|Croatia Airlines plans May launch for new Zagreb - Milan route|
Croatia Airlines plans to launch flights between Zagreb and Milan this summer season. The country manager for the Croatian National Tourist Board in Italy, Branko Ćurić, confirmed that the new service will operate three times per week and will commence this May. "Starting this May, Croatia Airlines will operate three weekly flights from Zagreb to Milan, which will complement existing services from Zagreb to Rome", Mr Ćurić said yesterday. He added that over a million Italian tourists visited Croatia in 2015, an increase of 7% compared to the year before. Croatia Airlines is yet to schedule the flights and put tickets on sale.
Over the past few years there have been several attempts at linking Zagreb and Milan with a scheduled air service. In 2011, Alitalia's low cost subsidiary, Air One, which has since merged with its larger partner, planned to launch three weekly flights from Milan to the Croatian capital with an Airbus A320 aircraft. However, some twenty days prior to the service launch, the flights were cancelled. On the other hand, start-up Air Croatia introduced the route last year with an ATR 42 turboprop but suspended all operations just two weeks later due to financial difficulties. Furthermore, last summer, Alitalia launched seasonal services from Milan's Linate Airport to Dubrovnik and Split. Croatia Airlines' only destination in Italy is Rome, which is operated from Zagreb via both Split and Dubrovnik. This summer, the carrier will maintain eight weekly flights to the Italian capital, six of which will run via Split, while the remaining two will operate via Dubrovnik.
Croatia Airlines has previously said it plans to launch several new routes this summer following four years of restructuring which has limited its opportunities for network growth. The airline has highlighted plans to expand into Eastern Europe as well. Last month, Croatia Airlines told EX-YU Aviation News, "The company plans to expand its fleet with a new aircraft with 100 seats, as well as expand its network of European destinations and introduce new routes in the summer schedule. On the eve of the Easter holidays, which traditionally represents the beginning of the tourist season in Croatia, seasonal routes to many European markets will be introduced, while the number of weekly flights on existing domestic and international routes will be increased". So far, Croatia Airlines has announced the launch of a new seasonal service from Pula to Zurich, which will commence on July 13.