Croatia Airlines will suspend services between Zagreb and Pristina at the end of the summer season, despite the carrier's plans to establish a base in the city in 2017. The airline will operate its last service from the Croatian capital on Friday, October 28, and from Pristina the following morning. Ticket sales have been suspended past this date. The carrier has been reducing its frequencies on the route for several years now. This summer, it maintains just two weekly services between the two cities, down from its daily peak several years ago. In 2015, Croatia Airlines handled some 10.000 passengers on the route, well down from the 19.000 it carried in 2009, which marked its best performing year in Pristina. The carrier has previously said it plans to open bases in Sarajevo, Tirana, Pristina and Skopje in 2017 and offer direct flights to several destinations in Europe.
Apart from Croatia Airlines, SAS Scandinavian Airlines will also pull out of Pristina this winter. The airline will terminate its flights from Copenhagen as of October 29. Last winter the carrier discontinued flights from both Stockholm and Oslo to Kosovo. Although SAS has no direct competition on the route, it faces increased pressure from Wizz Air's recently launched service from Skopje to the Danish capital. An increasing number of travellers from Kosovo are using Skopje Airport due to its generally cheaper air fares. In addition, Eurowings will suspend its flights from Berlin Tegel Airport to Pristina at the end of the summer season. The airline has seen strong competition on the route after easyJet launched services from Berlin Schonefeld this March. It will continue to maintain flights from Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Hannover and Stuttgart to Pristina this winter.
During the year, Pristina Airport has seen the introduction of a number of new routes, including Adria Airways' two weekly seasonal service to London Gatwick, as well as Air Berlin's new flights from both Hamburg and Stuttgart. Furthermore, easyJet introduced flights from Berlin, which will be followed by the launch of services from Paris on October 1. Earlier this year, Pristina Airport launched a new incentive scheme in a bid to attract new carriers and encourage exiting operators to boost flights. The incentives, which came into effect on March 27, will run until 2018. The scheme encourages airlines to launch flights to Pristina, base aircraft there, operate during off-peak hours and offers a 30% discount for handling and landing.