|easyJet carries over 600.000 passengers to Croatia in 2015|
Low cost airline easyJet handled over 600.000 passengers on its flights to and from Croatia last year, but is yet to commit to resuming services to the capital Zagreb. The budget carrier will add four new routes to the Croatian coast this year, all of which will operate on a seasonal summer basis. "easyJet has recently continued its expansion in the Croatian market, placing four new routes on sale in November - from Pula to Hamburg and Paris Charles de Gaulle, and from Dubrovnik to Bristol and Toulouse. More than 600.000 passengers travelled to and from Croatia with easyJet", the airline's spokesperson, Matteo Taddei, says. He adds, "In the 2015 financial year alone we launched an impressive eight new routes including our first ever flight to Istria and in the first months of the 2016 financial year we have added four more routes". During the peak travel month of August, easyJet offers almost as many seats as Croatia Airlines from the country, with 21.960 seats offered in August 2015, compared to the Croatian carrier's 23.192. In addition, during the year, easyJet was the second busiest carrier operating out of Dubrovnik, behind only Croatia Airlines.
easyJet plans to continue expanding on the Croatian market in the coming years but has stopped short of confirming a return to Zagreb. It discontinued its services from London Gatwick to the Croatian capital at the end of the 2014 summer season. In previous years it had also suspended flights from Paris and Dortmund to Zagreb. Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Commercial Manager, says, "We see a growing demand for short and long breaks to Croatia and we’re continuing to make it convenient for our customers to visit Croatia’s fantastic destinations contributing to the local economy". Furthermore, the airline notes, "easyJet periodically assesses the opportunities on the basis of market research with business cases on several routes and then we choose the ones that result to prove more attractive for our customers. easyJet currently offers as many as 32 destinations to and from Croatia confirming the airline’s commitment to the country and to making travel easy and affordable for local passengers to connect to Europe".
Within the former Yugoslavia, besides Croatia, easyJet also maintains flights to Ljubljana, Belgrade and Pristina and will launch seasonal summer services to Tivat this year, where it aims to carry 15.000 passengers during 2016. However, the Croatian coast continues to be its main area of focus in the region. Asked whether the airline is considering opening a base in the country, Mr Tadei tells EX-YU Aviation News, "easyJet is always evaluating new options and opportunities to be more profitable and continue growing in Europe with the primary focus for the short term to thicken our presence in our core markets". The budget carrier's most recent annual results revealed bumper pre-tax profits of 110.1 million euros during the 2015 fiscal year - up 142.8 million on the previous year, thus representing its fifth straight year of record profits.