Further delays for Zagreb’s new terminal

Terminal construction delayed and costs slashed
Although the construction of Zagreb’s new terminal has been delayed for the past decade, just as things started moving forward, the Croatian government has announced a fresh delay to the start of construction and is cutting down on the grandiose project. The tender to choose who will partially finance and run Zagreb’s long awaited new terminal began back in April. The winning bid from the six companies left in the race was supposed to be announced during early November. The government has now publicised that it will select the winning bid in March 2012, effectively pushing back the start of construction. Furthermore, the state is also cutting down on the terminal’s capacity from the planned 5 million passengers per year to 3.5 million. As a result, the price tag of the new terminal has been slashed from 198 million Euros to 190 million. The government claims that this was done upon the request of the bidders.

Construction is now unlikely to start before September next year. However, the Government of Croatia maintains that the first phase of the new terminal should open sometime in 2015. Vying to build the new terminal are Houston Airport, Athens Airport and Seoul Airport to name a few.

The current terminal at Zagreb’s Pleso Airport is already getting crowded. So far this year Zagreb is recording growth of over 13%. By the end of September the airport handled 1.808.810 passengers. By the end of the year the figure should reach 2.3 million with airports across the country expected to record historic passenger growth in 2012. The current terminal has the capacity to handle approximately 2.5 million passengers per year according to official sources.


  1. Anonymous09:10

    Skopje can, but Zagreb can NOT.

  2. Opatija09:11

    Indeed, we should take example from our friends from Macedonia, they have built an extraordinary airport.

  3. Anonymous10:10

    What a pitty! What about all announced intercontinental flights, where will they put them?

  4. Anonymous10:24

    Terminal's capacity 3.5 millions of passengers available from 2015 ? Belgrade airport will surpass 3.5 millions next year. The Government of Croatia is really modest, they will force Croatians to use Belgrade as a starting point.

  5. Anonymous11:05

    Nije se ni cuditi...Sanader moze krasti vladu na tisuce i miljune Kuna a nama ne mogu napraviti obicnu zracnu luku! I Skopje sada ima novu zracnu luku, a Sarajevo ce poceti graditi uskoro...a Zagreb koji ima veci standard zivota nego Skopje i Sarajevo zajedno. Nemozes dokazati neke stvari HDZ-u i SDP-u...trebaju otici sa stolice! J**** ti takvu vladu! Mi covjece imamo veliku turisticku industriju...kaj oni misle!

    Ajmeeeeeeeeeeee :(

    Pozdrav svim Hrvatima i braca Bosnjacima :)

  6. Anonymous11:10

    @ Last anonymous,

    I suppose you mean 'Bosancima' as I doubt Bosnjaci are your brothers ;)

    Well Dubrovnik has a new terminal and the coastal airports have either new or refurbished airports. I guess that's where the government's priority is.

  7. Bosnian11:40

    To the "Croatian brother" or the second last anonymous... You are more developed than Bosnia or Macedonia, but lets not push it, Zagreb has higher standard (and resources) than Sarajevo and Skopje together? LOL.. Lets be a bit realistic. ;)

    Anywayz, lijep pozdrav braci Hrvatima, nadam se da cete konacno izgraditi taj aerodrom, jer Zagreb zasluzuje puno bolje od (trenutnog) Plesa ;)

  8. If anything is being slashed it's the capacity and that’s it. How does it make sense to reduce capacity by 1.5 million just to save 8 million Euro's? Now that doesn't make any sense but should we really be surprised?

  9. to all of you - this article hasn't passed the information to the fullest.

    The truth of the matter is, Zagreb airport's investement has been limited to the terminal capacity of 3,5 mill pax equivalent to roughly 190 mil. euros. However, the minimum is valid for 1st phase ONLY ! - that phase is due by 2015.

    By the time, terminal reaches 5 mil pax - according to the concession agreement, the investor needs to carry on with 2nd and 3rd phase expansion (all 3 phases had been drawn and projected) which include expanding the "arms" of the terminal (additional 4 air bridges to the existing 8 from phase 1) thus increasing the capacity to 8 mil pax.

    So, the only variable that changed was a dynamic under which building phases will be carried out.

    Also, you can't forget that the old terminal will still be there - handling low cost airlines.

    So, really Zagreb will in no way be limited to 3,5 mil pax - as the project encompasses the 8 mil pax capacity + 2,5 mil capacity of the existing terminal. so, 10,5 mil pax in total.

    I am sure LDZA will be around 3,5 mil by 2015 and possibly will reach 6 mil by 2020.

    Belgrade and Zagreb - it'll be interesting who'll dominate in 10 yrs as they both have different factors going for and against them.

    I sort of have a feeling they'll never differ much in numbers. Zagreb, being a hub of a tourist country, will handle tourist transfers, while Belgrade will be dominated by domestic population using the airport + striclty flight transfers (far east to european west).

  10. Anonymous12:43

    IT is never gonna be built. Zagreb doesn't need any new terminals.

  11. Anonymous12:44

    Completely true. They should better be happy about adding air-bridges to the existing one.

  12. Anonymous12:46


    SJJ - CPH via BNX starts November 10th

  13. to the 2nd and 3rd last anonymous -

    what are your arguments behind the statement that Zagreb doesn't need the new terminal ?

    Zagreb airport is among the airports whose infrastructure hasn't been touched for over 40 yrs. the pax numbers have just started rising too.

  14. Thanks for clearing this up Peter, makes much more sense now. I believe the sooner the new terminal is completed the better for the city of Zagreb and the surrounding area.

    A larger and modern terminal will open up new opportunities for investment for the airport and surrounding area. This terminal should be considered a priority for the Croatian government.

  15. Knowing general situation in Serbia, I doubt that BEG would be able to build completely new terminal and significantly increase traffic by 2015.

    At the same time, ZAG capacity till 2015 will be 6 million (3,5 mil. in new and 2,5 in current terminal).

    One shouldn't forget that ALL new EU members, which is HR about to become, recorded HUGE GROWTH in pax numbers in air traffic. I doubt it would be different in case of HR.

    On the other hand, SR is far from that, and main reason for major growth - visa regim abolition with EU has already contributed to pax numbers growth.

    That's why my predictions, (and please don't think it's because I'm from HR - I'm trying to be as objective as possible) are in favour of ZAG, which, despite smaller town then BEG, would surpass, or at least equal BEG in numbers around 2015.

    What I would like to see in 2015, is new terminal which would be used by Croatia Airlines and other conventional carriers, and old terminal, used by Dalmatian.hr (you can visit their webpage
    www.dalmatian.hr), and other low-cost companies.

  16. @ Opatija

    Yes, SKP has big glittering airport building. But is that all that matters?

    I fly often through IST, managed by TAV. It's huge, yes, and modern, yes, but significant part of employees there lousy or don't at all speak english, there is gate security control where you can't take water, which might be very important, especially if you start long-haul, sometimes you have to wait very very long to pass pasport control etc etc.

    But let me not compare IST and SKP. Let me do it with one similar in size. I've just returned from Tbilisi, Georgia, which is built and runned by TAV, too. There is no luggage storage at the airport, everything smells of tobacco smoke, there is no post office, gate security control same as in IST, and one lousy hamburger in even lousier fast-food costs about 10 euro.

    So, my friend, it's not all in airport building. And, yes, definitely I'm glad SKP has new terminal. I just hope it will be better than those I saw, which are built and managed by TAV. And, frankly speaking, I rally hope ZAG will stay out of their hands.

  17. Anonymous16:29

    MIR airport is really OK, nice and clean, cool, not ugly, with good stuff. Tunisian airport run by TAV. Still, its a tourist destination, without regular airline services, only charter ones.

  18. Anonymous17:25

    It is already a miracle that Serbia-Belgrade has achieved what it now
    has,with for its size impressive growth since last year.
    It is not only visa abolition,
    also important was introduction of the "Open Sky policy".
    Zagreb you can not really compare with Beg or Skp,because its
    main competitors are all the domestic airports on the coast,
    which heavily draw on the foreign tourists.Tourists dont care much about EU-membership,
    so in this case it will make no
    much difference.

    When Romania and Bulgaria joined EU,economy worldwide was running hot.
    So explosion of traffic from there was logical consequence,also dont forget contribution of Wizzair with all its bases around Eastern Europe.
    Without Wizzair it would look like very different,even with EU-

    So i dont think that Zagreb will benefit very much of EU-membership,
    next year we await a recession,
    which will badly impact on aviation in general.

  19. Anonymous17:34

    Seems to me that Wizz Air will be reducing London Luton-Belgrade from 4 flights and Belgrade-Dortmund from three to two flights.

    The reduction is not caused by the lack of demand but probably by the aircraft having to go to service. Summer timetable is not bookable yet.

  20. Bosnian17:53

    @ Pozdrav iz Rijeke: I wouldn't say that all new countries benefited from EU membership, look at Slovenia for instance.. Don't see their numbers rising that much..

    And as someone said, and I would second that, its mostly the tourists that fly from and to Croatia, and I don't believe they do mind much whether you're in the EU or not... Its the Open Skies agreement that matters mostly..

    So in a longer run, I think we will still be seeing major ex-yu airport ranked as following: 1. Belgrade, 2. Zagreb ;)

  21. @ Bosnian

    "Open Skies Agreement" has a lot to do with EU membership. It cannot be realized to full extent until country is full member. That's why, Ryanair operates, just for example, Treviso-Cagliari, and is not operating, again for example, Rijeka-Dubrovnik, or Kiev-Donetsk.

    Concerning Ljubljana (which is practically the same as Slovenia), here are the numbers:

    Before EU :

    2002 - 872.966 pax 12021 t cargo
    2003 - 928.397 pax 12080 t cargo

    2004 - EU membership

    after :

    2006 - 1.334.355 pax 15309 t cargo
    2007 - 1.524.028 pax 21717 t cargo
    2008 - 1.673.050 pax 17188 t cargo

    So, as you see, even in Slovenia, even it doesn't seem so, numbers during 2-3 years after EU membership not only raised, but DOUBLED. Really don't see why it shouldn't be the case with HR!

  22. Anonymous19:21

    Which countries have all Open Sky policy ? Not Monte because Serbia denied them having a base in
    Belgrade ?
    What is with Bosnia and Macedonia,
    that really interest me ?!!

  23. Anonymous19:45

    Well I am pretty sure that Croatia will experience a huge rise in pax numbers after the EU-membership.
    Only on the ZAG-BRU route there will be hundreads of public administration employees travelling to meetings in Brussels.
    However I think Skopje will be the biggest miracle till 2015 with numbers doubled.
    Btw. how much a new airport can contribute to the regional development shows the new 10Million Euro italian investment in real estate, shopping center and hotel near the airport in Petrovec!

    To Pozdrav iz Rijeke:

    I don't agree with You about IST!It is far far better than VIE, FRA, TXL, LGW, LHR!!!And about smoky airport building it depends on the state law on smoking and not on the airport authorities.

  24. Anonymous22:00

    well accesion to european union only is final chapter of process which
    is alraedy ended: total buyout of what croatia have....every company is owned by foreign companys .
    what is left over is because it has no value!
    from where growth should come?
    lufthansa? whatn airlines will come new?

  25. Anonymous22:57

    "Open Skies Agreement in its full extent means Ryanair flying from Rijeka to Dubrovnik, which is only possible when Croatia is full member of EU" means Pozdrav iz Rijeke.

    OK, but do we need such flights and more important why should Ryanair
    have interst in such flights ?

    If you add Ljubljanas numbers for 2004 and 2005 then you see that growth is simply growth nothing more or less, i dont see an extraordinary leap in those numbers
    and more important -
    numbers since 2009 decreased because of the financial crisis!

    It seems to me that a lot of people think that EU-membership is the solution of everything.

  26. Anonymous05:10

    @pozdrav iz Rijeke
    2009 1,433,855
    2010 1,388,651
    You forgot to add last two years of LJU pax figures declining...they are still in EU!

  27. Anonymous05:55

    Croatia will experience such development in next few years that has been unmatched up to now in Europe. Main reasons are its relatively small size, removal of internal obstacles to investments and huge number of investors ready to invest, particularly from USA, Gulf Countries, Europe, China & Russia.

    I am on IST at least once a month. Extremely poorly managed. Antway I wish all the best to SKP.

    Of course, this is my opinion only and I do not expect that everyone will agree.

  28. Anonymous08:05

    LOL @ last anonymous,

    Sure you will. I believe that the main factor contributing to Croatia's development is its 'lack' of corruption. ;)

    Countries do not prosper because they are in the EU, they do that because they have a competent managment. Look at the difference in the Eastern block countries, you have Slovakia which exploded and then you have Bulgaria which is stagnating.
    Sorry to break your buble but ex-Yu countries are more like Bulgaria (mentality wise) than they are like Slovakia.

    Also, all these non-EU investors, if anything they are going to reconsider their investment now that Croatia is going to be in the Union simply because of new EU regulations.

  29. Anonymous09:59

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  30. Anonymous11:21

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  31. Anonymous11:44

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  32. Anonymous13:53

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  33. @ Anonymous Oct 24, 05:10 AM

    I forgot nothing. We were discussing here 2015, as a year of new improved capacity of Zagreb Airport, which is the topic. That's why I listed 2-3 years after Slovenian adhesion to EU. 2015 should correspond to these Slovenian numbers, because it's supposed to be 2 years after HR joins. But, if you compare roughly 900 000 before, and 1.400 000 after, in years you talk about, it's more than 50% growth, despite global crisis, and national carrier mismanagement. Bad result? I don't think so.

    @ Anonymous Oct 23, 10:57 PM

    Intentionaly or not, but you twist and misinterprete my words. To avoid that, I gave example of 2 HUGE RICH cities in Ukraine, distant from which other, where there are definitely more potential passengers compared to my other example, Treviso and Cagliari. But when you pull my tongue, maybie it would be interesting for you to know that, at least during summer season, ferryboat capacity 1500 people sailes DAILY between RJK and DBV, there are 5 daily buses, and hundreds of people driving their cars. Morning and evening flight - 300 people - tourists on 1 or 2 days visits, plus businessman, relatives, students, plus south and western Slovenia, plus Montenegro, plus Herzegovina. This flight, believe me, is going to be reality sooner than you expect.

    Completely other story is why this service, as well as plenty of other services in short-,medium-and long-haul haven't been introduced yet - because of individual interest and incompetence of "national carrier and its management", and the legal frame which makes that incompetence possible and effective.

    And I'm definitely not one of those who idealize EU, and I'm fully aware it has lot of negative sides, too, but especially here, on our ex-Yu space, there is only one thing which can change this disaster in airline industry that we today have, and that is precisely EU, with its legislative and its full implementation, and final transition from communist model to market-oriented airline industry.

  34. Livnjak17:44

    PLease no flights between Rijeka and Dubrovnik!
    For what we have built all those expensive highways?
    People are already too lazy to go by their feet and would even drive to toilet if they could!
    Bad manners I call that.
    Now some are even too lazy to ride with their car to the next city!
    What next..flights from Zagreb Jelasic square to Pleso airport?

  35. Anonymous17:50

    "2 HUGE RICH cities in Ukraine" -
    Kiev and Donetsk....

  36. Anonymous19:13


    you are exaggerating! Do you know how much it costs to drive from Zagreb to Dubrovnik in an average car like Skoda Octavia?
    The gas alone will be around 1000kn plus 400 for tolls on those expensive highways. (200 eur)
    You can fly for 600kn.(80 eur)

  37. Livnjak20:48

    To Anonymous 7:13,
    OK my dear,you are right in riding
    from Zagreb to Dubrovnik,which is really a long distance.
    But this is an extreme example,
    normally cities in Croatia are not so far away from each other.
    Also Croatia has very good Bus companies and imagine it without the highways.
    You have the choice either to pay for good highways(and highways in Croatia are excellent),or to ride double the time on old shitty roads which cost no cent!
    Zagreb to Dubrovnik and Mostar are
    worth domestic flights ,but not the rest.

  38. Anonymous01:13

    Livnjak,again I need to correct you a bit. It is not just ZAG-DUB that is needed, Pula-Dubrovnik, Osijek-Dubrovnik, Rijeka-Dubrovnik, Rijeka- Osijek,etc. Yes, we have nice highways, and even nice old roads, and a lot of buses, and also internal (thank God) air service. I guess you never flu from Dubrovnik to Zagreb, or Split?
    If you had you'd be surprised how full those planes are, even the A320!
    So please stop this argument and let us choose which mode of transport we want to use, OK?

  39. Even when I flew from Split to Dubrovnik a few times on an A319 (this was a surprise). I assume there was a need to reposition the aircraft but the plane was always about 60% full, maybe more. This was during the summer and prices were good too, about 220 Kun's from memory. So, Rijeka to Dubrovnik would not be a problem at all.

    I see the biggest problem with airlines in the region in advertising. Someone has to come up with a clever way to educate the people on the benefits of traveling by plane v bus / car.

  40. Anonymous00:50

    I cannot believe the news... Someone should fire their asses. http://www.vecernji.hr/vijesti/sindikati-kalmeti-ili-smjena-toncija-peovica-ili-strajk-clanak-339716

  41. Igor S.19:23

    Never too late but a bit of a boost to Belgrade and possibly Skopje. Next year Pristina and Skopje will have two newest facilities and a good chunk of passengers. Nowdays, airports generate traffic by active approach to recruiting airlines. The better the airport the better the airlines and passenger services are. There is nostalgia attached to the old airports but we live in a new era where changes are necessary. I wander what the EU would do for Croatian aviation in general.


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