Thursday, July 26, 2012

Zagreb looks to 2013

Hopes, fears and expectations
Zagreb 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.

25 comments:

  1. I do not see how Croatia's entry to the EU will have a major impact on the passenger numbers. Bulgarians and Romanians needed visas to travel to the EU until they went into the European Union, of course there was a major increase in passenger numbers.
    The only route that might see an increase is Zagreb-Brussels.

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    1. Wrong. Visa requirements were abolished a couple of years before EU membership. The only exception is UK and IE. No wonder London is the most important city especially Bulgaria.

      Delete
  2. While I'm certainly glad to see ZAG grow and develop, the future of OU will have a strong impact on future pax numbers. I hope they'll be able to survive when the government stops breast-feeding.

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    1. Although we have heard rumors and speculation about government grants to help aid Croatia Airlines I have never seen confirmation of this. Has OU ever received a cash injection from the Croatian Government???

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    2. Cash injections are not something which is advertized as headlines in the newspapers. Hopefully there is someone here who has an insight into the Croatian government to tell us how much they gave.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. Again, it is just speculation and remember up until a few years back around 2007/2008 OU was a profitable company through out its existence. Can we assume OU had some cash reserves and maybe has no need for government help?

      Until we have confirmation that OU has had government financial assistants than I don't think it fair to continue to state otherwise.

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    5. Well, I would be more than happy to see that they were not receiving any financial assistance from the government. Also, do not forget that for the past couple of years Croatia Airlines was in the red, by default the Croatian government had to cover the losses.

      Also, before 2007/2008 Croatia Airlines faced less competition than it does today.

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  3. I don't think OU will do to well after EU entry. Hopefully LCC will replace them as in Budapest. I think ZAG passenger numbers might see a boost but might not. Is Croatia entering Schengen?

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  4. ZAG relatively close location to BUD sometimes is a disadvantage. BUD has approx. 8 million passengers annually making it the leader in the region. It might probably receive new connections to new EU capitals such as OTP, SOF, RIX, etc.

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  5. Croatia won't enter Schengen zone right away. Some two to three years after becoming an EU member. Please correct me if I am wrong. Zagreb really really needs new terminal. Existing one is just embarising. Those cosmetic things they did to it are nothing. Passenger number are falling down, not surprise considering the economical situation in this country. There are just too many factors rightnow that are against the aviation industry in Croatia.

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    1. Croatia will enter Schengen right away but each EU country has the right to apply a block for up to 7 years which judging by the economies in Europe some might chose to do so.

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    2. Wrong Q400. HR is supposed tu fully implement Schengen regime on Jan 01, 2015. From that date, there would be no more border controls on HR rail and road border crossings with SLO and Hungary, and in croatian ports and at the airports, for all planes/boats/ships/ferrys coming from/going to other Schengen member states.

      7 years you talk about is period of potential limitation of employment right for HR citizens in particular member state. However, due to relatively small population, and good standard and quality of life, it's not expected that such limitations would be in effect for HR citizens. On the contrary, low-profile workers from BG, RO and some Baltic states are expected in HR.

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  6. I am really happy to see good numbers for the ZAG-BUD-DOH service. This might lead to eventual split of the flight and ZAG being served non-stop. It's nice to see that we passengers have an alternative and great connection to Middle East and Asia.

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    1. True. I'm hoping for the similar kind of performance @BEG. Though, I would miss the ZAG-BUD service, it is quite useful having in mind that it's the only one at this point.

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  7. The terminal at Zagreb should have been upgraded years ago. It really should have been on top of the cities list of priority projects and in my opinion it is really inexcusable that it has taken so long to progress with the real losers being the people of Zagreb and also Croatia.
    But what do you expect with the current passenger numbers at Zagreb when the airport has long passed comfortable level of service. At peak periods it is truly a painful airport to use and it should not be a huge surprise that passenger numbers are stagnate when possible passengers would look to use an alternate when possible.
    The new terminal will change this and we will see very healthy growth at Zagreb as we have seen at Skopje.
    You would have to believe that the Paris consortium will not bother with such a huge investment if there was not potential and remember when we have seen aviation based companies in the region receive no interest in multiple attempted tender projects, Zagreb received interest from no fewer than 10 international companies. Again more evidence of the potential of Zagreb Airport.
    The future is bright for Zagreb Airport, if you build it we have seen time and time again, they will come!

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  8. Official date for Schengen-entry of Croatia is 2015...
    Of course only if everything goes as planned.

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  9. The new Terminal will definitely help boost numbers. The situation in ex YU region can t stay the way it is. And if ZAG and OU will offer a good product/prize combination, even people from BEG will use the airport. At the end of the day what counts today is service/cash and time and if a trip via ZAG offers the better total solution than via MUC, people will certainly choose to fly on OU.
    Same counts of course vice versa. Also in BEG progress will be made and certainly people from other airports, will travel via BEG to other destinations if the product purchased, offers the best value.

    The EU will not have an immeidate impact such as in BUH or SOF, all depends on how well the economy in Croatia develops. If they can attrack lots of FDIs and get the corruption problem taped, the Business Travel will grow. Once the economy grows, the living standard of Croatians will increase. However just because of EU membership they wont see immediate passenger growth, mainly because they already have no VISA restrictions in place.

    I really hope that the project will be finished in time and let s hope that OU and whoever will be with them if at all, will keep going with the level of service they currently provide. So also people south of Ljubljana or in the northern part of Bosnia will plan their trips originin in Pleso.

    The region of ex YU is enough big, to afford Zagreb and Belgrade together with offering good airport/airline products.

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    1. If OU was to offer a link between BEG and ZAG so that pax from BEG could connect in ZAG before travelling onward, I would definitely opt for that every time.

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    2. Why would they do it? Adria tried the same and they did not really succeed in establishing themselves.
      Croatia Airlines' network is worse than Jat's, and it will become only worse if they cut their network.

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  10. I think it is just simple story thats all, croatia airlines will go like hungarian malev, coz they already have lots of losses, and who helps them, the goverment of course, when they entry EU that will not be possible so they will go bankruptcy, they just announce it zagreb is little city how they can espect boom?What you have to see from tourist side in ZG nothing special like every other city!!

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  11. croatia in general has nearly peaked in terms of economic progress. it will still increase, but not at the rate it has been for the last few years. besides, there is little incentive to go to zagreb. i can understand the coast because it is a tourist destination (although that is expected to start decreasing in 15-20 years), but zagreb does not have much to offer. no noteworthy increases should be expected.

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    Replies
    1. Croatia, in general, is West for the East.
      That is just about enough.

      Delete

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