New airlines and transatlantic flights on the radar for Zagreb Airport
The CEO of Zagreb Airport, Gonzalve de Cordoue, has confirmed the airport is in talks with several airlines to launch flights to the Croatian capital this year including ČSA Czech Airlines, Air Serbia and Etihad Airways. The airport is close to finalising a deal with ČSA for the resumption of its Prague - Zagreb service. The Czech national carrier last operated flights to Zagreb in 2012 after which it vacated the service to its subsidiary Central Connect Airlines (CCA). Following CCA’s demise later that year services between the two cities were suspended.
Mr. Cordoue also confirmed talks are being held with both Air Serbia and Etihad over potential flights from Belgrade, however, the CEO refused to give further details on the talks. In addition, the airport is negotiating with two Canadian based airlines for the launch of transatlantic flights from Toronto in 2015, the first from Canada to Croatia since 2008. Further discussions are being held with airlines from Italy and Poland. Zagreb Airport has already secured two new international customers this year with both Etihad Regional and KLM Cityhopper to launch flights to the Croatian capital from Rome and Amsterdam respectively.
Zagreb Airport’s push to attract new airlines comes against its recent warning to Croatia Airlines that it will give it only six month to get its act together before attempting to attract low cost carriers. Croatia Airlines recorded an 8% drop in passenger numbers on services to and from Zagreb in 2013 on the back of a 10% decrease in the number of operated flights. On the other hand, foreign carriers flying into Zagreb managed to see their numbers improve by 10% on the year before. Croatia Airlines currently holds a 60% share of all flights to and from Zagreb. Mr. Cordoue states that under the concession agreement with the Croatian government, the national carrier enjoys some benefits at Zagreb Airport.