Croatian airports set for record year

Croatian airports are on course to handle a combined total of over nine million passengers this year, with figures up over 17% so far in 2017. The President of the Air Transport Association at the Croatian Chamber of Economy, Tonči Peović, estimates that annual growth at the country's nine commercial airports will average 10% this year. "The significant rise in passenger numbers at Croatian airports has been influenced by GDP growth in countries that visitors are coming from, as well as numerous other factors, including safety. Travellers want to go on holiday to places where they feel safe", Mr Peović, who is also the General Manager of Brač Airport, said. He added that lower fares resulting from lower fuel prices have also stimulated travel.

During the first half of the year, Croatian airports welcomed a record 3.444.310 passengers through their doors, according to the country's Civil Aviation Agency. The figure represents an increase of 17.7% on the same period in 2016. Almost all managed to attract more travellers than last year with Split being the fastest growing, adding 185.600 passengers during the January - June period. Brač Airport recorded the largest increase in travellers percentage wise. Several airports have given estimates of their end-of-year results, although most will likely be surpassed. Zagreb Airport anticipates welcoming over three million travellers, Split 2.7 million, Dubrovnik two million, Pula 600.000, Zadar 580.000 and Brač 30.000 passengers.

Croatian airports H1 2017

AirportPAXChange (%)
Zagreb1.335.942 9.0
Split872.444 27.1
Dubrovnik812.553 20.1
Zadar206.124 14.9
Pula158.736 37.0
Rijeka37.930 2.9
Osijek10.829 9.7
Brač8.610 168.6
Mali Lošinj1.133 41.5

In order to keep up with the strong growth, a number of Croatian airports have been investing in their infrastructure to increase capacity. In March, Zagreb Airport opened its new terminal building, with Dubrovnik Airport following suit. One of the country's most congested airports, Split, is in the process of building a multi million euro terminal, with the facility expected to be opened to the public in July 2019. Earlier this year, Brač Airport completed work on lengthening its runway from 1.440 metres to 1.760 metres. The 320 metre extension now allows for the island airport to handle larger aircraft such as Fokkers, Airbus A319s and new Bombardier C-series jets. Furthermore, Pula Airport's runway was resurfaced over the winter and its approach lighting extended from 400 to 900 metres. In the coming period, Zadar Airport plans to expand its international departures area. The development will allow it to add capacity but also adapt to Schengen standards. Meanwhile, Dubrovnik has completed tender procedures for the second phase of its major development project, which will include apron expansion, the overhaul of its runway and taxiways, as well as the relocation of the fuel farm and enclosed facilities for maintenance, operations and ground equipment. Valued at 115.2 million euros, the project will enhance the airport's handling capacity to some 3.98 million passengers per year by 2032.


  1. Anonymous09:03

    Fantastic numbers but I think next year will be a crucial one as the Turkish market starts to recover. On top of that, Tunisia is also back on the radar of European holidaymakers.

    Let's see how Croatia, Greece and Spain perform next year.

    1. Anonymous09:11


      Tunisia is reporting a 30% increase in tourist numbers this year compared to 2016.

    2. Anonymous12:24

      poslije zadnjih zločudnih terorističkih zlodjela u europi ne znam dugoročno tko je toliko lud da ide na odmor u tursku, tunis, egipat..ali svatko zna što mu je prioritet u životu, par stotina eura uštede ili glava na ramenu--trend porasta putnika na HR apt će se sigurno nastaviti i u 2018. godin

    3. Anonymous13:32

      I Turska I Tunis beleze ogroman rast turista posebno jer se situacija tamo smirila. Dogodine se ocekuje povratak Nemaca I Holandjana u Tursku

    4. Anonymous13:47

      Samo neka se očekuje
      Svakako bi nam dobro došao predah i par godina umjerenog rasta, tipa 4-5% da dovedemo infrastrukturu na neki nivo
      Onda možemo ponovno krenuti sa 15% rasta, do onda se svi mogu strpiti

    5. Anonymous14:25

      O tome I pricam sve vreme. Rast je tu ali ovoliki je zbog nereda u odredjenim drzavama

    6. Anonymous17:50

      I expect, the effect of Tunisia and Turkey, won't impact Croatia, Greece as much. It might impact Spain and Italy as they're a lot larger markets.

      Croatia anticipates 17.5 million tourists this year, and probably safe to assume 20 million in 2018. The current infrastructure in the country wasn't built to deal with that many tourist.

      I expect Split, Dubrovnik, Pula, Zadar airport will see above projected growth in coming years, With Split probably heading for 4 million pax in 2020, Dubrovnik above 3.0 million and Zadar and Pula could hit 1.0 million in 2020. Zagreb is all but certain now it'll handle over 5.0 million in 2020.

      Something, we couldn't say in 2013/14. As Croatian tourism or Croatian economy wasn't really growing at hug rate.

      Both quite encouraging these days, and as EU recovered from long economic doldrums, more people will travel or go on holiday, experience travel (17-20 year old) for the first time perhaps.

      We live in interesting times, that is quite certain.

    7. Anonymous06:57

      Number of Germans going to Turkey jumped by 14% this July despite there still being a fall this year. Many who were supposed to go to Tunis, Turkey, Egypt... have decided to go to Croatia, Bulgaria, Spain...

      As these market recover the growth in Croatia will stay but at a much lower rate. Probably 5% to 10% per annum.

    8. Anonymous07:07

      In addition to the Germans, seems like the Brits will be back as well. Jet2 plans to double its capacity for next summer:

  2. Anonymous09:06

    Congratulations Croatia. This is impressive.

  3. Anonymous09:08

    Biggest market in ex-yu.

    1. Anonymous09:10

      Absolutely. The growth has been spectacular, let's hope they can keep it up. SPU's growth is amazing and this year they managed to become number one airport in HR even for a while. It only goes to show where the country's true potential is!

    2. Yes and No. ZAG is way too expensive at this moment. Look at some of the other european fares with the same carriers...ZAG is among more expensive ones... French need to bring in more LCCs, there's potential in numbers there...

    3. Anonymous10:30

      The only issue with SPU/DBV vs ZAG is that they are active (and that is very active) only limited time of the year and that will not change in near future. ZAG has more chances of stabile year round growth as it has more diversified traffic. Still, great seeing growing numbers!

    4. Anonymous10:31

      Yeah but what's the point of bringing an LCC which will be expensive? I think they generally need to lower their charges. I mean from January ZAG will be more expensive than VIE!!!

    5. Anonymous10:33

      DBV could attract some passengers from Bosnia and parts of Montnegro if they bothered to do some marketing beyond the tourist markets.

    6. Anonymous18:13

      Croatian airports could handle nearly 10 million pax this year.

      Zagreb - 3.15 million
      Split - 2.8 million
      Dubrovnik - 2.3 million
      Pula - 620k
      Zadar - 600k
      Osijek - 50k
      Brac - 30k

      Total: 9.55 million

      2018: based on number of new airlines that are coming to Croatia in 2018.

      Zagreb - 3.7 million
      Split - 3.1 million
      Dubrovnik - 2.7 million
      Pula - 720k
      Zadar - 650k
      Osijek - 80k
      Brac - 50k

      Total: 11.0 million

      2019: Continued growth

      Zagreb - 4.5 million
      Split - 3.5 million
      Dubrovnik - 3.0 million
      Pula - 800k
      Zadar - 700k
      Osijek - 120k
      Brac - 80k

      Total: 12.7 million

      2020: Likely traffic in 2020, if numbers continued to go at present rate of growth. Dubrovnik and Split would exceed the projected designed capacity of new terminals by 2025. Split is projected at 5.0 million, 3.5 + 1.5 million in current terminal. Dubrovnik was built for 3.5 million pax but actual capacity is around 5.5 million. Zagreb airport has plenty of room for expansion, as terminal will expand in stages, phase 2a/b it'll expand by additional 2 jetways, phase 2c/d terminal will receive additional 6+2 jetways, for total of 16. This is when terminals exceeds 7.3 million pax, projected to happen by 2025, would be as early as 2024.

      Zagreb - 5.1 million
      Split - 3.85 million
      Dubrovnik - 3.35 million
      Pula - 900k
      Zadar - 800k
      Osijek - 150k
      Brac - 100k

      Total: 14.25 million

    7. Aleksandar22:18

      Hopefully it is better than the last time.

    8. Anonymous00:04

      An 6:13
      Is Rijeka in Zimbabwe? Iceland?

    9. Anonymous06:55

      In what universe will ZAG handle an additional million passengers? Not to mention that OU might not even exist by 2019.

    10. Anonymous12:43


      What a gem from the past! Most people would learn from past mistakes, but he continues to terrorize the readers with his imaginary numbers.

    11. Aleksandar20:54

      ^^ 12:43

      He is by far the most dedicated troll so I save his gems to laugh at. He has been at it for many years.

      His best is "ZAG 8 million by 2025".

  4. Anonymous09:20

    Only Mali Lošinj has a decrease in pax numbers. Why?

    1. Danijel09:34

      Maybe because there is no ECA anymore?

    2. Anonymous09:43

      It has no commercial flights so ECA grounding probably hurt them a lot.

    3. Anonymous18:51

      What about the airport infrastucture development and runway lengthening at Mali Losinj? Is anything happening there - does anyone have detailed infos?

  5. Anonymous10:07

    What Peovic expects for Brac in 2018?

  6. Very impressive. At the end of the year that will be almost half of all ex-Yugoslavian air traffic. With the other countries registering record numbers as well. Most importantly, this is still only the beginning. There's so much more potential in the entire region. Instead of having just over 20 million, the region could easily be handling between 40 and 50 million passengers in not too distant future.

    1. Anonymous10:31

      I wish OSI was performing better. I guess the region being poor and not that populous is killing any major development there.

    2. Anonymous11:30

      Talking of the region doing well, INI welcomed its 200.000th passenger yesterday. First time since opening its doors in 1986!

    3. Anonymous11:31

      Could INI overtake PUY or ZAD?

    4. Anonymous11:35

      No there is absolutely no chance. Had you bothered to read the article you would have seen that Pula will handle at least 600,000 passengers and Zadar at least 580,000 this year. In July Pula had almost the same number of passengers Nis had for the whole year. You have to get out of your mindset that Nis is the centre of the universe.

    5. Anonymous11:52

      Why are you so bitter when it comes to Nish? Chill.
      INI will welcome some 320.000 this year and probably some 450.000 next year. In two years from now it will handle more than 500.000 especially since no airport in the region can compete with their cost structure. :)

    6. Anonymous12:01

      I'm not bitter at all. Just deal with the fact that there is no chance instead of writing on every topic how Nis will overtake Skopje, Pula, Zadar etc.

    7. Anonymous12:25

      Well, eventually it will. I am sorry if you don't like that thought

    8. Anonymous12:28


    9. Anonymous12:43

      INI has a long way to go but if they keep up good work then I don't see why they can't handle 2 million in the next seven to ten years.

  7. Anonymous10:58

    Congratulations. Those are really great numbers.

  8. Anonymous10:58

    I think Split's achievement stands out the most. Well done.

    1. Anonymous11:25

      Future no.1 airport.

    2. Anonymous11:26

      I agree, only a matter of time

    3. Anonymous12:18

      they have a lot of work there to improve the airside infrastructure.
      It is a matter of lot of money, too!
      At the end of the day the location is poor.
      So the question is if someone plans for 30 years or 10 years.

    4. Anonymous08:44

      Hardly number one, as it is BRUTALLY seasonal. And that (unforunately) will not/cannot be changed soon.

  9. Anonymous11:28

    Pula is doing extremely well. All those new airlines which started flying there this year are obviously resulting in bigger passenger numbers. And in July they handled 152,900 passengers!

    1. Anonymous12:48

      And remember that Pula was completely closed in February for runway reconstruction so they had no passengers that month.

  10. Anonymous11:35

    Good achievement so far in 2017. Anyone willing to predict results for the end of the year? It has been a huge year for tourism.

  11. Anonymous11:35

    Some impressive growths over here! Bravo Hrvatska, from Serbia!

  12. Anonymous12:35

    Zagreb has done well too

  13. Anonymous12:44

    Brac could be the new big performer if all those plans with Tui and Eurowings materialize next year.

    1. Anonymous18:54

      Thank God there are no plans with Air Berlin :)

  14. Anonymous12:46

    Is some special traffic expected in SPU next week for Euroleague match Hajduk-Everton?

  15. Anonymous12:46

    I think average growth will be larger then Peovic's prediction.

  16. Anonymous16:12

    OT: JU3371 - charter from BSL to BEG - a B733 YU-ANK is squwaking 7700, seems to be heading to ZRH for emergency landing.

    1. Anonymous16:22

      All traffic in hold around ZRH JU3371 going in priority

    2. Anonymous17:45

      Seems like it's serious. ANK won't be operating the SKG charter tomorrow morning, it will be operated by APJ.

      Btw JU head of marketing and PR quit after the whole scandal with the autistic child.

    3. Anonymous17:55

      It was ferry(primary OHD - BSL) every saturday!

    4. Danijel18:12

      And I see ASL cancelled second flight from Zag to Belgrade. Anyone know why?

    5. Anonymous18:16

      There was only one ZAG scheduled for today, it was the flight in the morning.

    6. Anonymous18:48

      ''Btw JU head of marketing and PR quit after the whole scandal with the autistic child.''

      Quit or was fired? It was a total PR disaster for JU, regardless whether they were right or wrong. That JU legal adviser was even worse.

    7. Anonymous19:16

      She quit the day after Nedeljnik and those magazines published their stories. It was handled in a very bad manner but...

      I mean even if they had the right to do it the public will always side with the 11 year old autistic kid.

      As for the woman from legal, she always speaks like that. Oni nemaju case. :D

    8. Anonymous19:53

      Any fresh informations about that B733 that was diverted to ZRH?

    9. Anonymous20:49

      It took off about 10 minutes ago.

    10. Anonymous21:53

      Although it was flying rather low. Its maximum altitude was 25,000 feet.

    11. Anonymous06:52

      I guess there was issues with the pressurization of the cabin. Ouch.

    12. Anonymous09:18

      Well they probably fixed it. YU-ANK operated JU390 BEG-HAM this morning.

    13. Any idea how fas it was flying? Max 25000 would more likely be landing gear related. Pressurisation issue would limit you to 10000

    14. Anonymous16:53

      Speed was around 430 knots.

    15. Probably not landing gear than

  17. Anonymous16:43

    Bravo Hrvatska!


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