Big hopes from big investment
Croatia will fork out 1.4 million euros for Ryanair to set up a base in Zadar from April 2013. It is argued that the money will be well spent and the return for the city and Croatian tourism will be much greater. The Croatian Tourism Association will provide half of the above-mentioned sum while the rest will be paid for by local authorities and businesses benefiting from the new flights. On top of the existing nine cities being served by Ryanair from Zadar on a seasonal summer basis, the low cost airline will also launch flights to Beauvais, Dublin, East Midlands, Gothenburg, Haugesund, Liverpool and Wroclaw. A Boeing 737-800 will be stationed at the airport and will mark Ryanair’s first base in the former Yugoslavia.
Ryanair plans to hire local staff on its flights from Zadar. The airline will employ ten pilots, cabin crew and mechanics with a total workforce of forty. Based on the performance of its flights, the low cost airline will consider operating year round services from Zadar. “This is a major success for our airport and the Zadar region and testament that we are on the right path”, the CEO of Zadar Airport, Katica Pupić Bakrač, says.
These past few years Zadar has been a star performer amongst Croatian airports. In the elapsed eleven months of the year it has already surpassed its end of year 2011 result. By the end of November the airport handled 368.738 passengers, an increase of 30.4% compared to the same period last yaer. For the whole of 2011 the airport welcomed 284.980 passengers. Ryanair’s expansion into Zadar alone is set to boost numbers by a massive 60% in 2013.