Friday, February 19, 2016

Croatia Airlines to launch Prague service

Croatia Airlines eyes Zagreb - Prague flights

Croatia Airlines is expected to launch flights from Zagreb to Prague as part of its 2016 network expansion. According to the Czech "Centaurea" and "Planes.cz" portals, services will begin on May 21 and operate four times per week with its Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 aircraft. The airline itself has not confirmed the service launch. If the flights do go ahead, the carrier will compete directly against Czech Airlines, which will resume the route following a four year hiatus on April 27. Croatia Airlines has already announced a number of new seasonal services from Pula and Dubrovnik, while officials from the Croatia Tourist Board have also confirmed the carrier's intent to introduce flights from Zagreb to Milan, which would run three times per week starting in May as well.

Croatia Airlines and Czech Airlines are members of rival alliances SkyTeam and Star Alliance respectively. Zagreb was Czech Airlines' first international destination, launched in 1930. The route was suspended in 2012 due to the carrier's restructuring. Czech Airlines will maintain four weekly flights between the two cities with a mix of ATR 42 and 72 aircraft. It is primarily targeting transfer passengers on the route. The Czech carrier recently expanded its codeshare agreement with Delta Airlines which will see the latter place its flight numbers and "DL" designator code on services from Prague to the Croatian capital. Prague has recently become a popular destination for EX-YU carriers, with Air Serbia introducing flights to the city in 2013, followed by Adria Airways in 2014. Montenegro Airlines has said it is considering introducing charters to the Czech capital this summer.

Croatia Airlines is expected to announce a handful of new routes from Zagreb in the coming period, all of which are tipped to launch in late May or early June. So far, the carrier has announced the introduction of seasonal flights from Pula to Zurich and Dubrovnik and from Dubrovnik to Tel Aviv. Croatia Airlines has confirmed it will wet lease regional 100-seat aircraft this summer but says a final decision on the type is yet to be made. This is despite an Embraer E195 jet being tentatively scheduled on select routes on select days from Zagreb starting May 20. However, the carrier said last week, "Negotiations regarding the completion of the process of introducing 100-seat aircraft in Croatia Airlines’ fleet, according to the wet lease principle, are still in progress".

81 comments:

  1. Interesting choice

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    1. Interesting indeed. Potentially risky too.

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    2. My guess is that if they start these flights they will be going for two different markets. OU for Czech holidaymakers who will transfer onto domestic flights in Zagreb and P2P passengers while CSA is going for transfers.

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  2. Don't understand why they would do this and go against CSA.

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    1. Going against competition is not forbidden. If all airlines went by that theory then there would be very little choice for customers.

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    2. But going from no flights to two direct flights might be over-kill. And the result may be two flights with low load factors. And then we know what happens next when the pie gets cut in to many pieces. Get my drift?

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  3. Makes me wonder where they are getting all this capacity from. Was their fleet underutilized to such an extent that they can launch all these destinations without a problem?

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    1. Well they are getting additional aircraft(s)

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    2. Ah, yes. I forgot about that. Do we know how many new aircraft they will be receiving?

      Will be interesting to see what they do with their fleet and how many of the Airbuses end up flying from the coast.

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    3. It's still not confirmed whether it's just 1 or 2.

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    4. Cool, thanks. Let's hope that it's at least 2 as a single aircraft won't make much sense.

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  4. As usual, reactive rather than proactive. OU is so predictable.

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    1. They have to start from somewhere. Prague is a nice addition.

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  5. So if we now have 2 destinations - Milan and Prague. What are the other two?

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    1. Hopefully Stockholm or Oslo, but who knows?

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    2. ATH would be a good addition, go for at least 3-4 times a week and establish itself before Aegean starts the route.
      Large Star alliance airport in a large city (I think 4 million population).

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    3. Athens could work only if they sign a code-share agreement with Aegean and if they feed their onward network. It could be a win-win for them as they would offer connections to:

      Cairo
      Alexandria
      Tel Aviv
      Beirut
      Larnaca
      Paphos
      Izmir
      Istanbul
      Yerevan
      Tbilisi
      Tehran
      Jeddah
      Riyadh

      And all of the Greek destinations. This could be a good way to keep Aegean away from Zagreb. I mean look at what they are doing in Belgrade to Air Serbia.

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    4. How is JU's flight to ATH doing? Have they been affected by A3's increase of capacity or is the market getting bigger?
      Also could OU offer connections to other places apart from the coast to ATH originating passengers?

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    5. Malta too could work via ATH. If the connection bank allows it of course on the side of the Greeks.

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    6. I don't know the exact numbers but the loads seem to be good, I know a few people who take the route a few times per month and they told me that the loads are never below 70%. They also noticed that it's usually full with Greeks coming to Belgrade. This is not surprising given their great no-luggage fares. If I remember well they start at €85! Air Serbia is rarely below €130.

      In a week there is a large ophthalmological congress in Athens and 90% of the Serbian doctors will be flying with Aegean. I guess it was cheaper. Our company is sending several doctors down there an JU charged us 27.000 RSD which is not cheap.

      Actually, OU has little to offer not only because of Aegean's growing European network but also because ATH is a Star Alliance fortress and they will have to compete against Austrian, Turkish Airlines, Swiss, SAS and Lufthansa. Furthermore, Aegean will have their own flights to Split and Dubrovnik reducing the need of transferring in Zagreb.

      Because of all this it would be much wiser for OU to team up with Aegean and to feed their network.

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    7. Just to specify, 27.000 RSD per passenger.

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    8. How much is that in Euros?

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    9. Great info Nemjee, thanks a lot!

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    10. In August I flew JU from ATH to BEG on the A320 which was full to the last seat. Alot of transit pax to CDG and BRU was the 2 I noticed. JU was then on 2 daily flights.

      I think ATH does well as Greece is a very popular destination for Serbs, which on its own has a large O&D. Put together that both A3 and JU are also taking on transit pax... I would be surprised if both airlines could not average an 80% CLF.

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  6. OT: JU je iskusno drzala promociju citavih jedan dan, od danas je vec nemoguce naci kartu za 399 eur.

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    1. Da, prodali su svih 13 karata po toj ceni :)

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    2. hahahhaha ubilo se od prodaje, svi srbi odose za JFK

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    3. Naravno da je moguće, samo ne krajem juna i početkom septembra... I suludo je očekivati da ima više od 20tak karata u ovom fare bucket po letu, prema tome, sledeći put budite brži.

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    4. Mozda je po toj ceni bilo 5 do 10% sedista, sto bi to bilo problem prodati za dan?

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  7. In regards to OU and PRG - this is actually an OK choice. Demand is there, yet the risk is shared and low given that both Czech and OU use relatively small aircraft. As one anonymous has commented, both are catering to 2 different groups of travelers, with each focusing more on one over the other...

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    1. Just a remark. Don't use the word OK in the same sentence as 'Prague' and 'Czech Airlines', since OK is the IATA code for Czech Airlines.

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    2. thanks. however, I believe that my point was understood, which is good enough for the purpose of this blog ;)

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    3. Just like when peoplebtalk about Air Serbia AS which is Air Alaska code. Lol

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    4. But for the purposes of this blog everyone knows what AS refers to. So cool it tough guy.

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    5. Just trying to add a little humour. No harm was intended.

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  8. odakle OU novac za nove linije odnosno avione.jasno je da (kao i ostali ex yu operatori) imaju problema sa profitabilnoscu i iskazivanjem dobiti. jel to upumpavanje sa zabranjene adrese ili je u pitanju nesto drugo.

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  9. G Adim sigurno mislite sa gore u tekstu sa Delta Airlines .
    Odlicno je ovo za CTN da se malo odvoje od Star hubova.
    INN-NS

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  10. OT - Why Wizz Air didn't open BEG-KUT, is there some legal obstacle? I would see it coming before Sofia.

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    1. My guess is that they would need a Serbian AOC, same as with Israel and Russia.

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  11. OU flights to Prague will operate Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

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  12. http://www.alo.rs/vuciceve-kritike-su-dobronamerne/27195
    Alo is a shi*ty newspaper/tabloid but it was mentioned there that JU is looking into Kiev and LED. Third destination is Pristina. So I guess that is answer to yesterdays comments of other 3 routes.Your thoughts?

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    1. I told you so yesterday which are the three new routes, and stand by it.
      Alo is a very reliable source.

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    2. The three routes you mentioned are not correct. Only one that will go ahead is Kiev. There are another three routes planned and all are regional.

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    3. Yesterday there were two comments:
      One version was: MUC, LED, and CAI ( no talk of MUC and CAI in Alo)
      Second version was: "3 destinations in the region" ( LED and Kiev are not in the region)
      Third version (newspaper one): Kiev, LED, and I believe they said Pristina somewhere
      So who is right here?

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    4. KIV konacno i jos dve Regionalne sa Atr su barem koliko ja znam.
      INN-NS

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    5. People can't you just wait for April until they announce them. It's not like anyones life depends on it.

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    6. "People can't you just wait for April until they announce them. It's not like anyones life depends on it."
      Of course not lol, but what is wrong with being curious? I thought the point of this site was to discuss and speculate and just enjoy aviation topics, but it seems many people would rather see a political discussion.

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    7. Speak for yourself Anon @ 16:31. let me be cristal clear; the three new routes are MUC, LED, CAI and KBP, Pishtina is new reional route.

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    8. lol I regret asking this question now. This guy initially says 3 routes and now its 5 routes. I honestly feel like somebody is trolling bad now

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    9. Hmm so the three new routes are:

      1. MUC
      2. LED
      3. CAI
      4. KBP

      Don't you see something wrong with your statement?

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    10. I am also very curious of new routes in the Yugosphere. And enjoy reading various speculative projections, only to find out weeks or months later who was correct in their assessment.
      So jolly good and carry on lads.
      Greetings from across the pond.

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    11. The following have been mentioned so far: LED,KPB,PRN,MUC,CAI, plus there was talk of secondary destination in Romania before. Now its wait and see game I guess but if its true that 3 destinations are in game I think the best options would be PRN, secondary Romanian city like Cluj and CAI. LED would take away some Moscow route pax, MUC is plain dumb really, and KPB had Ukranine International and their prices are too cheap even for ASL standards in 2014.

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    12. My guess is MUC, either MAD or BCN (more MAD), PRN and possibly a Romanian destination.

      I have mentioned before that JU could be quite competative in the Romanian market as all cities are reachable on the ATR, making them lower risk compared to the A319. Top that with a Spanish destination and Im sure all will be good.

      KBP I dont see happening with the problems in Ukraine, and CAI being in an unstable country with a falling tourism industry.

      MUC would be a good addition, as is ESB. PRN is something that isnt secret and is just a matter of when they will finally announce it.

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    13. Will some old 737 return back to fleet?

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  13. OT. am I the only one that thinks a two weekly stop in ZAG on the new BEG-JFK route would make sense? Increase LF, draw in new pax from SLO and region. Just a thought.

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    1. And what happens with your passengers from ATH, SOF, SKG..?

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    2. They can fly on the days when the flight is direct from BEG. Besides, pax would not disembark in ZAG. It would be about a 45 minute stop. Plus it would be great if Croatia would give Serbia 5th freedom rights.

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    3. Yeah, that's not how civil aviation works these days. What you are describing is aviation in the 1970s and 1980s.

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    4. Maybe so, but there must be similar examples of this elsewhere.

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    5. That's impractical and it rarely happens this day in age. Airlines do it when the distance is too great or when the city of origin has enough demand to fill the plane to both destinations. You even have some examples like Air China which flies between Munich and Athens but that's mostly because it gets to feed Lufthansa's hub. I highly doubt they carry almost any passengers between Athens and Beijing.

      Look at Emirates and their Dubai-Larnaca-Malta flight. They immediately tried to find a way to de-link LCA and MLA when one of the other Persian Gulf carriers announced Malta flights- I forgot which one it was.

      Same would happen with Air Serbia. If they added a Zagreb stop it would destroy any chance they might have at becoming attractive for connecting passengers. Furthermore, for O&D passengers flying with a stop in Zagreb, it would not be that different than connecting at one of the European airports.

      So all in all, I think that it would be a catastrophic move. That said, they should be quite aggressive in Zagreb in terms of offering connecting flights via BEG to JFK.

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    6. Just to add, if these one stop flights were popular then you would have had cases like:

      SK CPH-OSL-ORD/JFK
      BA LHR-MAN-JFK
      AZ FCO-MXP-JFK

      and so on and so forth. When an airline works on establishing a hub, offering direct flights is one of its biggest priorities.

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    7. You make some good points Nemjee. Thanks for the explanation.

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    8. I think that ZAG have more O&D to New York or I'm mistaking?

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    9. @ Nemjee,
      I think you're mistaking with the examples. All the cities that you've mentioned have enough O&D passengers to New York. BEG and ZAG are quite different. I don't think that you can compare them with LHR, MAN, OSL, CPH, FCO or even MXP. Most of these cities have even more than 1 daily flight to JFK. Some of them have 2,3,4,5 daily...

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    10. The point of my comment was not to evaluate the potential of a certain market but to explain to the poster why two stops don't work anymore.
      Furthermore, the three airlines I mentioned have moved away from a business model involving several hubs and have gone for a single, strong one. Then again, SAS is still trying but who knows how long that will last. I still believe that adding a stop in Zagreb would not make much sense, it will not only make JU less competitive but it will also increase costs. I am not too sure if the revenue from ZAG sales would actually cover the costs of the 'diversion.'

      I remember reading somewhere the following:

      SAS is run by the Swedes, financed by the Norwegians for the benefit of the Danes. :)

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  14. So we find Milano (west) and Prague (north). There is still route to far west and east, or better to say northeast. Those two routes no airline from exYu flies.

    As I said two routes are very good (one is Milano), one is not good (Prague), and one is strange (northeast) but could be good choice.

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    1. I feel like by far west you are referring to Lisbon and northeast as either LED or HEL.
      Purger is good at giving hints

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    2. I would guess the (far) west destionation is LIS. As an *A hub it should offer onward connections by TP under the exciting management of David Neeleman (think JetBlue and Azul) covering the Iberian peninsula, South America and western Africa. How big is that market is another question.

      The northeastern destination should probably be either LED (linking up with Rossiya?) or DME.

      I also hope for more frequencies at PRN, not the mere 2-3 weekly flights currently on offer.

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    3. Weeeelllll.... :-)

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    4. Purgeru, hoće li biti povećanje broja rotacija samo na Parizu ili i na nekim drugim linijama?

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  15. I think ZAG needs routes to the east. There a lot of potential in OTP, SOF, KBP, LED. It will attract a lot of tourists to Croatia.

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  16. Upravo sam skočio do Novog Sada. Bio tamo na sastanku sa predsjednicom Skupštine, odjurio do Vinkovaca tamo imao sastanak sa gradonačelnikom, obišao dva objekta, odradio ručak i vratio se u Zagreb. Dakle 4 sastanka, dvije lokacije sve ukupno u 14 sati putovanja, sa troškom od 600 kn (80 EUR).

    Samo usporedbe radi sa Air Serbijom sa kojom to ne bih mogao ostvariti u 14 sati (čak i da sam imao lokalne transporte), nije mi odgovarao red letenja (u Novom Sadu sastanak je bio u 10.00 sati), a i priča za nas troje bi bila bitno skuplja. Dakle Air Serbija ne bi bila opcija čak ni da nisam neplanirano "skočio" do Vinkovaca, nego da je prvotni plan bio Novi Sad-Pančevo.

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  17. So nobody opts for BEG-OHD as a possible new JU flight?

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  18. Prague is becoming a huge hub for flights to China (and from there further on).
    3 airlines will start to fly to Prague soon namely:
    1. China Eastern Airlines from
    Shanghai-Pudong (begins 2 April 2016) but its
    SkyTeam;,
    2. Sichuan Airlines to Chengdu (begins 25 February 2016)
    and we have already
    Hainan Airlines to Beijing-Capital.

    Many Asians (China,S.Korea,Japan etc.) are enjoying to fly for leisure to the tourist destination Prague and further on. Some are scared to fly to Middle East, many to Turkey or Western Europe.

    Can Croatia take some of them?

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    1. This is why Prague makes sense to me. Don't forget the hundreds of thousands of Korean tourist which visit Croatia and this number is only increasing.
      Prague is just another easy option for Koreans to Croatia now.

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    2. Q400 you are back, long time no comments from you

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