Croatia Airlines unlikely to launch Zagreb - BelgradeDespite Croatia Airlines’ CEO announcing last December that the carrier will operate seasonal flights between Zagreb and Belgrade in 2012 and a recent confirmation by the airline to the “Večernji list” daily, Croatia Airlines is now saying that no decision has been made in regards to the service. Croatia Airlines spokesperson Davor Janušić says, “We still haven’t made the decision to extend seasonal flights from Dubrovnik to Belgrade this year or to introduce any other new line between Croatia and Serbia”. It will come as bad news for all of those that hoped for flights between the two largest cities of the former Yugoslavia to resume after twenty one year. Last year Croatia Airlines competed against Jat Airways on the Dubrovnik - Belgrade - Dubrovnik service, with Jat managing slightly better figures than its rival. The route proved popular with Serbian tourists in 2011 with traditional holiday destinations like Tunisia and Egypt off limits. It remains to be seen whether the return of these markets in 2012 will impact the aforementioned route.
On the other hand, Jat Airways has no plans to resume flights to the Croatian capital. It maintains that the two cities are too close and are connected by efficient road infrastructure, rendering flights unnecessary. The airline will operate seasonal flights from Belgrade to Dubrovnik, Pula and Split in Croatia this summer. Tickets for all of the flights have gone on sale this week.
Zagreb and Belgrade were once connected by several flights per day. In 1989, which represented Yugoslav Airlines’ final year of normal operations (in 1990 the airline was hit by the breakup of the Eastern Bloc and a severe economic crisis within the country), Zagreb was JAT’s second hub. That summer season it operated nonstop international flights from Zagreb to Algiers, Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Cairo, Chicago, Copenhagen, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, London, Lyon, Los Angeles (via Chicago), Madrid, Munich, Milan, Montreal, New York, Paris, Prague, Stuttgart, Toronto (via Montreal), Vienna and Zurich. Domestically, besides Belgrade, flights in 1989 operated to Dubrovnik, Split, Pula, Skopje, Zadar, Niš, Sarajevo and Mostar.