Zagreb Airport eyes new airlines and routes

Zagreb is putting the finishing touches on its new terminal building as it prepares for a busy twelve months during which focus will shift away from construction work to attracting new airlines and more passengers. Zagreb Airport's General Manager, Jacques Feron, recently said, "We are currently in talks with a number of airlines to introduce new routes, which is one of the ways we are preparing to transition into a new phase of our business operations, which will begin with the opening of the new terminal". Several airlines currently operating to the Croatian capital have already announced plans to boost their operations. They include Qatar Airways, which will deploy the larger Airbus A321 aircraft on seven out of its ten weekly flights this winter, and Air Transat, which will resume its seasonal flights from Toronto to Zagreb earlier in 2017 and run two instead of one weekly flight. Meanwhile, Beijing Capital Airlines has confirmed its arrival and plans to operate two weekly services from the Chinese capital starting next June.

Other carriers which are said to be considering launching flights to Zagreb include Finnair, as well as TAP Portugal, which suspended its Lisbon route in March. Meanwhile, Czech Airlines, which resumed services to Zagreb this summer following a four year hiatus is yet to decide whether the flights will continue into the winter season. "The formal decision about Czech Airlines‘ Prague - Zagreb operations hasn't been made yet. Information about the cancellation of our flights from/to Zagreb is apparently gossip", the carrier's spokesperson told EX-YU Aviation News. Although talks have been held with Wizz Air over the past few years, the low cost airline's terms and conditions for commencing services to the Croatian capital were unsuitable for Zagreb Airport. Despite this, Croatia's main airport has opted for a proactive approach in attracting new routes with a five year scheme to reduce airline start-up costs. Based on the individual merits of the proposed route growth, the airport may offer additional backing through marketing support.

In spite of its efforts to attract new customers, there will also be some reductions to operations this winter. Swiss International Air Lines will discontinue its flights from Zurich, Turkish Airlines will operate ten instead of fourteen weekly services, and Croatia Airlines will cancel its flights to Pristina. Speaking of the airport's development strategy, Mr Feron recently said, "An airport such as Zagreb cannot decide to become a hub on its own. It is airlines which make the airport a hub. At our concessionaire level, we shall accompany the airlines, and especially Croatia Airlines, in their strategies by being efficient and flexible". He added, "This project [new terminal] is very challenging, but it is already a success in that the construction is ahead of schedule. We are confident that with this new tool, we will definitely be able to improve the quality of services provide to all of our business partners". Zagreb Airport handled a record 1.839.994 during the January - August period, an increase of 6.6% compared to last year.

MonthPAXChange (%)
JAN156.947 4.2
FEB153.077 7.9
MAR199.201 7.3
APR202.282 2.3
MAY246.961 5.0
JUN267.259 7.6
JUL307.218 10.3
AUG306.887 7.9


  1. Anonymous09:01

    Well done Zagreb. Next year will be quite interesting.

  2. Anonymous09:03

    Good to hear that CSA hasn't given up on ZAG. Although if they were to cancel the flights I think it would be a great opportunity for Croatia Airlines to maintain its seasonal service.

    1. Anonymous10:15

      Even if CSA continues flying during the winter it would be stupid of them to give up on the route because they will hand the market over to CSA.

    2. Anonymous12:01

      + anon 10.15

  3. Anonymous09:05

    What are the chances of Korean launching direct flights next year? It would hurt Qatar quite a bit as well as Finnair's prospects of coming since their main passengers to Croatia are Asian tourists.

    1. Anonymous09:17

      Well, considering the amount of those passengers and additional increase if KE launch flights, I dont think anybody will be noticeably hurt. Note that there are alrteady charters from Korea.

    2. Anonymous09:36

      Yes but those are only for tourgroups. There are many who travel with Finnair, Qatar and Turkish at the moment from Korea to Croatia.

    3. Anonymous09:51

      If KE starts, during summer there's plenty of business for everyone. During winter Asian tourists show up much less so I doubnt KE will fly year round. Even if it does, note that it would be only 2 or 3 times a week, so limited capacity. I don't think QR, TK and others should be worried on that count. Also note that it will probably also lead to additional market size increase, making that cake bigger for all. If it was daily 777, ok...2 or 3 weekly 330 maybe even tagged to something shouldn't make big impact considering even current demand.

    4. @anonymous 9:51AM - absolutely agree. Given that there are around 400.000 tourists from South Korea, and the fact that KE's 2pw would look at carrying around 20k pax at most during the first year of operations, I seriously doubt this would hurt QR, TK nor any other carrier. Now, if KE was to go daily - that off course would be a different story. If korean market continues to gradually grow, I can see KE go 5pw, but rather sometime around 2019/ then the entire asian market should expand and airlines such as QR would probably go double daily with 787 at least...

    5. Anonymous13:16

      There's plenty of room for many carriers,

      320 000 South Korean visitors
      250 000 Japanese
      350 000 Chinese
      50 000 Malaysian
      70 000 from Taiwan and Hong Kong (35k from each region)
      170 000 Australian visitors
      50 000 New Zealand visitors

      These numbers are for 2016, 2017 will be even larger. I think Qatar will need to maintain triple daily just to cope with the Australian and New Zealanders, let alone others.

      What I am saying is there's no need to worry for Qatar, they're doing just fine. Also competition is good, would be nice to see Singapore Airlines in Zagreb, now that would indeed bring some serious competition to Qatar.

      BTW SAS, TAP, Finnair, Alitalia are all coming to Zagreb in 2017, albeit second half of 2017.

      Swiss will be back in April and I predict Czech will also stay.

      Iberia will most likely start in May next year with triple weekly service and end in October.

      WizzAir might return in 2018, EasyJet as well.

      Aegean and Pegasus might also come to Zagreb in 2017, we'll see.

    6. Anonymous13:50

      Virgin Galactic might also launch Zagreb-Mars when the new terminal opens.

    7. Anonymous14:25

      ZAG ima dobar rezultat ove godine ali svake godine pomerate dolazak SAS,TP,AY i AZ .

    8. Anonymous14:27

      Hahaha! Well said anonymous 1:50 pm , enough with those dreamers!

    9. Anonymous20:00

      Zagreb airport management is doing a great job so far, keep up the good work, hope they will bring some LCCs to Zagreb soon! The terminal looks amazing!

  4. JU520 BEGLAX09:06

    Also LX is planned to come back for SUTT 2017

    Lets hope for scheduled KE flights and of course TP needs to come back !!

  5. Anonymous09:07

    Haha not surprised about Wizz Air. Apparently they asked for a 2 euro tax for services and were straight out told to go home.

  6. Anonymous09:08

    Can't wait for the terminal to open

  7. Anonymous09:19

    They need a LCC. Are they in talks with somebody??

    1. Anonymous09:34

      Eurowings would be perfect for them.

    2. Anonymous09:37

      I think they wanted to give Croatia Airlines a chance to recover and didn't really want to go after LCC. We will see if that changes next year.

    3. Anonymous10:08

      Wizz used to fly to ZAG once upon a time.

    4. Anonymous10:21

      Do you think the rumour saying that OU is not allowing any LCC to fly to ZAG is true? I mean, I know this can't be done, but how knows what kind of agreements are there between the managmant and OU. It seems to me very strange thant no LCC is interested, the market is there.

    5. Anonymous10:26

      ZAG GM said in an interview a year ago they would give OU half a year to a year to recover (that was obviously prolonged). Bottom line is ZAG can't function without OU and OU without ZAG. Something Adria-Ljubljana have not realized.

    6. How could OU decide who will from ZAG or block someone to fly to ZAG? They don't own the airport.

    7. Anonymous10:29

      But ZAG has an interest for OU to survive. The interview with Zagreb Airport's CEO was published a year ago here where he said they won't go too much after other airlines so as to give OU a chance. You can search for it. I would but i don't have the time at the moment.

    8. Actually, this is NOT a rumor. It is true (inside info) that ZAG's route development policy so far was focused on giving OU a chance to recover, as well as to give a chance to other legacy carriers to establish themselves on the new routes... that is a harder but more sustainable way for a good quality route/network development. LCC are great in the way that they are quick to respond and are flexible...and can easily build up some P2P numbers in the summer...

    9. Anonymous13:59

      Transavia would also be a good option for Zagreb. I was expecting greater involvement from French carriers once the French took over ZAG.

    10. Anonymous14:23

      It is unfortunate that this line of argumentation only applies to OU and ZAG. When it comes to JU and BEG, this logic becomes unacceptable.

    11. Anonymous15:12

      What's the hang up with OU and ZAG ? Do you honestly think that if OU reduced its capacity that others wouldn't enter to fill the void ? If there is demand, of course they would. If no one does, then it proves that the routes that OU are flying are not commercially viable ....

  8. Anonymous09:39

    It's interesting that Air Transat sees no interest in flying to Dubrovnik.

    1. Anonymous10:07

      Because that way it would be ony leisure passengers. This way they get diaspora plus holidayers.

    2. Anonymous10:20


      But I am somewhat more surprised that there are still no US flights to DBV or SPU, not even charters. SInce few years Dalmatia is all over the VIP and gossip news in the US, the most positive way. It seems like half of Hollywood has visited the coast and/or bought a villa/house there, some have married there. It's also all over the place in travel news sections. On a Florida trip in summer so many people talked to me saying how gorgeous Croatia was and that some day they would like to visit it - they have heard so many amazing stories about the beauty of islands and coasts, bla bla. So why is no one taking the step (risk) and open a route there. There seems to be a very big demand - even proved by Transat's success from Canada to ZAG.
      I'm sure if there was a HR airline with the right metal they would long be flying.

    3. Anonymous11:23

      Air Serbia linked some Americans to Croatian coast.

    4. Anonymous11:38

      And again nothing will come of that promise that New York - Dubrovnik flights will start

    5. Anonymous12:52

      ASL links Croatia? Well, same do LH, OS, LX, BA, AF, KL, TK, AB etc. etc. - with the difference that JU only flies to one dest. in USA and offers less connections.

    6. Anonymous12:55

      Not even a single American or Canadian airline connects VIE to any destination in the Americas.

      Dont get why they show no interest in these parts of Europe at all

    7. Anonymous17:55

      @AnonymousSeptember 8, 2016 at 10:20 AM

      Currently all visitors coming to Croatia from US come via London, Amsterdam, Paris, Vienna, Frankfurt or Munich.

      However soon hopefully there'll be a direct between New York City and Zagreb, 320 000 US visitors visited Croatia in 2015, about 350 000 are expected this year.

      There are direct links with Frankfurt, Munich, Paris, London and Amsterdam with Dubrovnik and Split in summer months, not sure there'll ever be a need for a direct link between US cities and Dubrovnik as that would require commitment by US based carrier, which so far is lacking.

      Zagreb airport had contact with few US based carriers, but I think Air Transat has to a degree proven the formula works and perhaps a seasonal connection with Zagreb would be a really smart thing to do.

    8. Anonymous02:04

      All, are you serious? Are you aware the number of pax from ZAG using JFK route from Belgrade?

    9. Anonymous07:00

      @2:04 Are you serious? What is your point?

      Hardly anyone from Croatia likes JU for historical reasons, particularly now when they are relabeled to Air Serbia.

      And are you implying that many or few people use a flight via BEG to JFK? I guess some 8 people in average do ZAGBEGJFK. However, this discussion (except prelast anon) was about a connection of DBV or SPU to US with different customer structure.

    10. Anonymous07:50

      Dont overestimate JU impact on ZAG NYC ZAG. If for nothing else, then for very low capacity it offers from ZAG that connects to that flight. But anon at 7:00AM is right, BEG JFK is sold next to nothing here, there are simply loads of other choices and people are not exactly rushing to buy JU over LH, KL etc, especially for JFK.

    11. Anonymous11:52

      @AnonymousSeptember 9, 2016 at 2:04 AM


      Air Serbia had barely 45% Pax on Zagreb route, when Air Serbia had massive discounts load factor was around 50%, now it is less than 45%.

      More people fly to Zagreb out of Belgrade than the other way.

      All of people out of Zagreb who fly to NYC fly via Frankfurt, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Munich and Vienna, far better connections, frequency and choice of return, not to mention price.

      So my guess is big fat 0 pax on Zagreb - NYC transferring @Belgrade for NYC with ASL.

      And this shall remain so cause there are cheaper and better alternatives out of Zagreb via Amsterdam, London, Paris....

  9. Anonymous09:59

    Not surprising. After financial losses over the past few years caused by the construction of the terminal they will now have to make up for it my attracting more business.

    1. Anonymous14:03

      Has ZAG published a single financial report for the past few years? It would be really interesting too see how their finances are doing.

  10. Anonymous10:01

    If TAP starts flying again, OU will probably stop

    1. Anonymous12:57

      I could well imagine they coordinarte their flights, e.g. 4pw with TAP, 3pw with OU - one flight per weekday.

  11. Anonymous10:26

    Very good numbers

  12. Anonymous10:42

    I hope to see TAROM. We need connection to Bucharest.

  13. Anonymous11:36

    Great numbers for Zagreb this year. Let's see how winter turns out with quite a few cancellations and frequency downgrades.

  14. JU520 BEGLAX12:05

    KE should fly SUTT only PRG-ICN-ZAG 3 weekly with 747 8
    Currently in Summer they fly 4 748 PRG-ICN
    So they wld hve 7 weekly PRG and in ZAG
    In WITT back to 4 weekly 333 PRG-ICN

    That should work

    1. Anonymous12:28

      KE doesn't have bilateral flights for more than 4 weekly between ICN and PRG. As there is demand for much more, what they did is to lease a plane to Czech Airlines, who then also started to fly the route up to 4 times weekly (in summer). So KE cannot add more dlights between the cities on their own metal.

    2. JU520 BEGLAX14:05

      Just sign a new agreement, thats it
      KE is the stakeholder in PRG and makes pretty much the rules

    3. Anonymous22:58

      I assume you mean that KE is a shareholder in CSA and not PRG. Anyway, KE doesn't care about developing CSA further at all, it looks more like they bought a couple of shares just to be able to force CSA to fly a few more frequencies between PRG and ICN on metal leased from the very same KE (arguably, a very unfavourable lease agreement)

  15. JU520 BEGLAX12:07

    It should say in ZAG 3 weekly Summer flts...

  16. For those of you who have been to Vegas and seen the Bellagio fountain, Zagreb just made its own version in one of her parks.

    Has anyone seen it?

    Also, Ultra Europe will be hosting a week long music festive in Zagreb over the Christmas NY period with some major DJ's headlining.

    Zagreb is definite doing a great job keeping up with its coastal city cousins.

    Sometime I think OU could get away with have up to 3 long haul roots. Probably too late now but who knows what the future will bring.

    My 3 favourite long haul destinations for OU from Zagreb would be:
    NY or Chicago
    And Seoul. (Maybe linked with Tokyo)

    1. Sorry, using my iPhone, auto correct is a killer!!

  17. Anonymous13:52

    Credit should be given where credit is due. The French have done a very good job at running ZAG and attracting a whole load of airlines over the past few years.

    1. Anonymous13:58

      +1 french have done a good job. A good model for other airports in the region.

    2. Anonymous14:01

      The best managed airport in ex-yu together with Skopje.

  18. Anonymous13:53

    What do people think Zagreb's growth will be next year?

    1. Anonymous13:55

      I think arpund same as this year. So about 6-7%

    2. Anonymous17:10

      @AnonymousSeptember 8, 2016 at 1:53 PM

      lets see

      January: 175k
      February: 160k
      March: 215k
      April: 220k
      May: 270k
      June: 290k
      July: 340k
      August: 340k
      September: 320k
      October: 280k
      November: 230k
      December: 220k

      Total: 3060

  19. Anonymous13:54

    The new terminal sure does look impressive!

  20. Anonymous14:04

    Zagreb definitely needs a link to Stockholm or Oslo.

  21. Anonymous14:20

    OT. Departed from BEG this morning on LH to FRA. Flight packed to capacity - newish A320 with sharklets.. BUT!!!!!

    Gate A5 at BEG full of cockroaches, no exaggeration, counted 4. Pax complained to disinterested BEG ground staff. Cabin luggage weight and dimension screener full of garbage. Shocking departure!
    Such a letdown... Thought that BEG got it's act together...

    1. Anonymous14:30

      ASL got it, BEG never will.

  22. Mislite li da postoji mogućnost da krajem ove godine kroz ZAG prođe 3 miliona putnika? Ili ćemo to ipak doživjeti tek sljedeće godine?

    1. nema šanse. čak i da se u 10. mjesecu pojavi nekoliko novih carriera, ništa od toga. ZAG može biti sretan ako zaokruži 2,8 mil...a vrlo vjerovatno će to biti oko 2.76 mil

    2. Anonymous16:59

      @TimtamSeptember 8, 2016 at 2:26 PM

      2.8 million max this year,

      1.84 million so far

      September - 290k
      October - 258k
      November - 200k
      December - 185k

      Total: 2.77 million

    3. I don't know how growth in Nov and Dec is possible given TK's reductions, TAP's and Swiss' absence. On the other hand, there is QR increasing flights and airplane size and the effects of LOT which in 2015. had left ZAG in June (came back in 01/2016)... The best case scenario for 11/2016 and 12/2016 is stagnation or minimum 1% growth...

  23. Anonymous14:30

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Anonymous14:30

      ASL je potpisala ugovor sa CITS da im budu glavno generalno zastupnik za karte to su odlicne vesti sto znaci da ce biti iznenadjenja.

  24. Anonymous16:14

    More flights between ZAG and BEG are needed to boost business and tourism. Next year at least 3 daily flights.
    Wizz will wait until the new terminal functions and ZAG will have no choice but to lower the taxes and give their ass.
    ZAG also needs flights to NYC with United and should be connected to OTP, SOF, CLJ, VAR, SKG.
    If they open a base in SKP they should launch: MUC/FRA, MAD, LIS, STO, ATH.

    1. United?Good luck with that...Ahh dreamers...

    2. Anonymous16:54

      @AnonymousSeptember 8, 2016 at 4:14 PM


    3. Anonymous19:59

      Why do you think that Wizz will have more luck, as in better chances to get better rates, when the new terminal is completed?

  25. Any news about Air Berlin ex DUS?

  26. Anonymous17:04

    What about Ryan? Eeasyjet?

  27. The best managed airport in the ex yu region and beyond (including Bulgaria and Albania) and what's that much more impressive, all the growth has been achieved without succumbing to LCC pressure. That's how it's done!
    Also, the best looking new terminal in Southeast Europe. Can't wait for it to open its doors for business!


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