New Osijek - Zagreb route struggles to attract passengers
Trade Air, which recently launched its first scheduled flights by operating services between Osijek and Zagreb, has recorded disappointing passenger numbers on the route so far. The airline welcomed only 43 passengers from Osijek to the Croatian capital in its first week of operations. The return service saw a combined weekly total of 44 passengers, or an average of eight passengers per flight. The Trade Air flights operate with a leased Embraer 120 aircraft from Budapest Air Service with the capacity to seat thirty passengers. A total of five weekly flights will be maintained between the two cities this winter. In the coming period the airline will also launch Rijeka - Split - Dubrovnik - Rijeka flights.
The Osijek – Zagreb service is being subsidised to the tune of 1.1 million euros over the next three years by the Croatian government. Croatia Airlines has previously refused to operate the flights, stating they would be unprofitable. However, the CEO of Osijek Airport, Domagoj Marinić, believes the numbers are not all that bad, “We expect that it will take at least six months for the route to settle. These flights are a really big challenge for Trade Air and Osijek Airport. It opens many business opportunities and we will give our best to meet expected targets”, Mr Marinić says. In the past, Osijek Airport has struggled to attract customers and the new service will provide much needed passengers, especially during the winter.
The majority of travellers using the new service are transit passengers coming from abroad. Trade Air has said it plans to reduce ticket prices in an attempt to attract more passengers. The Osijek - Zagreb service was inaugurated on September 30, with the new flights announced only a few days prior to their launch. Tickets are on sale on the Croatia Airlines website at 49.5 euros. Soon, tickets will also be available for purchase via the Trade Air website. Trade Air, launched in 1994, has two Fokker F100 jets in its fleet and has only operated charter flights in the past.