Zagreb gives Croatia Airlines six months

Zagreb Airport looking to attract new airlines in six months time

The operator of Zagreb Airport will give its main customer, Croatia Airlines, six months to get its business in order before it begins talks with foreign carriers on launching new flights to the Croatian capital. The airport will place particular emphasis on attracting low cost airlines. The CEO of Zagreb Airport, Gonzalve de Cordoue, says the operator understands Croatia Airlines is in a delicate situation with its pending privatisation process. However, the airport wants to record passenger growth of 8% this year and, in order to do so, will have to attract new airlines.

An attempt to privatise Croatia Airlines late last year failed after zero interest was shown in the carrier by foreign airlines. However, the government will make a second attempt at selling the carrier this year. The privatisation process is poised to resume soon after Croatia Airlines publishes its 2013 financial report, which is expected to be positive and see the airline operating with a profit for the first time in six years. Even so, the privatisation process is set to last several months as a financial advisor must first be found before a tender call for the sale of 49% of the carrier is made.

While foreign carriers dominate at Croatia’s costal airports, Croatia Airlines maintains a passenger share of over 60% at Zagreb Airport. So far, Etihad Regional has announced it will launch flights from Rome to the Croatian capital this year, putting pressure on the national carrier which operates the route via Dubrovnik and Split. If Croatia Airlines does not find a strategic partner by the summer, it faces the prospect of further competition on key routes as Zagreb Airport looks for new airlines. Germanwings, easyJet and Norwegian Air Shuttle are currently the only low cost airlines operating scheduled year long flights into Zagreb. In 2010, Croatia Airlines threatened to suspend flights on services operated by low cost airlines if Zagreb Airport continued to make deals with foreign carriers. At the time, the Croatian Ministry of Transport said that airports in the country must be careful to strike a good balance between new carriers and Croatia Airlines.


  1. Anonymous09:53

    For Croatia Airlines just to start to think of surviving they must send the Managment away incl.CEO .stop the politics .They way this management is running Croatia Airlines in 6 month's time there won't be an airline over

  2. Anonymous09:53

    Why protect Croatia Airlines? Isn't this illegal in the EU? Let the low-costs in: more flights, lower fares, more destinations...

  3. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Even if they fail to find a strategic partner within six months and even if Zagreb airport brings in lowcost carriers, it will only force the government to be more efficient in deciding what to do with the airline.
    Naturally, Croatia being in the European Union means that this thinking period was considerably shortened. The last thing they should do is to allow Croatia Airlines to cover its losses by taking out loans- once the lowcost airlines start taking away passengers from OU. That's the equivalent of an immediate death sentence.

    What is interesting is that he is only mentioning lowcost carriers, what about legacies?

  4. Any particular reason why almost all departures from BEG are late today? JU to BEG is already three hours late for takeoff, and the boarding has not even started.

  5. Anonymous10:27

    What I heard is Etihad Regional will start flying from Brussels to Zagreb and from Amsterdam to Zagreb they also are think to start flights from Germany .Good luck

    1. With what plane? They only have turboprops.

    2. Anonymous14:56

      Sorry remember that Etihad Airways in not Croatia Airlines .

    3. Anonymous15:28

      Well, Air France will open a base in Zagreb and they will probably give some A320s and A321s to Croatia Airlines to operate summer charters which will be also used to build a hub in Zagreb.

    4. Anonymous15:36

      Air France/KLM wont give anything to Croatia Airlines because they are not from the samen Alliance

    5. Anonymous15:40

      Hehe they can leave an allianec if their survival is in question. Also the steak AF can take is much grater than Etihad took in JU because of EU membership. That only shows that they got Jat for the airport and cheap agricultural lands.

    6. Anonymous15:46

      So they will fly themselves they dont need Croatia Airlines with all its management.

    7. Anonymous16:31

      Are you an insider? I just can't see Air France taking OU. Sorry.

    8. Anonymous16:57

      Oh ok, so Etihad can buy a steak in Jat but Air France can't do it for OU?!

    9. Anonymous17:11

      Give me your arguments. I am a bit sceptical, that's it. Again, are you an insider or are you just speculating? I would love that to happen, but what could possibly be the reasons of AF to do so?

    10. Anonymous18:19

      I am glad that Etihad bought Jat, and I don't think AF would buy a stake in OU, but could you tell why Etihad bought Jat: old planes, one functional airport in a very poor country... Makes me wonder what did Vucic promise to them, since the contract is not to be shown in public?

    11. Anonymous19:01

      Why did Etihad buy Air Seychelles, it makes even less sense than Jat. The same can be said about Darwin. I guess there are some things only Etihad will know.

    12. Anonymous19:42

      Well, as you can see on the pic, the Aeroflot bird is a Tupolev 154 that SU isn't operating for many years now. So if the mod had to dig back that far in the past to find a decent pic of Zag's apron occupancy, then it tells everything about its future. But without joking, in the current state it is, Zagreb is in a perfect shape for a low-cost airport with low operating costs (no fancy building, no jet-bridges, quick turnaround...).

    13. Anonymous23:53

      Why did Etihad buy Jat and Darwin Airlines...
      Both in countries that are not part of the EU-Empire...
      Where you are maybe poor but free to do something.Where no one is sabotaging foreign Investments.
      Where Germanyand Brussels do not rule over puppet governments...

  6. Anonymous10:48

    Good luck to OU and Zagreb Airport!

  7. Finally someone is talking some sense and surprise surprise.... it is not a Croatian government henchman.

    Any pressure on OU to force 'proper' aviation business practice can only be a good thing.

    Zagreb needs to increase its share of potential passengers from the current 25% and if other airlines are required for this than fine! OU if managed properly could either do this themselves or capitalise on other carriers making Zagreb a more popular entry point to the region. None of this half ass attempt to set up a regional network will do like 1 flight to Rijeka per week.

    Zagreb lacks a decent route network and is too expensive. This needs to change if Zagreb is to be successful.

  8. Purger11:53

    Zagreb will not have expansion like we want but still there are some positive trends.

    New routes:
    - Etihad Regional Roma-Zagreb (4x weekly)
    - Germanwings Hamburg-Zagreb (2x weekly)
    - Trade Air Rijeka-Zagreb (1x weekly)

    More frequencies or start much earlier this year than last year:
    - Trade Air Osijek-Zagreb (6x weekly)
    - Turkish 14x weekly (from 10x)
    - Onur Air to Antalya to start in February this year and to stay till winter
    - Vueling to Barcelona to start on 3rd May

    1. Anonymous14:28

      But nothing happens in 1 day, I suppose, hope everything will work out soon!

    2. Purger - one more frequency fthat you didn't mention is El Al Israel adding a Wednesday flight to Tel Aviv in mid March, making a total 2 x weekly by El Al (from 1x on Tuesdays).

      p.s. Croatia Airlines normally operates 4, 5 or 6 weekly flights during the high season too...

    3. Anonymous15:44

      For now we have:

      In Belgrade:

      1 - Swiss opened Geneva recently, already sending A321
      2 - Air Serbia to receive further 6 jets A319/A320 mix before summer season
      3 - Etihad increased codeshare to 14 cities across Air Serbia's network:
      4 - EasyJet opening Geneva soon
      5 - Wizz Air to start Larnaca
      6 - Air Serbia to open: Budapest, Warsaw, Sofia, Varna, Kiev, Beirut together with increase in frequencies across the existing network:
      7 - Etihad regional to start Geneva
      8 - TAP to start Lisbon
      9 - Vueling to start Barcelona
      10 - Emirates rumored to open Belgrade later in the year (so far one rumor on this side)
      11 - Airport ended year with 23% growth in the last month

      In Zagreb:

      1 - 1 A320 left the fleet recently leaving the main carrier's fleet with only 6 jets
      2 - Etihad Regional starting Rome
      3 - Germanwings replacing Lufthansa on the route to Berlin, but not opening new route + HAM with CRJ900 (2 confirmed route opening so far this year)
      4 - Airport ended the year with a decrease in pax numbers
      5 - KLM, SAS, Alitalia and Swiss 'rumored' to start ZAG (so four rumors in total on this side that i was able to count).

    4. Anonymous15:46

      Thank you last anonymous. Can someone else post the same for other important airports in ex-YU:
      and Pristina

    5. Anonymous15:53

      I do not know if it's worth mentioning but even Aeroflot has been upgauging its double daily flights to Belgrade. They were initially scheduled to be an A320 and an A319 but most of them times its either two A321s or one A321 and A320.

    6. Anonymous19:39

      So Zagreb will become a low-cost farthouse like Budapest? What a future. Who'll pay-off for an expensive terminal then? Will the LCC need it at all? God, what a mess, i'm so disappointed.

    7. Anonymous20:23

      They will attract LCC among other ones, not only LCC! Read some more articles, please!

    8. Anonymous20:26

      Yes Belgrade has more flights, and what is your point? Does that make Belgrade better than Zagreb?

      1,2 million inhabitants
      3,5 million passengers
      = 2,9 passengers per inhabitant

      0,8 million inhabitants
      2,3 million passengers
      = 2,9 passengers per inhabitant

      4,3 million inhabitants
      6,0 million passengers
      = 1,4 passengers per inhabitant
      9 airports

      7,2 million inhabitants
      3,6 million passengers
      = 0,5 passengers per inhabitant
      2 airports

    9. Anonymous20:38

      Dude, no need for arguing, I'm a Croat and I'm glad that Belgrade Airport has so many flights, hope Zagreb will get better but it's our fault we can't or don't want to attract some other carriers besides the ones that already exist :-)

    10. Anonymous21:39

      Yup, your comparison is very good. However, if you really want to asses the situation then you gotta use the last few years to see the real trend. ;)

    11. Cote d'Azur22:23

      Belgrade is better than Zagreb even with 1 million pax.

      While i've been in both cities i can simply say that Belgrade and Zagreb belong to two different categories of cities. No matter what the stats are saying (registered number of residents which is 1.7 for Belgrade), Belgrade gravitates around 2 million while Zagreb around 1 million. That's a significant difference, you clearly get the feel while you're there besides, Zagreb being the capital of Croatia while Belgrade is the de-facto hub of South-East Europe.

      Back to the topic, his point was nothing else than to showcase the facts which are clearly displaying the contrast in evolution of both airports and respective hubs of Air Serbia and Croatia Airlines. For me, looking at that from the Croatian perspective, it looks quite worrying. Ever since the EU entrance, ZAG didn't manage to attract a single significant carrier but even to record a drop in passenger figures. On the other hand, Belgrade is exploding and attracting a huge number of transit pax. There is no point to show, the difference in potential is obvious.

    12. The trend would be worrisome is it was occurring in a positive economic environment.
      The big impact on Zagreb passenger numbers has been three fold. Croatia Airlines cutting flights, the state of the economy and most people within the catchment (according to Purger) being willing to travel up to 400km from Zagreb to find either more affordable or better flight options.

      This, as long as you have the foresight and will can be corrected which is what the new management is looking to do.

    13. In saying that, no doubt these past few years Belgrade has been better managed compared to Zagreb. The Serbia government has protected the airport in ensuring Serbia remains a 1 major airport country, something which about 10 years ago Croatia in a way proposed for Zagreb by trying to strip international status from Pula, Rijeka and Zadar, but at the same time Serbia did not enforce any special privileges towards Jat as does Croatia with OU at Zagreb killing competition and the possibility of serious growth.

    14. Anonymous10:43

      Yeah but at the same time it doesn't make much sense for Serbia to have another airport in the country. It's the same thing as with Hungary. On the other hand if Croatia revoked the status of international airports to all of the coastal airports it would be beyong stupid and the country would kill off its tourist industry.

      Croatia must do what Serbia did back in late 2009. Give up on protecting Croatia Airlines. Let the market sort it out. If OU can fight then good for them if not... well, too bad.

  9. Anonymous12:25

    If any airports report their 2013 performance would be good to post them on here.

  10. Anonymous14:53

    I am not aware of the load factor of OU route Zagreb-via SPU/DBV-Rome, thats why ask could OU protect its route by putting 2 flight via Split, 2 via Dubrovnik and 3 directly to Rome??? I suspect that Split has a huge load factor for Rome route, at least not for 5x per week...
    In addition, i consider that this 6month period will move OU´s big heads to do some improvement. For me and my needs, it is crucial to improve domestic network, such as DBV and SPU to RJK and PUY, Osijek, Mostar... I have seen many airlines that have little planes in their fleet, especially in Latin America, something like Embraer Brasilia. They do a great job overthere... Should it be a key for domestic and nearby international flights, such as budapest, belgrade, podgorica, venice, milano, mostar?

    1. mostar nije "domestic route" ako je poletanje iz Zagreba

    2. Anonymous20:29


    3. Purger20:39

      That is what I try to tell them for several years now. 2 flights from SPU, 2 from DBV to FCO are enough for tourists, and 3 directly from ZAG. There are not more than 15-20 pax out of 70 from SPU on each flight, rest are from ZAG. So, what is the sense to have 1stop flight than? More gas to spend, double airport taxes, much more time to spend...

      ZAG 0800 – 0850 SPU 0930 – 1035 FCO 1120 – 1235 SPU 1315 – 1405 ZAG

      ZAG 0800 – 0850 SPU 0930 – 1020 ZAG 1100 – 1220 FCO 1305 – 1430 ZAG

  11. Anonymous15:17

    What does this mean? Will they build the extra two gates OU asked for or not? Seems pointless if they are not going to rely on OU for future growth.

    1. Anonymous15:36

      It is still discussed now but son we will get the news that Air France will get a steak in OU and it will use it for its regional base. The new terminal in Zagreb will finaly allow for this to happen especially since OU is still the best airline in the region. I think that when the deal is signed and the steak taken we will need more gates. Especially when they allow easy jet to base a plane there and when Klm, SN Brussels and others announce flights. Zagreb is the capitol of Croatia and it has a lot of high yielding passengers. Good times ahead.

    2. mmmmmm.. steak

    3. Anonymous15:42

      Best airline thats True .but shit management. Thats the problem not the airline

    4. Anonymous15:43

      Well, that's why the French will send someone to run OU. You see what good they did until now with the airport. It will be like mini Munich in a few years heheh :)

    5. Anonymous20:32

      It is interesting how you seem convinced of a possible AF takeover. Let's have all a good laugh, ok? ;)

    6. "Reliable Sources" always like that quote ..2015 will see direct Canada-Zagreb flights!! Air France-KLM remember its the same company..highly unlikely candidate for OU..they have their own problems! Chinese..much higher %, plus like middle east airlines, a Chinese airline would not mind a mini-hub in Central Europe. 6 month ultimatum, perfect, I have been saying it since last July 1, welcome to the EU Croatia, get some profesionals into the right jobs!!!!

  12. Anonymous15:40

    Good news from Mostar Airport and what is so exciting here is that flights are bookable on line :-)

  13. Anonymous18:26

    OT: Split Airport 2013.:
    1,581,734 putnika ili +10,9%!

    Bravo za Split!

  14. Anonymous19:48

    OT: Adria's cabin crew uniform in TOP 15 in the world

    1. Anonymous20:25

      Good job, Adria! Good job, Split Airport, hope 2014 will be even better! :-))

    2. Anonymous20:27

      And you actually like it? C'mon! A bit of elegance, please.

    3. Adria,

      Cabin crew uniform, easily the best from the former Yugo!

  15. 9A-CRO21:41

    Hahaha, c'mon people... Be serious...

    1. This headline was published by Jutarnji List. We have already discussed this sh*t of newspapers. They removed the news after few hours.
    2. Which serious airport, that wants to go intercontinental, can rely on low cost?! Low cost pax is not a pax that comes, or has, to spend money (in most cases)
    3. ZAIC is applying pressure on OU managment, logical move (and expected).
    4. Let's wait a few weeks, Chinese has entered the game for OU (insider) and are very serious in this game.

    Pozdrav svim ljudima dobre volje!

  16. Nikola23:51

    OT: BEG 3,54 mil in 2013 (+5%)
    December was 267.297 (+19%)

    1. Anonymous00:19

      wow that's nice. Every month will be like that. Especially january, february and april, that were pretty bad...

    2. Anonymous01:58

      23% increase in operations and 19% growth in passengers numbers for December.

  17. Great news about the growth, things are improving

  18. The current CEO is responsable for the mess at Croatia Airlines. He and his gang has to leave......otherwise it will go bankrupt in no time. This person is not enough qualified to lead a company like this!

  19. I agree totally with the comment about the present CEO. That man is a disaster. With many thanks to the Prime Minister.

    1. Anonymous16:42

      Bravo like all things in Croatia .The CEO instead of taking care of Croatia Airlines he is taking care of his own pockets.

    2. Anonymous16:46

      Privatization of Croatia Airlines will never happen because hè will be the first to ben fired


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