Pula Airport
Large potential as new flights announced

Pula is the largest city in Istria, Croatia and is considered to have high potential as a large tourist destination which it is developing into. Despite this, Pula Airport has struggled to sustain growth this year even though there is a high potential for European destinations. Croatia Airlines, the national airline, realising this potential yesterday announced new flights to London and Paris from Pula and is planning to open even more services in 2009. More about this can be read tomorrow at 07.00CET.

Recent flights to Belgrade proved to be very popular from Pula with load factors averaging around 75%, which is a good result for an ATR72 aircraft which operated on this line. Jat Airways and Pula Airport have signed an agreement for new flights to be operated to the coastal Croatian town and Serbia’s capital in the summer months, if Jat is financially able to operate at the time. Flights between Belgrade and Pula were the first scheduled flights between the two countries following the civil war. It showed that Croats had high interest in travelling to the once Yugoslav capital while Serbs had the desire to relax on the Croatian coast. German tourists head tourist arrivals to Istria. Berlin offers a high traffic potential which would be supported by strong local demand. Stockholm is currently served to Pula during the summer season. Scandinavian countries, especially Sweden, are regarded as the most promising markets to develop direct year-round connections. This line would also benefit from by strong local demand. There are currently no direct flights from Pula to Madrid. The number of visitors from Spain to Istria is rapidly growing and Madrid, as a destination with high traffic potential, would be a promising route. Substantial domestic traffic to Madrid can also be anticipated. The city of Dublin with its phenomenal economic growth is considered as one of the most popular destinations. It is an attractive destination tourist-wise for locals and for the broader catchment area as well. Croatia Airlines has announced that it will commence flights to Paris, London and Barcelona next year however details about this can be read tomorrow.

Pula Airport supports all airlines interested in taking up new routes with an incentive programme to reduce airline start-up costs such as landing and handling. The airport may also look to offer additional backing through Istrian Tourist Board marketing support (especially for low cost carriers). In addition the airport has a host of other marketing initiatives in terms of advertising, to strengthen the promotion of routes, to send out new route promotions, to promote flights and carriers at conventions, and to co-operate close with the local tourist board, Chamber of Commerce, and business development authorities.

In December you can read more airport analysis that will be published on the blog.