Airlines add flights to Croatia in 2013
With Croatia becoming the 28th member state of the European Union next summer, many airlines have already announced plans to increase frequencies to airports across the country. Croatia has already seen a record number of tourists this year, with figures set to be given a further boost in 2013 as Croatia joins the European family. Finnair has announced more frequencies to both Dubrovnik and Split. The Finnish national carrier will be operating four weekly flights between Helsinki and Dubrovnik, up by one from this year, and will maintain a one weekly service from the Finnish capital to Split. Furthermore, Aer Lingus will be strengthening its service from Dublin to Dubrovnik with five weekly flights to be operated from the very start of the 2013 summer season.
Low cost airlines have also announced additional flights to Croatia next summer. Lufthansa’s Germanwings will introduce an additional one weekly flight from Stuttgart to Dubrovnik, bringing the total number of flights to two. In addition, the Stuttgart - Rijeka service will also be boosted with an added weekly frequency. Germawings’ services to Croatia are likely to be taken over by Lufthansa’s planned new low cost airline - Direct4You. The Dutch based Transavia will also be boosting frequencies on flights from Rotterdam to Split next summer. The only airline so far to announce a cut in frequencies to Croatia next summer is Air France which will halve the number of its flights from Paris to Zagreb.
Croatian airports are predicted to be the big winners from the country’s European Union membership. EU accession naturally brings with it more investment, tourism and business. In January 2007 Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union thanks to which the airports in Sofia and Bucharest flourished. In 2006, Sofia Airport handled 2.2 million passengers. This number jumped to 2.7 million in 2007, an increase of 24%. Wizz Air created its Wizz Air Bulgaria subsidiary in 2006, a year before the country joined the EU. At Bucharest’s Henri Coanda Airport, the EU impact was even greater with numbers jumping from 3.5 million in 2006 to 4.9 in 2007, a 40% increase.