Flydubai adds Sarajevo to its network Latest news from BiH...
Flydubai is adding new routes in central and eastern Europe as it takes delivery of new aircraft to fuel growth.
In December, the budget airline will start flying to Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Zagreb in Croatia, adding to its existing 24 destinations in that part of Europe. The two cities will bring flydubai’s total number of destinations to 75.
Sarajevo will be served by two flights a week, while Zagreb will have three flights a week. Fares for both the destinations start at Dh2,200. Flydubai has announced 11 new routes so far this year.
The new flights are expected to boost trade and tourism with eastern Europe. In March, the UAE announced visa on arrival for Croatian citizens along with 12 other nationalities.
And Sarajevo is leaving behind its war-ravaged image of the 1990s to gradually emerge as a tourism destination. Earlier this month, the US-based hotel operator Marriott International said it would operate its second hotel in the country – a 130-room property in Sarajevo expected to open in 2015. The group’s Residence Inn Sarajevo is also due to open next year. In the latest figures available, WTTC estimated the country attracted 380,000 overseas tourists in 2012.
From the UAE, a lack of direct flight connections had kept tourists away from these destinations, according to travel agencies.
“There was a lot of interest shown in 2012 and 2013 because of promotions by the Croatian tourism board, but because there were not many flight options it didn’t get much traction,” said Ajay Nair, the head of corporate travel and sales for the UAE at Dubai-based anta.Globalstar.
“But at that time, it generated a lot of interest from budget as well as luxury travellers.”
To help in the expansion within five-and-a-half-hour radius of Dubai, flydubai will take delivery of three narrow-body short-to-medium range Next-Generation Boeing 737-800s this month, bringing its fleet strength to 39. It will receive four more aircraft by the year-end.
At the Dubai Airshow in November, the low-cost carrier put in an US$11.4 billion order for 100 Boeing 737MAXs and 11 Next-Generation Boeing 737-800s.