Thursday, February 25, 2016

Croatia Airlines plans St. Petersburg service


Croatia Airlines is in talks with St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Airport to launch flights from Zagreb to Russia's second largest city this summer. The new service would mark Croatia Airlines' first major leap into Eastern Europe. St Petersburg Airport's press secretary, Margarita Potekhina, told EX-YU Aviation News, "We can confirm that Northern Capital Gateway (NCG), the operator of Pulkovo St. Petersburg Airport, is in contact with Croatia Airlines regarding the potential launch of direct scheduled flights from Zagreb to St. Petersburg. The negotiations for the launch of the new route in the summer of 2016 are currently in its final phase. One of the stages yet to be reached is acquiring the appropriate permissions from the civil aviation authorities from both sides".

Croatia Airlines has not operated scheduled flights to Russia for over a decade, with Aeroflot maintaining services between Moscow and Zagreb. According to Ms Potekhina, "In recent history, scheduled flights to Zagreb have never been operated from Pulkovo, there were only seasonal flights to Pula and Split. In the current market, the route has great potential. Croatia, with its rich history and long coastline, is one of the most in-demand destinations in southeast Europe among St. Petersburg travellers. At the same time, St. Petersburg, being the cultural capital of Russia and one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with its well-developed tourist infrastructure, countless sights and landmarks ,as well as traveller-friendly prices, would attract visitors from all over Croatia and the former Yugoslavia".

In 2011, Croatia Airlines’ then CEO, Srećko Šimunović, outlined plans for the carrier to launch flights to Moscow and St. Petersburg, in order to balance its network, which is primarily focused on western Europe. However, the implementation of the carrier's restructuring program put an east-bound expansion on hold. In addition to St. Petersburg, Croatia Airlines now intends to launch new flights from Zagreb to Milan and Prague this summer and operate a handful of new seasonal flights, including Dubrovnik - Pula, Dubrovnik - Tel Aviv and Pula - Zurich. The airline is negotiating a long-term wet lease of a 100-seat aircraft.

53 comments:

  1. Finally. About time.

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  2. Could be interesting if both CA and AS launch flights to LED.

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    1. Me thinks whoever gets the ruta going first will win. Yes, win. because not enough pax for two new ruta from ex-yu to Petrovgrad.

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  3. Nastavlja se vec preduga serija losih ili zakasnelih poteza u OU. Wet lease vremesnog i neprofitabilnog fokera kao i ostanak Q400 u floti za letove cak do CPH samo potvrdjuju lutanje koje ce imati svoje posledice. Uz ojacanu JP sa jedne strane i predatora JU sa druge strane nemaju bas izglednu perspektivu.

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  4. OU flying to Russia is long overdue and something that should have been done 5 years ago.

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  5. Čitao sam negde da je prošle godine broj ruskih turista u RH dramatično opao. Egipat i Turska su ove godine definitivno out tako de eto prilike da Hrvatska proba da iskoristi situaciju.

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    1. Ne ide to tako lako. Ruski turoperateri pregovaraju najviše sa Grčkom i Kiprom kao alternativnim destinacijama za Egipat i Tursku. I svi njihovi turisti dolaze čarter letovima a ne redovnim linijama. Ako neko u OU misli da će ljudi iz St Petersburga masovno krenuti na individualna putovanja u Hrvatsku (gde moraju sami vaditi vize a ukupan trošak im je značajno veći) onda mislim da u poslednjih par godina nisu baš najpažljivije pratili vesti u 7:30...

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    2. Имало би смисла да се пушта редовна линија из Дубровника, Сплита, Пуле... али не и из Загреба- то јест ако циљају на туристе.

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  6. flying to Russia long overdue ? Perhaps this could have been last year, but given this year's political circumstances + the potential (size) of the market - I think 3 x weekly to LED does have a potential to work well...

    Time will tell, but OU has done extensive analysis and there is a logic behind this... especially for the business travelers (economic exchange)

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  7. It is a smart move and we actually have no idea if JU will introduce LED as well, so no need to take it into calculation just yet.

    The real problem here is, Russian citizens need visas for Croatia and their purchasing power is getting lower. I would say those who can afford summer holidays abroad will have Greece and Cyprus as their prime destinations. Only after that comes Croatia.

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    1. 113 000 Russian tourists visited Croatia in 2015. Not so little, but things could get better, definitely.

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    2. Russians need visas for Greece too.
      And I think most of Greek holiday spots are more expensive than the coast of Croatia.
      There are tens of millions of Russian taking foreign holidays each year, they cant all go (or want) only to Greece, Cyprus and Spain.
      Best of luck to OU.

      Dimitris from Athens

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    3. On the other hand, most of Russian holidaymakers arrive on charter flights. Individual passengers make a small share and their numbers were the first to drop when the Russian economy contracted.

      On top of that, prices on the Croatian coastline are very high - especially for individual travelers.

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    4. Dimitris, have you ever visited Croatian coast? Based on my experience , I would argue that on average, Croatia is more expensive than Greece.

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    5. IMHO you're wrong, Croatia is still cheaper for most of the travelers. There are only two places in Croatia more expensive than Greece - Dubrovnik and Hvar(town, not island). My opinion is based on numerous trips throughout both countries in top season(part of my job).

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    6. SM I have visited Dubrovnik. I find it cheaper than most popular Greek island in either Aegean or Ionian sea. Also cheaper than mainland resort spots such us Porto Heli, Parga and the western Peloponnese.
      It was more expensive from most places in northern Greece (not Halkidiki though) and some parts of Crete.
      Cyprus must also be more expensive too.
      Admittedly there are a lot of places in Greece not overcrowded with foreign tourists or islands that only get tourism for about a month and a half each summer but Dubrovnik is a stunning and unique place.
      It reminded us Rhodes old town which is a lot more expensive.
      I have only good things to say about our time there!

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    7. As for Cyprus, resorts around Larnaca, Protaras, Paralimni and Agia Napa can be quite cheap but as you move towards Limassol and Paphos then prices increase and it becomes incomparably more expensive. With all the lowcost flying to the island now, the prices have gone down.

      The main issue with Cyprus is that the northern coast (from Paphos to Akamas and then to Kato Pyrgos) is off limits for tourism... and thank God for that. This does, however, limit the island's tourist potential.

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    8. You guys are probably right. My sample is maybe misleading since I only ever went to Dubrovnik in Croatia and compared to places in Greece I visited it was definitely more expensive

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  8. Admin, it is not true that Croatia Airlines never operated scheduled flights to Russia. They operated SVO flights from 25th October 1992 till 30th October 1999.

    OU 510 ZAG-SVO with 732 1---5-- 0905 14:00
    OU 511 SVO-ZAG with 732 1---5-- 14:55 16:05

    I am not sure about LED route. If Air Serbia will start with LED flights I don't see potentials in this route. Number of Russian tourist really went down hard. In same time Rossiya have seasonal flights to Pula and Split, and Tivat (also serve Dubrovnik tourists) have flights to LED by Rossiya, Ural, Yamal and Montenegro. Political situation in relation EU-Russia is not good, standard in Russia is very low because of economical problems, Russian citizen needs visa to enter Croatia. For sure it is better to open LED then Moscow, but that route I am not sure.

    Prag is also questionable, Milan is 100% good option, and Lisabon for sure will be good route. For LED I would not risk. There are much better routes to serve (Dublin, Dusseldorf, Helsinki, Oslo, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Geneva, Bucharest, Sofia, Athens, Tirana, Mostar...).

    Croatia is not negotiate with operator for RJ. Trade air F100 is definite decision.

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    1. Why do you think ASL would be more success on that route? And why do you think Lisabon is good for Croatia if its not was for TAP?

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    2. I'm also curious, you already said that it's not good for OU to open LED if Air Serbia does the same. Why?

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    3. I wonder if OU is just going to take over the TAP service. Lisbon via Milan??

      Prague I see merit because of the Korean connection. Even though the Korean tourist coming to Zagreb via Prague will mostly connect on CSA, I think OU if competitive and time their flights right could capture some of this market too.

      LED, good to get in sooner than later but I would be worried about the current economic climate in Russia.

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    4. It was very good for TAP, but TAP cancel lot of routes because of restructuration and total change in strategy (Budapest, Bucharest, Bogota, Panama, Gothenburg, Hanover).

      For sure Air Serbia would be much more successful:
      - Russia and Serbia have the best political relations

      - Russia has huge investments in Serbia

      - There is no visa for Russian citizen to Serbia

      - Air Serbia has much better connection to other markets and much more feeding routes

      - Air Serbia has many flights to TIV and TGD where so many Russian tourist go

      - Belgrade has much more Russian tourists than Zagreb. Russian tourists are 3rd by number of coming in Belgrade

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    5. In regards to TAP - Purger is right. Moreover, the connection times for TAP's Latin America flights were not ideal, and OU is looking into hitting better time slot...
      Both TAP and OU are Star members... so essentially not a big change in terms of the sales channel distribution

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    6. Purger do you know if these flights to LED will operate with F100 or Airbus. Thanks.

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    7. Really don't know.

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    8. Of all times, these are probably the worst to tap Russian market. While cheap oil makes it cheap for companies to operate, in the resource heavy economy like Russia this really puts a damper on everything, especially business travel. I have a feeling that even BEG based flights (both JU and Aeroflot) are feeling the pinch because there is less investments, less Serbian workers working in construction, oilfields, NIS is reducing capital budget etc.

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  9. Why LED instead of Moscow? Isn't Moscow a much larger market than St.Petersburg?

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    1. It is, but in same time you have 7pw Aeroflot flights from SVO to ZAG. Why to compete that if you can open LED city that is, for now, not served by Air Serbia and Adria.

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  10. OT:
    Wizz announced BUD-SOF route starting from 1 November.

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    1. That's a bit strange. Even stranger is how ASL managed to fail in BUD.

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    2. So Wizz gets to operate the subsidized flights from Budapest to Sofia

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    3. what is so strange about this? Wizz is trying to defend one of its main hubs (SOF)

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    4. OMG their 29th destination! My thought was actually SKP but it turned out to be SOF. Chances for launching SKP are minimal but not impossible. Wizz used to operate this route in 2005, so welcome back to them.
      Highly doubt that BEG will receive those flights as the distance is not so far and people use car or bus. Maybe TGD is next?

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    5. As per Monday's article Hungary will subsidise flights to Podgorica, Sofia, Tirana, Skopje and Pristina

      http://www.exyuaviation.com/2016/02/hungary-to-subsidise-flights-to-ex-yu.html

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    6. @ Anon February 25, 2016 at 3:24 PM,

      I think it have more to do with striking back to Ryan than to the subsidies.

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    7. +1
      W6 are much smaller than FR and react super fast and try to adapt quickly.
      Also, they will face no direct competition on the route.

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  11. Zanimljivo je da ni jedna EX YU kompanija ne razmislja o IKA sto je vrlo cudno kao sto smo mogli da vidimo juce DBV-IKA-DBV ce neka svajcarska kompanija da leti . Po mom misljenu to je GM ili WK sta ostali misle ?
    I poklonjena dobit strancima i od strane CTN i ASL.
    INN-NS

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    1. Mene zanima da li ce biti ista od linije BEG-JFK-MEX koju je najavila ministarka pre nekoliko meseci. Jel izvodljivo sa jednim A332?

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    2. Ne bice produzena BEG-JFK-MEX-GRU-BEG pa ce da vas caste .

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    3. Nije izvodljivo po vremenu. Papirologija bi bila drugi problem. EK je nedavno najavio MEX via ZRH.

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    4. Zasto se i ovo ne obrise kad je sprdnja ?

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    5. Ministarka je zaista to najavila pre odredjeno vreme. Naravno zato sto veze nema sa avijacijom.

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    6. INN, ministrica je stvarno to najavila. I da, isprdavali smo se iz toga. To jest sprdanja i najbllje dokazuje koji ljudi i kako donose odluke o zračnom prometu. Dno!

      Što se tiće informcaije za let do IKA, on će biti charter i ja imam informacije da bi to trebao letjeti Limitless. Odakle tebi informacija za švicarce?

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    7. The Minister is the joke!

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    8. INN što ne tvrdiš ti da su sprski političari najbolji na svetu i da rade super poso? Pa to si bar hiljadu puta napisao?

      I što sad ili političari više ne vrede (jer je ministrica sprdnja) ili ta izjava nije sprdnja? Ne može i jedno i drugo!

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    9. Dubrovnik will become the first city in the former Yugoslavia to be linked with Iran. Charter flights from Tehran to Dubrovnik are expected to commence on March 18 and will cater for Iranian tourists. A total of nine flights will be operated over a three-week period. According to local media, services are expected to be run by a Swiss airline, although exact details are yet to be made public. The European Union, of which Croatia is a part of, lifted economic and financial sanctions against Iran on January 16.
      Ovde je pisalo G Purger .

      Znam da je ona to rekla i to je smesno trebala se pre rspitati.
      Ja hvalim one sto ih podnosim a pojedinci mi se ne dopadaju kao osobe i licnosti .
      INN-NS

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    10. Je li si Limitless na avion nalijepio kakav livery ili lete s albino airbusom?

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  12. Finally something is happening with OU. They should also consider Madrid and Dublin all year around. Can't wait to see the rest 2 routes. Also, they have launched the new app today.

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  13. Has the new government in Croatia made any decisions regarding the current mgt of OU ?

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    1. Why would they ? it would only be for political reasons ....

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    2. Sure, they were so good. For all Croatia they are disaster only who thing they are good are Širac and Kučko!

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