Zagreb falters as coastal airports surge

Split shines while Zagreb declines

Zagreb Airport has recorded its fourth consecutive month of passenger decline as the trend continued in July. The country’s entry into the European Union and increased traffic at the start of the month failed to improve Zagreb’s numbers. Croatia’s busiest airport welcomed 249.066 passengers during the month, down 4.1% compared to last year. The total number of flight operations amounted to 1.798, a decrease from last year’s 1.844, or a 2.5% decline. The numbers have been partially affected by Croatia Airlines’ network downsizing. So far this year, Zagreb Airport welcomed 1.311.154 passengers through its doors, still up 0.2% compared to the same period last year.

On the other hand, Split Airport has continued to post impressive numbers. The coastal airport has already handled more passengers within 24 hours than any other airport in the former Yugoslavia. In July alone, it saw an impressive 335.923 passengers use its services, up a significant 14.6% compared to last year. In the first seven months of 2013, a total of 853.714 passengers have been handled, up 11.7%. Yesterday, Split welcomed its millionth passenger for the year, nearly two weeks ahead of 2012. The millionth passenger was travelling on a Croatia Airlines flight to Vienna.

Zadar’s partnership with Ryanair has proved successful so far with the airport seeing a 22% boost in traffic this July. Zadar welcomed 92.466 passengers through its doors. On the other hand, Dubrovnik was the exception to the strong performance put in by coastal airports in July. It handled 277.080 passengers, a decrease of 0.8%. The numbers have been affected mostly by a sharp decline in passengers from Russia and Turkey, which have been hit by the country’s entry into the European Union. Despite the slip up, Dubrovnik Airport has handled 823.776 passengers so far this year and expects to see its millionth traveller of 2013 later this month.


  1. Anonymous09:04

    The coastal airports would have recorded growth regardless of the European Union.
    However, where are those businessmen and extra passengers in Zagreb which were supposed to arrive with the country's entry into the European Union?

  2. Anonymous09:08

    as soon as they join Eu zgreab will rock. now where that guy that used to say zagreb wil boost its members as it joins eu. don't forget you need economy for that to take place.

  3. Anonymous09:11

    buhahahaha where are they haha

  4. Anonymous09:29

    Euro union is not even god at all

    1. Anonymous09:29


    2. Anonymous09:30

      Of course not, look at what has become of Portugal, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria...

  5. JU520 BEGLAX09:43

    it s vacation season...Business is calm in Zagreb... and focus is on the coast.
    still not that bad to have more than 1 mio passengers travelling in a month to a country of 4.4 mio citizens

    1. Anonymous10:09

      Business is calm in Zagreb but that doesn't mean the city shuts down. After all, people on here present Zagreb as a tourist Mecca so given all those information (and many more) numbers should be on the rise. Plus, though the attention shifts to the coast in summer, Zagreb does have its own exclusive market.

      Nothing impressive in the numbers there. All tourist places experience that. Just look at Greece or smaller places like Cyprus or Malta.

    2. Anonymous11:19

      Zagreb this year has more tourists than Belgrade :) 17% increase in tourists this year, and whole city is booked almoust during the whole summer. The most of them are younger people (cca 25 years old from Europe). They travel either to Zagreb and then to the coast or to the coast and than to ZAG. Also nightlife is booming last year so that is the one of the reason for mostly younger people visiting ZAG.

    3. Anonymous11:31

      What is the point of your post? I mean, this is aviation, not a tourist blog. Bok!

    4. Anonymous11:32

      Yes and Budapest has more tourists than Zagreb, so what's your point? Or do you Croats always feel the need to compare yourselves with Serbs?
      The whole point was that all Croats on here used the argument of EU accession to prove their point of how passenger numbers will explode once you enter the Union. What we are seeing now is the exact opposite.

    5. Anonymous12:37

      It is not opposite, as it says in text airport has 0.2% more pax this year and there was big strike in May. Problem with ZG airport is that needs new terminal, as long as it stays like this there will not be any significant pax increase.

    6. Anonymous12:50

      Yes but in the first month since its accession the numbers have gone done. Also, the increase occurred prior to the EU accession.

    7. Anonymous12:58

      JU520 BEGLAXAugust 13, 2013 at 9:43 AM

      Absolutely right, Zagreb is calm during the summer season, it still records high numbers but Coast is the main focus which experienced massive growth in passenger numbers for the past 5-6 years.

      Rijeka is up 18% on last year as is Pula, article failed to mention these two places who are getting little coverage as of late, but are getting good numbers.

      Dubrovnik has recorded bad month but it is still expected to do 7% better on last year.

      Zagreb is still expected to do quite well this year, crisis with the Croatian Airlines strike in May and number of cutbacks on part of Croatian airlines overall has hit Zagreb numbers but with increased numbers in other airlines things should improve in rest of the year.

      @AnonymousAugust 13, 2013 at 10:09 AM

      U hate when Croatia is doing well, aren't you, hated gonna hate no matter what.

    8. Anonymous13:06

      @AnonymousAugust 13, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      Absolute lie, no Croatian here said so, this Blog said so, that numbers will go up cause of the EU accession, I my self said that if Zagreb handles 2.5 million pax this year it'll be a good year for Zagreb airport.

      2014 , however is expected to be a very good year for Zagreb and Croatia in terms of Airport traffic and in general as economy and the EU's economy starts to recover.

      Zagreb is most visited city of all major Ex-YU capitols, with 767000 tourist visiting the city last year and 875000 visitors expected this year.

      As AnonymousAugust 13, 2013 at 11:19 AM pointed out most visitors use Zagreb in combo with the Adriatic destinations, after all Zagreb isn't that big to warrant more than 2 days stay.

      2014 is going to be a really great year for Croatia, so lets not burn the ships just yet.

    9. Anonymous13:46

      '@AnonymousAugust 13, 2013 at 10:09 AM

      U hate when Croatia is doing well, aren't you, hated gonna hate no matter what. '

      Why? Because I am being realistic? Or maybe because I am not pretending that average numbers are spectacular?

  6. Anonymous10:49

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. Anonymous11:41

    What I dont understand is how Croatia Airlines didnt manage to capitalize on the sheer number of people visiting Croatia during the year. Having more focus on Zagreb during winter and moving the focus to Split during summer might be the way of lessening the burden of seasonal travels. They allowed Zagreb to be Lufthansa playground and completely lost the coast to all the charters and lowcoast airlines. Zagreb will always have steady numbers but without an airline based there that would have a proper hub, it will remain as it is. That may not be a bad thing, officials just need to figure out what they want.

    Best regards from Novi Sad.

    1. Anonymous13:29

      @AnonymousAugust 13, 2013 at 11:41 AM

      to a degree you're right, Zagreb in summer season is less of a hub as almost ail OU aircraft service the coastline.

      Problem with the OU is, that is has too few aircraft to do a job that it supposed to do, originally OU was meant to have 22-24 aircraft with fleet of 6-8 Dash 8400Q and mix of A320/319, but after 2005 OU for reasons unknown to us gave up on fleet expansion and stuck with fleet of 13 aircraft one of which is being leased out till the end of 2015.

      4 Brand new A319 will join the fleet in 2017 which should ensure Croatian airlines is able to deal with any projected increase in demand but I fear 17 aircraft in 2017 wont be sufficient and OU might still have issues of covering the sumer tourist season and Zagreb.

      German Wings, Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa and British Airways already took best routes from Croatian Airlines and OU continues to play charlatan it might be relegated to a 2nd position in its own home market.

      That being said, with EU membership OU must start to compete as an airline and not as an State company that receives bail out money every time they hit the snag, so current management must go for airline to be really competitive, hiring perhaps someone of who worked for Lufthansa or BA would be a good thing for OU, for these airlines are among most profitable in the entire airline industry. Learn from the masters of art sort of speak.

      Anyhow, Croatian airlines must change its approach as to how it does its business, otherwise airline will continue to bleed.

  8. Anonymous12:02

    If we are witnessing such disappointing numbers for Zagreb during the busy summer months, then we can only imagine what will happen during winter time when numbers are generally weak.

    Is OU even making money on its flights to Sarajevo? How likely it is that they will be shut down?

    1. Anonymous13:04

      I would be interested if someone has more info on their rote to SKP too.

  9. Anonymous12:41

    OU is total crap of company. Yesterday evening from SPU to ZAG in 5 minutes 2 ACFT, first Dash, than A320. I doubt that they were full, who te fuck makes schedule like that.

    1. Anonymous13:35

      Actually its quite busy route during summer and to put extra aircraft on the route is not unusual, and yes they were full capacity otherwise they wouldn't put an extra aircraft on the route.

      @AnonymousAugust 13, 2013 at 12:02 PM

      Zagreb is a year round airport, with Jan having 140 000 pax and Dec about 150 000pax, its get busy between may and October and November and Feb tend to be slow months with 125 000pax.

  10. Anonymous13:52

    All coastal airports are doing great job this summer and every airport should follow their steps to become successful like Split and Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik has 38000 citizens and Dubrovnik Airport has around 1,5 million pax. Most of the flights to Dubrovnik are regular flights of full service airlines (around 80%). The rest are low cost airlines like Easy Jet and Germanwings, so no Ryan Air that asks for subsidies in many cases.

    The main problem of Zagreb is Croatia's flight reductions. Until OU gets professional management Zagreb airport will be affected with less pax. Only thing that I personally like at OU is inflight service, one of the best in Europe.

  11. Purger14:33

    Croatia airlines has 63% share in Zagreb. Unfortunately most of the cuts in time-table were from ZAG, and just few from SPU and DBV (out of some 32 cut flights, 24 or 25 was from ZAG). Of course, that influences number of passengers. Those cuts were made in last second before summer time-table so non of other companies could react (exempt Turkish to put extra 3 flights per week, and some companies to put bigger planes and one or two more frequencies). Time has to past that market react on these huge cuts from Croatia Airlines. Just take example of BUD which still did not 100% recovers from Malev bankruptcy.

    So, you will say but passengers have to fly. Yes, but if there is no flights or free seats, I take car and take flight from Budapest, Vienna, Venice, Trieste, Ljubljana, Graz. I will not pay 1.200 EUR for connection in last free seats. So, those passengers that Zagreb miss just change airport, they did not stop to fly. One have to see if ZAG will have any kind of recovery (new lines, new carriers, more frequencies...) or those passengers will regularly use other airports including BEG with new Etihad policy. It is up to management to try to leave passengers in Zagreb. It is hard job when you have so many alternatives in just 3 hours driving (Belgrade, Budapest, Vienna, Bratislava, Graz, Ljubljana, Trieste, Venice, Rijeka, Zadar, Split) with so many P2P lines, LCC, legacy carriers... But management must take extra effort to overcome this crisis with Croatia Airlines.

    Belgrade airport shows it can be done, when crises with Jat was in zenith some 3-4 years ago.

    1. Anonymous15:14

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. Anonymous17:09

      What was the deleted comment about?

    3. Anonymous20:48

      Purger, you'd be the only Croat to travel by car to Belgrade to take a flight to Munich.

      I can tell you I'd never fly with Air Serbia, via Belgrade, and I can bet 4 million Croats would feel the same, despite what you try to tell people here. Sure Croatian Airlines has its issues, but you can always choose another airline that flies out of Zagreb to get a connection either via Vienna, Munich, Frankfurt or even London, all 10 times better alternatives than Belgrade.

    4. Anonymous15:44

      Never gone via BEG and never will. Period.

  12. King of surprised to read that some thought that the EU effect would be immediate but I guess we can ignore those commentators.

    I would like to ask a direct question to Admin;
    Did you consider trying to get in contact with Zagreb airport? You can get their reasoning behind the passenger decline and what they intend to do to strengthen their position. With the number of visitors to your blog you might just get a response. You could also ask about the new terminal and if construction will still start this year.

    1. Anonymous20:52

      @Q400August 13, 2013 at 2:36 PM

      Only this blog was mentioning immediate EU effect, no one else did.

      Some eastern neighbors immediately took it up on themselves to ridicule Croatia and Zagreb.

      I know its a national past time over in eastern lands, nothing better to do.

  13. Anonymous15:48

    Great video of ZAG from the 70s posted on the ex-Yu facebook page. Thank you!

  14. JU520 BEGLAX23:22

    some interesting Airport passenger traffic figures for JUN 2013

    AYT 3.534 mio passengers
    ICN 3.356 mio
    MAD 3.538 mio
    NRT 2.738 mio
    LGW 3.446 mio

    So Antalya was doing more passengers than Seoul Incheon, Narita or Gatwick and about same as MAD.
    MAD btw lost 15% comparing June 2012

  15. Anonymous01:08

    @Admin Ex_YU

    Do you believe the construction of Zagreb Airport’s new terminal will begin in September?

    This poll question is rather stupid, a new terminal got go-ahead and its a forgone conclusion, a 72000sqm terminal is to be build by the end of 2016 with construction works starting in earnest at the end of this month.

    The heavy equipment has started to move and land is being cleared as we speak and fence is being put up around the entire perimeter, all the works should be completed on this initial stage by the end of this month.

    1. Anonymous01:24

      PS and split airport will also start works on new 35000sqm terminal later this year, runway will be extended by several hundred meters (around 500m) resurfaced and airport will receive CAT IIIB ILS as part of runway upgrade and resurfacing, all to be done in 2014 before the summer tourist season starts next year. The new terminal should be completed by the end of 2015 and will feature 2 passenger boarding bridges, it was deemed that 2 were sufficient for airport's needs more can be added if needed.

      Eventually plan to to knock down the old terminal once new terminal is up and move ground operations further away from the runway, a parallel taxiway will be added in the entire length of the runway (3000m) and new 50 000sqm platform will be built adjacent to recently constructed 33000sqm platform.

      Eventually in a longer term Split airport will merge with Divulje helicopter base to give one large air complex with Trogir - Split highway running underneath the complex connecting city of Split with rest of Croatia.

      Entire project is set to be financed by Airport's own funds and Croatian Government and EU funds kicking in if needed.

    2. At the time the poll was published, the Croatian Minister for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure stated the project was up in the air. Construction was supposed to begin months ago, so the question was asked. No harm done. As for the your second post it was reported here two weeks ago.

  16. Anonymous15:51

    It is hilarious how Serbs cannot swallow any good news from Croatia.

    1. Anonymous17:42

      @AnonymousAugust 14, 2013 at 3:51 PM

      Some Serbs, a few of them who troll this forum make whole Serb nation come across bad, but there are decent Serbians here who are pragmatic and very nice individuals. Example, JU520 BEGLAX knows his stuff and will enter good discussion about Ex-Yu aviation issues, but than you have a few nationalist who ruin all the good work done by likes of JU520 BEGLAX.


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