Croatian airports hit by crisis

Empty Zadar Airport
In the month of March, Croatian Airports have continued to feel the negative impact of the global financial crisis with the number of passengers declining at all major airports when compared to the same month last year. Unlike February when at least some airports managed to report positive results, March also suffered because there was no holiday (Easter) like last year. Osijek Airport suffered the most with passenger numbers declining from 1.423 this time last year to 62, a decrease of 95.6%. The next worst performing airport is Zadar which saw traffic fall by 36%. From 40.085 passengers in March 2008, Dubrovnik reported 25.189 passengers in March 2009, a decrease of 35.6%. Pula and Split also reported negative results with passenger numbers falling between 25 and 28% at the two airports. The country’s largest international airport, Zagreb, could not withstand the downturn and continued with a second consecutive month of negative results. In March 2008 Zagreb served 164.356 passengers while the same month this year the number fell to 149.086, a 9.3% decrease. The great rivalry between Zagreb’s Pleso Airport and Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla continues although Belgrade is still just winning the race. From January to the end of March, Zagreb has served a total of 410.373 passengers while Belgrade has served 432.107 passengers.

These results are not overly concerning when the financial crisis is taken into consideration however it is worrying that even though flight operations increased at nearly all Croatian airports when compared to last year (the number of flights operating to Croatia) the number of passengers is still significantly down. This may cause some worry as many new services which will commence to and from various Croatian airports during the summer will not necessarily increase passenger numbers.