Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Slow start for Zagreb Airport

Passenger numbers slide at Zagreb Airport
Zagreb Airport has recorded a second consecutive month of declining passenger numbers, on the back of a weaker performance by its main customer Croatia Airlines. While the passenger slump in December 2011 was only slight, standing at 0.2%, the gap widened in January when Zagreb handled 131.068 passengers. Therefore, the airport saw a decrease of 5.3% compared to last January when it welcomed 138.370 passengers. The number of flights operating to and from the Croatian capital increased marginally, by 0.4%, in the first month of 2012.

Other airports in Croatia also underperformed in January with numbers significantly down at Dubrovnik, which handled only 17.843 passengers, a decrease of 16.2% compared to last year making it its worst January performance since 2008. Full January results for all of Croatia’s airports will be published by the end of the month.

Zagreb Airport will hope to overturn its results soon. This summer, Croatia’s busiest airport will enjoy new seasonal summer services and charters by Croatia Airlines. The airport will also see Lufthansa inaugurate flights from Berlin while Qatar Airways introduces daily flights from Doha via Budapest.


  1. Maybe a slower start is a good thing, allowing the airport not to be operating at bursting point the entire time, and proves even more of a miracle if the 2012 numbers exceed those in 2011...

    ZAGs fortunes in the future depend on two things:
    - building (and building NOW) the expanded terminal to cope with growth
    - continuation of a successful and profitable OU

    The two go hand in hand. Another 2 Q400s for OU are required bringing important frequencies up to daily (especially BRU, also PRN and FCO) and start new routes with business possibility (MXP, WAW) resulting in better pax numbers year-round and reducing the high seasonality variation. But there is no room for the planes or pax at ZAG!

    A similar problem will occur when the 3 ageing 320s are replaced by 4 319s in coming years, an extra place needs to be found for these planes when in the rotation. Also, these planes are likely to have a denser layout (with slimline seats) resulting in more pax per flight, furthering the strain on existing infrastructure.

    But while there is no room *inside* the terminal to keep the pax comfortable, and there is no room on the aprons to hold planes, there will be no growth...

  2. Hi frequent flyer. Speaking of those new trim seats have you tried them out? I flew on A321 from CDG to Lisbon recently which was fitted with those seats.
    They are a bit more uncomfortable than the regular seats but that was not what bothered me about them. Its is the empty space -sideways- between the seats which bothered me. You know when you are in your seat and you see 3 seats in front of you; you can see between them (the gap is quite big) all the way to the front (or back) of the plane! You can also see if people are reading, and what they are reading, playing music, eating, etc. No privacy. It kind of bothered me a great deal. Especially if you have a kid in front of you who constantly keeps squeezing between the seats and crawling over to your space....
    Not a wise move by airlines at all.

    1. Hi Damien,

      Both LH/OS and AF have the new slimline seats built by Recaro, but have different types: you rightly describe AFs curved seats. I am guessing OU is likely to go for the squarer ones following their LH-overlord instructions, which I have found quite comfortable. What condition they will be in a few years time remains to be seen: there's not a lot of padding to wear away!

      The benefits of the square seats are that leg room improves as the book pocket is moved to the top, and more room to store bags/feet under the seat in front, and the privacy missing from the AF design. These seats collectively save between 600kg and 1000kg: resulting in less fuel burn and weight on the aircraft.

      It is the extra leg-room provided by these seats (so seat pitch can be narrower than now, but the passenger gets more room!) which makes me think OU will add one extra row of seats into its 319s, giving a total capacity of 138 seats: so greater capacity (but not as much as the 320s they will replace), less costs due to weight, and more space per passenger despite an extra row thrown in!

      Two websites showing the LH seats:

      Sve nabolje!

  3. @ Admin OT :

    on the right hand-side you have listied RJK-BCN operated by Easyjet, after you click it says DBV-BCN, genuine mistake I believe, but worth correcting.



    1. sorry I have done mistake too, it is DBV-MAD LOOOL :-)

    2. Thank you. Yes, it was supposed to be Rijeka - Barcelona by Croatia Airlines and Madrid - Dubrovnik by easyJet. It's fixed now.


  5. from 18 September, Air One Milan Malpensa-Belgrade:
    AP540 0730MXP-0920BEG 246
    AP541 1000BEG-1200MXP 246

  6. OT:

    SKP-OHD growth for January is impressive 24 percent!

  7. QR flights to BUD and ZAG will not last long, especially since the demise of Malev...

  8. 1. Zagreb:
    This slide in pax numbers is not dramatic.
    It is wintertime,then you always have cancellations and other problems because of bad weather.

    Numbers for february will even be worse not only in
    ZAG but also significantly in SJJ and TGD.

    2. Belgrade:
    Those flights to Milano are finally there!

    This would have been a opportunity for Wizzair,
    why dont they grab all those opportunities?

    About Easyjet:
    They live totally in their Western
    European parallel universe.

    3. Skopje:
    24% is even record!

    SKP should be number three of Ex Yu airports,
    Skopje already was third city of importance in Yugoslavia .

    4. Qatar Airways:
    Malev has nothing to do with QR so i think its too pessimistic to say those flights will not last.

    Only problem i see is that Bud-Doh relies heavily on additional pax from Croatia,
    while direct flights to ZAG would be more profitable
    (if not daily).
    The problem is BUD, not ZAG in this case!

    1. I agree with you about Doha flight and would like to add a bit more information. I spoke to my friends at a couple of tourist agencies in Zagreb. They all say that Qatar agents visited them in person and proposed deals which are too good to miss. Basically, any flight combination from Zagreb to Asia or Australia is by far the cheapest via Doha! I am flying to Hong Kong with Qatar for only 740 euros! Layover time in Doha is only a bit more than an hour.
      Any other airline combination is more expensive.
      To test this go to or sky and punch in any major city in Asia this summer and you will see that Qatar always comes up the cheapest, even if the price difference is only 20 euros.
      They want to squeeze out the competition so there is a possibility that they start flying directly ZAG-DOHA sooner than later.

    2. Belgrade, Zagreb, LJUBLJANA, maybe then Skopje, or Sarajevo... Maybe you forgot about Lju.

      Grettings from Slovenia.

    3. How much would a trip cost from Australia with all taxes included?

  9. No no my dear!

    Skopje was always number three in Yugoslavia
    or at least in the 80ies.
    Ljubljana only became important after dissolution of the common state.

    Nothing against Slovenia or Ljubljana,
    which are simply beautiful,
    but Skopje already had 600 000 people in 1991!

    If there would be Yugoslavia today ,
    Skopje would have reached the million years ago.

  10. AirOne will be 3x to BEG weekly according to , their website..:) good news for BEG, not so good news for JAT because of competition... I have not checked out the pricing of the flights

  11. I will fly with Qatar in two weeks from Budapest via Doha to Seoul for only 602 EUR!!!! Far the best offer in market!

    1. Hate to say it, but had you purchased back in November, that particular fare would be under 500... BUD has great QR fares, I make use of them frequently :)

      But, I was very dissapointed to see that ZAG fares are nowhere near as good as those from BUD. I don't care if I go 400km to the north or to the west, but would actually prefer to fly from ZAG - less hassle at the border and would love to finally see the infamous ZAG terminal :)

  12. Your loving customerFebruary 16, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    Ah Qatar Airways !

    : )

    TK from summer 2012 offers to most European destinations double daily flights.
    They seem to attack the MEAirlines by introducing
    improved product and frequencies.
    And we customers are the winners!

    How is TK doing in ZAG,LJU and SJJ?
    What frequencies and ac?

  13. @ Skopje-Loving-Anonymous:

    According to which estimates did Skopje have 600,000 in the 90s?! And by which criteria did you put Skopje before Sarajevo in Yugoslavia?

    1. 3. Ljubljana
      4. Sarajevo
      5. Skopje
      6. Podgorica

    2. Skopje had 500 000 to 600 000 ,
      this data comes from USAid and other organizations who worked in Skopje .

      More than 150 000 people were officialy registered in their hometowns but already living in the city of Skopje !

      Skopje had the biggest Romani population
      in whole Europe most of them were never officialy registered !

      USAid and organizations began work after the earthquake and never stopped because of
      a lot work .

      From an German magazine in 1991 :
      " This people originate from the city of Skopje, a bustling town in Yugoslavia totally rebuilt after a devastating earthquake...
      this city which is already the fastest growing in the whole country of Y. has a lot of issues with housing as building can not hold pace with the massive influx of countryfolk .
      Although officially there live 450 000
      in the city it is inofficially admitted
      there live a lot more which are not counted
      at all as they are still registered as living in their hometowns....
      a lot of them are gypsies...bla bla...
      a lot of them seek asylum in Germany....
      bla bla...
      Germany pays the building of settlements
      for Roma in Sutka ..bla bla "

  14. Your loving customer:
    In ZAG TK have one frequency, but code-share on CTN which will fly 7 flights per week from summer (now they have 3 flights per week).

    TK asked 2 flights per day last year from ZAG since than there was fight with code-share and Star Alliance partner Croatia Airlines because they did not want to allow CTN to fly 7 frequencies and in same time ask for 14 for themselves. During winter Croatia had to fly around midnight because "there were no slots" than Croatian ministry for transportation did not allowed TK to fly more than 4 flights per week. Now TK come to sense and they will have 7 flights + CTN in code-share also 7 per week.

    Everyone happy!

  15. Your loving customerFebruary 16, 2012 at 1:27 AM

    Thank you Purger!

    So TK and CTN fly both daily to IST.
    And they codeshare on the route.

    This is a good situation in which no party gets
    Good that the Croatian side didnt bow down!

    1. LOL but it did, it just expanded it's bowing down from Munich, Vienna and Frankfurt now it includes Istanbul as well.
      Turkish Airlines doesn't care, for them it's easier anyway. They pay less, so the airport fees are covered by OU but they get the pax.

  16. (From an discussion about QR flights to ZAG)

    Is there any sense for QR flying to ZAG, especially via BUD, making the destination that actually makes sense the one with an additional stop...?

    Where is the demand expected to come from into that route?

    Yes, it was already discussed before. QR seems to be very cautious with this region. It is possible that loads to BUD are not satisfying, loads to ZAG are not expected to be satisfying, or a combinations of both. I don't get this route either and frankly, I'm not sure why they didn't choose BEG which is a larger city. Obviously, they are not after leisure travelers visiting Croatian coast as they don't provide any connections from ZAG onwards. QR does seem to be heading towards Star Alliance, so sometime in the future, they might connect with OU's flights to DUB, SPU, etc., but right now, this route is rather odd. However, from what I heard, they have political reasons to launch the route. Except from that, QR is a large airline with destinations all over the world, and since there are lots of Croats living in the diaspora, QR might be after VFR traffic as well.

    1. ^ Not right, Pezy!

      QR has a FLEET SHORTAGE at present, that is the reason why direct flights were not launched for the route. There is another 7 320s to be delivered between now and December - staggering number: identical to OUs current Airbus fleet, and all will be used on flights to Europe and Africa. It is likely ZAGs direct flights will start in November, but whether the route remains daily is yet to be seen.

      ZAG *is* the right choice to launch, it's not about which is the bigger city as you state, but which provides the correct yield. Business linking between the State of Qatar and Croatia, and MOL/INA contract will ensure there is viable passenger load on board. People on this forum constantly over-assume diaspora travel (of which seamless connections will exist to MEL and PER), and local population travelling for yearly holidays etc are what exclusively keeps routes profitable, and it couldn't be further from the truth.

      I agree with you that OU is in the box seat to provide onward destinations: DBV, SJJ and SPU will all fit return flight within time for the QR return, which going on current VCE and BUD timings would be ~5pm.

      It is likely that if the BUD loads continue to struggle, QR will simply change its tag-on flight to BEG to build up the numbers there once ZAG is direct. Remember, that route was announced for 2012 as well, but nothing has happened yet! Also, a second QR destination could be on the cards - DBV.

      ps. love those comments provided by the armchair CEOs on link so far!! Not one of them has a clue...

    2. Thank god we have you, our non-armchair expert XD

    3. Although QR interlines a lot with say LHs airlines in Europe, don't think QR (or any other major gulf airline like Emirates or Etihad) would join any of the alliances anytime soon.

      The gulf airlines are seen as a major threat by legacy carriers due to the apparent cheep fuel issue and their tight connection with the gulf airports, and are quite often facing various obstacles imposed by western country regulators, airport authorities. One could have seen a quite intense public quarrel between Mr. Al-Baker and the representatives of LH, Austrian, Air Canada etc. at the previous IATA summit related to these issues.

      But then again, who knows...


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