Zagreb Airport’s numbers dive

Zagreb numbers in the red as it prepares for terminal construction

After ending an eight month passenger losing streak in December, Zagreb Airport has once again recorded declining numbers this January. Croatia’s busiest airport handled 135.754 passengers last month, a decrease of 2.6% compared to January 2013. The result comes on the back of a decrease in the number of operated flights. A total of 2.684 arrivals and departures were recorded, down 4.5% on the year before. It was an all round poor month for Croatian airports with Split, Dubrovnik and Zadar all seeing passenger numbers decrease. While Split and Dubrovnik recorded a 4.2% and 15.5% slide in numbers respectively, Zadar Airport’s performance was almost unchanged, with figures inching down by less than 1%.

Zagreb Airport hopes to compensate for the January setback with the arrival of new airlines later on this year. With Etihad Regional, KLM Cityhopper and Germanwings all lined up to launch new flights, the airport’s CEO, Gonzalve de Cordoue, says talks are being held with several low cost airlines as well but added Ryanair was not one of them due to its expensive terms and conditions. The airport is also in the final stages of talks with ČSA Czech Airlines. However, the airport admits Croatia Airlines is a worry and it will hold talks with the Croatian Ministry for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure in regards to the carrier. Under the recently signed concession agreement, the operator of Zagreb Airport is obliged to boost passenger numbers compared to previous years and a struggling national airline won’t do much to help it reach this goal.

As spring draws closer, the airport says it is ready to start construction of its new multi million euro terminal with finances for the project secured. Some thirty containers arrived recently at Zagreb Airport containing construction and other materials. A six kilometre fence has been erected around the construction site which has also been cleared in order for work to begin. This autumn, work will also begin on the upgrade and reconstruction of the current terminal building, to be carried out during night time so as not to affect passengers and traffic at the airport. The upgrades will include the expansion of the duty free area and lounges. The price tag is estimated at 3.5 million euros.


  1. It's interesting how last January Zagreb handled more passengers than Belgrade, since the latter handled only 210.000.
    Let's hope these new airlines bring more passengers but at the same time it's the airport and the travelling public that will suffer if the government allows for Croatia Airlines to go bust.

  2. Anonymous09:30

    Thank you, Croatia Airlines and Mr Kucko, I hope the company doesn't go bust, but, at the same time, they had their chance and didn't use it! This year we should know what will happen to OU, whether it bankrupts or not, just finish with it once and for all!

    1. Anonymous15:54

      Normally Jan and Feb are really slow months at Zagreb, this is when not much is happening in Zagreb, although Snow Queen Event was canceled this year due to mild weather, normally this even which starts on Jan 4th through to Jan 8th is fully booked event, you can hardly find a hotel room and Airport does really good business due to the event,.

      In 2013 event brought some 40 000 tourist and over 120 000 overnights, same results were expected this year but event was canceled so its not surprising numbers are bit down. That being said, its OU that is to blame, they;'re playing wait and see, with at lest 2-3 aircraft constantly parked and doing nothing much else.

      February should see some improvements, but March is the month too look at, when numbers should go up.

      BTW Snow Queen is most popular skiing event in FSI calendar attracting 25000 visitors to the event,

    2. Anonymous15:58

      May will probably best since the OU strike was on so assuming there is no strike again it should go significantly up

    3. Anonymous16:46

      Well from March figures should go up dramatically, won't predict by how much, suffice to say, March is when things in Zagreb get rolling, major business events are being held, tourists start to come in larger numbers and with arrival of new carriers as well as carriers that are currently operating out of Zagreb all intensifying their operations.

      In 2012 Foreign carriers contributed with 840 000 pax, this number was up by 10% in 2013 and reached 925 000, in 2014 it is expected to surpass 1 million mark, I expect Czech, LOT, Alitalia, KLM, GermanWings, Ethiad Regional will add significantly to Zagreb numbers, at least extra 100 000 pax by above carriers, could be a lot more, perhaps even 150 000.

      So numbers for 2014 should look like this.

      OU 1.45 million pax 57% chare)
      Foreign Carriers - 1.1 million (43% share)

      2015 numbers could a lot more dramatic. With arrival of many more carriers Including the Swiss Int. Brussels Air, Finnair, Lingus with Iberia going full 7 day service, and number of low cost carriers.

      Numbers in 2015 will skyrocket.

    4. Anonymous17:54

      True, but the airport confirmed negotiating with some of them (ČSA and a Polish carrier), KLM and Etihad Regional are already confirmed, the French are good but we'll see next year if this is true, there is a great potential, for example, Croatia has no direct connections with Scandinavian countries, except for Copenhagen! Who knows, hope everything we'll turn out fine... Perche Sanremo e Sanremo :-)))

    5. Guys I get it..but honestly I don't!! Comparing Zagreb and Belgrade today is the perverbial apples to oranges! We are in 2014..yes small country national airlines in Central Europe are being bought out, or bankrupted, just take off the blinkers..Italy..plows money into Alitalia, Austrian would be dead withoutLufthansa, CSA has the Koreans it seems, LOT has the EU after them, Malev..dead!! Adria on life support, so the point is comparing Zagreb and Belgrade which are 400kms apart, is like comparing Zagreb with Venice, Vienna, or Budapest also the same distance!! Of course the last 3 are not part of ex Yugoslavia but are part of Central Europe, as are Zagreb and Belgrade in my books! Belgrade got a life line from the Arabs..fine they took it, did the Arabs do it as a charity..don't think so! Zagreb airport got on their knees for the French, Croatian may have what? Be happy, its more business travellers, more tourists, and more work for Serbs and Croats, be it in construction, airlines, or airports! If you don't want to work there are boat loads of African, Syrian, Afghanis who risk their lives everyday crossing the Mediteranian in shit boats paying thousands to smugglers who do want to work and get a better life! Sorry even though I'm an expat, living here and busting my balls to bring tourists here, yes I do have sleepless nights wondering where my next Euro will come from, so I enjoy this blog, but realy have no care for nationalistic bickering and jelousy! Maybe if every contributor in this blog gets on the same page and works together evry damn airport and airline in the region would at least have a fighting chance!! Nice week to all, don't forget Friday is Valentine"s Day!!!!!

    6. Anonymous17:01

      Peter, that's a great comment, completely agree with you on this! I hope OU doesn't bankrupt, they could be doing really well, also hope the French know what they're doing and with OU as a national carrier Zagreb Airport and other Croatian airports could be doing a great job! Wish the same for other Ex-Yu countries and their national carriers! Good luck Zagreb!

  3. Fixed the figure. Thank you to those pointing out the mistake. I'm only human :)

  4. Anonymous10:27

    Purger or anyone, what are your predictions for OU in 2014? Bankrupt, privatisation or something else?

    1. 9A-CRO12:10

      It will be privatised. I hope by foreign investor (China probably!!) or by Croatian Investment Pension foundation (or how is it called).

      Regardless of newspapers titles and texts OU is standing rather well at this moment. Whole 2013. will be positive in money balance, fleet reduction (9A-CTF left the fleet, old friend of us) was not disastrous as many predicted.

      There are, ofcourse, some problems.
      1. Employees cut down is going slower than expected, but in 2014. it should be finished.
      2. New hangar for Croatia Airlines Technical Services is on waiting until summer time.
      3. New fleet members should be Embraers 195 (in 2015., 4 of them or more) which is a stupid move, having 15 aircrafts and 3 types of them. (Altough I presume that who ever will sell/lease aircrafts to OU will probably sell parts at a good discount prices).

      There are some good things, just some of them.

      1. Marketing is finally doing it's job on key locations.
      2. US Airways code share is giving good results.
      3. Foreign pax are giving excellent grades to OU service (domestic people wants to watch it burn, "balkanci" as always.).
      4. Technical Services are doing more than good.

      To conclude my text, 2014. for OU should look like this.

      1. Privatisation on end of the year.
      2. 2015. EU restriction on fleet are finished, OU gets new (better to say more) aircrafts and expands flight network.
      3. Technical Services gets one more hangar and starts D check on regular basis
      4. OU cuts work force to around 850 employees (650 would be ideal in my opinion).
      5. OU concentrates more on coastal operations, especially Dubrovnik.

      It's my opinion that is backed by privatisation process. If that fails than it doesn't matter what I wrote since there will be no OU any more and some people here could open their champagne bottles.

      Pozdrav svim ljudima dobre volje!

    2. Anonymous13:02

      If the OU has positive cash flow, why would it go bankrupt in case of a failed privatization? Couldn't it do a major restructuring and cut every non-profitable route and save itself?

      Before Etihad came in, our jailed tycoon Mišković and a group of "businessmen" wanted to buy Jat, cut it to 400 employees, select 6-7 best planes and buy 3 more and only fly the most profitable routes (CDG, MOW, FRA etc.). Why wouldn't OU do the same and save itself from bankruptcy? It has enough liquid assets to last until it completes full restructuring.

    3. 9A-CRO13:08

      'cause OU has to "turn around" 400 million kuna (~60 million €), it's the amount that OU received from Croatia as a state.
      To make clear, it doesn't mean that OU has to give or make profit of 60 million euros, it means that you can take a loan od 40 million, sell something for 10 million etc. etc. and come up to a number of 60 million.

      Altough your proposition is logical, OU is on POS agreement and has to fly several non-profit lines to keep Croatia connected (not that we are size of Russia, but ok...) and altough goverment pays for losses on this round it keeps your aircrafts busy and they can't use them on other routes.
      We need fleet expansion in order to concetrate more on better routes.

    4. 9A-CRO13:11

      EDIT: and that 60 million euros is a problem, if a big investor would come it would probably give some aircrafts to OU and we could count that in as a money "turn-around" (sorry, but don't know how to say this better). Those are EU regulations.

    5. 9A-CRO13:14

      EDIT 2: (sorry my friends for this editing, I'm having major internet connection problems!!).

      And if investors doesn't come, OU will be in problems to get those 60 millions turned around by itself, It should probably sell and lease back some of it's Airbuses, sell some real estates or something, which is (ofcourse) not good.

      The due for this 60 million euros is 2015., and that's the main reason why minister Hajdas Doncic wants to quickly sell national carrier.

    6. Anonymous13:34

      When did this 60m € appear? Isn't the EU rule that you can't get subsidies after entering EU? I thought OU was recapitalized before Croatia's acssesion.

      Also, what sort of realestate does OU have? Can they cover that debt with it?

    7. 9A-CRO15:09

      OU received around 110 million € of help from Croatian goverment. It was injected before EU entry, and it was done under the "help" of EU comission and AZTN (agencija za trzisno natjecanje) which was right hand of EU comission and it was all done by the book. In order to get help OU had to cut fleet 10% (9A-CTF), cut network 10% (Istanbul for example) and employees for 10% and turn around (you know what I mean) half of amount - and that's were this 60 million € come from.

      On the other hand, OU has a lot of real estates, valuable slots and all Airbus aircrafts are owned by OU. BUT if you sell slots and lease back aircrafts you can close the company! Only the slots are valued at around 130 million €, and (I was talking about this before) who ever buys OU will get a lot of value in slots only!

    8. Anonymous15:41

      So, I don't get it, if the help was recieved before Croatia entered EU, why would they need to pay it back? It has nothing to do with EU.

      And how much is the real estate worth? How much of those 60m € could they pay back by selling it?

    9. Anonymous16:26

      @AnonymousFebruary 9, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      OU has annual turnover of around $320 million, its assets are worth about the same, or just over that figure, OU issues financial reports each year, as assets OU owns are airport lands (around 10-15% of airport lands are owned by OU, value of which is around $50-60 million, than its HQ in Buzin, valued at $15 million, City center properties and assets valued at $15-20 million, assets at other airports in Croatia at around $30-40 million, than slots At all major airports that are valued at least at $200 million.

      So the airline has loads of assets, valued at well you add up.

      Problem with the loan is, that Government could only issue a loan under conditions to apply EU laws, even though Croatia at the time wasn't in the EU, it still had to comply with EU laws.

      As a candidate completes all the EU chapters, it has to implement all the EU chapters before it joins the EU, this was the case for Croatia at least, for all new candidates process is a lot tougher before they join the EU, and process of negotiations last a lot longer, 10-12 years instead of usual 8 years. Implementation process is what Croatia was exposed only during its ratification process, new candidates will need to implement EU laws and that there'll be a ratification process 6 months later, what that means that EU will observe candidate implementing laws in to its national laws and enforcing them for at least 6 months before chapter is closed.

      In Croatia's case, local agency pushed Croatian Government to implement strict EU laws to comply with the EU, even though Croatia wasn't in the EU.

      hope that answers your question.

    10. 9A-CRO16:29

      Thank you my friend, every word is true and exactly as I would say it!

      One day when Serbia starts it's negotiations with EU it will have to "behave" like it's already in the EU 'cause they want you to implement ALL the laws before you enter so when you enter you are already prepared and live by EU rules.

    11. Anonymous16:45

      Serbia has already started negotiations.

    12. Anonymous16:49

      Only technically, there is a process called "screening", it takes like a year to finish with it and only then real negotiations begin!

    13. Anonymous16:52

      Predictions are always the same, nothing new. Even Purger would reply the same old way.

    14. Anonymous16:58

      Have already done the screening. negotiations has been officialjy opened.

    15. Anonymous16:59

      9A-CRO; nedavno sam doživio da me službenik Croatije Airlines nazove "nečijim netijakom" jer sam se usudio prigovoriti na jednu ozbiljnu stvar. Budući da se uništavaju bezobraznošću, ohološću i nedodirljivošću, ne znam zašto bih bio na njihovoj strani i pjevao im panegirike. Hrvat sam, ponosan sam na državna obilježja, ali se tih kroacijinih kockica posramim skoro svaki put kada letim (a letim barem jednom mjesečno). Najgluplji je primjer kad mi onu čašu vode daju u avionu, pogotovo na jutarnjem pekarskom letu, kao da mi opale šamar. Kava, čaj i sok ne bi doveli kompaniju u neprilike, kao ni normalno ophođenje s korisnicima usluga (a i u zadnje je vrijeme sve više stjuardesa nenasmijano i neuslužno). Dok ne shvate da su tu zbog nas, uopće mi ih nije žao. Zato mi je drago da ih drmaju Francuzi, Air Croatia, Libertas air, jer dok im netko ne zatrese fotelju, neće bit ništa od tih uhljeba (čak mi i Trade air naginje na foteljaše, dobili su liniju iz Osijeka prije 4 mjeseca, a još se nisu usudili napraviti normalan web ili reklamirat liniju, makar preko OU web stranice). Sorry što nije na engleskom!

    16. Anonymous17:11

      Anonymous 4:58, they haven't done the screening, they will be done by the end of this year, first chapters to be open in 2015.

    17. Anonymous17:31

      Anonymous 5:11, I checked, you are right. Lp

    18. 9A-CRO17:48

      AnonymousFebruary 9, 2014 at 4:59 PM

      Ocjene govore same o sebi. Rijetko čujem da hrvat hvali Croatiju Airlines ali mi je jako drago što to često čujem od turista. Uvijek postoje izolirani incidenti ali da vam nisu ponudili ni kavu to ne vjerujem niti mrvicu jer sam dosad više preletio nego se vozio i apsolutno nikad se nije dogodilo da mi nisu ponudile kavu, pitale za sok, a i uvijek je bila uključena neka grickalica ako ne i nešto više.

    19. Anonymous18:11

      9A-CRO, malo sam se nespretno izrazio, mislio sam na domaće letove. Neću suditi o turistima i njihovim iskustvima, ali je meni osobno sasvim dovoljno nezgodnih situacija koje su mi priuštili u proteklih nekoliko godina. S njima letim samo zato što moram, tj. zato što nema druge opcije. Pozdrav ;)

  5. Anonymous10:43

    Regarding above photo of JAT B707 with subtitle: "Philadelphia Airport, 1975 Medjugorje charter" - charters to Medjugorje started in mid 1980s (the first appearance was in June 1981.)...

  6. Aэrologic11:13

    So basically Belgrade airport handled 100% more passengers than Zagreb in January?

  7. Anonymous11:19

    It is not true that ZAG decrease was 4,1%. Real data are;

    2013. 139.397
    2014. 135.754

    -2,61 %

    And what about promised Air Serbia data for December? I think that this shows how LF was more than disaster! Good number in first week of January was possible to find, but those for December was not even in middle of February! Even exYU said that “numbers are not that bad at all”, so he have it. Why not published them than? Waiting for first good data to publish everything together, and bad data would not look so bad? Well, you will wait for that till summer. Congratulation!

    1. Anonymous11:23

      How in the world Air Serbia's LF for December and Belgrade handling double the ZAG numbers can affect Zagreb's performance?

      As far as i know, Air Serbia isn't flying to Zagreb yet but that should happen soon so don't worry, that'll "for sure" increase their average LF, correct?

    2. Anonymous11:24

      A decrease is a decrease so shut up.

    3. Anonymous11:25

      Things are not looking up for Zag.

    4. Anonymous16:07

      Zagreb numbers were affected by two things, Snow Queen event being canceled, normally event brings in 40 000 foreign tourist to Zagreb, in a month that has not much happening, and 2nd OU still cutting down on flights, by 10% it seems.

      So its not surprising numbers are down a bit, but foreign carriers have done their bit, and upped the steak, in 2012 OU contributed with 65% of Zagreb's overall traffic in 2013 this figure was 60% and in 2014 it is likely to fall further down to 55%.

      in 2012 - OU had 1.51 million pax at Zagreb
      in 2013 - 1.38 million handled by OU
      in 2014 OU is expected to handle around 1.5 million but Zagreb numbers are expected to hit 2.55 million.

      Not much change is expected in February either, but starting with March things will improve for the better.

    5. Anonymous16:47

      No need to argue, Serbia got a company stronger than the previous one (Jat) and is doing great! Numbers can't be compared to Zagreb, Arabs in Serbia are doing a good job so far, Serbia has one airport, Belgrade is three times bigger than Zagreb, that's the fact! I wish good luck to Air Serbia with many good news in the future, but also for OU and Zagreb!

  8. Anonymous11:27

    BEG on the other hand is experiencing 40% boost during February.

    1. Anonymous16:03

      As for February at Belgrade,the boost of 40% will be in terms of the number operations, passengers growth will hard touch 35%.

  9. Anonymous12:45

    I wish all the best luck to ZAG and hopefully they manage to end up positive...

    Now I have some good news for BEG. I have been following and counting all flight operations in the previous week (3.2 - 9.2.) and results are following:

    Avg. # of flight operations - 123.4
    Avg # of JU flights - 64.8
    Percentage of JU flights to entire BEG traffic - 52.6%

    Comparing to FEB 2013, that is 26.5% increase in flight operations, if we use this weeks data for entire month.

    That being said, it is likely to expect somewhere around 3454 flight operations in this month...

    Once again, best of luck to all Ex-YU airports

  10. Not the best news for Zagreb but the drop could be contributed to the Snow Queen event being cancelled due to lack of snow.

    Nevertheless, still hoping to see some positive results this year for Zagreb. All we need now is for OU to adjust to becoming an airline Croatians and Croatia needs.

  11. Anonymous17:20

    ZAG is currently in the "no-change" phase because the OU solution is still on hold and the owners of the airport cannot really attract some huge numbers of new pax before the new facility is built or before the OU thing has been resolved.

    So until one of these two projects are finished (either OU or new terminal), ZAG will be oscilating within +/- 5% of last recorded figures, depending on standard factors such as weather, tourist waves, extraordinary events... Thenafter, conditions would be met to try and go for a stable two-digit growth. Still a long way to go but still possible.

    1. Anonymous17:46

      @AnonymousFebruary 9, 2014 at 5:20 PM

      Jan and Feb are traditionally really slow months, have been at 110-135k figure now for almost a decade even when rest of the year is growing at 12% these two had stagnated. OU not doing its bit doesn't help either and with Snow Queen event canceled numbers are showing.

      Snow Queen event is one of the most important FSI events in Alpine Skiing event calendar but there has been little snow, not only in Croatia but generally across the continent.

      So disappointing numbers at Zagreb aren't unusual, Next Jan should be much better, for OU will resume normal operations.

      2nd point is that a number of carriers are coming to Zagreb and foreign carriers are taking ever greater slice with 5 new carriers launching to Zagreb this year, which should impact Zagreb significantly and negotiations are still being held with few more carriers, Air Canada among them to come to Zagreb.

      Air Canada should start direct twice weekly seasonal service to Zagreb starting from May 1s to October 30th 2015 or around 52-54 flights to Zagreb.

      There are loads of interesting stuff happening, Air China should also start 6 seasonal charters to Zagreb and this is on top of 12 Korean Air charters and 8 JAL charters that have been going on for almost 5 years now.

      8-9% growth this year is expected and new terminal is not relevant for airport to grow, what is relevant are the domestic carrier and foreign carriers coming to Zagreb.

    2. Anonymous18:16

      Last Anon, what are you gonna do with your life if all these plans fail to materialize?

      Will you live a nervous breakdown or keep spamming us with other desillusional BS, or you'll start trolling against Air Serbia or some other airline??

    3. Anonymous18:33

      I've also been thinking about that. I think he'll collapse totally. :D

    4. Anonymous20:15

      Well, the guy is too optimistic, but, c'mon guys, you start crying and trashing when someone says that Air Serbia planes were 15 minutes late or that the seat colour is ugly :-)

    5. Anonymous22:22

      Dont remind me about the seat colour...

    6. Anonymous04:09

      Is the anon @5:46 the same one that continually rants about his predictions for 15/16/17 and keeps repeating how many tourists and nights in hotels zagreb gets?? Who do you work for, ministry of tourism or something, same thing over and over and over and over.... enough already

    7. I think it is the same guy who predicted crazy numbers here:

      Here is a sample of his predictions for 2014:

      "Belgrade - 3.83 million passengers
      Zagreb - 2.55 million passengers "

      Jan BEG rose 29% and ZAG fell 2.6%, yet this guys predicts they will have similar growth for 2014. He is either troll or on drugs. Nobody can be this ignorant.

    8. Anonymous17:07

      So what? A guy has a right to write what he thinks, why are you so angry? So what if the numbers are crazy? Belgrade airport made a great move, but I would like someone to tell us why the numbers in January last year were much lower than this year! Jat was in serious trouble last year, how many flights did it perform at that time?

    9. ^ BEG was down 2% in passengers in Jan 2013 compared to 2014 and down 6% in flights. Is that such a huge dip?

      Nobody is angry, we just like comedy. People trolled at the new JU project ever since the first time it was announced, do you really think we are going to be silent now?

    10. Anonymous18:27

      You mean 2013 compared to 2012? Or Jat was down 2% in passengers in Jan 2013 compared to 2014 and down 6% in flights?

      P.S. Are you a grown man? You sound a bit childish, if you want a good comedy, read some Serbian newspaper before elections, or some statements made by "big leader" Vucic!

    11. Yeah I meant 13 compared to 12.

      Of course. Instead of replying to my comments, you choose to attack my credibility by saying I sound "childish". Is that your best? Whenever something isn't going your way, you attack the one who made the argument.

    12. Anonymous19:02

      "Childish" was for the sentence "People trolled at the new JU project ever since the first time it was announced, do you really think we are going to be silent now?", I meant nothing wrong, I usually like your comments, but people troll all the time, so what? Also, your last sentence "Whenever something isn't going your way, you attack the one who made the argument" can be applied to Serbs as well, Croats, Slovenes... Anyway, thank you for your answer!

  12. Anonymous17:46

    Why r the numbers for Split & Dubrovnik decreasing?
    It is normal that they have less passengers in winter-or is the decrease compared to winter one year ago?

    1. Anonymous17:54

      Cause OU is cutting down on flights, no other reason, in winters there are little in a way of foreign carriers coming in, they are in true sense holliday airports, attract tourist only from mid April to late October.

      Between Novembers 1st and April 1st numbers are really low.

      Split airport does more traffic in May than in previous 4 months combined. Same with Dubrovnik airport.

      In true sense these are holiday airports, for very few airlines fly there outside season which is Nov, 1st to April 1st.

    2. Anonymous21:22

      Dubrovnik was cutting down a lot, Zagreb also, but Split almost nothing (few flights to ZAG). So there is excuse for DBV, but not for SPU.

  13. Anonymous21:34

    U vezi ove slike levo gore sto stoji: kako to moze da bude Medjugorje charter, ako je slika iz 1978, a medjugorska prica je iz 1980-i neke?


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