|Zadar Airport readies for China service|
Preparations are underway at Zadar Airport for the arrival of Hainan Airlines’ first flight from Chongqing on May 1. The one weekly charter service is schedule to operate throughout the year, each Friday. In the lead-up to the first flight, Zadar Airport’s Managing Director, Irena Ćosić, together with the Chinese Southeast Europe Business Association (CSEBA), will head a delegation to China on March 26 where final details for the service launch will be reviewed. “In China we will discuss the details of the agreement we signed last month and we will meet with tour operators in Beijing”, Ms. Ćosić says.
According to Zadar Airport, the delegation will also discuss the introduction of possible cargo flights between China and Croatia. “We believe there is a significant number of our manufacturers that would like to export their goods to China”, Ms. Ćosić adds. The two sides will also discuss the introduction of year-long scheduled flights between Chongqing and Zadar, which would operate via Rome. Hainan Airlines will introduce two weekly flights between the Chinese city and the Italian capital on April 28 with an Airbus A330. The flights from Chongqing will arrive in Rome at 07.30 in the morning before its scheduled return at 12.50 in the afternoon. The gap would give the Chinese carrier enough time to operate a service to Zadar in between.
The Croatian Minister for Tourism, Darko Lorencin, has praised the new service. On a recent visit to China, Mr. Lorencin said, “China offers a significant number of tourists of all categories and Croatia wants to attract as many of them as possible. We are willing to support Chinese tour operators who, when there is critical mass, will connect China and Croatia with direct flights”. In recent years, Croatia has seen an increase in Chinese tourists, with a little over 60.000 visiting last year. From 2009 to 2014, the number of Chinese arrivals to Croatia increased sixfold. Most visit between May and October as part of regional and European tour groups.