The Austrian low cost airline Niki, now owned by Air Berlin, plans to introduce flights to Sarajevo, its Managing Director, Christian Lajsek says. The airline is in the process of evaluating the Bosnian market but also other countries in the Balkans, with Tirana mentioned as a possible addition to its network. Speaking to “ATW Daily News”, Lajsek says its network expansion will take place after Air Berlin enters the One World alliance on March 20. For the past year rumours have been circulating that Air Berlin is considering launching flights from Dusseldorf to Sarajevo.
A new service from Vienna would be warmly welcomed by passengers and would mark the end to Austrian Airlines’ monopoly on the route. When B&H Airlines announced its plans to resume services to Vienna this summer, Austrian was forced to reduce its ticket prices. After news broke last week that the Bosnian national carrier cancelled its planned summer expansion, Austrian inflated its prices. The Austrian national carrier will operate two daily flights between the two cities over the 2012 summer season. Niki’s arrival at Sarajevo would also see the return of a One World alliance airline, following British Airways’ pull out from the Bosnian capital. Currently, nearly all airlines operating to and from Sarajevo are members of Star Alliance.
Air Berlin and Niki are present in the region. The two airlines operate flights to Priština, Skopje and Belgrade and seasonal flights to the Croatian coast as well as Tivat in Montenegro. Lufthansa’s Germanwings is the only low cost airline operating all year round services to Sarajevo. During the summer Norwegian Air Shuttle operates flights from Stockholm and Oslo.
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