Zagreb Airport has completed work on its new terminal building and is now preparing for a busy twelve months during which its focus will shift away from construction to attracting new airlines and more passengers in what it has dubbed as its "new phase of business operations". Several carriers have already announced plans to commence flights to the Croatian capital next year, while others will boost frequency and capacity. Zagreb Airport's busiest customer, Croatia Airlines, is considering introducing services to Moscow, Dublin, Oslo and Stockholm, with all four of its new seasonal routes launched this summer (Milan, Prague, Lisbon and St Petersburg) planned to resume. Despite the competition, CSA Czech Airlines will add a further three weekly flights between Prague and Zagreb next summer and operate the route daily.
Low cost carrier Monarch Airlines will launch year-round flights to Zagreb from London Gatwick and Manchester during 2017. The airline will operate three weekly services from Gatwick and two weekly from Manchester. Meanwhile, Beijing Capital Airlines is planning its arrival and is expected to run two flights per week from the Chinese capital starting next June. Furthermore, Zagreb Airport has said it is in talks with a European airline to commence operations to New York in 2017, which would mark the resumption of services between Croatia and the United States after 22 years. In addition, Swiss International Air Lines, which suspended operations to Zagreb at the start of the winter season, will resume operations to the city from March 26, 2017.
Several airlines have also announced plans to add frequencies to Zagreb including Air Transat, which will resume its seasonal service from Toronto earlier in 2017 and run two instead of one weekly flight, as well as Iberia which will add two extra departures each week from Madrid for a total of five. Other carriers that are said to be considering introducing flights to Zagreb include Finnair, while TAP Portugal, which had been mulling its return to the Croatian capital, has not included the city in its preliminary 2017 summer network. Meanwhile, Aegean Airlines has told EX-YU Aviation News that it currently has no plans to add Zagreb to its list of destinations, following rumours the Greek carrier was considering launching the service from Athens. However, this is subject to change.
Zagreb Airport's General Manager, 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 the new terminal. 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". He added, "We are confident that with this new tool [terminal], we will definitely be able to improve the quality of services that are provided to all of our business partners". Zagreb Airport's new multi million euro terminal will undergo some eighty tests starting this January to trial different components of the structure. The facility is scheduled to officially open its doors to the public in March.
Photo credit: Petar Meznarek