Croatian airports disappoint in Q1

Croatian airports’ quarterly results fail to impress

Croatian airports have witnessed a disappointing start to the year with most recording declining passenger numbers in the first quarter. Among the country’s seven main commercial airports, only Osijek managed to see its figures improve. On the other hand, Rijeka shed the most passengers. Croatia’s busiest airport, Zagreb, handled 429.504 travellers, down 2.7% on the year before. Dubrovnik Airport also saw a notable decline in the first quarter as it welcomed 52.336 passengers, down 22.1% while Split’s numbers tumbled 9.3%. Although both Dubrovnik and Spit estimate they will handle roughly the same amount of passengers as last year, the management at Zagreb Airport is optimistic its numbers will improve by 8% compared to 2013.

Zadar, Pula and Rijeka all saw a double digit decline in passenger numbers. In the first quarter, Zadar, once a star performer among Croatia’s airports, welcomed 6.524 passengers, down 40.5%. Similarly, Pula shed its numbers by 13.7% while Rijeka handled only 113 travellers in three months, thus recording an 82.5% decline in passenger numbers. Osijek, which has benefited from new, year round domestic flights, was the biggest improver as it handled 482 passengers, up a whopping 578%.

In a statement, the Croatian Civil Aviation Agency says, “During the first three months of this year, Croatian airports have recorded a decline in flight operations of 5.95%, a decline in passenger numbers of 5.92% and a decline in transit passengers of 27.36% compared the first three months of last year”. It adds, “During the same period, 5.4% less cargo was handled while a 29.51% increase in flown mail was recorded". Croatian airports are hopeful a strong summer season will lessen the impact of a slow winter.

AirportPAXChange (%)
Zagreb429.504 2.7
Split75.154 9.3
Dubrovnik52.336 22.1
Zadar6.524 40.5
Pula3.237 13.7
Osijek482 578.9
Rijeka113 82.5


  1. These are indeed very disappointing results...

    Hopefully summer season puts Croatian airports into the growth zone.

    The article states that airports have seen decline of transfer passengers by 27.36%. Where are most transit passengers coming from? Domestic or regional traffic?

    Dobro jutro svima :)

  2. I know this topic is for Q1 but didn't someone post that Dubrovnik posted great results in March? Did their numbers go down because of OU cuts?

  3. Anonymous09:19

    Those transfer pax probably all went to BEG.

    1. Anonymous09:33

      No, they went to Banja Luka.

  4. Anonymous09:32

    This is all thanks to bad management in Croatia Airlines , but as you can see goverment doesnt care .otherwise they would have fired them. But I heard a rumor that they were going to fire their Ceo. Is this true

    1. Anonymous09:34

      Well, the Croatian market is starting to learn on how to live without them, especially the coastal airports. The only ones who will suffer because of them are people in Zagreb.

  5. Anonymous10:55

    Does anyone know how Zagreb performed in April? If their numbers go down again I doubt they will manage to come close to 8% this year. Have any airlines applied for charter licences?

  6. Anonymous13:06

    I know Croatia Airlines has applied for a BUS licence so they can transport passengers by BUS instead of by plane .Like this they can save on crew you just need bus drive , no copilot and no cabin crew.So next year the Ceo can say look we are making profit . And Croatia Airlines is lucky they have already one qualified bus driver Mr.Kucko

  7. Anonymous13:43

    Croatia Airlines just for BUS transport as they will transport by bus , like this you only need bus driver, so they can save on copilot and cabin crew .They already have professional bus driver Mr.Kucko. Like this they can say next year look how much profit we made.

  8. The only one thing is very good for Zagreb airport is that Croatia has CAT 1 for direct flights to USA! So, it is the time that OU lease some wide body planes and icnrease numbers of pax....

  9. Anonymous15:03

    It is stupid to comment about significant fall on the coastal airports, because they depend mainly on the CA operations.
    I am sure that SPU will surpass last year April around 10-12%
    Just to mention today's SPU numbers, around 75 arrival and departure flights.

    1. Anonymous15:23

      I am sure that in two years Split will be the busiest airport in Croatia and second in ex-Yugoslavia. The third spot will be split between Dubrovnik and Zagreb.

    2. Anonymous16:40

      No it will not. Split grows fast, and I'm sure it will continue to grow and develop, but ZAG will remain busiest croatian and second busiest ex-yu airport. Even if OU disappears, others will jump in and fill in the gaps, and despite all the tourism in Split, ZAG has incomparably more advanatages (business, finances, geography-hub potential, 5 times more population...)
      However, in my opinion HR aviation had hit the bottom and starts this year to go up.

    3. Anonymous16:49

      I definitely agree with you, SPU is my home airport, but apart from tourism there is nothing much to do... Split used to have a strong industry back in Yugoslavia, but times have changed...
      Split will get a completely new terminal, so I am really excited about future of this small airport...
      On other hand it's crazy to think about feasibility of handling almost 30000 passengers during Saturdays in July... They're doing a great job!

    4. Anonymous16:51

      Yeah but then again you have tourist airports such as Rhodes which are similar in nature to Split and they handle 4 to 5 million passengers a year. It's not unreasonable to believe that SPU will become number one as tourism keeps on developing. They can easily handle 1.000.000 passengers per month in a few years from today, especially as they invest in infrastructure.

    5. Anonymous16:52

      1.000.000 per month in summer that is.

    6. Anonymous16:55

      Split will be doing great this year, Dubrovnik too. Not so sure about Zagreb... Time to do something with OU, shut it down or save it, we have a stupid government that doesn't give a shit about national carrier!

    7. Anonymous17:46

      I think SPU is not really famous destinations such as Dubrovnik, it just started to grow recently... It would be nice to have a growth in future, and also to have a decent connections with European hubs in off-season... It is miserable that you have to go via Zagreb for every winter flight...
      I'm hoping that a new SPU terminal will attract more carriers, but besides government investments in infrastructure, they need a help from the tourist board to prolong the season. because Split is a nice weekend destionation...

    8. Anonymous18:07

      I'm surprised that Croatia doesn't have charter flights from the USA, there are tens of thousands of American tourists every year, and we already have several seasonal flights from South Korea to Zagreb! What's the problem?

    9. Anonymous18:16

      Maybe because American tourists fly into Venice and then from there head over to Croatia. However in a few years I think it is only SPU or DBV that might have interncontinental charter flights from NA.

    10. Anonymous20:09

      Well, if Korean Air can do seasonal flights to Zagreb, so could some other carriers...

    11. Anonymous20:15

      Yeah but American airlines have a much stronger presence in Europe than Korean Air or even JAL. That's why you can't compare the two. Plus let's face it, we all know it that these guys don't land in Zagreb for the city, the head to the coast.

    12. Anonymous20:22

      Actually, Japanese and Korean tourists like Zagreb as much as Split or Dubrovnik! But I agree with you, American carriers have a stronger presence in Europe than JAL or Korean. Still, hope for seasonal intercontinental flights to/from the coast 'cause I believe they would pay off!

    13. Anonymous22:42

      @ 4:51
      Rhodes and Split are not similar at all. First, tousits come to Split MOSTLY by car, and in big numbers by bus and train, some by boat as well.
      Due to the distance of its most imposrtant emitive market, European, tourists come to Rhodes almost exlusively by plane.

      Second, Rhodes is much more to the south compared to Split and has more favourable climate for all-year-round "classical" tourism.

      Third, and not that unimportant, Rhodes is in the country which has been for decades synonymum for tourism, and enjoyed benefits of the market economy and development while almost nobody even knew that Croatia and Split exist, not to mention recent war and everything it brought.

      So you cannot compare Split to Rhodes, or to Palma, or Tenerife

  10. Anonymous15:07

    This summer season Dubrovnik will have 25 direct flights per week to London. Amazing.

    1. Anonymous16:02

      And how many are from Croatia Airlines ?

    2. Do you have the breakdown of the airline that will fly the route? Won't BA fly double daily?

    3. Anonymous16:47

      No Croatia Airlines Dubrovnik-London. There are 8 British Airways flights (two on thursdays), 10 are Easyjet, 5 on Monarch and 2 by Norwegian

    4. Wow... strange how OU has pulled out of LON especially since the market seems to be massive during the summer months.

    5. Anonymous16:56

      Actually, for Croatia Airlines it's logical, everything they do makes no sense... unfortunatelly!

    6. Anonymous19:50

      Little correction.
      8 British Airways
      9 Easyjet
      5 Monarch
      2 Norwegian
      1 Thomson

    7. Anonymous19:52

      And SPU - 28 weekly.
      OU - 3x
      Norwegian - 2x
      Wizz - 4x
      Easy: 16x Gatwick, 3x Stansted

    8. Anonymous19:59

      How come OU is keeping flights to London from Split but not from Dubrovnik? Is the market really bigger or more lucrative?

    9. Anonymous19:59

      How come Air France doesn't have seasonal flights to Dubrovnik or Split? There are hundreds of thousands of French tourists in Croatia

    10. Anonymous20:05

      Probably their cost structure doesn't allow them to operate these flights, Transavia can do it better.

    11. Anonymous22:52

      Reason why OU is doing good job from SPU to LHR is because other three carriers are low cost and rich British people like to use full service carriers. In DBV British Airways is doing same - taking pax that are eager to pay little more for more comfortable 3 hour long flight.

      DBV has many flights from Paris. On some days up to 3 daily. I don't know for SPU, but guess it's similar.

    12. Anonymous23:07

      Some people here tend to be stuck in eighties by thinking that only "flag carriers" exist and fly , while others think that only LCC's operate to SPU, or even better, whole Croatia. For the both, here is the list of companies which operate from SPU and DBV to France this summer :

      Croatia Airlines
      Transavia France
      Air Mediterrannee
      XL France
      European Airpost

    13. Anonymous03:23

      Come on, of course we all know that not only lowcost airlines fly into Croatia... it's public knowledge how uncompetitive Zagreb airport is. :)

  11. Anonymous21:20

    OU is sending its A319 to Skopje this evening. I guess transfer passengers are doing great even if Air Serbia has been dumping fares and capacity.

  12. Anonymous22:29

    OK, let's play with the numbers, what most of the people here mostly do : Total minus of croatian airports in Q1 is 170,8 % (2,7+9,3+22,1+40,5+13,7+82,5). Total plus of croatian airports is 578,9 % (OSI). It means that, statistically speaking, croatian airports in Q1 recorded growth of 408,1 % !!!

    Of course I'm joking and just trying to say how numbers, especially those used in statistics, are not always relevant indicator of the reality. And by reality everybody who is not being very malicious should consider the following :

    Very, almost insignificantly small decline in ZAG due to the OU cuts, and on the other hand bigger decline at coastal airports due to the fact that Easter this year, with all the passengers it brings "felt" in April, or Q2, unlike last year when it was in March, or Q1.

    Why didn't Ex-yu aviation consider important to inform public about those facts as well, I wonder?

    1. Anonymous03:19

      The only airport for which your theory could apply is Zagreb. not the other airports which saw their numbers tumble. This is primarily because of their heavy reliance on OU which once started pulling out of these markets has caused considerable damage. Some airports like DBV and SPU, especially the latter, were really smart in understanding the dangers of relying on OU hence why they have approached other airlines to launch flights.

  13. Anonymous21:56

    Please check numbers, than speak about bad results of coastal airports. Split drops for 10%, come on, this is 5-6.000 pax less than last year. This is just one day in season. Dubrovnik, almost same story, 10.000 pax. Rijeka, drop 88%, LOL, 100 pax. Pula?? Osijek grow ~500%, yes to almost 500 pax. Zadar can be little bit problematic, but he will be more or less on same number of pax as last year. Zagreb is different story. OU cuts a lot, some airlines come, we will se what will happent in next months.
    Airports with low amount of paxes, change of 1.000 pax is big percentage, like it can be 20 or 30%. On airports with big number of paxes, 1.000 pax can be 0,1%..


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