|New airlines and more flights from Zagreb this winter|
After a slow start to the year, which saw its passenger numbers tumble, Croatia’s busiest airport is starting to recover with growth of over 10% in August alone and the arrival of several new airlines this coming winter season. Last month proved to be Zagreb’s busiest on record. In January, the airport’s French-led management issued an ultimatum to its busiest customer, Croatia Airlines, giving it six months to get its business in order otherwise it would start seeking out new airlines. The airport’s passenger decline earlier in the year is in large part due to Croatia Airlines’ network reductions, as the carrier continues to restructure its operations. Earlier this year the airport said it understood Croatian Airlines’ delicate situation with its pending privatisation process. However, the airport aims to record passenger growth of 8% this year, and, in order to do so, will have to attract new customers.
The airport has delivered on its promise with the arrival of KLM, which resumed flights between Amsterdam and Zagreb in May following a 22-year hiatus. Furthermore, Turkish Airlines doubled its services from Istanbul while Germanwings operated new seasonal flights from Hamburg. Charter operations also saw an improvement during the summer with Air Europa and Air Nostrum introducing services from both Zaragoza and Valencia, respectively. In addition, Arkia Israel Airlines, Tunisair and Onur Air all boosted their flights compared to previous years. Korean Air ran six charter flights from Seoul to Zagreb during the summer with its Boeing 747-400, while a further four flights will be performed this September with a Boeing 777-200.
The airport is expected to see further growth this coming winter season with Eurolot to launch flights from Warsaw this October while low cost Flydubai will connect the United Arab Emirates’ largest city and the Croatian capital for the first time this December. Furthermore, Qatar Airways will launch three weekly nonstop flights from Doha to Zagreb next month, while the remaining four flights will continue to operate via Budapest. Air France is also set to significantly boost capacity on its Paris service this winter with the introduction of a second daily flight. As a result, one of its daily services will be operated by its subsidiary HOP!, while the other by Air France itself. Earlier this year, Alitalia announced its intention to launch flights from Rome to the Croatian capital but gave no firm dates. On the other hand, ČSA Czech Airlines and Etihad Regional cancelled plans to fly to the city this year. Furthermore, 2014 will mark easyJet’s departure from Zagreb with the budget airline suspending its flights from London Gatwick. The airline has been progressively downsizing its operations in Zagreb over the past few years. Meanwhile, away from the tarmac, construction of Zagreb Airport’s new terminal is progressing with the multi million euro project scheduled for completion in late 2016.