Leaving the past behind as Croatia - Serbia air travel flourishes
Flights between the Croatian coast and the Serbian capital Belgrade have flourished this summer with strong passenger numbers recorded in both June and July. A total of fifteen weekly flights operate between Belgrade, Dubrovnik, Split and Pula. Jat Airways maintains thirteen weekly flights to Croatia with four weekly services to Split and Pula and five weekly to Dubrovnik. On the other hand, Croatia Airlines maintains two weekly flights between Split and Belgrade.
EX-YU Aviation News can exclusively reveal that in June, Croatia Airlines welcomed 656 passengers on board its Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft on its inbound and outbound flights between Split and Belgrade. Competing against Jat, in July, the Croatian carrier handled 1.203 passengers on the route, leading to a 5% passenger decrease compared to the same month last year.
On the other hand, Jat has recorded strong figures on its Croatia bound flights with an overall 50% passenger increase compared to last year. The Serbian carrier welcomed a total of 5.425 passengers on its operations to and from Croatia in July. Its busiest route was the Dubrovnik - Belgrade service with 1.167 passengers, followed by Belgrade - Split (1.037), Belgrade - Dubrovnik (1.025), Split - Belgrade (946) and finally both the inbound and outbound Pula service (625). Interistingly, Jat is carrying a notable number of transit passengers on its flights from Dubrovnik continuing on to Abu Dhabi. All other routes are almost exclusively point to point travel. In total, on its return services Jat handled 2.192 passengers on its Dubrovnik flights with an average load factor of 76%, followed by Split with 1.983 passengers leading to a load factor of 92% and finally Pula with 1.250 passengers or a load factor of 53% (though it should be noted that Jat operated its flights to Pula with a mix of ATR72/75s and B737-300 aircraft).
Despite travel between the two countries being at its busiest in 22 years, there are currently no plans for either Jat or Croatia Airlines to introduce scheduled traffic between the two nations. The rebranded Jat, Air Serbia, will not be introducing any Croatian flights this winter, while Croatia Airlines will be rationalising its network rather than expanding it during the coming winter months.
|Airline||Route||Passengers||Change on 2012 (%)||Average load factor|
|Croatia Airlines||SPU-BEG-SPU||1.203||▼ 5.8||88|
|Jat Airways||BEG-DBV-BEG||2.192||▲ 40||76|
|Jat Airways||BEG-SPU-BEG||1.983||▲ 97||92|
|Jat Airways||BEG-PUY-BEG||1.250||▼ 36||53|
The traffic flow between Serbia and Croatia is still a far cry from figures dating back prior to the collapse of the former Yugoslavia. In its last year of normal operations, Yugoslav Airlines was already recording a large drop in passenger numbers on domestic flights. However, on its domestic services in 1990, JAT carried 340.000 passengers between Serbia and Croatia. Travel between the two republics accounted for 34% of all domestic air travel. The Belgrade - Dubrovnik service was the busiest in JAT’s entire network throughout most of the 1980s. The last scheduled flight between Zagreb and Belgrade was operated on August 6, 1991. Other destinations which have not been resumed since include Zadar - Belgrade which ceased on August 3, 1991 and Rijeka - Belgrade which was suspended on August 5, 1991.