|Rab Airport project to get green light|
Rab Island, located off Croatia’s north-western coastline is likely to become the sight of the country’s tenth commercial airport. Following years of planning and numerous feasibility studies, the island’s authorities are set to approve the airport project in mid September. Although Rab counts only 10.000 inhabitants, it has become a popular tourist destination. A total of 800.000 euros has been spent on various surveys and environmental impact reviews of the future airport sight, all of which have been financed through the European Union's pre-accession assistance funds.
According to preliminary plans, the airport will be used for both domestic and international flights and will feature a 1.700 metre long and 45 metre wide runway. In addition, it will have the ability to accommodate aircraft with a capacity to seat up to 150 passengers. According to local authorities, the airport could handle over 200.000 passengers per year with some 50.000 arriving from the European Union and a further 75.000 travellers from Russia and the Far East. Rab Airport will also be able to handle cargo traffic and will feature hangars and pilot training facilities. The airport will also offer parking, which will be able accommodate 500 vehicles, a first aid and fire bridge service, customs, duty free and other facilities in line with international standards.
However, concerns have been raised over the airport’s viability. Rab is sandwiched in between Rijeka and Lošinj airports. Recently, authorities announced plans to invest up to 34 million euros in the expansion of Lošinj’s terminal building, while Croatia Airlines has said it will look into launching direct flights from Rijeka to several European destinations next summer. The price tag of the Rab Airport project is estimated to reach between fifty and sixty million euros. Business partners from Slovenia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have expressed their interest to take part in the project.