Handball saves Croatian airports in January

Logo of the 2009 World Men's Handball Championship

The global financial crisis has well and truly arrived to the countries of the former Yugoslavia which can be seen by the sliding passenger numbers at both airports and airlines. However Croatia received a lucky boost during the first month of 2009 due to the hosting of the Worlds Men’s Handball Championships which were held in Osijek, Split, Varaždin, Poreč, Zagreb, Zadar and Pula. Due to this event there were many passenger travelling to the country including media, fans and competitors.

Croatia’s main airport, Zagreb, saw 139.119 passengers in January this year compared to 137.026 in January 2008. This means there was a small increase in passenger numbers of 1.5%. There were more transit passengers although a decline in aircraft operation compared to last year. Split also saw a passenger increase. There were 27.079 passengers this January and an increase of 0.8% compared to last year. Zadar and Pula which were also in focus due to the handball had more passengers at their airports. Zadar saw an increase of 51% while Pula, with a total of 2009 passengers saw an increase of 40%. Dubrovnik which did not have the opportunity to play host to the event was hit hard by the economic crisis. With tourism drastically falling the airport also saw a decline of 9.4% in January 2009. With only 36 passenger, Osijek had no change compared to January 2009.

When all the main airports in Croatia are taken into consideration, in total there was an increase of 0.56%.