|Busy day for ex-Yu aviation as Air Croatia launches flights|
Just days into the 2015 summer season, a number of events are scheduled to take place today in the aviation industry in the former Yugoslavia, with Air Croatia launching operations and Air Serbia holding a press conference on planned service innovations. Furthermore, Dubrovnik Airport will restore links to Moscow through S7 Airlines, while Sarajevo Airport has posted strong passenger growth for the month of March.
Start-up Air Croatia began operations this morning with an ATR 42 aircraft, which has been wet-leased from Dutch-based Denim Air. The airline inaugurated flights from Zagreb to Budapest with services to Prague to be introduced later today. Flights to Rome and Milan are scheduled to begin tomorrow. Originally, services were to be inaugurated last summer, but were delayed until December before being pushed back to March and then again to April this year. Jost Lammers, the Managing Director of Budapest Airport says, “This is another clear indication of our airport’s growing reputation, with airlines recognising the business and leisure opportunities available. We know demand is strong for this service to Zagreb and look forward to welcoming Air Croatia as a new airline partner”. Prague Airport’s spokeswoman, Marika Yanoushkova, says, “Flights will be operated under the current schedule, but I do not know whether they will continue during the winter”.
Air Serbia held a press conference today in Belgrade. Although it planned to address service innovations for 2015, the airline refused to comment on any current issues, including flights to the United States, despite inquires from the press. Instead, it opened the first Etihad Airways Partners sales office in the world, which will also sell airline branded products. Previously, the carrier announced the launch of wireless Internet access on board its Airbus fleet and the opening of a dedicated business class lounge at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport. Both product developments will be rolled out during the second quarter of the year.
Months after Aeroflot announced it would suspend its seasonal flights from Moscow to Dubrovnik after three years of operations, S7 Airlines has said it will step in to fill the void. The airline will launch services from Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport to Dubrovnik once per week, each Saturday, starting June 6 until September 19. S7 is a member of the Oneworld alliance and Russia’s busiest domestic airline. Igor Veretennikov, Strategy Director of the S7 Group, says, “Tourists from Russia like Croatia for its convenient geographical position, subtropical weather and the Adriatic Sea, as well as European service. This is why S7 Airlines traditionally operates flights to Croatia during the summer season. Besides Dubrovnik, we are resuming flights from Moscow to Pula and Split during the summer”. Tickets for the new service are already on sale with further details available here. Aeroflot served Dubrovnik on a daily basis. The Russian carrier will maintain daily flights to both Zagreb and Split this summer, with services to the latter operating on a seasonal basis only, from June 1 to October 4.
Sarajevo Airport has continued its passenger growth streak with numbers improving this March compared to the same month last year. The airport handled 50.273 passengers last month, up 9.8% on 2014. “We expect to see further growth in the coming period”, the airport said in a statement. On Friday, Swiss International Air Lines will inaugurate flights from Geneva to the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, while services from Zurich will be launched on May 1. Overall, Sarajevo Airport has welcomed 133.881 travellers during the first three months of the year, an increase of 14% compared to the same period in 2014.
Finally, two Ryanair aircraft, one of which was bound for Zadar, clipped each other at Dublin Airport yesterday. A spokesperson for the airport said the incident occurred on the taxiway with no injuries reported. In a statement, the airline said the aircraft had been “taxiing slowly to the runway”. “The winglet of one aircraft appears to have scraped the tail fin of the other. Both aircraft were under the instruction of Dublin Airport Air Traffic Control at the time”, Ryanair said. It added, “Customers were bussed and boarded two replacement aircraft, which departed to Edinburgh and Zadar. Ryanair apologises sincerely to customers for any inconvenience caused”. Travellers heading to Zadar were delayed by just under two hours.