the same time, the cost of living is cheap. The country ranks lower than Honduras or Zambia for GDP, according to the IMF. This makes Bosnia and Herzegovina a fairly attractive destination for Muslims looking to escape those hot Middle Eastern summer months.
An airline based in the country, FlyBosnia, has already capitalized on this religious tourism. Simple Flying analyzed this strategy last year.
FlyBosnia already operates flights between Sarajevo and Kuwait, since last summer. Thus, Kuwait Airways will compete directly against FlyBosnia on the route.
In summer 2020, FlyBosnia will operate the route twice weekly, on Fridays and Sundays. It will fly for four weeks longer than Kuwait Airways, from late May until the end of September.
Will these flights be successful?
The scheduling of these flights is such that they will not connect easily onto almost any of Kuwait Airways’s long-haul or regional flights. Most Kuwait Airways services depart during late mornings or mid-afternoons, and the flights from Sarajevo will not connect easily to either of these departure waves.
This clearly indicates that Kuwait Airways is targeting point-to-point demand on this route. It will try to take the market share created by FlyBosnia last year when the route was first launched.
Still, Kuwait Airways might be aided by the codeshare agreement with Etihad that it signed this month. Etihad’s five daily flights to Kuwait City may well prove to be an important feed for Kuwait Airways’s A320 aircraft heading for Sarajevo three times weekly.
After all, there are no direct flights from Sarajevo to Abu Dhabi and passengers presently transfer in Dubai onto flydubai’s flights to Sarajevo.
At the same time, Kuwait Airways should not find much of a competitor in FlyBosnia on the route, since Kuwait offers better scheduling and more frequency, which makes for more flexible trip planning. All in all, the route should prove successful and return in 2021.
Do you think Kuwait Airways will succeed on its route to Sarajevo? Let us know in the comments below!