|Croatia mulls options for nonstop flights to the United States|
The Croatian Embassy in the United States has resumed talks with relevant stakeholders over the introduction of nonstop flights between the two countries. Speaking to the "Total Croatia News" portal, Josip Paro, the Croatian Ambassador to the United States, said, "The Embassy has this month again restarted discussions with various players in order to again explore the realistic possibilities to establish direct flights to Croatia. However, this will require, among others, a conclusion of a serious independent market study in the US that can verify passenger interest and establish a credible passenger load for the aircraft, which is essential to properly calculate the economics of these direct flights. We will do all we can to spearhead and facilitate this effort, and achieve direct flights as soon as it is economically possible". Last year, the Ambassador of the United States to Croatia, Kenneth Merten, said his country is also working towards establishing flights to Croatia, adding that the foundations for such services are currently being put into place.
Mr Paro noted there were several attempts to establish flights between the two countries over the past ten years, but all have ultimately failed due to a lack of interest on behalf of the carriers. "Over the last decade there have been several attempts to establish direct flights with no sustainable success, mostly because it is hard to ascertain passenger load/interest on both legs of the route, as well as some resistance from established global carriers and their hub based structures. The Embassy helped establish a taskforce of interested people with this purpose and we were also in discussion with Croatia Airlines last year about that, but there was no sufficient interest and capacity to take this initiative forward", Mr Paro noted.
The CEO and founder of TAV Airports Holding and TAV Construction, Sani Sener, believes flights between the Croatian capital and New York would be most desirable. "The most desired route from Zagreb would be New York", he said. TAV has a 15% stake in the consortium that runs the airport. Zagreb Airport attempted to initiate flights to the Big Apple five years ago, prior to the concession. The then Managing Director, Tonči Peović, held talks with North American Airlines over a potential two weekly service from JFK Airport to the Croatian capital. In addition, Croatia Airlines' CEO, Kreišimir Kučko, previously said his airline aims to begin long haul flights sometime in the future. "The dream is to one day add long haul flights to our network. That’s a long way off at the moment but it’s good to have something to aim for and we are building our airline to make it possible”, Mr Kučko said. Croatia last had scheduled flights to the United States during the summer of 1991, when Pan Am maintained four weekly nonstop roundtrips from New York to Zagreb with its Airbus A310 aircraft.