Monday, October 23, 2017

Belgrade and Zagreb airports set for busy winter


The two busiest airports in the former Yugoslavia, Belgrade and Zagreb, are preparing for a busy winter season, which will see them handle more flights than ever before, following on from what was a record summer. Both will witness the arrival of new airlines, additional frequencies on existing services and an upgrades in equipment used by carriers.

Belgrade Airport will see at least three new airlines maintain flights to the city, which were absent last winter season. They include Atlasglobal, Hainan Airlines and Transavia, while Slovenia's VLM Airlines is also expected to launch services from Maribor, although tickets are yet to be put on sale. This winter, Wizz Air will maintain flights to an additional three destinations - Malta, Friedrichshafen and Hannover, while easyJet will add an extra weekly service from Geneva for a total of three per week commencing mid-February. Transavia, which introduced three weekly services from Amsterdam this April, will double its frequencies from late February. Other additions will include an extra three weekly flights from Dubai, operated by Flydubai, for a total of seven per week commencing November 25, while Qatar Airways will also maintain daily services from Doha, up from four. The Qatari carrier will boost capacity from its Airbus A320 to the A321 jet on the route.

Greece's Aegean Airlines plans to boost capacity to Belgrade with the carrier to run three weekly services to the Serbian capital with a mix of Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft. As a result, its Belgrade route will move to mainline operations and will no longer be flown by Olympic Air's Dash 8 turboprops. Furthermore, both Israiar and Arkia Israeli Airlines will continue to maintain flights from Tel Aviv over the winter. On the other hand, Air Serbia will cut down on its operations and will no longer run services from its hub to Abu Dhabi and Istanbul unlike last winter season, however, it will continue to fly to Venice, which was launched this summer.


Several carriers have committed to increasing both frequencies and capacity to Zagreb Airport when compared to last winter, with El Al Israel Airlines recently announcing it will extend its seasonal summer flight programme between Tel Aviv and Zagreb by a month, until the end of November. Services will be maintained once per week. Furthermore, as previously reported, Croatia Airlines has extended its seasonal flights to Barcelona and Lisbon until early January, while Qatar Airways will uphold its two daily service throughout the winter, up from last year's ten weekly flights. LOT Polish Airlines will increase frequencies to Zagreb by maintaining eight instead of six weekly services, all of which are scheduled to run with the Embraer E175 aircraft, although the airline has shown to be flexible with its equipment and regularly deploys larger aircraft depending on demand.

Carriers that will be operating to Zagreb Airport this year, but were absent last winter, include Emirates, with a five weekly service from Dubai, as well as Norwegian Air Shuttle, which will extend its seasonal services from Stockholm and Copenhagen. Furthermore, Lufthansa's low cost unit Eurowings will add its fourth destination to the Croatian capital, from Dusseldorf, starting October 31. Sales for the new route have been encouraging, resulting in the airline's decision to run the service three times per week instead of two, as initially scheduled. On the other hand, Monarch Airlines, which launched seasonal flights from the United Kingdom to Zagreb this summer and planned to extend them throughout the winter has collapsed and discontinued all operations. In addition, both ČSA Czech Airlines and Brussels Airlines have limited their operations to the Croatian capital and will now run flights only during the summer. Zagreb Airport is targeting passenger growth of 8% in 2017, although it is expected to surpass this figure.

EX-YU Aviation News will publish planned airline modifications for all of the major airports in the former Yugoslavia in the coming weeks. The 2017/18 winter season begins this Sunday and runs until March 25, 2018.

132 comments:

  1. Good news for both airports.

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  2. Great news ZAG. I think 3.1 million passengers will be achieved this year.

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  3. Nice to see. I think winter will be very strong for both airports.

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  4. All ZAG needs is for a low cost airline to open a base.

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    1. I agree but I think Zagreb should work to get more airlines to fly all year. I'm a bit disappointed about Brussels Airlines decision :/

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    2. If ZAG attracted an LCC to open a base numbers would boom straight away.

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    3. ZAG is after higher yields with lower revenue. LJU on the other hand should work on acting as a cheaper alternative to ZAG.

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    4. I think it needs more direct lines to attract people from long distance destinations.

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    5. @AnonymousOctober 23, 2017 at 9:22 AM

      Yet Zagreb is increasing landing fees and actively pursues legacy carriers and ignored LCCs.

      Your logic isn't working.

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    6. Yes but they are also attracting foreign airlines like Emirates through government subsidies.
      ZAG wants to have less airlines but only those that can actually pay the full price.

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    7. Emirates was not subsided. There is NO ANY PAYING or money amount in budget or any state, local or other organization that pay money to Emirates.

      In EU you can not pay money out of budget. That is crime!

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    8. Yes, you can through various channels. Many countries do it, Croatia is not special or unique.

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    9. Emirates wasn't subsidized by Croatia. UAE...maybe,wouldn't surprise me at all. The only thing the Cro government through the Ministry of tourism is doing, is investing money into marketing, branding, PR and other ways of attracting new airlines, as well as making it easier for them to do business. That's not subsidizing.

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    10. They are spending taxpayers' funds in order to help out a business is a subvention.
      Also, the HR minister of tourism said it himself that they will have to start subsidizing foreign airlines. Someone even posted a quote here.

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    11. @AnonymousOctober 23, 2017 at 7:17 PM

      Stop making things up, no one said so in Croatia, for the EU prohibits government subsidies of any form. Zagreb airport has some incentives and Croatian Tourism board works with all major airlines in getting people to Croatia, in form of PR, marketing and free travel for tour operator agents.





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    12. There was literally a statement by the minister of tourism that was posted on here a few days ago, go and look it up if you don't believe me.

      The European Union does allow for subsidies. Have you heard of a thing called CAP? lol

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    13. Don't bother with them, they just can't deal with the fact that some flights to ZAG have to be subsidized

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    14. "We are directing a part of our funds towards closer cooperation with airlines, which will result in more flights to all of our airports."

      Gari Capelli, Globus Magazin. August 2017

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    15. Where in this statement do you see anything about subventions? Closer cooperation with airlines does not mean subsidizing them. You should read the entire article.
      What ministry of tourism is doing with the funds is precisely their job. And they're one of probably few ministries that are actually doing a good job.

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    16. Minister never said that!

      Ministry can not subsidize airline. It can not. It is against law in EU. There are no "side possibility" in EU. There is huge low about preventing of nonlegal money traffic and several thousands workers are working on that in EU to prevent this way of financing.

      Only institution that can make some kind of financing and subventions is Croatian tourist board, but it is not financed by tax payers money. It is financed by tourist fee, hotel membership fee, agencies fee, transport organization fee etc. Goal of Board is to promote Croatian tourism and to bring more tourists into Croatia. That is why all those organizations connected to tourism pay fee to it.

      But even in Croatian tourist Board they have to make tender, have defined rules of tender with same chance for subventions by all interested companies, and have supervision on those subventions.

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    17. @AnonymousOctober 23, 2017 at 7:57 PM

      Give me the link, I'd like to see that, I am sure you'll find a link since you're so sure in your statement.

      EU does not permit any form of corporate subsidy !!! Read EU article 88.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_competition_law

      Here summery of some of the competition rules. Croatian Airlines had to pay back 597 million kuna in 2012, cause EU didn't see it as a loan when EU needed to borrow money from the Croatian state budget. Croatian Airlines almost bankrupted as a result.

      EU is quite strict with these things. Anyways, show me the link to minster's statement.

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    18. EU allows for subsidies but under certain strict rules. After all look at all the airports/municipalities that subsidize Ryanair.

      Also, I will repeat my question: have you heard of CAP? lol

      p.s. the EU even allows state aid to government companies but only as long as it happens once a decade. When there is a will, there is a way.

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  5. Great work BEG. Several major events taking place in the city during the winter season this year which will generate a lot of growth.

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    1. 6 million passengers is possible next year.

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    2. The most exciting development for BEG next year will be the concession and the appointment of a new professional management.

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  6. Anyone know how October has been performing for these two?

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    1. I saw that Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines and Aeroflot have been sending their A321s to BEG so I would say it should do well.

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    2. Early next month 5th million passenger will pass through the airport.

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    3. Would be nice ut I think the 5 millionth will come in early December, maybe late November.

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    4. You are right I thought we were already in November :D yes very early December.

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  7. As far as easyJet goes, they increased BEG to three weekly A320 last February so it will be an increase only in the first months of the winter timetable.

    Overall, it will be a great winter here in Belgrade. I am especially waiting for October numbers. I think we can expect around 480.000 passengers.

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  8. Hopefully these new arrivals to BEG will make up for the reduced JU ops.

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    1. Truth be told, there are no new cuts besdies AUH and IST. All that was published took place last year but successively once the season started.

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    2. Well let's just hope they don't make successive cuts again this winter.

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    3. If they actually cut more then they would have to suspend some destinations altogether. lol

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    4. I doubt there will be any more cuts. It will be interesting to see if they will operate charters around New Year. Last winter they had quite a few.

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    5. I am sure there are going to be quite a few charters especially after this busy summer season.

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    6. Is Vueling keeping its Christmas flights to BEG this year?

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    7. As far as I can see, none are scheduled at the moment.

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    8. From what I've seen there aren't any but they are still coming back in March.
      I can't imagine many people wanting to go to Catalonia now.

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    9. True but it is still unfortunate. Perhaps Madrid could work.

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    10. Didn't Spanair used to fly from Madrid to Belgrade a couple of year ago?

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    11. Yes until it collapsed. They even flew all year not just during summer.

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    12. Actually MAD was operated only the first summer season, the second they only kept BCN. Madrid was dropped due to low loads.

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    13. Ah my bad then. I find it surprising that there is little demand between MAD and BEG.

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    14. A lot has changed since Spanair flew from Madrid. I mean if TAP managed to fill their A320 to LIS then I don't see why an airline like Iberia (Express) couldn't do the same from Madrid.

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    15. But TAP failed in BEG and I don't think those planes were filled. Though they did plan initially to fly over winter in a triangle via BUD.

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    16. From what I've heard their flights had good loads but they experienced massive problems with their fleet and their flights were usually horribly late. It was not uncommon for their plane to arrive/leave with a three hour delay.

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  9. excellent news coming in from Zagreb this year. Any more new airlines we might see soon?

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    1. While the coast is getting more and more flights (see right hand side for 2018 announcements-almost all Croatian coast), ZAG will definitely benefit in the future, as people start to circle the country and ZAG has a complement offer to that of the coast.

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  10. With all due respect ZAG is loosing three airlines this winter. Croatia Airlines will stay the same since they will introduce BCN and LIS but they reduce LHR by the same amount.

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    1. Well Monarch is not really their fault. Which other one besides SN?

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    2. CSA. I'm not saying it's their fault, just an observation. On the plus side there is Emirates plus growth from Eurowings and LOT.

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    3. Plus LIS and BCN by OU!

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    4. Like I said those just replace the reduction of Heathrow by 4 weekly fights.

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    5. They will fly to BCN and LIS until January.

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    6. Will anyone step in Monarch's place?

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    7. Doubt it, Monarch filled their flights with holidaymakers who bought their packages through their own tour operator.

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  11. I hope Wizz Air will diversify its offer from BEG soon and finally introduces Spain and perhaps Athens.

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    1. Two weekly to Athens could work especially in summer. Maybe they could also return to Rhodes?

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    2. Next time they expand they will probably add another German village -.-

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    3. Hahah true or something random like Dresden.

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    4. I think they missed an opportunity with Prague. Air Serbia does really well there and we've seen Hainan is carrying more and more passengers between BEG and PRG.

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    5. The Serbia-Germany market is getting oversaturated. That is why they turned Nuremberg to seasonal.

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    6. NUE should have worked, there are more than enough Serbs there to warrant a year-round connection. Maybe Lufthansa's two daily from Munich killed them. After all, the two cities are roughly 90 minutes one from the other.

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    7. Barcelona, Athens, Milan, Bratislava, Madrid... at least two times per week...

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    8. Just not another German city.

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  12. Nice to see Aegean coming back with its narrow bodies to BEG during winter. It will make their more competitive against JU.

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    1. You probably mean a jet aircraft as Aegean only operates narrowbodies. :)

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  13. I wish Croatia Airlines kept some of the routes it launched this year throughout the year. Helsinki and Oslo were very good performers.

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    1. it could have been a chance for them to keep PRG and run out CSA which is withdrawing anyway.

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  14. I think there are a few more European airlines that could start flights to Zagreb. Primarily SAS and Alitalia if they are still around.

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    1. With SAS recently announcing its summer schedule it looks like ZAG will have to wait until 2019. I agree that they would do well. Have they ever flown to ZAG?

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    2. Alen Šćuric PurgerOctober 23, 2017 at 1:12 PM

      Yes from ARN few years ago. It was on just for one season.

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    3. SAS few to Zagreb for decades, but stopped after 1991 ,due to the war.

      They had few flights here and there since, but not regular, mostly charters.

      Time for SAS to return to Zagreb.

      Zagreb Airport needs TAP, SAS, Finnair, Aer Lingus, Alitalia to return year around flights and Brussels, CSA and Iberia to go year round too.

      Ideally getting EasyJet, Transavia France, Voltea, Vueling and Air Baltic coming to Zagreb offering good choice of LCC destinations, would be nice too.

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    4. Alen Šćuric PurgerOctober 23, 2017 at 5:06 PM

      Not true. SAS had flights after 1991, and that was during 2000's on ARN-ZAG route. I was in inauguration flight.

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    5. Yes! Agree on SAS absolutely! Keeping my fingers crossed.

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  15. Great about El Al. I think they could fly 1 flight per week all winter.

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  16. Deluje da će biti jaka zima.

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  17. QR is going after Emirates with its double daily flights from Doha this winter.

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    1. QR biggest advantage is its fleet and that it can switch between A320/A321 with ease based on demand. EK is stuck with the B777.

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    2. Qatar Airways has the best position of MEB3 when it comes to ex-Yu. Perfect aircraft for this market.

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    3. Flydubai has become a much more competitive choice with the EK codeshares starting this winter.

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    4. Etihad also has the right aircraft for this market - A319, A320 and A321.

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    5. Etihad is limited because of Air Serbia. They don't have to fly to ZAG or LJU. They just codeshare with JU and this has been working really well for them.

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    6. If flydubai eventually merges with Emirates then they will be best positioned in this market.

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  18. Also Lufthansa won't be reducing Belgrade this winter like last year, 4 daily flights will be kept.

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  19. After a strong summer comes a strong winter ;)

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  20. Ocigledno Beograd, kao i Zagreb uporno nastoje da uvecaju saobracaj u zimskoj sezoni. Rezultati su dobri. Korisno bi bilo jos poneki let...
    Ipak samo cetiri nedelje deli od ojavljivanja koncesionara na aerodromu Nikola Tesla. Od ulaska koncesionara, dogradnje aerodroma i trostrukog uvecanja saobracaja i putnika za vreme trajanja koncesije od 25 godine, jeste realno ocekivanje. Razvoj Srbije ce omoguciti preporod putnickog i kargo saobracaja. Uz ucesce Niskog, Kraljevackog i Uzickog aerodroma, sa nisko bbudzetnim, kargo i carter saobracajem u sedecih pet, sest godina putnicki saobracaj ce povecati za vise od milion putnika godisnje. Ne namere da pisanjem na ovom blogu da bih izazivao pesimiste, realiste ili bilo koga. Aerodromi Srbije i auto putevi su jedini nacin da Srbija opravda svoj polozaj mosta Jugoistocne Evrope. Tim putem se krece. Dali moze brze? Moguce je.
    Svakako da susedna Hrvatska ne sedi skrstenih ruku. Zemlja turizma i relativno za sada liberalnija zemlja za privlacenje saobracaja. Ocigledno da se i Srbija "budi", definitivno.
    Pozdrav iz Kraljeva.
    Radovan. 😀🌍🇷🇸🌏🇦🇺🌎🗺🇬🇧🇭🇷😀

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  21. Etihad to me is the biggest disappointment. No increase in capacity or frequencies. No wonder QR and FZ have jumped at the opportunity of JU's AUH suspension and are increasing frequencies to BEG.

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  22. Great developments for Zagreb since the French came

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  23. Shame for the Monarch, the Brits are coming back big time! I agree that with LCCs the traffic in Zagreb would explode, even though personally I couldn't care less for low costs. Still think that ZAG will just fall short of 3,1 mill, but the growth should be at over 10%.
    As for the next year, that will be interesting. With several different types of tourism growing rapidly (health, holiday, city break) with business travel increasing, both the ski cup and the European Handball Championship in January, plus next year being the first full year of the new terminal operations, anything below 3,5 million in 2018. would be less than optimal.

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  24. I doubt VLM will be launching those flights. They haven't even put tickets on sale yet.

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    1. When they started Dubrovnik and Split they put tickets on sale 5 days before the first flight.

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    2. What a way to do business.

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  25. LOT has been the quiet achiever in ex-Yu. Impressive number of flights from BEG and ZAG. I assume 98% of their passengers are transfers on these two routes.

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    1. +1
      they usually have some of the cheapest fares to North America from Belgrade. I assume it's the same case on their Zagreb flights.

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    2. It's a shame they didn't try Zagreb-New York instead of Budapest.

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    3. Budapest is a much bigger market.

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    4. I took them into consideration this summer for YYZ-BEG flight. While they were cheaper than LH group for example, AC/JU on interline were much cheaper, more luggage etc. Before this interline they were the best option most of the time.

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    5. Yep, anon @10:59 ..same thing in Zagreb. So cheap to fly to US with LOT.
      And while we're at it - I think more Croats should at least consider flying via Copenhagen, you can easily find way cheaper fares than those on your most popular routes.

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  26. Is LH decreasing capacity to ZAG this winter or is that just some unfounded rumour?

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    1. LH Mainline will no longer operate flights as they were moved onto CityLine.

      I think the number of frequencies stays the same though.

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    2. LH no longer has a monopoly so they lost a lot of customers.

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  27. Iberia should finally start year round flights to Zagreb. Don't know what they are waiting for.

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    1. They sent their A321 to ZAG many times during the summer.

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    2. Iberia will increase its ZAG flights next year, almost double in capacity

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  28. Norwegian really could have upped their game in ZAG a bit over winter and kept CPH and ARN more than 1 weekly.

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    1. I guess flights are not as full otherwise they would have added more flights. It's not like they don't have enough aircraft.

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    2. That's just the thing, to my knowledge the flights were performing really well and the overall results from Scandinavia to all the Croatian and other regional cities have been consistently good. OU has even started deploying A-319s on the route to/from Copenhagen.
      I don't get why they are playing it so safe.

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    3. CPH could also be because it's a Star Alliance hub so they are offering connections onto SK. Norwegian might be performing well to ZAG in terms of loads but yields might not be there.

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  29. I thought A3 had more flights to BEG. I didn't know JU was such a star perfrormer on the ATH route.
    What about W6 to LCA? How many times does it operate this winter?
    Wish all the best to BEG and ZAG!
    Greetings from SKP

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    1. Wizz Air initially planned for LCA to be two weekly year-round but in the end the second flight was dropped and kept only during the busy Christmas period.

      That said, JU is doing exceptionally well in LCA and they did manage to fill the A320 several times in October.

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  30. Next summer Wizz Air should consider more holiday destinations from Belgrade like CFU instead of just adding excessive diaspora routes.

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    1. It's about time for Wizz to finally open Barcelona.

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  31. Any news on Belgrade-India flights?

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  32. I think the potential of ZAG will soon come to an end, almost all of the destinations are covered. So growth is likely to start reducing as of 2019.

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    1. No LCC, ZAG is the worst airport in Europe by number of LCC? At least 2 planes to be based with 55-60 flights per week and 20-25 more flights per week with other LCC should be in Zagreb.

      No flights to Sofija, Dublin, Tirana, Mostar, Manchester, and Roma nonstop, and all year Madrid, Prague, Milano...

      No flights to Korea, USA, China, India.

      And you still think there are no potentials?

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    2. Bas suprotno.
      Tek onda ce uvesti LCC, od kojih ja osobno zazirem.

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    3. I am still surprised that there isn't enough demand from ZAG to FCO to have a nonstop flight.

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    4. There is demand. But unfortunately not above 60€ return, which no airline can make money with. If Wizz gets subsidies to compensate that, they will start. 30€ one way + subsidy and extremely low costs- why not??

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    5. Maybe even Vueling. Shame that ZAG is expensive, FR could fly the route and offer connections from ZAG.

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  33. Zagreb and Belgrade need more tax payer money to subsidize underground parking. Also subsidies are needed for flights to Bermuda

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