Low cost carrier Monarch Airlines will expand its operation from the United Kingdom to Zagreb by extending its two seasonal routes throughout the winter and is on the lookout to add services from Birmingham to the Croatian capital. The airline, which commenced operations from London Gatwick and Manchester to Zagreb last week, will maintain the two routes during the 2017/18 winter season, with tickets going on sale yesterday. “We are delighted to be announcing Zagreb as a year-round route for Monarch. We are opening the Zagreb market up to customers from both the north-west and the south of the United Kingdom with the extension of the flying programme", Monarch's Chief Commercial Officer, Ian Chambers, said. The airline is also considering introducing flights from Birmingham to the Croatian capital in 2018.
Apart from its new Zagreb service, Monarch has been flying to Dubrovnik for seven years and is launching seasonal flights from Birmingham to Split this June. “The summer flights and city breaks to Croatia have been selling well and we are always looking for new routes that we can offer all year round, so we are happy to be adding Zagreb as another city break to our winter programme”, Mr Chambers said. Monarch will maintain three weekly flights between Gatwick and the Croatian capital, as well as two weekly services between Manchester and Zagreb over the winter months. As a result, Croatia Airlines will see added competition on its London flights. Although the carrier maintains services to Heathrow, it will reduce frequencies on the route at the start of November after selling four of its slot pairs at the airport. Last year, 43% of all passengers flying on Croatia Airlines' flights between Zagreb and Heathrow were point-to-point travellers.
Monarch Airlines is on course to become the first low cost carrier to see success on flights between the UK and Zagreb. Wizz Air previously linked Zagreb to Luton up until February 2011, while easyJet offered flights between Zagreb and Gatwick until October 2014. Monarch Airlines boasts a fleet of 34 aircraft, made up of Airbus A320s and A321s with the capacity to seat 180 and 214 passengers respectively. The A320s will be phased out with the introduction of the Boeing 737 MAX jets from next year onwards. The airline offers several services to its passengers at an extra charge. These include additional baggage, allocated seats, in-flight catering, as well as priority services. In 2014 it introduced non-reclining seats across its entire fleet after customer feedback.