Low cost airlines taking over Croatia

easyJet becomes number 2 in Croatia
The Croatian Ministry of Tourism is hoping to sign contracts with a number of tour operators and airlines by January 2011 in a bid to increase UK arrivals to the country, the “Travel Weekly” reports. The Croatian Minister of Tourism, Damir Bajs, said that a strong working relationship with tour operators was the key to success on the British market. Bajs also added that he was hopeful that low cost airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet will add more flights to the country next year.

Low cost carriers are developing an increasing presence in Croatia. easyJet has now taken over Germanwings as the second busiest carrier in the country while Norwegian and Ryanair have all added capacity in 2010. Two more low cost airlines, Vueling and Wizz Air, also rank among the top 10 carriers in Croatia, according to “Anna Aero”. easyJet has gone from operating just 3 routes in the summer of 2008 to 18 routes (10 to Split and 8 to Dubrovnik) this summer. Earlier this month, it commenced flights to Zagreb from Paris, which are being followed by London Gatwick flights next March. During the summer, Norwegian operated 44 weekly departures on 18 routes from its bases in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Poland. In 2011 the airline will add flights to Croatia from its newest base in Finland. This summer saw Ryanair operate 14 routes to Croatia, 11 to Zadar, 1 to Pula and 1 to Osijek.

Most low cost airlines operating to Croatia on a seasonal summer basis are heavily subsidized which has led to anger on Croatia Airlines’ behalf. The national carrier had been content with low cost operations until recently when it was announced that low cost carriers are expanding towards its home turf in Zagreb with year round flights. With even more competition announced next summer, Croatia Airlines has a difficult battle to win.


  1. Peter from Sydney10:03

    Why is the government subsidising the low cost carriers? I can obviously see the argument, but what does that do in the long term to airline expectations? You surely can't keep subsidising them forever, shouldn't the airlines be making enough money without government handouts? To not also subsidise your own airline seems ridiculous, why have one rule for them and another for Croatia Airlines?

  2. Anonymous11:16

    This is a typical comment from the hierarchy of Croatian Tourism, Bajs seems to want LCC and British tour operators, unfortunately the LCC decimate the traditional tour operators business and drive them to new markets. If he wants more business from tour operators he should be subsidising the charter flights instead. The reliance on tour operators goes back to the pre 91 days when the attitude was if we open hotels they will come instead of what can we do provide an experience that will encourage the tourists to return. I would love to see the figures for repeat visits as the feedback that I have had is that only a small percentage of Brits want to return after visiting Croatia.

  3. frequentflyer11:21

    There must be a distinction made between a Government *owning* an airline (and therefore its associated costs when it is not profitable), and a government *subsidising* carriers to bring tourists to its country.

    My understanding is until OU puts its hand out/up for equal subsidies, it will of course be angry that it is not on a level playing field.

    But then, handing over the coast to other carriers whilst trying to desperately keep fortress ZAG wasn't the cleverest of ideas.

    Lets hope the new admin at OU is willing to fight and prove its worth against foreign airlines flying to the nation's airports!

  4. Anonymous12:24

    Kompanija "Jat ervejz" prva je aviokompanija van Evropske unije koja je dobila dozvolu da svojim letovima poveže dve zemlje EU, Sloveniju i Italiju, saopštio je danas "Jat".

    Odlukom italijanskih vazduhoplovnih vlasti, "Jat ervejzu" je omogućeno da u predstojećoj zimskoj sezoni saobraća na avioliniji između Portoža i Rima.

    Dozvola je dobijena zahvaljujući bilateralnim sporazumima potpisanim između svake od uključenih zemalja, navedeno je u saopštenju.

    Iz "Jata" podsećaju da, prema zimskom redu letenja, koji se primenjuje od 31. oktobra, putnici mogu da putuju iz Beograda u 32 grada u 23 zemlje regiona, Evrope i Bliskog istoka.

    U ponudi je i 86 letova koji će se realizovati u saradnji sa „kod šer“ partnerima.

    U zimskoj sezoni, "Jat ervejz" će na redovnoj liniji leteti dva puta nedeljno za Solun, dok je broj letova za Amsterdam povećan sa pet na sedam, zbog potreba tranzitnih putnika prema Severnoj Americi i srpske dijaspore.

    Broj letova za Dubai povećan je sa jednog na tri leta nedeljno. Zimski red letenja primenjivaće se do 26. marta 2011. godine, navedeno je u saopštenju.

  5. Does it say anything when are they commencing the POW-FCO flight? I am assuming the flight will originate in BEG? It's nice to see JAT reviving those small forgotten airports. Would be nice to see the same with MBX and LSZ. By the way, does anyone know anything about LSZ? Do they serve any flights at all?


  6. @blic.rs

    HAHA, JAT is surely not the first non-eu airline to be allowed to do that (typical balkan journalist bullshit)

  7. @blic.rs

    greetings from Ethiopian Airlines :-) , lmao

  8. Anonymous21:22

    LSZ has the single sesonal weekly flight to Innsbruck in summer operated by Austrian Arrows DHC-8-300. However ATR-72 is not able to land on LSZ airport, the runway is too short.

  9. Anonymous21:40

    There is also:
    -Korean Air from Amsterdam to Madrid
    -Lan Chile from Madrid to Frankfurt
    - The Ethiopian that was mentioned
    -Seychelles from London to Rome (?)
    ...I am sure a few more.

  10. Anonymous21:41

    Shorther than POW?

  11. London Boy01:07

    I cannot understand all these people that are defending Croatia Airlines. What have they done for the diaspora apart from raise prices to disgusting levels when christmas or easter/summer comes? They are a discrace... RYANAIR SAVED ZADAR !!! Ryanair is helping pula and osijek while Croatia Airlines lets them rot away. Its silly people that comment from far away that dont understand how important it is for the diaspora to connect to there homeland! SUBSUDISE THEM IT WILL BRING TOURISM TO THE COUNTRY!

  12. Anonymous02:01


    Croatia Airlines has its own interests. Don't forget that the hot spots in Croatia are Dubrovnik and Split. Zadar and Pula are rarely mentioned. When tourists think of Croatia, they think of Dubrovnik and Split...that's it. Croatia Airlines is focusing on these two airports as well as Zagreb. Also don't forget that low-cost operators are much cheaper. And I don't know what you are talking about when you say that Croat diaspora is not visiting their homeland. They are the largest percentage of the "foreign tourists" that visit Croatia.

  13. Anonymous16:30

    Runway in POW 1200 m
    Runway in LSZ 900 m

  14. London Boy23:59

    When I talk about the Croatian Diaspora I talk for my self and others. I travel to Croatia around 4 times a year. Without Low Cost carriers i would be doomed. Croatia Airlines has its intreasts to be curropt and leach on Croatia's succsess at being a touristic country. I want to visit my family on christmas and winter in Dalmatia without having to pay disgusting charges with Croatia Airlines unlike what I pay with low cost carriers !

  15. Anonymous01:31

    Adria flew FRA-VIE few years before becoming member of EU...

  16. Anonymous01:52


    You have the same problem many others have. It's not just Croatia, but pretty much every European country too.

  17. Anonymous12:36

    Yeah other europeans have that problem to a certain extent. Wizz air is the only low cost carrier atm until febuary that fly all year around. They also take advantage of mimimal competition and hike there prices up. All other countries atleast have various airports in which ryanair or easyjet provide a all year round service....

  18. frequentflyer10:27

    @ Londonboy

    You're obviously a few feathers short of a duck.

    Haven't you made that identical comment before on this forum? *ALL* airlines put their prices up during holiday periods. Because - shock horror - in business, you make profit by exerting a premium on your product when it is in short supply.

    Also, you are going to pay higher prices on a service carrier than on one which offers none...

    @ ^ Anonymous (#17)

    Perfect example is W6 ZAG-LTN which can almost be *as* expensive as OU. A route they make maximum profit on by slightly undercutting their competition...

  19. London Boy01:13

    haha frequentflyer your quite amuseing when you cite the word "service carrier". Should i pay more because i get a cold inflight meal? what i am trying to state here is that low cost carriers would be a great thing to introduce year around to croatia. thus incentives need to be offered. Is it fair that countries like italy,poland,france,spain,portugal etc etc have low cost carriers that fly year round to there countries while croatia dwindles while its diaspora pays disgusting amounts of cash during the winter season to see there family. I can see that many people cant assosiate with this hardship and are more intrested in protecting a failing goverment carrier that does nothing but leach off the succseses of croatia's bueaty.

  20. Anonymous08:23


    Every country has a similar hardship. It is just how other airlines deal with it, which makes them different. If you look at the other ex-Yu carriers, the big three (Adria, Croatia, JAT) all have similar problems in that regard while the others have a less stressful version. If you have such a hard time visiting Croatia, then get another job, I don't know what else to tell you. Nut up or Shut Up! Greetings from Serbia :p

  21. London Boy22:22

    at last anonymous.

    I go Croatia 5 times a year and I pay big boy prices when it comes to traveling at christmas times. Im stateing that the balkan airports need to attract all year around LCC's. Simple fact.


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