Qatar Airways has re-jigged its schedule for its network in the ex-Yugoslavia region. Unsurprisingly, there have been cuts in frequencies and some conversions from year-round routes to seasonal. However, flights to Belgrade seem to be least affected. Let’s take a look at why this is the case.
Qatar Airways to boost capacity to Belgrade, Serbia
Following news last week that Etihad Airways is temporarily suspending its flights from Abu Dhabi to Belgrade starting this week, Qatar Airways has reacted immediately. The Doha-based airline will increase capacity on its flights to Belgrade by a third, to begin with, and then again by another quarter in December.
Starting this week, Qatar Airways is flying from Belgrade to Doha on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. This is up from three weekly frequencies it operated on the route up until last week when it still had to compete with Etihad for transfer passengers.
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Furthermore, Qatar is boosting capacity on the route. Starting Wednesday 16th December, the airline will fly on the route with an Airbus A321 aircraft, daily. Currently, the four weekly flights are operated with an Airbus A320. Next Monday, the rotation is scheduled to be operated with a Boeing 787.
Qatar Airways to suspend both Macedonia and Bosnia flights
In contrast, Qatar has pulled ticket sales for its flight to Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, and Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The suspension of these two routes lasts for the entire winter 2020/2021 schedule. Thus, the next flights to either of these two destinations is not scheduled until the end of March 2021.
In a statement to Ex-Yu Aviation News, the airline said:
“Due to the global crisis, we suspended our routes to Sarajevo and Skopje along with many others, [sic] the routes remain suspended during the winter but we hope to resume scheduled operations in the summer. We have advised all impacted passengers and are working closely with them to offer alternative travel options to other destinations in our network or full refunds in line with our unrivalled “Travel With Confidence” flexible travel policy.”
According to local sources, the passengers previously booked to travel to Skopje and Sarajevo are being re-booked onto Qatar’s flights to Belgrade, from where they then transfer onto Air Serbia’s flights to Sarajevo, Skopje, or wherever else the passengers need to go. That is also one of the reasons why Qatar is boosting its frequencies and capacity to Belgrade.
Qatar to maintain Croatia flights
Meanwhile, Qatar Airways has stated it will maintain flights to the Croatian capital, Zagreb. Currently, flights are timetabled for each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, starting Monday 2nd November.
However, Qatar is seeing irregular and weak demand for its flights to Zagreb. It has been canceling many of its services, even during the peak summer months. There were periods in July and August where there was not a single rotation between Doha and Zagreb.
That is also the case currently: next week, Qatar canceled all Doha-Zagreb-Doha flights. This week, only one rotation will take place. So, if you have booked a flight to Zagreb with Qatar Airways this winter, you might just find yourself on one of the canceled services.
Do you think Qatar airways will ever return to North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.