New rules as Croatia enters the EU

At midnight Croatia becomes the newest star of the European Union

At midnight Croatia will become the 28th member state of the European Union, ushering in new rules and regulations in the Croatian aviation industry. The new business environment will have an impact not only on Croatia Airlines but Croatian airports and foreign airlines operating to the country as well. The Croatian government approved a final cash injection into Croatia Airlines late last year so as to avoid anti subsidy measures enforced by the European Union. Joining the 27 member bloc does not exclude Croatia Airlines from government subsidies, but does make it much harder to come by and requires approval from the European Commission.

Since European Union based airlines will be treated as domestic carriers in Croatia from July 1 their taxes will be reduced. Similarly, Croatia Airlines will be considered a domestic carrier when operating to any European Union member nation. Furthermore, the Croatian carrier will have more freedom to operate within different EU markets. According to legislation, all EU airlines may operate air services on any route within the EU. However, this move is often too costly for legacy carriers to undertake. It is this legislation that could also harm Croatia Airlines. Low cost airlines registered in EU member states will be able to easily set up bases in the country. Ryanair has already jumped at the opportunity by opening a base in Zadar just a few months ago.

Croatian airports will be the big winners from the country’s European Union membership. EU accession naturally brings with it more investment, tourism and business. In January 2007 Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union thanks to which the airports in Sofia and Bucharest flourished. In 2006, Sofia Airport handled 2.2 million passengers. This number jumped to 2.7 million in 2007, an increase of 24%. Wizz Air created its Wizz Air Bulgaria subsidiary in 2006, a year before the country joined the EU. At Bucharest’s Henri Coanda Airport, the EU impact was even greater with numbers jumping from 3.5 million in 2006 to 4.9 in 2007, a 40% increase. Croatia’s costal airports have already benefited from numerous pre-membership funds which have been allocated to the development of airport infrastructure.

Do you believe European Union membership will benefit the Croatian aviation industry? Send in a comment with your thoughts.


  1. Anonymous09:08

    Croatian Aviation: yes.
    Croatian Travellers: yes.
    Croatia Airlines: no.

    The Croatian government should have undertaken the restructuring process before the country's entry into the European Union. Simply because it will become more complicated for the government to provide cash to the carrier.
    Furthermore, now that Croatia is in the EU it means that Croatia Airlines will be exposed to other low-cost carriers such as Ryanair or Wizz Air which can report any malpractice to the European Commission, such as 'illegal' state aid.

    All in all, this is really good for Croats and those wishing to visit Croatia but I would not be too optimistic about the national carrier.

    What will be interesting to see is if there will be more low-costs landing in Zagreb.

  2. Anonymous09:45

    This is the beginning of the end for Croatia Airlines!

    1. Anonymous09:57

      Unfortunately YES,this is the end of Croatia Airlines.

    2. It is the end, so what ?

      Why should the state and the tax-payers pay for Croatia Airlines ?

      If they have an ineffective management, they will get bankrupt !

      Only with competition between companies, the customer have benefits !

      I look forward to seeing Ryanair, Wizz Air etc. flying from Zagreb to Split or Dubrovnik for just 20 € and not more then 100 € with Croatia (despite state support).

      Croats may be proud of Croatia Airlines, Serbs may be proud of JAT, but why should someone pay 200 € from Zagreb to Frankfurt, whey they can fly for 20 € with Ryanair from Zagreb to Frankfurt-Hahn ?

    3. Anonymous11:36

      It's Jat, not JAT.

    4. Really ? And what is this : ??

      Very funny because all "Jugoslavians" are such bigmouths !

      Svi bi da kazu nesto "pametno" a vecina veze o zivotu nema !

    5. Anonymous18:14

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    6. Anonymous18:43


      What you've posted is the old paint scheme, with the old name. Jat is now a noun, not an acronym of "Jugoslovenski aerotransport", as it used to be.

    7. Anonymous20:02

      Wow... Sarajevo, do you understand how stupid you look now? That was a time when it actually was JAT, it has been Jat since 2003.

    8. JU520 BEGLAX20:16

      How many passengers really fly for 20 eur per flight? 10?
      Also Ryanair can not keep a route if average yield is 150 eur or more per passenger/flt

      Maybe Purger has some figures. Btw Purger welcome to the EU and happy party tonight

    9. Anonymous20:34

      Once you add all those extra charges with Ryanair you are never at 10 Euros.

    10. I am stupid because I write JAT instead of Jat ?

      OK, please make your M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering (as I did) or something comparable and then we can discuss whether I am stupid or not.

      @JU520 BEGLAX. Not to many, but they are stilll MUCH cheaper then OU or JU.
      Split - Munich costs about 350 € during the summer. I bet Ryanair would fly from Memmingen for 20 - 50 € / direction.

  3. Anonymous10:05

    I just came back from Croatia, first time tourist in Dubrovnik. After years of spending my holidays in Greece, Spain and Turkey I have to say that I am disappointed.

    Croatia is great for families and older people. Definitely not for someone like me, 22 years old. There are no great and crazy parties, no music on the beach... way too serious. Though most people are polite and kind.

    I will definitely come back to Croatia when I am married with children but until then it's Greece for me.

    Best from Groningen.

  4. Anonymous10:15

    Congrats to Croatian friends!

  5. JU520 BEGLAX10:15

    For parties u shld have gone to the island of Pag. And btw u were in DBV, how therefore u want to judge entire Croatia?
    We will look fwd when u decide to come back again.

    1. Anonymous10:43

      Yes, we heard about Pag but that's not the point. If you go to Rhodes, Crete, Mykonos they are all crazy places where you can find both quiet spots and wild spots with crazy parties and night life.
      Well, Dubrovnik is the epicentre of Croatia's tourism, so if the city itself is not on par with Spain, Greece or Turkey then what can we expect from the rest of the country?
      Like I said, the country is nice but it's not a hot spot for those who go for summer holidays to go crazy like they do in Ibiza, Agia Napa or one of the thousand Greek islands.

    2. I must agree. I, and almost everyone I know (with no relation to the balkans) thought their visit to Croatia was nice, but they probably would skip it in favour of Greece or Turkey next time. Dubrovnik is a real skip - too touristy and too balkans at the same time - ie busses of wall-to-wall middle aged tourists, too expensive, yet balkans type service and poor infrastructure (ie, no credit cards accepted at places you'd expect)

    3. Anonymous11:00

      Well, we chose Dubrovnik because it was the most popular place in the country for the tourists, at least that's what we heard here in the Netherlands.
      Some people told us that we should have gone to Istra but meh... it was too far.

      Let's hope that with the EU entry they will manage to improve this a little bit. :)

    4. Anonymous16:06

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    5. Anonymous16:13

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    6. Anonymous17:24

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    7. Croatia is not Balkan17:57

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    8. Anonymous23:37

      The Balkan Peninsula is defined by the Soča-Vipava-Krka-Sava-Danube river. So, Croatia is on the Balkans, like it or not.

    9. whether or not Croatia is in the Balkans or not, the customer service in Croatia may be described correctly as "balkans style"

    10. Anonymous12:13

      For "balkans style" customer services
      11 000 000 tourists arrived to Croatia last year.
      There is variety of quality level in customer services. Of course, all depends on money you are willing to spend.
      For little money that you obviously have spent, you cannot expect service like someone who paid good money.
      "Paradajz" tourists have special treatment by law, which cannot be of lower quality than as per special regulations for such tourists.
      You may complain and you are entitled to get all your money spent, if any.

      There is another way to avoid such a hassle.
      Just don't come.

    11. Thank you for illustrating my point

    12. Anonymous19:40

      @Doot: Aren't you the guy who trashed Serbia last year and made racist statements on this site? First Serbia, now Croatia. Personally, I like visiting both Serbia and Croatia and have encountered lots of really nice people in both countries. The Croatian Adriatic is the most beautiful coastline in the world, without a doubt. Keep your negative attitude to yourself.

    13. Anonymous19:43

      last anonymous, I spent 170 Euro's last summer in Greece for 10 days and had the time of my life, partying a lot, beautiful beaches. being a young adult.

    14. Anonymous05:57

      Your life time dilemma is over.

      Just keep going there!

      Don't eat yourself inside out because of Croatia.

    15. I don't recall making "racist" comments. Besides, "Serbs" and "Croats" aren't "races", so your comment is silly.

  6. JU520 BEGLAX10:25 is a good guide to explore Croatia

  7. JU520 BEGLAX11:59

    I go to Croatia again and again. Also I wld like to see more of Serbia and MNE, visit Macedonia. But I travel fm Sep to April, try to avoid the busy summer months, too hot and rip offs at scenic tourist places. DBV is the hot spot of CRO and as everywhere else in those places u face overpricing etc
    Soon DBV summer festival starts, i think more than 6 weeks of daily concerts, events and theaters in the old town. So u just missed some attraction. But think in general CRO is not to compare with Ibiza, Mykonos, Cyprus or Florida, Mexico during spring breaks.
    If u like Carneval for example why not visiting Rijeka in February, it s one of the bigger ones in Europe. Same time u can enjoy wine or olive oil tasting in Istria with friendly hosts who have enough time for u to present their creations

  8. JU520 BEGLAX12:03

    Anonm fm Groningen

    did u see any construction of jetbridges at DBV airport?

    1. Anonymous12:13

      Sorry man, we didn't fly into Dubrovnik.

  9. Anonymous12:52

    A bit of humour. :D

  10. It is an interesting time for any country to be joining the EU. Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU during what was really a boom period while Croatia joins during a time of crises. How that will translate to the numbers at airports, I guess we will know around this time next year. Also, Croatia has been steadily growing in popularity the past few years and will continue to grow for the now at least so even though I do think there will be increases in numbers at airports I will be surprised if it is anything like 40%.

    To the young guy who didn't do his homework.... Dubrovnik has always been advertised as a historic and somewhat romantic holiday destination. There are some pretty decent clubs there but still probably not what you were looking for, kind of like going to see the Pyramids in Egypt and expecting to party every day. You probably should have gone to,


    or Zrce on the island of Pag,

    and even Makraska.

    These places are probably more comparable to what you expect at Mykonos or Ibiza and what you were looking for.

  11. Anonymous14:16

    This is historical moment for all Ex-yu nations, not just for Croatian citizens. We should be all proud and happy.

    This year Croatian airports will welcome almost 6 millions passengers (fantastic result!)

    Croatia will welcome more than 11 millions tourist which will make more 60 millions overnights

    Croatia will gain more than 7 billions euros income in tourism sector

    Congratulations from Serbia!

    1. Anonymous14:37

      Леба ти, а како је ово историјски тренутак за нас Србе? Шта лупаш.

      У сваком случају, срећно Хрватској мада ето, дан пре вашег приступа Вивијан Рединг је већ најавила могућност санкција.

  12. Anonymous19:05

    Welcome Croatia!

  13. Joining the European Union will bring many benefits together with some pain in certain sectors of the economy. However, the positive far outweigh the negatives. History teaches us that a poorer country (member) joining a richer union most of the time results in more gain than pain.

    Aviation will certainly benefit from a more open market, however there will be losers too.

    Moreover, we, the non-EU Balkan 'island' surrounded by EU member states will also benefit from having the union even closer to us. So, I will be one of those celebrating tonight at midnight CET.

    Congratulations to Croatia!

  14. JU520 BEGLAX19:55

    Btw OTP airport today at 7.1 mio pax. SOF at 3.4
    OTP has steady growth. SOF is rather stagnating last 2 years.... will see how CRO airports will develop

    1. Anonymous20:32

      Yeah but number at OTP rose so much because the other airport was closed and all traffic was directed there.

    2. Anonymous04:34

      2013 I don't expect much, Zagreb should handle 2.5 million, Dubrovnik 1.6 million, Split 1.5 million, Pula 400k, Zadar 500k, Osijek 20k, and that's about it. 6.55 million this year is all I expect, next year on the other hand yeah Croatian airports should see 15-20% growth, Zagreb at least 12%, other airports even more.

    3. Anonymous08:47 - busy ramp at Zagreb airport.

    4. The most passengers at Sofia and Bucharest Airport are not "regular travelers" - mostly that are emigrated people flying home during their vacation


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