A summer like no other
Croatia Airlines is anticipating its busiest summer season since it began passenger operations 22 years ago. With a record tourist season and the country’s entry into the European Union expected this coming summer, Croatia Airlines has significantly boosted its frequencies and flight offering. The Croatian carrier will launch services from Pula to Paris, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Erfurt. Furthermore, it will strengthen its position in Dubrovnik where it was the busiest carrier in 2012 with 408.399 passengers carried to and from the city. The airline plans to launch flights from Dubrovnik to Dresden and will boost frequencies to Zurich to a total of five weekly flights. As Croatia becomes the 28th member state of the European Union, the national carrier will significantly boost frequencies to the European capital Brussels. Flights from Zagreb to the Belgian capital will increase from six to eleven times per week. Equipment operating on the service will be a combination of Dash 8s and Airbus A319s. The airline will extend its seasonal flights from Split to Belgrade by two months compared to last summer and has been ordered by the Croatian government to launch flights from Rijeka to Split and Dubrovnik.
Last year, Croatia Airlines’ pilots criticised the management’s decision to cut down on the number of charter flights. However, this summer the airline will also boost its charter flight offering. Croatia Airlines will replace SAS Scandinavian Airlines on charters from Dubrovnik to Evenes in Norway and Skelleftea in Sweden, while it will substitute Adria Airways on the Split - Lulea charter service. Flights from Osijek to Zagreb, Dubrovnik and Split, which the airline was ordered to launch, are still doubtful at this point.
With the busy summer ahead, Croatia Airlines will utilise its entire fleet of thirteen aircraft and could be forced to lease additional jets as has been the case last summer when it leased a Fokker F100 from Tradeair. Croatia Airlines has delayed the arrival of four new Airbus A319s until 2015. Tradeair itself has hinted it will launch its own scheduled flights this summer, adding competition on the home market. Croatia Airlines will also face added competition from various low cost airlines, including Ryanair which will set up a base in Zadar. Furthermore, it will be the first summer the airline will face off against British Airways on flights from Zagreb to London.