French take over Zagreb Airport

New beginning for Zagreb Airport

The French led consortium, Zagreb Airport Internatonal Company (ZAIC), has taken control of Zagreb Airport today over the next thirty years after it signed a concession agreement with the Croatian government which came into effect at midnight. “The French consortium ZAIC will take over Zagreb Airport on Thursday. All conditions have been met with the first two million euros deposited, which was one of the preconditions of the takeover”, Siniša Hajdaš Dončić, the Croatian Minister for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, said earlier. The two sides also agreed on terms and conditions should the concession agreement be terminated prior to 2043. The original takeover was planned to take place in April but was delayed due to a range of reasons.

The new owners of Zagreb Airport have committed to building a brand new passenger terminal within the next 36 months starting today, meaning a new state of the art facility should be opened for commercial use by early December 2016. ZAIC estimates Zagreb will see passenger growth of 8% next year and will attract new airlines as well as its first transatlantic flights in years. Etihad Regional is the first new airline to announce flights to Zagreb next year. Furthermore, ZAIC will pay up to fifteen million euros to the Croatian government and other minority shareholders. Some 300 million euros will be invested into Zagreb Airport under the concession agreement. ZAIC is led by Aéroports de Paris Management (a 100% owned subsidiary of Aéroports de Paris) and Bouygues Bâtiment International (a subsidiary of Bouygues Construction). The four additional shareholders are Viadukt (a Croatian construction company), International Financial Corporation (IFC), Marguerite (a European investment fund) and TAV (the Turkish airport operator).

Labour unions are still unhappy with the takeover. Two weeks ago employees shut down Zagreb Airport for almost two days to voice their dissatisfaction with the concession. A temporary court injunction halted further planned industrial action. Subsequently, the court ruled the strike was illegal. The unions have lodged an appeal against the ruling with the High Court. Employees fear that by transferring to the new company - Zagreb Airport International Company - they will be forced to work for lower wages and will be subject to dismissal. The company has denied such claims.


  1. Anonymous09:22

    Nice, the government will get all those millions. I wonder which Audi they will buy this time around...

    On a more serious note, what makes them think any airline from the other side of the Atlantic would launch flights to Zagreb just because it has a new terminal? Only a Star Alliance carrier would launch it for obvious reasons. US Airways is merging with American Airlines so they are out of the picture and I just can't see United launching Zagreb... not before they launch Vienna at least.

    1. Anonymous18:13

      Air France has some serious plans for Zagreb, KLM too, I can't be 100% sure but Air France plans to crete a mini hub at Zagreb once new terminal is up and running, with KLM to doing something around there.

      The developers will lease land to Air France cheaply as part of the deal, and landing rights will literally be next to nothing for the consortium.

      2014 will be a good year for Zagreb, old terminal will get important 5700sqm expansion allowing for greater passenger flow, and increased capacity and there are plans to bring Air Swiss, KLM and SAS year round service to Zagreb. Talks are being held with Air Brussels and Finnair to establish weekly flights to Zagreb and return of Alitalia.

      Iberia will also be asked to increase its service to Zagreb and with TAP and Valueing doing their bits should ensure solid coverage of Iberian peninsula and France.

      Only problem for Zagreb is Eastern europe where there are very few flights, Czech air, LOT and perhaps Air Baltic might be tempted to return and do full weekly service to Zagreb. All this is quite possible next year, and if it happens Zagreb passenger growth could easily be double digit despite Croatian Airlines taking commercial look at its operations (reducing lines that are unprofitable and flying to only popular and profitable destinations).

    2. Anonymous18:24

      Yeah, it seems that Air France has already made the first step since they have downgraded Zagreb flights from mainline to HOP!. ;)

      What advantages would Air France have by basing itself in Zagreb? In order to do that they need a city that has some sort of O&D demand with the region- Zagreb has none. If they were serious about doing it (which I am sure they are not) then Budapest would have been the better alternative.

      Anyway, Air France has tried to expand in its domestic market and it failed... miserably. I doubt they are getting ready to do anything in Zagreb.

    3. Anonymous18:26

      I am sure the Chinese will reconsider Belgrade flights and head over to Zagreb! :O

    4. Anonymous18:32

      Can you please explain us (and give us few examples) of the destinations and connections that the hub in Zagreb, with downsized OU, should serve for AF-KLM?

    5. Anonymous19:34

      SPU, DBV, ZAD, PUY, OSI, SJJ, SKP, PRN. every day + BWK, TLV, ATH in season.

    6. Anonymous19:41

      Ok, so what prevents them for doing it already? No need for a new terminal for that.

    7. Anonymous20:59

      Yeah, I am sure Air France will be the first to rush into this given their good financial performance.

      Air France is getting really cosy with Etihad which anyway has very good cooperation with other Sky Team airlines. Another reason why it makes little sense to do this in an area where they already have mini Etihad and Tarom.

      Keep dreaming boy.

    8. Anonymous21:36

      And why Etihad invest in Jat?

      Conections just to TIV, TGD, SJJ, SKP, OHR...

      Go on... you can do it... you will find answere... try it, try...

    9. Anonymous00:27

      I do not have to even try to answer it as it's plain simple. They invested for the same reason they invested in Darwin and all the other airlines. They did it because they want greater access to the European market and to build a decent hub.

      And mind you, in addition to those mentioned above you can already add: Dubrovnik, Split, Bucharest, Budapest, Thessaloniki, Sofia, Varna, Kiev, Warsaw...

      It's a bit short but you get the point. ;) Plus, do you want to compare the financial backings of Air France and Etihad?

  2. Anonymous09:28

    Great news for ZAG. They've even changed the Facebook page, so the new management is obviously eager. Too bad the statuses they post are illiterate...

  3. Anonymous09:34

    Can you post their link here so that maybe more people can like it?

  4. Anonymous10:08

    Finally! hope everything goes well for Zagreb!

  5. BA88810:10

    I just hope ZAG does not end up with "tin can" type of terminal fit only for LCC.

    ( that monstrous MP2 in MRS for instance)

    1. Anonymous10:15

      What does it mean MP2"" and "MRS"?

    2. Anonymous10:31

      MRS is the airport code for Marseilles if France.

    3. Anonymous18:26

      no it won't, design is quite clear, glass and steel, with loads of eco features not yet seen in these parts, with photovoltaic panels (8500) and small wind turbines integrated in to the roof of the future terminal, you won't even be able to see it, but they'll be there.

      with other innovations applied to whole terminal.

      only changes I know of to the design is removal of underground garage, envisaged for 2400 cars, there'll be now only 600 car garage underneath terminal on one level only, on same level with the tram/light rail station, but a further 1200 car underground garage will be added as part of airport city and there's another 600 car parking area just outside terminal 1 which can act as spill over for increased traffic and until new multistory garage for 1200 cars is built sometimes around 2020.

      Terminal will look fantastic, and 250 000sqm apron will also be added enough for additional 15 medium aircraft.

  6. Anonymous12:14

    Would be much better if OU would find a good partner than this. This cant attract transatlantic flights. Maybe AirSerbia gets fifth freedom in Zagreb haha! :)

    1. Anonymous12:32

      Hahahah I think the pride of some people in Zagreb would never allow that to happen. :P

    2. Anonymous18:33

      No I don't think there'll be transatlantic flights just yet, perhaps when new terminal opens, and it most likely will be with KLM and Air France.

      They'll be major players at Zagreb in future, with other EU based airlines taking their fair share now that Zagreb is i mean Croatia is in the EU, there's nothing stopping them from opening their shop at Zagreb Airport.

      Croatian Airlines might have transatlantic dreams but they're long way off, perhaps around 2020 right now they need to make their commercial model work, they're making good profits now, and know how to make these go, pay back bad debt over next few years and than consolidate and expand after that.

    3. Anonymous18:37

      LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL... so tell me, if there is a trans-Atlantic market out of Zagreb, why hasn't OU's master Lufthansa launched them yet?

      If both Air France and KLM have any plans for Zagreb, then those are to make sure even more passengers connect via their hubs in Paris and Amsterdam.

    4. Anonymous18:41

      You are right, I agree, their real threat is Belgrade! Paris, London, Amsterdam - beware, Belgrade is coming to get you!

    5. Anonymous19:00

      @AnonymousDecember 5, 2013 at 6:37 PM

      I see no problem in that, if Croatians go via Amsterdam, Paris or now Frankfurt and London to USA, be my guest, more the merrier.

      BTW Airport developers said intercontinental flights, head of Croatian Airlines said Intercontinental flights, and all this was posted on this very blog, I am saying I'm skeptical since even Prague has difficulty in maintaining intercontinental flights and that airport handles 12 million pax, Athens as well, is loosing intercontinental flights, it seems only major airport will be able to offer such flights, Vienna, Milan, Rome, Madrid, Zürich, Barcelona, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo, Warsaw, Amsterdam, Brussels & Helsinki.

      O yeah, Istanbul and Ankara in nearby area to Croatia.

      So don't jump to a bandwagon with how Belgrade is great and really important, its not, i barely manged 3.5 million pax this year, without real prospects of handling more than 6.5 million anytime before 2020.

      BTW, A real numbers start at 15 million pax, only than you can start talking major airport or a regional hub status.

    6. Anonymous20:57

      Well, say what you wish about Belgrade and it's importance. The first year when we could travel without visas, that is 2010, the airport handled 2.698.000.
      Three years later, the airport is set to handle around 3,500.000. That's a yearly increase of about 500.000 passengers.

      With Air Serbia building a true hub these numbers will look even more impressive. After all, the airline has 10 A320 NEO on order. That only goes to show how serious they are about it- not to mention that Darwin will feed their network as well not to mention that their Atr feel will double from 4 to 8. So do you really think that BEG doesn't stand a chance at handling 6.5 million before 2020? ;)

  7. Anonymous12:46

    Any info about the pax capacity, gates, air bridges, parking slots, facilities...? I suppose it has been specified by the project.

    1. Anonymous13:36

      So, the new Zagreb airport once eventually built will have the capacity Belgrade has today. Not that impressive if you ask me.

    2. Anonymous14:34

      Hmm but if their capacity will be the same as Belgrade's, doesn't that mean they will be extremely underserved? How do they plan on paying the bills? I fear that they might have to increase the fees for the airlines currently flying there.

    3. Anonymous14:47

      QR downgraded Zagreb, it's A320 now by default.

    4. Anonymous15:34

      It is not true... In first fase ZAG will have 5,5 million pax + 2,5 million in old terminal for charter and LCC = 8 million. Whan number of pax will come to 5 million or at least in 2036 terminal must be upbuild to 8 million, so with old terminal that will be 10,5 million.

      If thay will really do the job, with some 10% increase the number of pax per year, in 2016 ZAG will have at least 3,5 million pax and than for sure 5,5 million is not too much for new terminal.

    5. Anonymous16:28

      Yeah and do you honestly believe that Zagreb can secure a consecutive growth of around 10%? It's not like Croatia's economy is booming and neither is its population.

      I think it's far more realistic to expect that growth on the coast, not the capital.

    6. Anonymous18:46

      Initially capacity will be 5.5 million but terminal will easily be able to handle 12 million, with add ons on each side of the terminal (70 000sqm terminal can be expanded on side bu further 37 000sqm and total of 30 passenger boarding bridges can be added, first 12 than expansion to eastern pier by 6 and than they can add 6+4 more on other side of the pier as seen in the photo here to give a total of 28 passenger boarding bridges.

      With 28 passenger boarding bridges airport can handle around 500 landings per day or 20 million pax. 2nd runway should go up around 2017-2020, and this runway will be used by HRZ but also for landings. between 2nd runways, airport city there are plans for 3rd terminal in far off future, (around 2040).

      In total Zagreb Airport can have 3 runways, and this is what limits the size of the airport, should airport ever hit 70 million pax, (unlikely in this or next century).

      Total of 1800 parking slots will be added all underground and some overground (no idea how many) with 600 slots at terminal 1 acting as spillway.

      In terms of facilities it'll have everything you're accustomed seeing at any major aiport worldwide, and I mean literally everything there are plans for a large mall and even a cinema as part of the terminal, and airport city with an 4* 150-200 room hotel, there'll be everything you see at all major airport, Vienna, Zürich, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm...

    7. Anonymous19:06

      I have to ask you, are you on mushrooms?

    8. Anonymous20:27

      @AnonymousDecember 5, 2013 at 7:06 PM

      No, but you're, on troll mushrooms, and in case you didn't read on new terminal plz inform yourself before making stupid comments, I know you're a fool but now we know you're an idiot too.

      Zagreb airport new terminal, full architectural plans and description of faculties.

    9. Anonymous20:48

      Yeah and so what? Do you really, REALLY, believe something will change when the new terminal will be built?

      It will be underserved which means that the people running it will have to increase the taxes to pay for the bills. That means that flying out of there will become more expensive. There will be no Air France or KLM hub there, there will be no transatlantic flights or any other disillusioned fairytale you wrote on here tonight. Zagreb will remain a regional airport which will soon fight for the first spot in Croatia with Dubrovnik and Split. Wake up and smell the roses buddy.

    10. Anonymous20:49

      I am sure, both Slavonia and Zagorje will expand from 2 million to 20 million people and GDP from 500$ to 5000$ in the next few years?

    11. Anonymous21:22

      @AnonymousDecember 5, 2013 at 8:48 PM

      Of course Zagreb will do ok and better, Croatian coastal airports are seasonal airport no one goes to in winters. Zagreb has been sidetracked at the expense of coastal airport during summers reason why airport in Zagreb has less than impressive growth numbers since 2012.

      KLM and Air France is all but done deal, its only a mare formality, now that Paris Airport has taken over, they have precise plans of what they intend to do and how they plan to drive growth at the airport.

      As to intercontinental flights, again, did I say that? It was the airport management that said it, and Croatian airlines has plans for these flights as well, I've said I am skeptical due to the fact that even Prague has difficulty of maintaining such flights and Prague handles 12 million pax.

  8. Anonymous14:03

    Hi to everybody, this is my first comment. I would just like to know why every single news about Croatia or Serbia is filled with comments full of envy and sarcasm from the other side. Just try to think the other way round: Croatia airlines has been bought by Etihad. Do you think some proud people from Serbia would be happy to see Croatia flying long haul from Belgrade? For me is the same. Not frustrated by nationalistic matters at all. :)

  9. Anonymous14:19

    Has Zagreb published their numbers yet? What about Skopje, Pristina and Podgorica?

    1. Anonymous09:56

      Skopje is moving in right direction will be some numbers above 1mil targeted pax for 2013

  10. Anonymous14:44

    Has Qatar downgraded their Budapest-Zagreb service to an A320? It has been a few days since it was operated by an A321.

  11. JU520 BEGLAX14:45

    The Airport is built for the future and if might be for now too big, in a couple years it will become the right size.
    Amazing News for Zagreb, I hope they will realize all the promised plans.

    btw up leftern side: my favourite JAT Colors of all time.... a pitty they did not paint all the aircraft like this. actually only the 733 was that way

  12. Anonymous16:44

    So what will this airport do if Croatia Airlines keeps on downsizing? Will they invite more foreign carriers to fly out of there?

    1. JU520 BEGLAX18:32

      others will step in. look at BUD GVA BSL
      who thought 12 years ago that GVA will have record figures without Swissair. Easyjet are today the big players in BSL and GVA
      so if OU goes belly and the demand is here u ll have a carrier to take over

  13. Anonymous18:18

    Our company that employs some hundred people in Belgrade(representing foreign business in Serbia)
    does no more consider making agreements with Air Serbia.
    That airline is a total mess.They seem to be not able to be on time.
    Obviously technical reasons.
    They are totally unreliable.

    1. Anonymous18:26

      lol yeah, I can see your company losing millions because the airline had a few flights delayed by 30 minutes. Get real and stop trolling around.

    2. JU520 BEGLAX18:35

      give them some time. every start is bumpy. I used to work for Etihad fm 2004 to 2011. 2003 they were founded. u now what mess they were in the early years?

    3. Yes, i believe in that story like Santa Claus exists, give us the break of trolling, 100 poor Serbian employees will suffer because Air Serbia, OMG......

    4. Anonymous21:44

      Copenhague also delayed 1.30 hour...

    5. Anonymous23:25

      Stockholm is even delayed by two hours.

    6. Great article about Air Serbia expansion and Belgrade airport on!
      Also coverage about Tirana,Pristina and Nis airports.
      The link you find here on the left of the comments,
      when you scroll up.

  14. Anonymous19:34

    Today delayed with more than an hour :
    London and Athens,Skopje.
    Delayed by two hours : Abu Dhabi.
    How is it possible to be such bad in timing?

    1. Anonymous19:48

      Well, at least there is something to be delayed, it's not empty as Zagy...

    2. Anonymous20:01

      ^ London and Athens were actually delayed by nearly two hours...
      Banja Luka holds the record with nearly three hours delay.The flight itself is maximum half an hour.

    3. Anonymous20:15

      At least Zagy's budget is bigger than Belgrade's, sad for you, considering Belgrade is twice bigger than Zagreb!

  15. Anonymous20:13

    Umm... have you seen the weather in the UK and that are of Europe today?

  16. 9A-CRO20:27

    Best thing that happend to Croatia in a LOOOOOONG time. Excellent news for Croatia Airlines, also todays press conference in Croatia Airlines Technical Services about building third hangar.

    Nice news for a change.

    You will hear a great news regarding OU in a couple of weeks, serious partner has step in the acquistion game.

    Pozdrav svim ljudima dobre volje!

  17. Really? Can you say who it is?
    And why now? Hasn't the tender or declaration of interest, or whatever they called it, ended recently?
    Am just asking as it seems strange unless they waited to prove there was no offers and than move in with indecent proposal.

  18. Oh wow, just looked at that link someone provided above and the airport looks amazing.
    If it turns out as planned, its going to be truly awsome.

    Good luck and let's hope nothing goes belly up.

  19. Anonymous04:14

    I really don't get ZAG bashing because of this new terminal. So, the overall capacity of the 1st phase is similar to that of BEG. Great. But these guys are not building a large airport, they are building a beautiful airport. This is more about functionality and efficiency, not capacity.

    My home airport in BEG is fine as it is. Is it the prettiest in the region? Most certainly not. Is it efficient and serving its purpose? Yes. The ZAG matchbox terminal was so outdated they just had to replace it - and why not replace it with something beautiful? I'm still upset about what they did to T2 in BEG...

    So, best of luck to ZAG, may they get their new terminal soon. And I also wish for both airports to become too small for their respective pax numbers as soon as possible.

    1. One of the better comments ever on Ex Yu.

    2. bravo... tako je. svima najbolje i to što prije !

  20. Anonymous11:23

    Any chance of ZAG getting a train (or tram) line to the city center?

    1. I think that is planned.
      One of the newest bridges built over the Sava has the capacity to add tram lines for that purpose.

    2. Anonymous19:08

      U mean airport, yes, a light rial link is planned to be built along with the new terminal, and 2nd runway is planned, if you look at google earth you can see the placement where 2nd runway will be as abruptly motorway ends.

      We don't know if its gonna be whole new tram line or extension of line 2 or is it going to be whole new light rail line, trains proposed are 56m long Zagreb trams, but this was initial proposal, we really don't know what is going to happen until new terminal is up, rail link will be added only 1-2 years after as 2nd runway specifics have to worked out before road and rail are added.

      So far, what I know and understand is that motorway and tram/light rail will go underground as you exit domovnioski bridge with motorway or fast carrige way to be built connecting Zagreb with Sisak and Petrinja.

      2nd Runway should be built around 2020, or just before that, 3000m runway will be used largely by the air force but also used for landings only, main runway will be lengthen by 500m to allow for for A380 landings and take offs. current runway is 3250m long (actual runway around 3370m) and also should be re-pawed around 2017 at the same time.

      Link will connect airport with the main central station in Zagreb. Cost of the link is set to be around 320 million kuna, all of it financed by the EU and the city, 50/50 split.


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