“The winner takes it all”Alarm bells are sounding across Croatian airports as new regulations are set to strip all airports in Croatia, with the exclusion of Zagreb, Dubrovnik and Split, from their status as international airports. As a result Pula, Rijeka, Osijek and Zadar airports will no longer be allowed to handle aircraft arriving from countries outside of Europe’s Schengen Zone.
The new regulations, which have received their blessing from the European Union, will see Pula Airport loose a third of its passengers. Rijeka faces even greater problems. The airport is on the verge of financial collapse and the airport’s CEO has said that the airport could soon be closed if a financial solution is not found quickly. The airport did receive a cash injection from the government earlier this year. The new regulations are yet another problem for Rjeka Airport. In order for the airport to make a profit it needs to handle approximately 450.000 passengers per year. However, the airport is expected to handle only 120.000 passengers this year. Rijeka’s CEO says that the airport is now turning to cargo traffic and is hoping to make a profit in that sector.
The proposed new regulations have infuriated tour operators across Croatia. Pula has launched a petition against the new regulations.
All countries that form the European Union are part of the Schengen Zone, with the exception of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania. Non-EU members Iceland, Norway and Switzerland are part of the Schengen Zone.
The new regulations still have to be passed but they have strong backing from the government. Rijeka Airport CEO still has hope that the regulations will be dismissed and describes them as completely “illogical”.