|Croatia Airlines hits a million as Split Airport sees record growth|
Croatia Airlines yesterday handled its millionth passenger for the year, three days behind 2013. Jelena Ninčević was the lucky millionth passenger, travelling from Paris to Split. To mark the occasion, Ms. Ninčević (pictured above) was awarded two return tickets to any destination in Croatia Airlines’ international network and received a gift voucher from Split Airport Duty Free. With the arrival of its millionth passenger, Croatia Airlines has caught up to last year’s results following a slow start to 2014. However, it should be noted that the carrier experienced a ten day strike by staff in May last year, grounding a majority of its flights, which wasn't the case this year around. The airline is expected to report its second quarterly results this week which should reinforce a halt to the passenger decline experienced earlier this year.
During the first quarter, Croatia Airlines welcomed 292.524 travellers on board its aircraft, a decrease of 6.5% on 2013. It is the first time in over a decade the airline has lost its position as the busiest carrier in the former Yugoslavia. Croatia Airlines recorded 83.077 passengers on domestic flights (down 7%) while it handled 203.286 travellers on scheduled international services (down 8%) and a further 6.161 on international charter flights (up 117%). During Q1, the carrier saw healthier loads on its flights to Macedonia (+1.4%), Germany (+2.4%), Austria (+3), the Netherlands (+3.9%) and Belgium (+43.9) when compared to last year. On the other hand, flights to Bosnia and Herzegovina (-0.7%), Italy (-16.1), Switzerland (-10%), the United Kingdom (-19.8%) and France (-24.9%), saw their numbers contract.
In related news, Split Airport, which handled Croatia Airlines’ millionth passenger this year, saw record numbers over the weekend. On Saturday some 26.000 travellers passed through the airport, which represents a 24-hour record. In addition, the airport is estimated to register an impressive 17% increase in passenger numbers this June when compared to the same month last year. The encouraging results have put Split on course to take over the position of the former Yugoslavia’s third busiest airport. Furthermore, on Saturday, a record 2.520 aircraft flew over Croatian airspace. The increase in traffic comes as a result of the recent reopening of Kosovo’s airspace, as well as airlines rerouting their flights towards south-eastern Europe in order to bypass Ukraine in the wake of the Malaysia Airlines disaster.