|Planned Belgrade - Zadar service unlikely to launch this year|
Air Serbia is unlikely to launch flights between Belgrade and Zadar in 2016, despite continuing talks between the two sides. The service, which last operated in 1991, was considered for resumption this summer, with initial talks between the Serbian carrier and Zadar Airport taking place in May last year. However, Zadar Airport's spokesperson, Nikola Barać, tells EX-YU Aviation News that these plans are unlikely to materialise. "With regard to the new cooperation with Air Serbia in 2016, this will most probably be unsuccessful with Serbia's biggest airline, but intensive negotiations are still in progress. The negative result was partly caused by the cancellation of financial support on behalf of the Croatian Tourist Board", Mr Barać says. He adds, "Zadar Airport will continue to negotiate and persist in having a Zadar - Belgrade connection just like other Croatian airports, such as Pula, Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik".
Last year, Zadar Airport's Managing Director, Irena Ćosić, announced plans for the new flights, adding that services to Belgrade would be profitable. “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”, Ms Ćosić said. The last scheduled commercial flight between Zadar and Belgrade was operated on August 3, 1991. Despite these latest developments, Zadar Airport hopes to handle a record 500.000 passengers in 2016. "Our main partner, Ryanair, begins flights in April. Besides its regular twelve routes, the airline will introduce a new service to Berlin. Furthermore, we expect additional Eurowings and Croatia Airlines flights. In addition, there will be services to Luxembourg, around ten Finnish cities and Warsaw, operated by Luxair, HOP!, We travel and LOT", Mr Barać notes.
During 2015, Zadar Airport saw a slight dip in passenger numbers. Despite the decline, the airport is content with its results. "Zadar Airport is satisfied with its traffic figures for 2015. Zadar Airport has succeeded in maintaining 2014's record traffic, which amounted to 495.000 passengers. The total traffic figure for 2015 was 487.000 passengers. The management considers this traffic satisfactory, considering the lower number of flights, which were compensated by excellent traffic in the pre and post seasons. Thus, traffic was much higher in April, May, October and November (15% - 18%) compared to 2014, which improved the final result", Mr Barać says.
According to its preliminary schedule, Air Serbia plans to operate double daily flights to Zagreb, six weekly to Dubrovnik and Split and four weekly services to Pula during the 2016 summer season.