Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Croatia - US flights expected in "near future"


Croatia has intensified talks with airlines and tour operators for the establishment of nonstop flights to the United States. The head of the Croatian National Tourist Board, Kristjan Stančić, held meetings with key stakeholders within the US travel industry in New York earlier this month . "One of the more important topics we discussed with several major partners was the introduction of nonstop services between Croatia and the United States. I am delighted to note that our colleagues on the US market have offered us strong support for the establishment of these flights, which would be of great importance to Croatia, and not just for the tourism sector", Mr Stančić said. He added, "I am optimistic concerning this matter and I believe that Croatia will have nonstop flights to this important market in the near future". The Tourism Board plans to open its offices in New York next year and has agreed on an action plan with the United States Tour Operators Association.

Earlier this year the Croatian Ministry for Tourism said services between Croatia and the US would begin next year on a seasonal summer basis, before being upgraded to year-round operations in 2019. Tourism Minister, Gari Cappelli, noted, "We are in serious negotiations over the introduction of year-long flights from Croatia to New York, most likely from Zagreb and Dubrovnik, even from Split. All signs point towards the introduction of seasonal flights during the high season in 2018 and year-long services in 2019". He added that the Croatian embassy in Washington has taken upon itself to seek out potential operators.

Foreign carriers have tried to capture part of the US - Croatia travel market

The world’s second busiest carrier, Delta Air Lines, told EX-YU Aviation News it is satisfied with its presence in the region, noting that it codeshares with Air France and KLM between Paris, Amsterdam and Zagreb, as well as with ČSA Czech Airlines between Prague and the Croatian capital. “Codeshares are an important part of Delta’s network strategy as they allow us to reach parts of the globe that we do not operate to ourselves. We have many partnerships of this nature around the world”, a spokesperson for the airline said. They added, “Although we continually evaluate our markets and make adjustments to our network when required, we are happy with our current network footprint in the former Yugoslavia and Eastern Europe in general and at this stage do not have any plans to update this”.

American Airlines, the US' largest airline by fleet size, noted, "American constantly evaluates our network to ensure we are maximising our fleet and profitability while matching customer demand. While no airline can serve every destination, our joint businesses and alliances with airlines like British Airways and membership in Oneworld allows our customers to seamlessly connect to Croatia". On the other hand, Star Alliance member United, which has a wide-ranging codeshare agreement in place with Croatia Airlines, said, "While we have not announced anything about this market [Croatia], we’re always looking for new opportunities". Despite the reluctance from the big three US airlines, it should be noted that any European Union-registered carrier can operate services from any point in the block to the United States if it holds a valid foreign air carrier permit with the United States Department of Transportation.

The General Manager of Zagreb Airport, Jacques Feron, previously said it would be "fantastic" for the Croatian capital to offer direct flights to the United States. "In the US, New York would be an excellent destination, although it is true that this metropolis is well connected to all major European airports", Mr Feron said. The Deputy General Manager of Dubrovnik Airport, Frano Luetić, told EX-YU Aviation News in August that the airport has identified the United States and South Korea as two markets which could sustain services to the coastal city but noted that the development of long haul flights is still some way off. "These two far-away markets are the most important for Dubrovnik. According to the city's tourist board, visitors from the US are the second most common, behind those from the United Kingdom, which is specific to the Dubrovnik region", he said. Mr Luetić noted at the time that despite the potential, there are still no concrete announcements concerning the establishment of such services.

144 comments:

  1. Few days ago United contacted ZAG to ask for terms and conditions. I suppose they were the unknown airline looking to fly from New York to Zagreb.

    Rumor is that they plan to send their B767 from EWR. It will be a seasonal flight. They always made the most sense since OU is in Star Alliance.

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    1. OMG that would be fantastic but wasn't it said on here that it was XL Aiways that was interested?

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    2. If that is true that would be huge.

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    3. Asking for terms and conditions does not mean they are starting flights. Would be nice though but I would prefer year round flights.

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    4. United would be absolutely the best choice. They could codeshare with Croatia Airlines from Zagreb to the rest of country plus Skopje, Pristina, Sarajevo, Bucharest... It could be a major success.

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    5. UA recently announced their Europe schedule so I'm not so sure they plan to fly to Zagreb.

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    6. @9.04 that would coincide with the talks the director of HTZ had with airlines and tour agencies in the US.

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    7. You said the same this year and last year and still nothing.

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  2. I honestly don't understand how Croatia doesn't have (at least) seasonal flights to the US. I mean, so many American tourists with arrivals increasing every year, even in Zagreb.

    P.S. Love the pic in the article.

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    1. I'm surprised as well. At least seasonal or charter to Dubrovnik.

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    2. I think charters from Dubrovnik to the US would be a great success straight away.

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    3. I'm sure Dubrovnik will have seasonal flights to New York as well, it's just a matter of time.

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    4. Agree with Anon 10:08, I'm surprised they haven't secured them yet!

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  3. Is that Air Serbia advertising New York at ZAG?

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    1. Structure in the background certainly seems to be the new terminal at Zagreb.

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    2. Yes at the entrance of ZAG terminal

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    3. That advertising in Zagreb is humiliating.

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    4. It is actually pretty offensive. Who would fly to Belgrade in order to reach New York??!

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    5. Why would it be offensive? If some airline wants to advertise themselves via whatever airport, it's their right. Where is the offense?

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    6. @AnonymousDecember 20, 2017 at 2:34 PM

      You mean condescending ?

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    7. I'm sure Air Serbia pays for adds which goes to Zagreb Airport bank account. Why would it be offensive? This summer Croatia Airlines had billbiards in Belgrade for Split flights and there are billboards across town for Zagreb advent now (like every year for past 2 yrs).

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    8. A close friend of mine is hosting entire family from Belgrade over Advent, 6 of them. He's got a large house, so he can host few people. He'll also host some Bosniaks closer to Christmas day.

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    9. I'm sorry but what is Advent? First time i hear of it...

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    10. It is a way to sell some hotel spaces in an otherwise dead time before the New Year...

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    11. Advent is a proper English word that relates to the start of the festive season 4 weeks before Christian Christmas (Peotestand and Catholic) 25th Dec. There are numerous Christmas markets all around Europe for Advent, mostly in Germany and Austria.

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  4. US airlines have poor coverage in Europe so I am not counting on any of them.

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    1. Yes and no. No, because CDG has at least 15 US airport connections and yes they mainly operate to Western Europe.

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    2. It's looking more and more that it will be a US airline. I doubt they were discussing US flights to Croatia with a European airline in New York.

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  5. Good to see that things are moving forward.

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    1. Every year the same - maybe next year!

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  6. I think BUD was faster. They managed to secure flights to JFK, ORD & PHL. I think ZAG needs to wait for higher traffic figures. BUD for instance have 4 times more traffic and yet are about to start those US flights.
    Perhaps a carrier like DY could consider it because Dreamliners are easier to fill being smaller compared to bigger a/c such as A330 or B777.

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    1. Out of all cities in Croatia, I think Dubrovnik has the biggest potential for these flights (maybe Split).

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    2. I agree. A couple of days ago, there was a discussion on how DBV is now seen as one of the most developed airports in the Balkans. Their current management may try and negotiate and secure a deal. It can even happen before ZAG. But yes, good point. Thanks.

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    3. Agree with last Anon.

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    4. Bud has only seasonal flights, as most airports in Europe with less than 20 million pax.

      Only hub airports can maintain year round service to North America with US based airlines, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Munich , Dublin and few others.

      Zagreb and Croatia can only hope to seasonal flights, and even then perhaps Zagreb and Dubrovnik. However, I doubt Dubrovnik will get any NA flights, most NA carriers have tendency to serve largest cities in the country first, and only if capacity is sufficient they'll venture out.

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    5. Norwegian's Dreamliners have capacity of 291 resp. 344 seats.
      I can't see a (big) difference to A330 and B777?

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  7. They have been delaying these flights from Zagreb each year. Hope it finally happens in 2018.

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  8. Of course it will, but probably in 2019

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  9. Fabulous. Long overdue and yes it is UA to Newark.
    Awesome. Looking forward to seeing what else ZAG has install in 2018!

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    1. Would they come in 2018?

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    2. Their B767s would be perfect for this route.

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  10. If Zagreb is able to sustain 2 Canadian airlines from Toronto seasonally, then I expect they could sustain a US carrier with 1 or 2 flights per week during the summer.

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    1. Canada and US are not the same market ;)

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    2. I would assume the US market is even bigger actually.

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    3. US market is far greater, but problem is US Airlines, they're very hard to bring, they demand all sorts of benefits and discounts, makes LCC look good in comparison.

      NA flights will happen, but I predict in 2020, not sooner.

      BTW in 2017, 150 000 Canadians visited Croatia, and some 500 000 US Visitors.

      In 2018, 175 000 Canadian visitors are expected and 575000 US visitors.

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  11. If this ever happens, I hope it is a European airline or EK.
    US carriers have a horrible service especially UA, DL & AA.
    Similar to MXP, ZAG may try DXB-ZAG-JFK or DY. OSL-JFK-ZAG-JFK-OSL

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    1. EK would actually be the best.

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    2. I'm not sure how willing the US would be to allow Emirates fly more fifth freedom routes from Europe to the US.

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    3. @Anonymous December 20, 2017 at 9:47 AM
      They are already doing it from MXP and ATH

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    4. @anon 10:29: Yes, they are...the comment was about being sceptical if US will allow more of such types of routes.

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    5. Flown on both Delta and American from Sydney and thought they were pretty good. I actually thought American was better than Qatar long haul. Haven’t flow. United but I do hear they can be a bit hopeless.

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    6. EK would be way too much capacity.

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  12. Besides opening their office in New York, Croatian Tourism Board is opening their offices in Seoul and Shanghai, which is great, since many tourists come from China and, especially, South Korea, even during winter months.

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    1. Finally! So much potential in China and South Korea!

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  13. There was a rumour some months ago that it is Delta. Until they announce it I won't believe it.

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    1. There were rumours about every single airline in the world interested in these flights and still nothing. Don't get me wrong, I would like to see these flights happen but come on, is it so difficult to secure them?

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  14. The Balkan obsession with the transatlantic flights to North America continues.

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    1. I think ZAG is the only Balkan airport that can actually make transatlantic flights a success. The best and most modern airport, a national carrier that is a star alliance member airline with year on year exponential growth in tourism numbers

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    2. And yet it is one of the rare bigger Balkan airports without flights to the US.

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    3. "...without flights to the US..."

      Not for long ;)

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    4. That is not true. Bucharest and Sofia does not have USA flights also.

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    5. ... and having a "best and most modern airport" as well as a national carrier being a member in a particular alliance are the deciding factors for having transatlantic flights... not

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    6. Anon 11:06, sorry, but your comment is really worthless.

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    7. 400,000 American tourists a year is the reason for this particular obsession.

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    8. its rather 400 000 American Tourists in Summer

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    9. Polovina ih je na kruzerima.

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    10. anon@2:10pm
      Brojke se odnose na registrirane turiste koji odsjedaju u nekom od smještaja i prenoće, a ne koji dolaze kruzerima na nekoliko sati.

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    11. @AnonymousDecember 20, 2017 at 1:30 PM

      Actually no, that's not true. If we included Cruise-line visitors of which there were 1.2 million in 2012, the numbers would be far greater than 500 000 or so American visitors in Croatia in 2017.


      US visitors generated nearly 1.5 million nights in Croatia in 2017, I am looking at official statistics for first 11 months.

      Zagreb alone had 150 000 US visitors so far, Only South Koreans and Germans exceed in number of visitors to Zagreb, 175000 S. Koreans and 187 000 Germans.

      However, as I've said before, I don't expect direct US flights before 2020. If we get these flights beforehand, it would be a bonus, but I doubt it.

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  15. Shame Eurowings is not interested in flying long haul from Zagreb. The only other European airline I see as a possibility is Norwegian.

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    1. How do you know Eurowings is not interested?

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    2. They categorically said they were not interested in long hauls from Zagreb for the time being a month or two ago. It was published here too.

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    3. For the time being... but, in a year or two, who knows? Although, I think it will probably be one of the US carriers, United maybe, not so sure about Delta or American.

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  16. Fingers crossed there will be some concrete results.

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  17. So the government, minister of tourism, embassy and National Tourist Board are all trying to get a flight from New York to Zagreb? o.O

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    1. Government ministers and Tourism officials must conduct and encourage new business, this is what they do. also that is not entire government. Only relevant ministry and national tourism officials who aren't government officials.

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  18. I don't get the hype about direct flights to the US. Ticket price can't be that much lower than with a single stop in Frankfurt or Munich.

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    1. Well a nonstop flight is always better then one with a stop, no matter how long or short.

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    2. especially that USA passengers prefer nonstop flights and connections in USA.

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  19. I would be more happy if they tried to attract a LCC to base an aircraft. Having flights to New York is nice but the benefits of having an established LCC serving several cities out of ZAG outweigh a few flights per season to New York.

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    1. +1 it would grow passenger numbers much more.

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    2. For sure it is not just in pumping number. But strategy of airport. And that is good strategy:

      biggest legacy carriers - DONE
      intercontinental flights - IN PROCESS
      LCC - you can motivate them anytime, and it is logical to do that after those two goals to be finished

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    3. biggest legacy carrier - DONE, due to the increasing weakness of the national carrier
      intercontinental flights - ON A VERY LONG STICK
      LCC - VIRTUALLY NONE

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    4. Oh my god.

      Biggest legacy carriers.
      Air Serbia has just 25% more passengers but still Belgrade does not have:

      British
      Air France
      KLM
      Iberia
      Brussels
      Emirates

      intercontinental flights on very long stick?
      - you really think that Air Canada Rouge, Air Transat and Emirates (11 of those flights opened in one year) + Korean charters + negotiation with others can not be defined "IN PROCESS"

      LCC virtually non?
      Last year Eurowings, Norwegian, Monarch, Vueling with 10 routes for sure is not "non". Belgrade had 22 routes last year with 8 airlines. That is just double number of routes and airlines in ZAG. Not such a big deal. On LCC Beograd is not like Budapest, Bucharest or Sofia with 100+ routes.

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    5. Why do you have the need to write about Belgrade or Air Serbia when no one even mentioned them? The obsession continues. Why do many Croats here have the need to compare everything to Belgrade and Serbia? You have already classified youselves as west Europeans and the most amazing country on planet earth so compare youselves to France, Italy, Germany. That should be in your league right? Seeing Belgrade and Serbia in everything is not healthy.

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    6. Because any critique of Zagreb is a no no and instead of proving the guy wrong with normal arguments it is easier to turn to nationalistic rants.

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    7. What Zagreb is doing it, smart and calculating. No need to rush things, LCCs will come when they come.

      Airport has incentive program in place, it shows prospective carriers what they can expect.

      Number of legacy carriers will go up, and it looks like some will increase their frequency, BA is looking to add Manchester and Gatwick to Zagreb in summer months. 2nd flight of Gatwick and 4 weekly flights out of Manchester, they'll be announcing flights soon. Keep posted.


      I would like to see SAS back in Zagreb, out of Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen on year round basis and adding Gothenburg and Bergen on seasonal basis. Finnair on seasonal basis too, and Aer Lingus asp, on year round basis. 20 000 Croats live and work in Ireland now, some 600 Irish families live in Zagreb, mostly employed by Irish business but some opening their own business such as Irish pubs.

      I would also like to see Alitalia back in Zagreb, but they're facing serious financial wows, no idea if that is possible, and if Alitalia will survive 2018.

      Return of TAP and Iberia upgrading their service to year round, not just 7 months of the year.

      Only after these legacy carriers have established themselves, i'd allow LCCs in, Wizz or Ryan or both. 2020 or after, not before.

      Zagreb needs to have good legacy cover, at least 80% of the traffic must come from legacy carriers long term, 10-20 years. LCCs just add bit of bonus, we don't want Zagreb turning in to Sofia, Krakow, Riga or Budapest, LCC base.

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    8. British on London-Zagreb is going twice daily from summer. Confirmed.

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    9. Excellent news, about time! LHR, I suppose?

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    10. Anon 7:09 PM, do you have a source?

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    11. 2nd daily to LHR or LGW?

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    12. They already fly to LHR, so I suppose it stays (2nd daily) LHR, which is great!

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    13. Perhaps TAP could fly ZAG-GIG with one of their A330? :)

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    14. Of course, 5 weekly less OU LHR because of sold slots plus 3 weekly less Monarch to LGW, of course someone must fill the gap

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  20. Pan Am used to fly 4 p/w with A310s to ZAG once upon a time.

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    1. There were also JAT flights to New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

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    2. From which city did Pan Am fly from?

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    3. Thanks. That was quite an extensive network from Zagreb to the US back in the day.

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    4. Boeing is working on new Aircraft B797, should be ready for commercial flights sometimes in 2025, aircraft will seat around 250 in two class configuration, it is a single isle aircraft, 50m long, just google B797, aircraft will have range between 7 and 10 000km and should fill the gap between 737 MAX and B787. Production on B757 stopped, sadly.

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  21. Here we are again...
    Guys, stop with this US\China flights obsession. It's not the end of the world not having them...

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    1. Yeah, I don't understand the obsession with these flights, I mean, no way Croatia with so many tourists can have them, not even charter flights!

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    2. Opet oni. Nikom nije u interesu da leti u Zagreb kad moze u Veneciju ili Bec. Nikao to da shvatite.

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    3. Kakve veze imaju Venecija ili Beč? Po tvojoj logici, nitko ne želi doći u Hrvatsku ako ne ide preko Italije ili Austrije?

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  22. Very good for Zagreb but I do wish they find an airline that would serve all year round.

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  23. The majority of the Bosnian diaspora would use these flights to Zagreb if they materialize. So you basically get two markets in one.

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    1. Why dont they use Air Serbia flight ?

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  24. Usually when there is so much chatter about some flight (and there has been about the US-Croatia flights all this year) it means that talks are going ahead and that something will happen very soon. The statements from Stancic are the latest confirmation of this.

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  25. If there was enough demand, one of US3 carriers would already start the service.

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    1. Hahahaha, yeah, sure! For some things it simply takes time!

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    2. How long? These flights have been discussed for almost 10 years.

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  26. If these flights were to launch next year tickets would already be on sale. There is a reason why both Canadian airlines - Transat and AC Rouge - started sales and announced flights to Zagreb in September.

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    1. There is no chance for it to launch next year but hopefully 2019.

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  27. So how many American tourists in 2017 in Croatia?

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    1. 350.000 in 2016, 470.000 in 2017 Jan-Nov. Growing rapidly.

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    2. Wow! And Croatia is becoming even more popular in American media and travel magazines. Hope these flights will happen, we can only wait for the announcement.

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  28. Oh and to Croatians need visas for US?

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    1. Yes, but getting one isn't difficult, as long as you fly as a tourist or can study in US with position @US University.

      US should be removing visa requirements for Croatian passport holders, either in 2018 or at the latest in 2020.

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    2. There's no deadline for the US to lift visa requirement for Croats. They have simple rule that the percentage of the declined visas for certain country must be below (I think) 3%. Once that happens, visa regime will change.

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    3. Yes, and now it is around 4%, should fall down to 3% in 2018. Although as long as Trump is in the white house, I don't see the need to rush in.

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  29. Any chance of OU going long haul and starting all these flights where it is apparent demand - US, Korea, Japan?

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    1. No. They don't have the money for such ventures. Also they have 5 years of monitoring after restructuring, meaning they can't go into any major risky adventures.

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  30. United's response is interesting. They are not actually denying that they would start flights.

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    1. They are actually not saying anything at all. Classic response.

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    2. There are too many bigger markets in Europe for United to start first.

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    3. As it was for Emirates. But they choose Zagreb instead.

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    4. @AnonymousDecember 20, 2017 at 1:50 PM

      US Carriers will serve destination that has large US visitor numbers.

      Croatia is one such destination, with 500 000 US visitors it is top 10 destination in the EU.

      UK, France, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Austria, Greece and Croatia comes 9th.
      Ahead of Czech R, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Hungary, Poland and Portugal, other major destination for US visitors.

      In 2020, it is expected some 800 000 US visitors will visit Croatia and spend up to 3 million nights in Croatia. This I think warrants major US airline to establish direct link with Zagreb, idealy with NYC.

      On a seasonal basis at first, but once 1 million US visitors to Croatia is reached, then US airline would need to seriously consider year round service. 1 million US visitors will be reached around 2022.

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  31. I as a croat really doubt about this, if this article have true sources then we can see diffrences in opinions between The head of the Croatian National Tourist Board, Kristjan Stančić and "SOURCES" from delta, united, americana....

    Also, as a touristic country which have 10m pax in aviation, ofc mostly they come in season, our national carrier has to do more, i am speaking about taking a320 long range on leasing and starting flights from ZAG and DUB in high season with no matter of making big profit just starting to make some moves, it is expansive but i believe it could make postitive affect for country with support of coutnry and ZAG airport with less subsidies...

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    1. Alen Šćuric PurgerDecember 20, 2017 at 2:57 PM

      Why would Croatia start flights from Dubai (DUB). I presume you meant DBV.

      There is no A320 long range on market.

      From DBV you have no range with A321LR to USA or Canada. From Zagreb very limited just to New York, Boston and Montreal, with one stop (Pula or Montreal) it can fly to Toronto.

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    2. Yes, thought Dubrovnik
      Well that's just a dream then...:)

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    3. DUB is not Dubrovnik, but is not Dubai either. Dubai is DXB, and DUB is Dublin. That much about some people's "expertise" here

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    4. Alen Šćuric PurgerDecember 21, 2017 at 8:44 AM

      of course it is and trust me if I know something that is city IATA codes. That was real "lapsus".

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  32. Delta flies to the the most secondary European airports out of the US airlines. So perhaps they could consider Zagreb.

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    1. Sorry but if you read the text it does not look like Delta is interested.

      The world’s second busiest carrier, Delta Air Lines, told EX-YU Aviation News it is satisfied with its presence in the region, noting that it codeshares with Air France and KLM between Paris, Amsterdam and Zagreb, as well as with ČSA Czech Airlines between Prague and the Croatian capital. “Codeshares are an important part of Delta’s network strategy as they allow us to reach parts of the globe that we do not operate to ourselves. We have many partnerships of this nature around the world”, a spokesperson for the airline said. They added, “Although we continually evaluate our markets and make adjustments to our network when required, we are happy with our current network footprint in the former Yugoslavia and Eastern Europe in general and at this stage do not have any plans to update this”.

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    2. At this stage, probably, maybe in the future, but I don't think flights to and from US will happen before 2019/2020.

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  33. Interesting nobody here mentions not as remote possibility the one that should be definitely the best - one LOT 787 based in ZAG- exactly what they did in BUD - with 4 weekly to New York and 2 weekly to Chicago, during summer season, and with reduced NYC/ORD capacity and distant holiday charter chains in winter, with OU codesharing to NA, and LO codesharing on OU domestic and Balkan flights, within * alliance

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    1. Unfortunately, ZAG is a lot smaller pax- and traffic-wise than BUD and also more expensive (fees and taxes). It would be fantastic if Lot would consider such ZAG operations but it is extremely unlikely to happen. Also, they will want to see how their BUD experiment works out and develops and only then will consider expending that kind of business model.

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  34. I am not being sceptical at all and wishing ZAG all the best but if you compare its figures compared to other cities or capitals, it still remains to be relatively small to sustain continuous, huge traffic. Flights to/from US tend to be very expensive, especially slots.
    BEG for instance interestingly managed to sustain JFK for a long period and flights are all year round, not bad for an airport handing 5 million passengers annually. RIX is another good example.

    As long as ZAG is well connected to the real airports, there is no need for direct flights.

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    1. ZAG needs to first concentrate on EK's flight maturing there. After that it needs to see what happens with Canada as I doubt AC Rouge is going there to coexist with Air Transat.

      Only once these are resolved it should think of the US.

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    2. @AnonymousDecember 21, 2017 at 8:19 AM

      Air Transat will most likely pull out of Toronto - Zagreb but serve Montreal - Zagreb instead. It might happen in 2020, not sooner though. 175 000 Canadians are expected to visit Croatia in 2018, 200 000 in 2019, even if both airlines had daily flights to Zagreb they'd be hard pressed to cover even a third of that demand.

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