Zagreb Airport responds to “misleading” claims

Zagreb Airport's operators defend new terminal project

Zagreb Airport International Company (ZAIC), which runs Croatia’s busiest airport, has responded to recent statements made by the head of Zagreb’s City Assembly, Darinko Kosor, regarding the construction of its new passenger terminal, labelling the claims as “incomplete” and “unsubstantiated”. However, it fell short of clarifying whether the project will be scaled down. ZAIC said that prep work on the future site of the new terminal has been ongoing for several months now. “Workers have been on the site since December, construction equipment has been brought in, part of the area has been cleared with the demolition of existing military facilities while excavation work is ongoing”, the operator said in a press release. It added, “Everything is going to plan and according to schedule. In spring we will lay the foundations of the future terminal building”.

The operator also defended its recent decision to hike passenger taxes, explaining that security procedures at the airport have been improved as a result and that passenger taxes will no longer be paid by the Croatian taxpayers but only those actually travelling. On the other hand, ZAIC did not touch upon Mr. Kosor’s accusations that the operator was excreting pressure on Croatia Airlines at a time when the government is looking to find a strategic partner for the national carrier.

According to original plans, Zagreb Airport’s new terminal will have the capacity to handle five million passengers per year and is scheduled for completion in December 2016. It is to feature ten air bridges, one of which will have the capability to handle large aircraft such as the Boeing 747 and Airbus A380, while others will cater for category C type jets such as the Airbus A320. The project involves a total investment of 331 million euros, 243 million of which is for the design and construction of the new terminal and 88 million for the maintenance of the airport infrastructure over the entire period of the thirty year concession. However, the final design of the terminal is yet to be revealed to the public. It is based on the winning design (pictured) by Branko Kincl, Velimir Neidhardt and Jure Radić, who won an international competition for the design of the new terminal in October 2008. The winning design featured twelve air bridges. In his claims earlier this week, Mr. Kosor said ZAIC has made substantial alterations to the original project.


  1. JU520 BEGLAX09:47

    I still hope we will see the pictured design

    OT: tried to book ZRH-BEY in June July Sep Oct. All of the months not possible. Also not BEG-BEY? I thought the flights are back for sale again

    1. try sending them an email. It worked out for me, they fixed it in no time. On the other hand, in your case the issue might be of a different nature but still worth a try.

    2. Anonymous19:45

      @JU520 BEGLAXMarch 13, 2014 at 9:47 AM

      This was ZAIC proposed plan, I attended this conference btw, and was surprised how small the terminal looked, and I remember how many at the conference were less than pleased with the design and no wonder as soon as conference finished minster of transport got over 300 calls demanding clarification.

      The next day Minister demanded that airport terminal to be built in full or deal is off, ZAIC argued that 2 underground levels intended for car park can't be built due to raising water table, so a compromise was reached and that terminal might be too big due to current low passenger numbers.

      But minster stood his ground and deal was that Croatian Airlines will get extra 2 slots for their needs, and to go with 10 passenger boarding bridges instead of 12, but if traffic in meantime picks up that 2 more can be added as ad hoc during construction phase.

      If Zagreb airport exceeds 3 million pax by mid 2016 than it is likely terminal will be built according to plans with 12 passenger boarding bridges.

  2. Anonymous10:21

    I just hope this deosen't turn into another JAT Airbus order.r Though we have been waiting for this terminal for over 10 years now

  3. Anonymous10:30

    I don't understand how we don't have the final design. Isn't it required by law to put up a an image of the design along with all the project details at the construction site?

  4. Anonymous11:35

    No, I don't think they have to make it public. Probably there are some anexes to the contract that specifies that the final design can be changed due to different circumstances bla, bla, bla

  5. Purger12:58

    Well, Mr. Kosor, chairman of Zagreb Assembly, 35% owner of Zagreb airport, did not say that there is no working at all in site, but that those working are just slow preparations to show that something is doing there. He compare building of IKEA in Zagreb which starts in same week and which building is totally closed with walls and roof (including underground structures), and in Zagreb airport we don't have nothing but fence, little demolition of trees and shrubs, not even digging starts. And Zagreb is without snow for a month now, and with sun for 2 weeks. ... cun-926329
    -Polazim u dobroj vjeri da, neovisno što ste ministar prometa i infrastrukture, niste u svom profesionalnom ili privatnom životu imali puno dodira s građevinskim radovima. Da ste imali, znali biste da se na lokaciji novog terminala Zračne luke Zagreb već tri mjeseca događa samo tzv. priprema gradilišta (postavljanje ograde, kontejnera, rušenje drveća, ravnanje zemljišta). Nejasno je gdje je veliki iskop novog terminala, prepun betonskih temelja, što bi značilo da se sve ove mjesece ozbiljno radilo. No, nije tako, u što se možete osobno uvjeriti ako posjetite gradilište.

    Radi usporedbe, u istom vremenskom periodu i pod istim vremenskim uvjetima radovi na trgovačkom centru IKEA u Rugvici doveli su, ne samo do iskopa i temelja već i do izgradnje cjelokupne betonske konstrukcije sve do krovišta - piše Kosor Hajdašu Dončiću.

    1. Anonymous13:08

      Come on, comparing an airport with what is no more than a glorified warehouse is a joke. What airport of this size has been built in months or less than 2 years???

    2. Anonymous13:10

      Project hasn't been finalized, major alterations are being considered and that's holding up financing.

    3. Purger13:52

      Of course it is not the same! Airport is much more complicate. But we are not talking about equipment; we are talking about basic construction work

      IKEA Zagreb 38.000 m2
      Zagreb airport 65.000 m2

      IKEA Zagreb – open summer 2014
      Zagreb airport – open 2016????

      IKEA Zagreb – basic construction finished
      Zagreb airport – not even digging starts

      By tender and contract all details (project, financing, paperwork) had to be finished in March last year!!!!

    4. Anonymous14:05

      The original plan was way too big for Zagreb.

    5. Purger14:24

      That is not true! Because it is not just about building but concession presume that ADPI and others will come with know-how to make much more passengers than today. That is main goal of concession. So, one of the promises was to have 5 million passengers in 10 years, 8 million in 20 years. And you must have building for that number of passengers.

      And even if building is too big, that doesn’t meter because it was on tender, and there should be no changes with annexes. Because if so, maybe other candidatures for concession had better conditions for "smaller terminal" and would not quit from tender.

  6. Anonymous13:11

    Anyone know what;s happening with talks between ZAG and CSA?

  7. Anonymous13:44

    Ex-Yu, the last week was just great: 4 articles from Serbia, 2 from Crotia and one from other countries, proportional to their population and importance, that;s how it should always be. Ex-Yu - thank you!

    1. Anonymous14:02

      According to importance?

      Croatia has 100% more air passengers,
      much bigger BDP than Serbia,
      much more influence in European politics (European union, NATO),
      Croatia airlines still has much more passengers than Air Serbia...
      Croatian charter company (Trade air) has 200% more planes than Serbian one (Aviogenex)
      Croatia has 9 airports compare to just 2 Serbian (third one in Serbia does not have any traffic)

      So what are your criteria of importance?

      And don’t give me story that Air Serbia will be bigger than Croatia Airlines next year, because we are talking about number of articles now, not next year. Now facts are not on Serbian side.

    2. Anonymous14:39

      Zagreb is village comparing to Belgrade and Croatia is half population of Serbia...there are your facts!

    3. Well, let's not jump to conclusions that fast. Air Serbia has already become the largest carrier in ex-YU region by the number of seats offered. So far this year their passenger numbers have recorded spectacular growth and my prediction is that they will come really close to OU, if not overtaking it by the end of this year. Just imagine this summer when JU's fleet will be comprised of:

      8 A319
      3 A320
      4 B737-300
      5 Atr-72

      So a total of 20 aircraft, that's not bad at all. Serbia's strenght is in the fact that it has one international airport which means that planning the aviation sector is much easier. We do not have seasonal airports which see real traffic only during the three summer months.

      In addition to all this, let's not forget that Belgrade is incomparably more competitive than any airport in the ex-YU region.
      The best criteria is that Air Serbia is backed and run by Etihad. That's all that matters.

      That said, does anyone know how OU did in the past few months? Does anyone know more about their statistics?

    4. Anonymous16:23

      Dear @Nemjee

      "All that matters" in today's globalized and liberal capitalism concept-driven World is PROFITABILITY.

      "National states", "flag carriers", "my is 3 planes or 200 seats more offered bigger then yours" and similar stuff are romantic issues which belong to some past times.

      Taking that into account, I expected to see here today topic about suspicious and harmful contract with Etihad, and accusations for that, with the source of information being not one single third-grade opositionary politican but serious person who took part in the Goverment, as well as a relevant international organisation.

      And if there would be no PROFITABILITY for Air Serbia (let me just remind you of 53% LF with low low low promotional price), if the contract details are not known, if Serbia, better to say Serbian tax payers are those who will be paying hundreds of milllions of euros of (even only initial) losses, I really don't understand how that could be of less importance then the discussion about would new ZAG terminal have 10 or 12 airbridges, or is SRB or HR market bigger or more important, or is ZAG new terminal project one week ahead or delayed.

      I'm responding to you, even it's actually more for the @Ex-Yu Aviation. But somehow I think that this romantic, idealized World idea is what you both represent and it just reflects the level of importance of issues in that idealized World of yours...

    5. Anonymous17:12

      Can you post your projections about OU's pax numbers from 2015 to 2053 and please post the fleet renewal "plan" once more, thanks.

    6. Why is it such a point of pride to have 9 airports? I think it is much more desirable to have one larger airport that can serve half of the country very well because flights are offered year round and more destinations are offered. Besides Zagreb, all the other airports in Croatia are basically the same level as Banja Luka during the 9 months of the year.

      It would be nice to have flights out of Nis, but there simply isn't any airline interested, and JU is trying to make their main hub at BEG, so they can't dilute their efforts. Maybe Aviogenex could offer flights to Zurich and Paris now that their plane is idle.

    7. Anonymous19:00

      1. ALL these 9 airports were constructed 30-40 years ago, when road connections were awfull; it was about 4 hours by car Zagreb-Rijeka, some 9 hours to Split or about 12 hours to Dubrovnik. At that time both JAT and Adria used to fly domestic between these airports and Zagreb/Belgrade/Ljubljana (and others), at that time fuel was chip, domestic flights subsidized, and it was absolute matter of NECESITY to have those airports back then, not pride. You speak of croatian airports as they were opened yesterday because of croatian pride, which is simply not true.

      2.When speaking positively of Serbian "one airport model", please take a look at general situation of the countries where everything is concentrated to one airport : Belarus, Albania, Hungary (there are plenty of examples in Africa, too, but I don't want to be offensive). Thanks God, HR at least tends to function "other way"

      3. Comparing Banja Luka with Split or Dubrovnik, which have year-round 4 or 5 DAILY flights to/from Zagreb each, mostly on Airbus, plus Germanwings to various destinations, Croatia's Frankfurt and Rome flights (Split) or year-round British Airways and Austrian (Dubrovnik) to London and Vienna, plus numerous charters, is simply RIDICULUOS. But I expected nothing less from the genious who compared Air Serbia to Lufthansa, Air France and United the other day.

      Cheers !

    8. 1. I didn't ask why they were built. I asked why Anon at 2:02 thinks it is good to have 9 instead of 2.

      2. Why not mention Qatar, Singapore, or Hong Kong? Only important thing for you is to mention Albania. Serbia doesn't need more than two airports.

      3. Okay, two of these eight airports are not completely deserted during the majority of the year. My mistake.

      You know very well that I only said that JU and these leading airlines have a similar Business model. Do you disagree that JU is trying to implement a hub-and-spoke strategy?

    9. Well, I am sure Kondic and Etihad know what they are doing. Kondic actually said that this year they will concentrate on improving their financial performance.They needed this first year to build up the airline and set up a business plan.

      Also, there is more than just simple profit or loss in the aviation industry, especially if we take into consideration the Middle Eastern carriers. You should fly on them from time to time, you will know what I am talking about. ;)

    10. Anonymous01:24

      @AnonymousMarch 13, 2014 at 2:39 PM

      I try not to enter nationalistic bravado, but Belgrade is a blakinite cesspool, a collection of poor townships, its disjointed collection of commie tower blocks, concrete pylons a soviet grand architecture, dehumanizing and depressing collection of 60s mix of art deco and khrushchev tenements connected with dirt roads and wide boulevards, its a city where oxymoronic comes to full meaning.

      Belgrade in short is a shithole few visit and, and fewer ever want to visit again, its one of the ugliest, dirtiest and most depressing places in Europe, right next to Minsk, Chisinau and Sofia.

      And these are the facts.

      only way Belgrade can hope to attract any tourist, if some smart architects and new mayor decide to completely flatten the city down and start anew.

    11. Those are not facts that's just your opinion or impression my friend which you are fukky entitled to. I live and have seen much bigger cities than Zagreb or Belgrade and obviosly don't agree with you one bit. But as I said everybody is entitled to their oppinion

  8. I have a question...

    Having in mind that Ex-YU wrote that new ZAG terminal will have a single gate designated for wide body aircraft, does anyone know if ZAG currently has any operationalgates that can handle wide body aircraft and in comparison does BEG have any gates for wide body, excluding B gates or newly built C platform...

    Hopefully ZAG gets larger airport, Croatia more passengers and more successful national carrier...

    Btw, I am Serbian :)

    1. Anonymous15:52

      Dear Aco,

      Some 10 years ago, ZAG had REGULAR Malaysian Airlines service to Kuala Lumpur operated by B777.

      Same airplane type has been operating during last 5 years on charter chains of KoreanAir and JAL from ZAG to Seoul, Osaka and Tokyo vv.

      Some 20 years ago, ZAG had handled JAT's DC-10, Air Canada B767 and L1015, and Pan Am's A-310, on regular services to/from North America.

      But, frankly speaking, I don't understand your question, because ANY airplane type can be boarded through a GATE. If the gate is small, or it's a busgate, boarding will last longer, that's the only issue. I

      But if you meant AIRBRIDGES when asking for gates, then my answer is NO, ZAG has NONE at the moment, and that's why is the construction of this new terminal even more important.

      Concerning BEG, I used to board JAT DC-10's through "C" gates, long time ago, but I really don't know about the situation today.

      Cheers !

    2. Anonymous23:44

      You forgot to add that the flights "to Malaysia" were operated as a tag of MH's mainline flight to VIE, not as Zagreb as a 'destination'.

  9. Anonymous18:30

    Finally some journalists went you go

  10. Anonymous19:55

    and here we go again... croats this, serbs that...
    the most boring part is that everybody uses the same old arguments over & over again: Croats GDP, Serbs size of the country.... seems like all of you have a size complex
    And do u please mind FINALLY entering the new century... if not - then please stick 2 the topics of aviation!!

    1. Anonymous20:24

      If you don't like it, don't read it, or even better - don't visit this page. Go to some other page where all people live in peace, brotherhood, equality and satisfaction, which is "real" picture of THIS particular century!