Zagreb numbers in the red as it prepares for terminal construction
After ending an eight month passenger losing streak in December, Zagreb Airport has once again recorded declining numbers this January. Croatia’s busiest airport handled 135.754 passengers last month, a decrease of 2.6% compared to January 2013. The result comes on the back of a decrease in the number of operated flights. A total of 2.684 arrivals and departures were recorded, down 4.5% on the year before. It was an all round poor month for Croatian airports with Split, Dubrovnik and Zadar all seeing passenger numbers decrease. While Split and Dubrovnik recorded a 4.2% and 15.5% slide in numbers respectively, Zadar Airport’s performance was almost unchanged, with figures inching down by less than 1%.
Zagreb Airport hopes to compensate for the January setback with the arrival of new airlines later on this year. With Etihad Regional, KLM Cityhopper and Germanwings all lined up to launch new flights, the airport’s CEO, Gonzalve de Cordoue, says talks are being held with several low cost airlines as well but added Ryanair was not one of them due to its expensive terms and conditions. The airport is also in the final stages of talks with ČSA Czech Airlines. However, the airport admits Croatia Airlines is a worry and it will hold talks with the Croatian Ministry for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure in regards to the carrier. Under the recently signed concession agreement, the operator of Zagreb Airport is obliged to boost passenger numbers compared to previous years and a struggling national airline won’t do much to help it reach this goal.
As spring draws closer, the airport says it is ready to start construction of its new multi million euro terminal with finances for the project secured. Some thirty containers arrived recently at Zagreb Airport containing construction and other materials. A six kilometre fence has been erected around the construction site which has also been cleared in order for work to begin. This autumn, work will also begin on the upgrade and reconstruction of the current terminal building, to be carried out during night time so as not to affect passengers and traffic at the airport. The upgrades will include the expansion of the duty free area and lounges. The price tag is estimated at 3.5 million euros.