|Croatian airports surpass seven million passenger mark|
Croatia's nine commercial airports handled over seven million passengers last year, with Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik accounting for over a half of all travellers. Zagreb Airport saw its busiest year on record, welcoming 2.587.798 passengers through its doors. The figure represents growth of 6.5%. In addition, it registered 39.854 aircraft movements, up 3.9%, while 9.225 tons of cargo were handled, an increase of 4.1% on the year before. Growth was largely fuelled by foreign carriers, while Croatia Airlines could play a more significant role in the airport's development this year, with new routes planned for the summer. So far in 2016, LOT Polish Airlines resumed services to Zagreb following a six-month hiatus, with Czech Airlines and Air Transat to launch flights from Prague and Toronto respectively during the summer. Several other foreign carriers, including Lufthansa and Qatar Airways, will boost their operations to the Croatian capital with additional flights in the coming months. Croatia Airlines' role at Zagreb Airport will also be influenced by its privatisation process and the position the new Croatian government takes towards the carrier. Ivan Mišetić, a former Croatia Airlines CEO, is a strong contender to become the Minister for Transport in the Prime Minister-elect's new cabinet. Meanwhile, work on Zagreb Airport's new terminal (pictured) is expected to be completed by the end of the year and opened during the first quarter of 2017.
TOP FIVE BUSIEST YEARS AT ZAGREB AIRPORT
Split Airport also registered its busiest year on record and is closing in on the two million passenger mark. The airport handled 1.955.400 travellers in 2015, an increase of 11.6% on the year before. Managing Director Lukša Novak expects for Split to hit the two million passenger mark in 2016. Aegean Airlines, Air Berlin, Volotea, Niki and Thomson Airways have already announced new routes to the coastal city for this summer. In spring, the construction of Split Airport's 59.3 million euro terminal is expected to begin. Currently, the airport is facing capacity issues during the peak summer months when the bulk of passengers pass through its doors. The new terminal will stretch over 34.500 square metres and increase the airport’s capacity to 3.5 million passengers per year.
TOP FIVE BUSIEST YEARS AT SPLIT AIRPORT
Dubrovnik Airport positioned itself as the third busiest in Croatia, welcoming a record 1.693.934 travellers last year. It saw its passenger numbers increase 6.9% over the year before. London was the busiest route, while Croatia Airlines was the busiest airline operating out of the airport. A handful of carriers have already announced new services to the city this year, among which are Volotea, Air Berlin, Niki, easyJet and Transavia, while many airlines will boost frequencies on existing seasonal flights. Dubrovnik Airport estimates its passenger numbers will grow between 5% - 6% in 2016. The construction of a new passenger terminal, which began last year, is expected to be completed by the end of 2016 and be fully operational by the spring of 2017.
TOP FIVE BUSIEST YEARS AT DUBROVNIK AIRPORT
Bucking the trend in 2015 was Zadar Airport, which saw 487.652 passengers use its services, down 1.8%. Managing Director Irena Ćosić says the decrease in numbers came as a result of the Nordic tour operator, Scandjet, relocating its operations from Zadar to Rijeka last year, as well as fewer services run by low cost carrier Ryanair and EuroLOT's bankruptcy, all of which have affected the airport's performance. Pula Airport also saw its numbers decline slightly but anticipates a boost in 2016 with new services to be operated by Thomson Airways, easyJet and Finnair. Croatia's remaining commercial airports - Rijeka, Osijek, Mali Lošinj and Brač all saw their numbers improve on the year before.