Local competition ahead for Croatia Airlines in 2013
Croatia Airlines could see competition on one of its busiest domestic routes next summer. The Croatian charter airline, Trade Air, is in talks with local authorities to launch scheduled flights from Zagreb to Dubrovnik in 2013. Trade Air, which boasts a fleet of three Fokker F100s, says the time is right for the airline to enter the domestic market with its own flights as Croatia heads towards full European Union membership next summer. The news comes only days after the Mayor of Dubrovnik and Croatia Airlines CEO agreed for the national carrier to be subsidised to the tune of almost 200.000 euros for its operations out of Dubrovnik next summer season.
Dubrovnik Airport is set to be the big winner out of Croatia’s entry into the European Union. Not only are airlines already boosting frequencies and announcing new flights to the city next summer, the airport is also expected to see record traffic. This October its passenger numbers surged by an impressive 25% compared to last year. Dubrovnik Airport welcomed over 131.660 passengers through its doors, up from last year’s 105.788. The airport is now firmly on course to become the fourth busiest in the former Yugoslavia by the end of 2012.
Croatia Airlines has no competition on its domestic operations. However, according to a recent report by consultancy firms hired by the national carrier, the Zagreb - Dubrovnik service is unprofitable along with the rest of the airline’s domestic network. During the 2012 summer season, Trade Air operated some flights on Croatia Airlines’ behalf as the national carrier’s fleet was operating at full capacity. In the first nine months of the year Croatia Airlines welcomed 1.550.000 passengers, up 4% on last year. While there was a passenger boost of 6% on international flights, numbers tumbled on domestic services by 3%.