|Air Croatia to launch flights from March 1 and add Budapest service|
Start-up Air Croatia, which was to inaugurate flights from Zagreb to Prague and Rome on December 18, has delayed its service launch until March next year, the company has confirmed. In a statement to EX-YU Aviation News, Air Croatia says that bookings on its flights prior to March 1 were slow. “The interest for flights before March 1 is really low and 80% of our bookings are after this date, which is why we have postponed until March 1, in order not to lose too much money during January and February by flying empty planes”, Air Croatia says, It adds, “Those few booked before March 1 will of course receive a full refund and two free tickets for the first flights in March so nobody will be affected”.
The company says that despite a major advertising campaign in Croatian media, the majority of its booked passengers, some 95%, are non-Croats. Furthermore, in addition to its Prague and Rome flights, Air Croatia has also decided to launch services to Budapest after Qatar Airways announced it would suspend the short sector on its flights between Doha and Zagreb from March next year. Air Croatia will operate three weekly flights between the two capital cities, each Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Further flight details can be found here.
Air Croatia plans to wetlease an Estonian Air Embraer E170 jet, which has the capacity to seat 76 passengers. Services to both the Italian and Czech capitals will operate five times per week, Monday to Friday, and carry Estonian Air flight numbers. Besides Rome and Prague, Air Croatia also plans to launch flights to Milan and Dusseldorf in the foreseeable future. Furthermore, in an earlier statement, the company confirmed it would also run services to Bucharest, Helsinki and Stockholm starting next Easter. Notably, the company aims to link the Croatian capital with unserved markets which hold great potential, while at the same time avoiding direct competition from rivals.