Lufthansa's low cost subsidiary Eurowings will continue to expand its operations from Croatia next year after boosting services to the country by 55% this summer. The airline's Network Development and Airport Relations Manager, Ivan Oreč, says Eurowings will carry some 900.000 passengers on flights to and from Croatia, as well as add eleven new routes to the country during 2017. "As was the case in recent years, we continue to have a high growth rate in Croatia and this will be maintained in the future. We plan to extend our cooperation with the Croatian Tourist Board and airports across the country", Mr Oreč said. He added that Croatia is one of the top ten markets for the low cost airline, noting that it continues to show strong growth.
However, Eurowings cited high costs at a number of airports in Croatia, particularly Zagreb, as a deterrent. "Charges at certain Croatian airports are still quite high. As a result, we are very cautious when it comes to future investments. However, we anticipate for the continued support of the Croatian Ministry for Tourism, as well as local communities, in order for us to grow at the same pace in the coming years", the company's Network Development and Airport Relations Manager said. He noted that charges at Zagreb Airport are significantly higher than most major European airports, making it less appealing for low cost carriers. Croatia's busiest airport hiked its fees following the opening of its new passenger terminal last month by two euros per each international passenger for a total of seventeen euros. Similarly, it increased its fees by half a euro per every domestic passenger to seven and a half euros.
Eurowings has said it has high expectations of its eleven new routes to the country, particularly its year-long service between Munich and Split. The Croatian government has previously noted it is in talks with the Lufthansa subsidiary to open a base in Rijeka next year. "If Rijeka offers agreeable conditions, it will become a Eurowings base", the Croatian Minister for Tourism, Gari Cappelli, said. Furthermore, the airline is considering introducing additional new routes to Osijek and has expressed interest in launching flights to the island of Brač next year. Eurowings is the only foreign carrier to maintain operations to all of Croatia's main airports - Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Pula, Zadar, Osijek and Rijeka.