|Zagreb, Rijeka and Osijek gear up for busy year|
Airports across Croatia are gearing up for a busy year after the country saw its average passenger growth exceed 10% in 2014. Zagreb Airport registered its busiest year on record, handling 2.430.971 travellers through its doors, an increase of 5.6% compared to the year before, securing its position as the second busiest airport in the former Yugoslavia. The growth comes despite a drop in the number of operated flights to and from Croatia’s capital. Figures decreased marginally from 38.894 arrivals and departures in 2013 to 38.348 in 2014. During the year, a notable number of new airlines introduced services to Zagreb, including KLM, Eurolot, Air Serbia and Flydubai. This trend is set to continue in 2015 with Swiss International Air Lines to launch daily flights from Zurich starting April 15 and Brussels Airlines to inaugurate a six weekly service from September 20. In addition, Air Croatia will introduce flights from Zagreb to Budapest, Milan, Rome and Prague in early April. Several other airlines are also negotiating with the airport over potential new services.
Over on the coast, Rijeka Airport estimates to record passenger growth of up to 70% in 2015. According to the airport’s management, Swedish tour operator Scandjet will register a new airline in Croatia, named Limitless Airways, which will be based in Rijeka. The tour operator has already leased an Airbus A320 and plans to add another jet of the same type during the summer. In addition, Croatia Airlines will launch new seasonal flights from the coastal city to Munich from March 29, complementing its existing summer flights from Rijeka to London Heathrow. Rijeka Airport is currently undertaking the biggest overhaul of its passenger terminal since opening its doors in 1970. Construction work is expected to be completed by late March when the airport opens its doors to the public.
Meanwhile, Osijek Airport has registered its busiest post-war year on record thanks to budget carrier Ryanair and Trade Air’s commuter domestic service. Osijek, in Croatia’s east, is estimated to have handled some 30.000 passengers in 2014, up from just 3.404 the year before. Ryanair has been fuelling the growth with its seasonal summer flights from London Stansted Airport, with 18.000 passengers making use of the service last year. Osijek Airport’s CEO, Domagoj Marinić, says, “This does not mark the end of our pursuit to expand the network of low cost airlines operating to the airport. In 2015 and 2016 we will further expand this offer, particularly with flights to Germany”. Osijek’s busy year marks a major turnaround for the airport which was on the brink of financial ruin only two years ago.