Swiss International Air Lines will suspend services between Zurich and Zagreb just over a year after launching operations on the route. The development comes days after the carrier confirmed it was also discontinuing flights from Zurich to Sarajevo, Istanbul and Izmir this winter. Swiss will operate its last service to the Croatian capital on Friday, October 28. Currently, it maintains four weekly flights between the two cities, which are codeshared by Croatia Airlines. In return, the carrier also codeshares on Croatia Airlines' flights between Zagreb and Zurich. Swiss says it is uncertain whether the route will resume next summer and run on a seasonal basis. A decision concerning its summer operations for next year will be made at the start of 2017.
Swiss' move to terminate flights to Zagreb will be welcomed by Croatia Airlines which will retain its monopoly on the route. The carrier will run double daily flights between the two cities throughout the winter. Croatia is Switzerland's second largest trading partner in Southeast Europe and is popular with Swiss tourists. Furthermore, Switzerland boasts a large Croatian diaspora. In 2015, a total of 154.717 passengers travelled between Zurich and Croatia on 2.489 flights. As a result, it was Switzerland's third largest former Yugoslav market following Serbia and Kosovo. Belgrade, Skopje and Pristina will remain the only cities in the former Yugoslavia still served by Swiss on a year-long basis, following the Zagreb suspension. Earlier this year, the carrier terminated services from Zurich to Ljubljana, as well as from Geneva to Sarajevo and Belgrade. Furthermore, its subsidiary Edelweiss Air has cancelled flights from Zurich to Podgorica.
Zurich - EX-YU passenger numbers (all airlines), 2015
|Market||PAX||No. of flights|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||20.526||324|
Despite the suspension, Zagreb Airport has welcomed three new carriers so far this year with LOT Polish Airlines from Warsaw, ČSA Czech Airlines from Prague and Air Transat from Toronto introducing services to the Croatian capital during the first half of 2016. Meanwhile, Beijing Capital Airlines has announced its plans to start flights to Zagreb next June. The General Manager of Zagreb Airport, Jacques Feron, recently said, "We are currently in talks with a number of airlines to introduce new routes, which is one of the ways we are preparing to transition into a new phase of our business operations, which will begin with the opening of our new terminal in March 2017".