Sunday, October 25, 2009

19 years later...

They took their time
On May 1, 2010 scheduled air service between the capital of Croatia, Zagreb and the capital of Serbia, Belgrade will be resumed, almost a full 19 years since they were abruptly terminated. Croatia Airlines will be offering scheduled flights between the two capitals 4 times per using its regional Dash 8-Q400 aircraft. Flights will operate every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Flights between the two cities ended on August 6, 1991 when JAT Yugoslav Airlines operated its last Zagreb – Belgrade flight. Air travel between Croatia and Serbia was resumed in 2007 when Jat began flights to Pula. It is expected that after Pula and Zagreb, Dubrovnik will also be connected to Serbia’s capital.

Meanwhile, Croatia Airlines has also announced that it will be launching flights to Athens on April 29. Flights will operate 3 times per week, every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday using the Airbus A319.

All flight details can be found on the right hand side in the “new route launches” section.

18 comments:

  1. THANKYOU! Welcome back Belgrade and Zagreb! So many years without a flight between so great neighboors!

    Philswe

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  2. OK so we've now seen the detail...

    BEG - how do you start up regular flights again after such a long time? Should they be late night/early morning overnight services, or mornings, or afternoons to best fill a plane with both business AND leisure pax? Remember - it's not as Philswe just wants extra flights, bums on seats are needed to keep the service running!

    Late morning/midday departures seem a good first step, frequent enough that if the demand is there it can immediately go to daily at that time before looking at a morning/afternoon double set.

    ATH - those flight times almost exactly fit where flights to BCN were in this year's summer schedules. Is BCN not returning??

    And why with a 319 when 2 Qs enter the fleet summer 2010 - or will another 319 be replaced operating at a similar time and be deployed elsewhere? The Qs could be utilised more than their current operations, and if rumours are true that a 320 is to be returned to the lessors then you'd hope the airline is seriously looking at expanding the Q fleet to 8.

    Congrats to OU on these developments and such early announcements, though sad they have left out two major business markets which are crying out for service: WAW and MXP (both servicable with Qs).

    There's great opportunity to co-operate with LH Italia at MXP (with similar flight times as per ZRH), and 19k annual pax WAW-ZAG (2008 figures) screaming out for direct flights, and LOT could provide an alternative for N.American pax too...

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  3. -freqflyer, you make some valid arguments. Let me try to play a devil´s advocate a bit.
    - Over the years ZAG MXP was tryed by both CA and more recently Alitalia. Load factor never met expectations. True, environment has changed somewhat with the advent of LH Italy
    - WAW was attempted by LOT using EMB145 recently and it proved unprofitable? What makes you think it would be profitable now?
    As far as ATH service, I agree choice of equipment is a little odd. But remember, this could be changed almost with no change of DEP and ARR times.
    Back to the BEG service. I am so glad things in "our part of the world" are coming back to normal. We have soo much in common and the walls politicians put up have to come down.
    I still maintain ZAG BEG service will be unprofitable, at least in the short run.
    As to the reasons why CA is starting it, I can only guess it has to do with wishes of LH. With JAT moving away from STAR and negotiating with AF-KLM, Lufthansa is adding services to BEG. Croatia service to BEG enhances Star Aliance presence in this market. But given that this service will at least initialy be unprofitable, what did LH give OU in return?
    Maybe the MUC flight out of ZAG which is guaranteed to be full.
    In the winter schedule LH has pulled out one AM freq to MUC and has given it to OU. I have no proof of this theory whatsoever but I am interested in what others think.... Comments?

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  4. I can not find any details on these flights anywhere on the net or in croatian media. Also, they do not seem to be in amadeus yet..
    Can you give us your source?

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  5. ^ Flights were in Amadeus for the past few days but now seem to have been taken off (hopefully this doesn’t mean they have decided not to fly to BEG). Also the source was the Aerocroatia website.

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  6. ^
    This is why Croatia Airlines will eventually go to the wall - there is NO point of flying somewhere as close (c.350km) as Belgrade with anything less than a double daily service. A daily service is the absolute minimum for business travellers (the only way such a route can be profitable)...

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  7. We will see how much BEG-ZAG route can be profitable, both in terms of leisure passengers, but with especial accent towards business people. There is an extensive cooperation between Serbian and Croatian companies, and I do hope this could fill in the gap that existed for 19 years.

    Yet again, I do think we won't be in able to see as much traffic as we used to in the 80s and 90s, but I do hope this route will do well.

    To add, OU do fly ZAG-TGD and vv and as much as I am informed loads on the route are not that good, however no one mentioned that the route will be let off. Time will show how BEG-ZAG will do.

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  8. The Dash 8 can break even with very few pax so BEG has a chance. WAW and MXP could also break even on a Dash. If OU is serious about being a major regional player and using ZAG as a hub how about TIA, SOF, OTP and KBP?

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  9. MALEV starts from 01.12. BEG-BUD

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  10. @ Predrag

    Suburbs in Belgrade have more people than the whole of Montenegro - comapring TGD to BEG is like comparing cheese with lemons.

    ---

    Of course the route will be unprofitable from the begining, i mean it takes a good 6 months at least to get a new route running into the plus. to begin with 4 p/w is something and i wish OU luck here in Belgrade and look forward in seeing them here in Belgrade more often. It is about time the 2 capitals were linked, the 2 cities are the most important in the Yugoslav region, there is alot of business between Croatia and Serbia so if it isnt the passengers keeping the flight profitable than im sure cargo and business could. Welcome back to Belgrade Croatia Airlines!

    Кроација ерлајнс - добро нам дошао!

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  11. I can only assume that OU does not have enough aircraft for daily or twice daily flights at the moment. There will be a lot of media and fan fare from both countries and maybe even Europe when Belgrade and Zagreb is connected again so I think a daily flight would have been a better move by OU and worth the risk.

    Daily flights would have also made the OU option a lot more appealing alternative and strengthened the chance of success of this root.

    I have waited for OU to start flights between Belgrade and Zagreb for some time now, best of luck to them!

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  12. Thanks God for this! Lets hope this is begining of something good! SAS example is great idea, but Balkans have been through so much and there is no chance that something like that would be even considered because of the politics etc UNFORTUNATELY!!! As i have already said, lets hope this will be start of something good! And I live for a day to see Easyjet, Ryanair, Wizzair, Aerlingus etc. at Serbian, BiH, Montenegrian and macedonian airports, i am sure they can do it!

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  13. @JATBEGMEL

    Suburbs in Belgrade do have more inhabitants than entire population of Montenegro, but still that doesn't guarantee that BEG flights will be more loaded.

    Niche market for OU today is to try to develop ZAG as a hub, thus connecting to BEG will also help in achieving this goal. However, I am not sure how much they will accomplish with this hub-and-spoke system since most of the connecting passengers from BEG use LH, LX, OS and other airlines. Probably most of the passengers will either be business ones, or other as VFR (Visiting Friends and Relatives).Of course, I am completely supporting this idea and would be more than glad to take that flights whenever I am traveling which is quite often in the last months.

    Just what remains to be seen here is the timetable and ticket pricing.

    I do hope they will manage to do the route nicely!

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  14. The ZAG-BEG flights have disappeared from GDS's.

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  15. I tink we can now conclude that decision to operate the flights is not definite yet. I did some checking within CA and ZAG BEG flights are only a DEFINITE MAYBE for now.
    If anyone comes across some more info about this, please advise.

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  16. This thread has been a great discussion!

    A few of the posts have brought up the notion of 'break-even' points (ie. how much of a flight needs to fill for it to be viable to operate), and I think this has some reason behind the possiblity of expansion. Does anyone have figures which might explain this a bit further?? The Q400 figures seem unbelievably low at times...

    @ PBY

    Perhaps the lower-cost of operating a Q (as opposed to a slower, smaller AT4 in the case of MXP, or LOTs EMB145s which - I believe - weren't well-timed for intercontinental flights), greater stability now economically and politically in Croatia, and the fact LH wants to open a long-haul base at MXP might be very beneficial for OU... but will they capitalise on it all?

    @ ANONYMOUS

    Spot on. If you're in business, and you're only travelling a 200NM sector, you need to be able to fly there and back in a day. These flights don't offer that in any way, shape or form. But they need to start a base from somewhere without bleeding too much money (or putting exorberant costs on the fares so nobody books them!)...

    If it's a success, then OU has no option but to operate a morning and evening wave in either direction (both of which would connect with domestic flights to the coast).

    @ Q400

    Yes I think you are right about the previous lack of aircraft being a problem, as they were almost at full usage with a fleet of 11 for many years. The question now becomes getting the right balance of short- and medium-haul craft, I've always believed another 319 was needed (bringing the total to 5), though rumours that a 320 is about to be withdrawn need to be seriously compensated with two additional Qs (bringing their total to 8).

    The other thing OU has oddly never done is lease out planes during winter - and there'd be plenty of willing companies in the southern hemisphere happy for their summer capacity boost with well-maintained craft... OU doesn't need them all during winter anyway!

    We'll never see any airline in the exYU with a fleet of over 20 as they each serve such fragmented markets these days.

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  17. -Freqflyer: According from the info that I have ( directly from the analysys done by Bombardier) the cost of operating a Q400 on
    one hour sector is the equivalent to the cost of operating a CRJ200 on the same sector. So you spend the same money BUT you have 26 more seats to sell.
    The brake even load factor depends on the whole range of factors ( average fare etc..) none of which we know.

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  18. Looks like the roundtrip ticket
    zag-beg-zag will cost around 170 EUR.

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