Croatian coastal airports surge

Zadar Airport flying sky high thanks to Ryanair

With just 21 days left until Croatia becomes the 28th member state of the European Union, a surge in tourist numbers in the pre season period is already enhancing the performance of airports along the country’s coast. Zadar, Dubrovnik and Split have recorded impressive passenger figures in May, with the three handling a combined total of 370.250 travellers over the past month. Zadar’s notable passenger surge is being fuelled by Ryanair, which opened its first EX-YU base in the city in April. Last month Zadar Airport handled 52.851 passengers, up 37.5% on last year’s 38.430. Authorities estimate the airport will handle over 500.000 passengers this year. So far in 2013 Zadar has welcomed 98.708 travellers through its doors, up 30.4% on last year.

Dubrovnik Airport also did well with 177.763 passengers handled in May. That’s 15.1% more than the same month last year. “This indicates an excellent start to the tourist season. If such trends continue this could be a record year”, the airport said in a statement. However, it also warned it could be hit by a sharp fall in Russian and Ukrainian tourists as they now need visas to enter Croatia. “We have recorded a decline in Russian and Ukrainian passengers compared to last year. Obviously there is some sort of a problem with visas”, Frano Luetić, the airport’s deputy CEO says. So far this year, Dubrovnik Airport has handled 322.877 passengers, up 9%.

Finally, Split is also recording an increase in passenger numbers. Croatia’s third busiest airport welcomed 139.636 passengers through its doors, an improvement of 9.7%. The airport has also recorded a 9% passenger increase over the past five months. The impressive results for Croatia’s coastal airports come despite the fact that Croatia Airlines staff staged a weeklong strike in May which affected flights from all three.


  1. Anonymous09:22

    Someone last week suggested ZAD would hit 485000 this year and was shot down in flames by a jealous Serb. Now 500000 is suggested. I can feel all the haters blood starting to boil.

    1. Anonymous11:14

      Erm... why would anyone care actually? Zadar is walking on eggshells here because its growth is based on Ryanair's performance. As the anonymous below posted, the moment ZAD can't pay to FR they will pack up and leave.

      There would be something to be jealous of if the growth was stimulated by a decent carrier like Croatia Airlines or easyJet, which unfortunately for ZAD, it is not the case.

    2. Anonymous19:10

      I am happy for both Zadar and for Belgrade in their increases in passenger numbers. Nothing wrong with showing some mutual respect and good will.

  2. Anonymous10:24

    When Zadar Airport eventually start to want to charge Ryanair fees, Ryanair will clear off!

  3. Anonymous18:24

    I really see a problem with Croatias EU-membership in the discrimination
    of visitors from countries like Turkey,Russia and beyond.

    Since Cyprus we know that Russians (and even their money)are not welcome in the EU and thus also Croatia !
    But those Russians are the dream of every host.
    They spend much more money and more often spend holidays abroad then any other nation.
    Its not only the Russians - also people from Uzbekistan,Kazakhstan -
    they come with the Russian airlines to us.
    I once even met guest who were from Tajikistan!
    Its not really the fault of Croatia but this fact does not help anybody.

    Also i always asked myself why Pegasus does not fly to Croatia. Turkish citizen also need visa there is the reason!
    There is a considerable middle-class in Turkey and Pegasus is also aiming at these people.
    Pegasus is even advertising its Sarajevo route with especially mentioning that Turkish citizen need there no visa!

    1. Anonymous22:49

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Anonymous18:45

    Impressive! What to say, but CONGRATULATIONS Croatia :)


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