|Long haul charters to Zadar by year’s end|
A Chinese business delegation visiting Croatia has signed a letter of intent with its Croatian partners for the launch of charter flights between the two countries. The service, which will operate once every ten days from Chongqing, in China’s south-west, will launch by the end of the year. The Chinese Southeast Europe Business Association (CSEBA), which has initiated the new charter service, has confirmed flights will operate to Zadar Airport. The announcement comes as somewhat of a surprise since the airports in Zagreb and Dubrovnik were initially tipped as the destination of choice. However, Chinese tourists will visit both cities, as well as Split, Plitvice, Rovinj and Kumrovec during their ten day stay in the country. Last week the delegation said it was in talks with Croatian airports over pricing and taxes with Zadar offering the most affordable terms and conditions.
CSEBA CEO, Mario Rendulić, said, “Over the next thirty days all the details will be finalised and both sides will cooperate in choosing an airline to operate the charter flights. Arrangements must be made and we hope airlines will recognise the potential”. The Chongqing Tourism Association, CSEBA and Croatia’s DC Travel will work on promoting Croatia as a tourist destination in China and assist in establishing the charter service. The exact launch date will be known after a carrier is selected to operate the three monthly flights. The Chinese government, together with Croatian tourism authorities, have pledged their support in promoting the new service amongst Chinese travellers.
Charters between China and Croatia would mark the first air link between the two countries. CSEBA hopes to eventually introduce scheduled yearlong services next year. The arrival of a Chinese airline at Zadar Airport would be a much welcomed addition during the slow winter months when Croatia Airlines is the airport’s sole customer, maintaining only flights to Zagreb and Pula. During the first eight months of the year, Zadar Airport welcomed 368.448 passengers through its doors, an increase of 5.9% compared to the same period in 2013 as the airport heads for a record breaking year.