Limitless to enter Croatian domestic market

Limitless Airways to launch Dubrovnik - Zagreb flights

Start-up Limitless Airways plans to enter the Croatian domestic market this winter by launching scheduled flights between Dubrovnik and Zagreb. Limitless Airways' CEO, Adnan Bukić, held talks with the Mayor of Dubrovnik, where he announced that the Rijeka-based airline will operate twice daily flights between the two cities. Services will launch in November and run each morning and afternoon with an Airbus A320 aircraft. The newcomer will have to compete against Croatia Airlines on the route. Mr Bukić says the average return ticket will amount to eighty euros. Limitless Airways operates its A320 in an all-economy class layout with its cabin featuring the slim Air France shorthaul seats.

Limitless Airways launched operations in May. It is owned and operated by the well-established Swedish tour operator Scandjet. Unlike recent airline start-ups in the country, Limitless Airways is registered in Croatia and has its own Air Operator's Certificate (AOC). This summer, Limitless ran charter flights from Rijeka to several cities in Sweden, Denmark and Finland, with a Croatian-registered Airbus A320 operated by local crew. The airline also plans to maintain services from Rijeka during the winter months, with charters to northern Africa. The new Dubrovnik service could help spur passenger growth at the airport, which is served only by Croatia Airlines and British Airways during the winter months.

Limitless Airways, along with other Croatian-registered carriers, will be eligible to apply for subsidies on the Dubrovnik - Zagreb service from 2016 until 2020 in line with the government's public service obligation (PSO) scheme. Routes that will be subsidised between March 27, 2016 and March 28, 2020 include existing PSO flights such as Dubrovnik - Zagreb - Dubrovnik, Split - Zagreb - Split, Zagreb - Zadar - Pula - Zadar - Zagreb, Osijek - Dubrovnik - Osijek and Osijek - Split - Osijek. New services which are eligible for subsidies include Zagreb - Brač - Zagreb, twice per week on a seasonal summer basis, as well as Osijek - Zagreb - Osijek, Osijek - Pula - Split - Pula - Osijek, Osijek - Rijeka - Osijek and Rijeka - Split - Dubrovnik - Split - Rijeka, all year round. Interested airlines will have to apply for the subsidies through a public tender. The Croatian government says the policy boosts mobility and air connectivity between Croatian cities and aids the tourism sector.


  1. Anonymous09:04

    This is fantastic news. OU's monopoly and ludicrous pricing will finally come to an end!

  2. Anonymous09:05

    This is good but isn't it a bit short notice if they plan to start flying next month?

    1. Anonymous09:10

      Not really. If they start selling tickets soon and launch flights in mid-NOV it should be fine. People on this route don't plan their flight months in advance.

    2. Anonymous11:11

      I suppose, they mostly count on the tourists from Norway and Sweden spending their holidays at Istra region, and who would like to several times visit Dubrovnik as well. So the flights will probably have a good enough load factor.

  3. Anonymous09:07

    Did Dubrovnik Airline ever fly DBV-ZAG?

    1. Purger09:14

      No. There was once per week ferry flight for which you can buy ticket but it was just for few weeks.

  4. Anonymous09:12

    What are generally the loads on these domesticCroatian flights? If they are marked as PSO it's probably not great outside of peak summer.

    1. Anonymous09:16

      Zagreb-Split and Zagreb-Dubrovnik shouldn´t be under PSO having in fact that Croatia always has full planes on these lines, event in winter months. I think PSO for DBV and SPU is just an excuse to give some money to Croatia Airlines.

    2. Purger09:29

      Even in end of September Dubrovnik-Zagreb has more than 90% LF. In most of the year if you buy ticket some 3 weeks in advance there is almost no chance that you will buy it for less than 170 EUR, mostly even 200 for return ticket. Planes are always full. Even in winter LF is more than 80% and some flights (early morning to ZAG, evening back) almost 100%. In summer flights are all the time almost 100%.

      Here are data for DBV-ZAG flights in last few days (CTN A320 174 pax, A319 144 pax and Q400 76 pax):

      Friday 30th September
      CTN A320 pax 168
      CTN A319 pax 139
      CTN DH8D pax 71

      Thursday 29th September
      CTN A320 pax 176
      CTN DH8D pax 76
      CTN A320 pax 175
      CTN DH8D pax 67
      CTN A319 pax 140

      Wednesday 28th September
      CTN A319 pax 117
      CTN A320 pax 174
      CTN A319 pax 134
      CTN DH8D pax 76
      CTN DH8D pax 75

      Monday 26th September
      CTN A320 pax 169
      CTN A319 pax 143
      CTN A319 pax 136
      CTN DH8D pax 74
      CTN A319 pax 143

      Source: CAF.

    3. Nemjee09:34

      Do you happen to know what's the ration between transfer and local passengers carried by OU?

    4. Purger10:09

      I totally agree that ZAG-DBV-ZAG flights should not be PSO. Tickets are so expensive, LF is more than 90% all year. Only reason why there could be PSO for Dubrovnik is if Government decide that it is important for local economy (tourism), that Dubrovnik is isolated and that air traffic is important for connection in Croatia (and it is as there is no highway to Dubrovnik, it is some 600 km to Zagreb, no railway and by road you have to pass Bosnian border). Because of that Dubrovnik city gives to their citizen voucher of some 33 EUR if they fly to Zagreb (they refund them part of air ticket costs). For sure that is a good help to any airline that would fly on DBV-ZAG route. I would agree in PSO to ZAG-DBV route just if Government put some obligation to route:

      1. At least 4 flights per day out of season and extra flight on Friday evening to Dubrovnik and Sunday evening to Zagreb, and at least 6 flights per day in top season.

      2. That they must have at least 250.000 passengers on that route per year both way, and that is some 345 passengers average per day one way. Today it is 161.000 passengers per year with price of ticket much too high.

      3. That at least 30% of ticket cannot be more expensive than 99 EUR, and another 40% not more than 120 EUR for return ticket out of season, and at least 30% of ticket cannot be more expensive than 120 EUR in top season.

      Split-Zagreb route for sure cannot survive without PSO. LF is not so good, price of ticket is around 100 EUR for return ticket (during winter it is not rear that you can buy ticket for as low as 80 EUR), there is just 3-4 flights per day most of them with Q400. You should know that, unlike Dubrovnik, you have highway to Split, it is just 400 km (3 hours driving), there are lot of bus routes, railway…

      And for sure ZAD, PUY and OSI cannot survive without PSO. But for ZAD and PUY one should ask at least 2 flights per day all year and to separate ZAD and PUY (it is stupid that one thing passengers will fly from PUY to ZAG via ZAD and that is some 1:40 hours flight where you have just 2 hours driving by car). Much more intelligent will be to open BWK-ZAD-ZAG and LSZ-PUY-ZAG (for that you must have STOL plane like ECA DHC-6 as LSZ runway is very short). But why not to use ECA DH6 on that route and CTN can have code-share on that route.

      Nemjee, sorry but I don't!

  5. Nemjee09:15

    But if OU gets the subsidies for the route, wouldn't that create unfair competition on the market?
    If Limitless ends up making this work, then maybe they can see that the subsidies for this route are suspended. After all, why spend tax payers' money on something that is economically sustainable?

    1. Anonymous09:26

      It is not about economic sustainability, it is about Dubrovnik. As far as I know, in the recent years living in Dubrovnik is a great thing; there is a lot of money which is used for citizens (free libraries, cinemas, cultural events, subsidies for rents, school books, highways, money for every newborn child)... That means that skylink between Dubrovnik and Zagreb is one more benefit provided by the local authorities for people from Dubrovnik who travel a lot between these two cities. Although OU receives PSO money, flying with them costs usually 160-200e, so the mayor wants to find a way how to launch fair and cheap way how to reach Zagreb, especially for local people. This is how I see the whole thing.

    2. Nemjee09:32

      Thanks for the explanation. Usually the PSO is offered to a single airline, do you know if Dubrovnik would maybe give it to both airlines? Logically thinking I am inclined to say no but you never know...
      What will happen with OU's flight to DBV if Limitless is the one that ends up getting the subsidies? I suppose they would end up reducing the number of weekly frequencies.

      It will be interesting to see how Limitless performs and what kind of fares they put on the market. Who knows, maybe in the future they end up introducing something like: DBV-ZAG-SPU-ZAG-DBV.

    3. Anonymous09:51

      PSO is provided by Croatian Government, Dubrovnik gives additional subsidies, so we talk about two types of subsidies. Two or three years ago, Dubrovnik was in talks with OU about this issue, but OU management refused to do anything. The mayor then decided to give 125kn (or 250kn for a return ticket) to every single passenger. From that moment OU raised the prices, so it could be said that 125kn was going directly to OU. I think that mayor is quite desperate and wants to find a way how to avoid OU and make a proper connection with Zagreb. Limitless emerged as a normal company with its own plane and AOC and thus eligible. Furthermore, Dubrovnik was in talks with OU to subsidize DBV-FRA route during the winter months, but OU refused. It is hard to explain the policy of OU towards Dubrovnik

    4. Nemjee09:56

      Given Limitless success in Rijeka, I am sure that they could expand in Dubrovnik next summer. I wouldn't be surprised if the mayor is already in talks with them over it. After all, Croatia is in a desperate need of a local charter airline ever since Dubrovnik Airline collapsed a few years ago.

      What about Trade Air? How come they didn't apply for the PSO?

    5. Nemjee09:57

      When I mentioned Trade Air I meant the government's subsidies as well as the ones offered by the mayor of Dubrovnik.

    6. Anonymous10:16

      Mayor is also guilty here. In beginning when he found Croatia Airlines not cooperative he ask Trade air to fly that route, and they were really interested. Deal was really good for Dubrovnik. But after several meeting he decides to stick with Croatia Airlines. Trade air was mad. And then mayor find Croatia Airlines make him stupid and rise prices for 33 EUR that he subvent to passengers. So, basically he made mistake not to finish deal with Trade air.

    7. Nemjee10:18

      But do you know why the deal with Trade Air fell through? What made him stick with OU?

    8. Anonymous11:11

      Trade air benefits of PSO, they took money for routes Osijek-Zagreb-Osijek and Rijeka-Split-Dubrovnik-Rijeka (OU wasn´t interested in them). I think that TDR doesn´t want to take more routes just to be in mercy of OU. Croatia Airlines gives them some jobs in season or when OU has a lack of planes. OU is much stronger player and some % of TDR work depends on OU.

      Regarding the mayor, I don´t know why he refused Trade Air. But I still think that OU has a power to blackmail Dubrovnik, as well as Trade Air (as I said before)...

    9. Anonymous12:47

      Absolutely. After negotiations they did not want to go with it in public. That shows a lot, isn't it?

  6. Anonymous12:19

    Good. I wish them luck. Someone needs to shake up Croatia Airlines.

  7. Anonymous12:35

    Would be nice if they got themselves a livery. It is their aircraft after all.

  8. Anonymous13:25

    Bilo bi mi drago da ova kompanija uspe u HR i da postane najveca privatna zato sto mi se cini da iza ove kompanije stoje ljudi koji znaju svoj posao .

    1. Sačuvaj me Bože INN-NS13:44

      Ma tebi bi Cicko to bilo drago zato što bi to razdjelilo tržište i oslabilo Croatiu. Jer iz par mjeseci charter letova ne možeš zaključiti ništa, a ponajmanje jer znaju svoj posao.

      A što Marko, ako oni stvarno budu toliko super da kao preuzmu CTN kao što je Travel Service preuzeo ČSA i Aegean preuzeo Olympic?

    2. Anonymous14:07

      Sto bi preuzimali CTN sta oni imaju vise da vredi? Trziste im je otvoreno posebno sto imaju domacu registraciju za razliku od nekoliko shabanskih firmi
      koji su pukli sa letovima.

    3. Purger15:14

      Što vrijedi kod CTN-a?

      - kompanija jest čista i bez dugova (država je preuzela dugove u početku restrukturacije)
      - kompanija ima svoje aviona (OK, bog te pitaj koliko će ih imati prije prodaje, odnosno koliko će ih CEO do tada sell and lease back da popravi krvnu sliku i prikaže imaginarnu profitabilnost)
      - kompanije ima nekretnina u vrijednosti, te vrlo vrijednu zemlju na ZLZ
      - kompanija ima i druge imovine (motore, rezervne dijelove, vozni park, opremu...)
      - kompanija ima slotove, poglavito na LHR i CDG
      - kompanija ima članstvo u Star Alliance i vrijedne code-share ugovore (o tome Limitless još godinama može samo sanjati, za pozicioniranje na tržištu gdje te netko uopće doživljava kao partnera u code-share moraš puno godina kvalitetno radit i potrošit tonu novaca)
      - kompanija ima ff program, dobar image, tržište, uhodane linije
      - kompanija ima dobru tehniku koja donosi ozbiljan novac
      - radnike (poglavito pilote, kabince i tehniku) koji su navjeće bogatstvo CTN-a, a vjerujem da je Limitless imao najveći problem prikupiti kvalitetnu radnu snagu

      Što treba maknuti:
      - loš sustav valova (zapravo to je čista improvizacija)
      - pogrešnu mrežu linija
      - uhljebe i višak zaposlenih
      - zastarjeli sustav koji iz korijena treba izmeniti
      - proizvod treba bitno popraviti
      - sukob između radnika i uprave, radnici moraju biti dio rješenja i na "pobjedničkoj strani"

    4. Anonymous15:49

      Ja nigde nisam rekao da oni kupe CTN to mozda za jedno 20 godina .
      Samo sam rekao voleo bi da postanu nesto slicno kao QS da ne kupe samo strane LCC pare nego da nesto ostane u HR.

    5. Anonymous18:40

      Purgeru dobro znas kolike gubitke pravite, ti vam slotovi samo vrede ostalo ni po ladne vode.
      Ako nadjete partnera vredi bez njega ste kaput.

    6. Purger00:34

      Ja nigdje nisam rekao da kompanije ne radi gubitke. Ali trenutno gubitke naknađuje prodajom aviona i motora. I još toga ima za prodati, pa su mirni neko vrijeme.

      Ja govorim što vrijedi trenutno za nekog tko bi kompaniju kupio ovog momenta. Kompanija dugova nema, ali ima imovine i sve ostalo nabrojeno. Ako ćem se čekati sa prodajom za koju godinu više neće imati imovine jer će dugove nadoknađivati daljom prodajom obiteljske srebrnine.

  9. Aэrologic15:52

    OT - BEG airport figures 09.2015:

    Pax: +1%
    Operations: -2%
    Cargo: +51%

    1. Anonymous16:14

      Nice to see all the cargo on the rise. I guess this year those regular flights from Cologne helped as well as the other ones like RAF Avia.

    2. Anonymous16:27

      Gde su sad oni sto pricaju da ce biti pad i ovaj mesec .
      Nadam se da ce uskoro i LYBE dobiti Kargo letove .

    3. ATR72-50016:34

      INN-NS opet spinujes pricu jer svi smo rekli da pod pocinje od Oktobra!. Pad krece od ovog meseca znaci! Ako nebude pada ee onda se mozes praviti badja. Deal? Zivi bili pa videli

    4. Anonymous16:41

      Wow... INN-SNS, jak mi rast, 1% je isto kao i pad.

    5. Anonymous17:16

      ono sto je sigurno je da ove godine nema nista od 5 miliona putnika spinovao ili ne, zar ne ?

    6. Anonymous18:35

      Bitqn je rast nebitno koliki je .

    7. Anonymous18:39

      Bitan je profit ne rast.

    8. Anonymous18:41

      To svakako ne hvali ;)

    9. Anonymous19:21

      pa izgleda da nema profita sto je i uzrok odustajanja, uz fanfare najavljenog, dogradjivanja i unapredjenja C dela terminala II.

  10. Anonymous16:23

    OT : JU has just cancelled additional around 100 flights for winter season, affected Podgorica, Ljubljana, Brussels and Tivat. Also, they added some flights during Christmas period.

    1. Anonymous16:40

      Extra three weekly departures to Zurich for about two, three weeks.
      Departs at 12.40 and returns at 17.00.

    2. Anonymous17:20

      According to the published timetable for W15/16 Air Serbia will operate 7% fewer flights in November yoy and 9% fewer flights in February 2016. It is doubtful that Air Serbia will see any rise in the number of passengers during next winter months.

    3. Дечко Тзар18:02

      Actually that's not too bad, pax numbers are only one indicator. One more time, my ballpark expectations for ASL winter 2016 back on August 12:

      "With about 10% in winter reductions, capacity will go down, costs will go down, LF will go up, profit will go way up, but revenue and market share will probably stay flat or be on a small uptick."

    4. Anonymous18:52

      With the Air Serbia reductions in flying BEG will see far fewr number of passengers this winter compared to last. Every other airport in ex-yu will have increases though.
      Something is wrong I think with BEG's plan to bet everything on the ASL bet.

    5. Anonymous19:39

      Let's not forget something very important. The timetable is being reduced because Boeing birds as well as two Atrs are not supposed to be flying. JU owned these aircraft so they were not such big expense for the airline. Flying 30 passengers on most flights in the morning and in the evening should be a greater headache than the old aircraft JU actually owns.

    6. Anonymous21:04

      @Anon at 6:52

      It's not BEG's bet, it's governments bet. Aggregate growth 2014, 2015 and 2016 will be impressive for both BEG and ASL.

    7. Anonymous21:38

      If we are looking at it, then let's look at the aggregate growth from 2000 to 2016... you should look at it on a year by year basis.

    8. Anonymous05:56

      2000 to 2013 was just getting back to where it was in 1987. Look at the "growth" from 1987 to 1993 to understand.

      Back to why 2014-2016: compelling event was mid-2013 transformation to Air Serbia, and the first full year of operations was 2014. Goal is to look at first 3 or 5 years, and it will be a bit longer to wait for 5 year result, so 2014-2016 will be a good indication.

    9. Anonymous09:24

      But if we are to look at it like that then we will also see that the growth which started in late 2009 ended in the period you are trying to single out and glorify.
      Let's not forget that the impressive growth BEG was already witnessed over the course of the last several years. There was no WOW effect as it was already seen back in 2010. So technically, Air Serbia is responsible for the stagnation as it was incapable of sustaining growth at a time when it was facing reduced competition on the local market.

    10. Anonymous09:26

      Also, your argument that this was just a continuation of the 1987 era is invalid because one thing can not be a continuation of another if they are two completely different things. Civil aviation has transformed itself in the 1990s and early 2000s so Belgrade was just catching up to the new, modern trends, not the outdates ones from communism.

    11. Anonymous12:02

      The foreign airlines are reducing flights or leaving BEG completely.
      BEG under the instruction of the government put all it's eggs to the ASL basket.
      And the results are already bad and are about to get a lot worse.

    12. Anonymous12:29

      Aegean I think is one foreign airline that is going to increase the number of seats offered to BEG.
      But you are right, everybody else is cutting or leaving BEG completely.

    13. Anonymous13:06

      What I find especially interesting is that Aeroflot will be keeping the same number of frequencies despite Air Serbia halving their flights to Moscow! Seems like JU failed both in terms of transfer passengers and local ones!

    14. Anonymous13:07

      What I would also like to add is that I think JU will suspend WAW next winter. It had become obvious that they simply can't compete with Lot.

    15. Anonymous16:20

      "we will also see that the growth which started in late 2009..."

      What was that big event in 2009? Did jat transform to Air Serbia that year? No. It's just that VR accelerated death of jat by lowering taxes and opening doors to random other airlines. Big time salesman.

    16. Anonymous16:35

      The big event in 2009 was that Serbs could finally travel without visas to the Schengen Zone plus Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria. Plus, the following year Russia also suspended the visa regime which further stimulated airtravel between the two countries.
      If you want to speak honestly, this and the lowcost 'invasion' were the only two factors responsible for organic and sustainable growth of the local market.
      As we could have seen from the Air Serbia experience, relying on transfer passengers is like walking on thin ice. One wrong move and you are doomed. Air Serbia is extremely expensive for local passengers and the fact that they are chasing away competition is not good for the local market. Ok, have JU do it own thing, try to become a big regional player... but don't do it at the expense of the predominantly poor local population. For many, Wizz Air is the only option when considering flying abroad.

      As someone mentioned Moscow, even JU had more than a daily flight to SVO in recent years. I am shocked at Air Serbia's inability to make this route work year-round. There is strong demand between the two countries despite the ongoing crisis and it seems that Aeroflot is coming out triumphant.

    17. Anonymous20:46

      JU changes are not based only on passenger numbers but on fleet availability as well. Boeings are going out. Cuts are deeper than expected but they will rebound next spring.

  11. Anonymous19:35

    You forgot that Wi-Fly may result in better LF...

    1. Anonymous21:38

      LOL! Sure because passengers choose airlines on skyscanner based not on ticket price but on wi-fi!
      And metal cutlery too.

    2. Anonymous00:58

      I have over 140 flights in the past 3 years and haven't bought a single ticket on Skyscanner - ever. Your point?

    3. Anonymous09:17

      His point is that people don't book tickets because an airlines offers wifi. They do it because of the price and schedule.

    4. Anonymous11:52

      @AnonymousOctober 3, 2015 at 12:58 AM

      Of the 140 flights in the past 3 years I bet you chose what airline to book based only on price and schedule. Not wi-fi, crew uniforms, catering or airplane type.
      And so does the other 99.9999% of passengers.

    5. Anonymous16:06

      Frequent and business passengers look at loyalty perks that come with status, and value advantages like seat comfort and wifi more them price alone. Tickets can be expensed for business. Your point of view is valid for LCC passenger but not for everyone else.

    6. Anonymous16:27

      Yes, you are right and your argument would stand here if we were talking of Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Rome, Paris, Moscow... but not Belgrade. Even most local business passengers are price sensitive and would think twice before booking. The few that don't think about it are not enough.

    7. Anonymous20:39

      Yes, you are right, but not all passengers originate in Belgrade. Some travel from cities like London and Paris when their businesses send them to Belgrade.

    8. Anonymous22:48

      Yeah but the real question is how many are they? Are they that many?


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