Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Thai AirAsia X studying Croatia flight potential


Thailand's long haul low cost carrier, Thai AirAsia X, is undertaking a feasibility study over the potential introduction of flights to Croatia. Speaking to EX-YU Aviation News, AirAsia said that, "Thai AirAsia X is exploring all potential opportunities to expand our network and provide more travel options. Apart from tapping into North Asia, namely Japan, Korea and China, Croatia has been one of the possibilities that we are currently engaging in a feasibility study". It comes after the carrier's CEO, Tassapon Bijleveld, said last summer that the airline is considering flights to Eastern Europe, citing Croatia, the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and Poland as possibilities.

The airline's CEO further noted, "We are not looking at major European cities like London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam or Paris, which are highly competitive with little chance of making money. Realistically, embarking on Eastern European flights would take six months, meaning services could begin in the second half of 2018", Mr Bijleveld said. The high season for travel to Thailand is from November through to January. Thai AirAsia X currently maintains services to Japan, South Korea and China, but plans on expanding in these markets as well. Previously, it also served Muscat in Oman and Tehran in Iran, however, these flights were later suspended. The airline maintains operations with six Airbus A330-300 aircraft, with a further four on order.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation removed Thailand from its red-flag listing allowing Thai-registered airlines to introduce new international routes after being banned by a number of regulators, including the European Aviation Safety Agency. This removes a bureaucratic obstacle for Thai AirAsia X to potentially launch flights to Croatia. Thai-based airlines have indentified growing demand for air travel from Eastern Europe. National carrier Thai Airways recently said it is targeting travellers from Croatia and Slovenia on its new route between Bangkok and Vienna. The airline's Acting President and Executive Vice President at the Commercial Department, Usanee Sangsingkeo, noted, "The opening of flights to Vienna has enabled Thai Airways to serve passengers from Eastern European countries within a 300-kilometre radius. These countries are primarily Croatia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia with a combined population of approximately 32 million people. We are aiming to carry a sizeable number of these travellers".

113 comments:

  1. I think they are suitable for this market with some seasonal flights.

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    1. But who would be the target passengers. Thais going to Croatia or the other way around?

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    2. Sad bi ti kazao tko, ali bi me mam cenurirali

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    3. Sounds like they are aiming for Europe to Asia travel. Could work year round if the demand is there off season.

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    4. When they asked Croatians (I can't find where I read "the study"), given a chance, "Which is the first country that you would like to visit?" Thailand came among the top3. I was surprised.

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  2. Eventually an airline like Air Asia or Scoot will start flights to ZAG.

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    1. You will get an airline like that next year when Jin Air starts flights fro Seoul.

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    2. They don't mention Zagreb they mention Croatia. Maybe they would go to Dubrovnik instead.

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    3. Or maybe even SPU!

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    4. SPU makes no sense. Who would be arriving there or going to Thailand? SPU should focus on connections to EU hubs and the percentage of Thais on the coast is negligible anyhow.

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    5. SPU has no space to accommodate a widebody anyway.

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    6. Well maybe it would launch KUL-SPU which would make sense as it could attract tourists visiting the whole region.

      I mean it's not like thousands of people from Zagreb go to Thailand either.

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    7. Of course not, therefore a dedicated line to Thailand is a no go and all this will remain a marketing mumbo jumbo

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    8. You said the same about Emirates, Air Canada... and here we are.

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    9. Emirates has struggled in ZAG in winter so people on here were actually not wrong. As for Air Canada, unlike Air Asia they can rely on a Croatian diaspora.

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    10. You must have mistaken me for someone else. Those are fundamentally different operations compared to this one. Canadian flights rely on Croats flying across the Atlantic and the Canadians coming for vacations. Emirates is a link to flights to Asia and Australia/Oceania. This Thai link has no such characteristics that would make it a success.

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    11. +1

      On top of that Air Asia seems to be an airline that doesn't have a clue what it's doing.

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    12. Yeah you are right. That's why they are one of Asia's biggest and most profitable airlines.

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    13. Yeah and why is that? If Malaysian and Garuda weren't as mismanaged Air Asia would have been out of business long ago. Also, look at all the incidents they had.

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    14. If they can be one of Asia's largest and most profitable airline then they do have a clue what they are doing and in fact you have no clue what you are talking about.

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    15. They are successful because of circumastances, not because of their own competence. Just look at what an epic failure their international expansion has been.

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    16. They have over 200 aircraft in their fleet so I believe they are not just a bad Asian airline.

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    17. There was more than 90% during New year holidays in Emirates. On 3rd January there was 100% in F, C and Y class and 10 passenger were transfer to Croatia ZAG-VIE + reroute to VIE-DXB + they get voucher for free flight in one year period.

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    18. Even Adria could fill a widebody around the busy holiday period. It's what happens outside the busy periods. As we've seen on here EK had on some flights around 120 passengers.

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  3. This is ridiculous and has no potential. Thais will not come to Croatia and there is not sufficient number of Croats for hanky panky tourism in Thailand.

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    1. I think they should end the feasibility studying they doing at once and take your word.

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    2. This is not the first time they were looking at Croatia. Last year there was a similar story and nothing became of it.

      Air Asia can't compete with Thai, Emirates and Qatar. That's why they kept on failing in so many different markets.

      Emirates is already massively dumping in ZAG. Air Asia will have to offer dirt cheap fares which are not enough.

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    3. Had you actually read the story you would see that this is a continuation of what they said last year.

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    4. They could also operate for example Bangkok-Zagreb-Prague or something like that. You would bring the risk down that way.

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    5. Emirates sends the A380 to Prague, I think they could sustain it alone.

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  4. AirAsia X Malaysia would be much better since they offer connections to Australia and across Asia.

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    1. Plus it would mean the resumption of flights between KL and Zagreb after 13 yrs :D

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    2. Thai Air Asia also offers a lot of connections to all of Asia.

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    3. I do wonder what was the passenger structure on those MH flights to ZAG.

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    4. My guess is that there were too few to make a conclusion as they did not last long.

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    5. Those flights actually lasted for a while. From 1997 to early 2000s. Purger once wrote here he used one of those flights.

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    6. They were used by Croats from Australia and they had promotions and packages for tourists from Croatia to Malaysia. Also don't forget they had fifth freedom rights from Vienna to Zagreb.

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    7. Alen Šćuric PurgerJanuary 10, 2018 at 9:25 PM

      I was twice on Malaysian flight from Zagreb. There was some 150 passenger to Kuala Lumpur and some 20-30 to Vienna.

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  5. Croatia is not a market they should be looking at but it's SJJ.
    Bosnia has become extremely popular with Muslim tourists and Air Asia could launch KUL flights.

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    1. I agree but again there is the question of whether Sarajevo can handle the A330.

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    2. Maybe they could operate something like KUL-SJJ-ZAG-KUL

      Like that the A333 wouldn't have to take off with MTOW

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    3. Yes you guys are right I totally agree, great idea. I don't see Thailand-Croatia being sustainable.

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  6. They announced flights to Eastern Europe for H2 2018 and they're starting the feasibility study in January. What amateurs.

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    1. They didn't say that they just started it this month.

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    2. What difference does it make? Flights for H2 2018 should already be bookable, and they don't even have destinations yet.

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    3. H2 can mean December and it would be way too early to start sales in January. Six months in advance is about normal time to start sales. High season in Thailand starts end of November/early December.

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  7. Fingers crossed they choose Croatia.

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  8. "These countries are primarily Croatia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia with a combined population of approximately 32 million people."
    Do these people realize what they are talking about? Poland alone is over 40 mln.

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    1. Hahaha that shows you how serious they are about these flights.

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    2. They are obviously referring to only a part of Poland near the boarder with Czechia. Surely they don't expect someone from Warsaw, Krakow or Gdansk to travel to Vienna and then catch a flight to Bangkok

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    3. @ Anonymous January 10, 2018 at 9:33 AM if you read the whole article you would see that this was said by Thai Airways regarding their new flights from/to Vienna not Air Asia.

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  9. Nothing will come out of this. Their study will find it is not feasible to fly to Zagreb. As did numerous other airlines which published summer schedule without expensive ZAG in their network. But hey, this time next year we will have USA flight, yea right.

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    1. Maybe if they combine the flights to BEG this might have a future

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    2. Can't work, BEG has too much competition already.
      People tend to forget how saturated Thailand-Europe market is.

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    3. hi man, I'm flying to the US at least twice per year from Zagreb, and I'd always choose flight with stopover somewhere in Europe. Why? Because flight with stop somewhere in Europe will always be cheaper than direct flight (US big 3). Also, there's a lot of great connections so u can reach JFK or EWR from Zagreb for 11 hours with stopover, which would be around 8 hours on direct flights. So yeah, I don't need direct flight, I can choose British, KLM, Air France, Lufthansa, Austrian, LOT on daily basis. And yeah, stopover is better when u are aviation geek :) Hopefully, one day we will have direct flight to USA, which gonna be great for tourists from United States who's coming to Croatia in huge number every year :) Peace!

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  10. Needless to say that the airport will be DBV.
    I see Air Asia easily launching KUL-DBV - 2 weekly.
    DBV has a modern runway and has much more to offer compared to the rest of the Croatian destinations.

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    1. I hope it would happen although I'm not that optimistic. Asians when they come to Europe do not come to a single destination and they move around between countries and the cities. Thus they will continue to arrive to major European hubs and DBV having not such a good connectivity would become a problem for them if they would be arriving to DBV directly.

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    2. It will not be DBV and will not be KUL, this is ThaiAirAsiaX and only realistic target could be DMK-ZAG.

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    3. People can move around if they come to Dubrovnik which is also prettier than Zagreb and has more things to do. They can head south to Montenegro, west on a boat to Italy, east to Mostar or north all the way to Venice.

      Zagreb is a city break destination, DBV is an actual destination.

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    4. +100000 @ Anon 10:00am EXCELLENT comment.
      DBV has a much much larger catchment and prettier region.
      People keep thinking that it´s only about the city and not its surroundings.

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    5. Again - connections from DVB are weak compared to ZAG. It's not enough just to have a "pretty" destination.

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    6. What connections in ZAG are you talking about? Croatia is the terminator service which is why DBV makes sense.

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    7. All the connections ZAG has and DBV doesn't, especially since DVB is heavily seasonal destination. What does OU has to do with it? It is a legacy airline that has plenty of european links from ZAG.

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    8. Air Asia doesn't make its future plans around OU's network. They will be interested in carrying Austrian holidaymakers and those like to go to beautiful Dubrovnik, not the cement castle called Zagreb.

      ZAG is popular as a city break destination, that's not the market Air Asia is after.

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    9. Cement castle? Now you've said it all.
      Go light a candle for the flight to DVB materialize.

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    10. Asians tourists visiting Croatia invariably have 1-2 days in Zagreb on their itineraries. In the last few years I have regularly spotted in Zagreb tour groups from Malaysia, Thailand, Korea and China. I think this demographic would be in mind for Air Asia X and also Croats, Slovenes and maybe even some Hungarians travelling to Thailand in the colder months in Europe. Everytime I have been to Thailand I have spotted some Croats holidaying there or at Suvarnabhumi and I would say it is possibly one of the more popular destinations for Croatian tourists that travel to Asia (just my anecdotal observations).

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  11. BKK is so cheap at the moment with all the MEB3 airlines flying their multiple times (I think Emirates has 10 daily flights or something crazy like that). Why would you choose to sit like a packed sardine in Air Asia instead?

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    1. Because it would be nonstop.

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    2. What are Air Asia X's fares like generally on long haul flights?

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    3. KL-Sydney (8 hour flight) is around 300 euros. It's cheap.

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    4. Similar prices could be expected from DMK to new European destination.

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    5. Good price but I imagine you don't get anything for it except for a seat.

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    6. I bought two one-way tickets for April HNL-(fuel stop in KIX)-KUL-SIN for 330 EUR each.

      I did 10 flights with AirAsia (including Thai AirAsia X). Yes, seating is a nightmare, but food and drinks are cheap and if preorder them it's fine.

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    7. I understand that people are not big fans of low-cost long-haul but there seems to be a market for them. Look at Scoot, Norwegian, Eurowings and all the new European no frills long haul airlines.

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  12. Great news for Croatia!

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  13. Really impressive if these start. I wonder if it is the result of Ministry of Tourism.

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    1. I wouldn't get my hopes up.

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  14. It is a smart move for Croatia to start focusing on Asia and other distant markets. I think this route could work.

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  15. Let's hope it doesn't turn out like Beijing Capital Airlines PEK-ZAG which were supposed to start last June.

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    1. Or like New York which is about to happen any day now for two years.

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    2. The CEO said they are considering it along with a few other countries. He didn't say that they are flying for sure and requested slots. But it is great that they are even considering it in my opinion.

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  16. i think we had this about Air Asia x already...

    i dont see how the can compete wit ME3

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    1. Read the article. It's an update on what they said before.

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  17. I don't think that will happen. It was also reported in the media last year that Garuda wants to buy OU. When that happens I am sure CGK-ZAG flights will take place... I mean even Purger wrote on here how it would make sense.

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    1. That wasn't reported last year but 3 years ago when Croatia Airline's privatization was on the agenda.

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    2. Well, maybe we no longer speak about it because they are in the negotiation process with them?

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    3. Alen Šćuric PurgerJanuary 10, 2018 at 9:36 PM

      I said that would make sense? Garuda? Really?

      Maybe some other Purger...

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    4. Yes, three years ago. Look it up.

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  18. Unfortunately I'm not so sure how this route would survive. The market is too small and it is already served by EK, LH, QR and TK...

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  19. The Air Asia X Group (consists of 3 separate companies with the original Air Asia X based in KL plus Thai Air Asia X and Indonesia Air Asia X) will be receiving A330neos soon and some will be allocated to Thai Asia X for increased flights to Korea and Japan which are doing well and Thai Air Asia are looking at flights from DMK to Australia and Eastern Europe with the new planes in the pipeline. They could conceivably attract tourists in both directions as well as East Asian tourists (via DMK) and even some from Australia too. All of these would be factors to consider. I don't think its just speculation but Thai Air Asia X are seriously looking at it (Bangkok is better situated geographically than Kuala Lumpur for such flights too I might add).

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  20. Croatia has a lot of potential to attract Asian tourists and I am happy more is being done to attract them.

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    1. I have flown on Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways into Zagreb in the summer months and the single biggest demographic are inbound Asian tourists. I am certain its a major factor why Emirates entered the market last year.

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  21. Thailand could work. Cater for passengers going to Croatia during Eurooean summers and Croats going to Thailand during European winter, when it is high season in Thailand.

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  22. The Croatian government should first work to get the Thais to lift visa restrictions for Croatian passport holders.

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    1. True Croatia is one of the rare EU countries whose citizens still need a visa to enter Thailand.

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    2. JU flies to JFK despite Serbs needing visas.

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    3. I know, I didn't mean that these flights ahould not happen because of visas but it would be an added bonus and could stimulate more travel.

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  23. It's now time for Zagreb Airport and the Croatian government to step in and try to present Air Asia with the benifits of flying to Croatia so they choose them ahead of the countries they are considering.

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    1. The best pitch is to tell them that they are not as competitive as France, Germany, the UK or Austria. lol

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  24. Nice. Fingers crossed their study shows there is potential and the flights start.

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  25. Alen Šćuric PurgerJanuary 10, 2018 at 9:40 PM

    As I am in Zagreb airport all day because of European Handball Championship I can see big groups from Far East on Turkish, Qatar and Emirates flights. Zagreb is crowded of Far East tourist in summer, but I was surprised to see them so many in January.

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    1. Someone on here wrote that SIA might launch flights. I guess it makes sense now that EK created a whole new market.

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    2. Yes, SIA, then chinese also plus USA flights, all hurdling in like crazy

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    3. Hey Purger, you are still alive. How come you didn't comment recent concession agreement for BEG?

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    4. I think this interest from Thai Air Asia X in exploring Croatia as an option exists on 2 levels:

      Firstly, some Asian Airlines are jockeying for positions to become established as major LLC Long Haul operators. SIA's Scoot flies to Athens and has added Berlin now for 2018 so Scoot is actively testing the European market and it has B787 Dreamliners which are ideal for these routes. Korean Air's Jin Air subsidiary just went through an IPO on the Seoul Stock Exchange and is planning an expansion phase and I suspect they see themselves as the new Scoot of N.E. Asia. Air Asia X is the long haul arm of the Air Asia Group and is naturally looking for new routes to expand to. All of these airlines have moved into or are looking at the Hawaii, Australia and Eastern/Southern European markets which are long haul flights from Asia.

      Secondly, Asian tourism in Croatia has grown from something very negligible a decade, even 5 years ago to a rapidly growing area of the Croatian tourism industry. It is far less seasonal than traditional Western or Central European tourism to Croatia and also destinations in Continental Croatia like Zagreb and Plitvice Lakes are high in popularity. Last summer I spent a few evenings in Zagreb and the Gornji Grad was filled with various Korean tour groups exploring the old historic parts of Zagreb.

      Finally, I think Jin Air is most likely to test the waters flying to Croatia next year. Quite simply the numbers of Korean tourists are there and growing and Croatian tourism now has a serious profile in South Korea. Jin Air are currently flying to Hawaii and Cairns in Australia. Both popular destinations for Korean tourists and similar distances to ICN-ZAG. Time will tell ...

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    5. Scoot is a bit different, they actually took over ATH from Singapore Airlines which struggled for some years to make the route work. In addition to that ATH has massive year-round demand to Asia, South Africa and Australia. This is why Persian Gulf airlines have so much capacity there. Even Etihad manages to fill its Dreamliner. In winter time Turkish Airlines sends a mix of A333 and B773.
      As for Berlin, I think they rushed in as the Persian Gulf airlines are restricted due to the bilateral. I think the only one that flies to Berlin is Qatar and it's only three times per week in winter.

      My guess is that Scoot is confident about ATH but it's still uncertain about TXL.

      As for Zagreb, I think Air Asia is looking for an airport with a decent catchment area that has less competition from the well-established airlines.
      I mean just look at VIE-BKK which is not far. They have Eva Air, Austrian Airlines and now Thai. The market between Europe and Thailand is extremely saturated, that's why Air Asia is forced to look at secondary airports.

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  26. Air Asia brand is pretty popular in Australia for those who look to pay as little as possible when flying to Asia If they can tap into this market than I think they will be successful in getting some low budget travelers to use this service to Europe, mainly students and the like. Its actually a very different market to that of which the likes of Emirates serves.

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