Hopes, fears and expectationsZagreb Airport is set to be transformed next year as the construction of its long awaited new terminal begins. The airport’s new operator, Aéroports de Paris, anticipates that the new state of the art facilities will turn Croatia’s busiest hub into a regional powerhouse and a transit point within the Balkans. Furthermore, Croatia’s entry into the European Union next summer is also set to provide a significant boost in passenger numbers, as has been the case with recent new EU members such as Bulgaria and Romania.
However, unlike other airports in Croatia, Zagreb hasn’t had an impressive run so far in 2012. The airport welcomed 1.038.479 passengers in the first half of the year, down 2.3% on last year. Another challenge the airport could face in the coming months is the “Ljubljana scenario”. If its main customer, Croatia Airlines, carries through with proposed network and frequency cuts, the airport could be affected similarly to the way Ljubljana Airport has been hit by Adria’s cost cutting measures.
On the other hand, recently there has been good news for the airport. Due to strong numbers on Qatar Airways’ Doha - Budapest service, which continues on to Zagreb, the Qatari carrier plans to increase capacity from next month. The airline will replace the Airbus A320 utilised on the route with the 177 seat Airbus A321 from August 2. Qatar operates daily flights from Doha to Zagreb via Budapest.
How do you think the new terminal and Croatia’s entry into the EU will affect Zagreb Airport? What is behind this year’s slump? Send a comment with your thoughts.