|Zadar Airport, Air Serbia and Etihad discuss potential new service|
Talks between Zadar Airport, Air Serbia and Etihad Airways were held this week in Abu Dhabi regarding the potential resumption of commercial flights between Belgrade and Zadar following a 25-year hiatus. A decision on whether the service will be launched is to be made in a few months time. Zadar Airport’s Managing Director, Irena Ćosić, announced the talks and travelled to Abu Dhabi last Sunday. However, Etihad Airways is reportedly annoyed that the talks have been leaked to the press, the “Zadarski list” daily says. Etihad is well known for keeping its plans secret, a measure which has also been adopted by its partner Air Serbia, which, more often than not, has issues with news reports being published outside of its official press releases.
Following the three-way talks, Ms. Ćosić said in a short statement, “I can only say that we had our first meeting. A final decision will be made in a few months and we will announce the outcome whatever it may be". News of the potential resumption of flights between the two cities has generated significant interest and has been greeted favourably by the public. Prior to the talks, the head of Zadar Airport said, “This is a great opportunity for Zadar because we know this route would have excellent loads. Today, new routes are secured by offering your product on the market. You can’t sit with your hands crossed. As a result, we have to present our offer to carriers that could be interested in our market and Air Serbia is one of those”.
The possible resumption of flights between Zadar and Belgrade next year would mark the first commercial service between the two cities in 25 years. JAT Yugoslav Airlines operated its last service from Zadar to Belgrade on August 3, 1991. Air Serbia already flies to four destinations in Croatia - Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik and Pula, the latter three of which are maintained on a seasonal summer basis. Zadar Airport handled 496.542 passengers in 2014, an increase of 5.1% compared to the year before. The airport hopes to handle charter flights from China starting this September. Earlier this year, the CEO of Ryanair, Michael O’Leary, said his airline, which maintains a seasonal summer base in Zadar, has “big plans” for the city, more of which will be revealed next year.