|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".