Zagreb to scale down terminal project
Zagreb Airport’s new terminal will be smaller than originally planned and will be missing several key components from the original design project, the head of Zagreb’s City Assembly, Darinko Kosor, said at a press conference in the Croatian capital yesterday. Mr. Kosor criticised Zagreb Airport International Company (ZAIC), a primarily French led consortium, which runs Zagreb Airport. According to Mr. Kosor, the planned new terminal building will be significantly smaller than originally planned. It will not feature a curved glass roof and will not have an underground baggage processing area as intended by the initial design. Mr. Kosor says that ZAIC allegedly justified these measures by claiming the airport will see a passenger decline in the coming period. Under the recently signed concession agreement, the operator of Zagreb Airport is obliged to boost passenger numbers compared to previous years and has estimated growth of 8% in 2014.
Mr. Kosor also criticised the airport’s operator for hiking passenger taxes. On March 5, the airport increased its security tax from three to 6.5 euros. Starting March 30, passengers travelling on international flights out of Zagreb will pay a 15 euro tax instead of the current ten euros while travellers on domestic flights will be charged seven euros on tax instead of four. “They are mocking Croatia because the concessionaire has transferred its fees onto passengers in order to finance construction work”, Mr. Kosor said.
In addition, the head of Zagreb’s City Assembly claims the airport is putting pressure on Croatia Airlines by increasing its costs and competition which will, in turn, lower the airline’s value. ZAIC has not responded to the allegations made by Mr. Kosor. Preparation work on the future site of Zagreb Airport’s new terminal has been ongoing over the last few months with construction set to begin this spring and scheduled for completion in 2016. 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.