|Zagreb Airport General Manager up-beat on future prospects|
Zagreb Airport's General Manager, Jacques Feron, says the airport must continue attracting new carriers in order to better position itself as a European hub, adding that a number of incentive schemes will continue in a bid to attract new routes. Speaking to "Airports Business", Mr Feron, who was named Zagreb Airport's General Manager in October last year, said, "An airport such as Zagreb cannot decide to become a hub on its own. It is airlines which make the airport a hub. At our concessionaire level, we shall accompany the airlines, and especially Croatia Airlines, in their strategies by being efficient and flexible". Zagreb has opted for a proactive approach in attracting new routes with a five year scheme to reduce airline start-up costs. Based on the individual merits of the proposed route growth, the airport may offer additional backing through marketing support.
Mr Feron, who was previously the CEO of Cambodian Airport and was engaged in international development activities as part of Aeroports de Paris, added, "Airports are crucial for the development of the economy - infrastructure and services must be at the highest international level. With a very impressive design, the new terminal building will definitely be a fantastic tool for the promotion of Zagreb. Out ambition is to make Zagreb Airport a reference point in terms of well-managed and developed infrastructure". Mr Feron noted that Zagreb Airport has already become a success story in the two years it has been managed as part of an international consortium. "This project [new terminal] is very challenging, but it is already a success in that the construction is ahead of schedule. We are confident that with this new tool, we will definitely be able to improve the quality of services provide to all of our business partners", he said.
The new terminal building is currently the largest construction site in the country. Now in its third year of construction, the roof and exterior are complete, and the testing and commissioning phase is about to begin. Mr Feron reports that work on the interior is also progressing well, with the construction of commercial areas to begin in the coming months. Once complete, the new terminal will be able to handle five million passengers, instead of the current two million. Further extensions envisaged during the thirty-year concession period will potentially see capacity increased to eight million. Zagreb Airport handled a record 509.387 passengers during the first quarter, an increase of 6.5% compared to the same period last year.