TRIP REPORT: Trade Air, Croatia PSO flights

TRIP REPORT


Submitted by Toni SIlić

After spending Easter holiday weekend on the beautiful island of Korčula in the southern Adriatic it was time to return back home to Zagreb. This time, instead of taking a usual Croatia Airlines (OU) flight from Dubrovnik (DBV) or Split (SPU) to Zagreb (ZAG) I have opted for Trade Air's (C3) PSO (Public Service Obligation) service from Split via Pula (PUY) and Osijek (OSI) to Zagreb with BAE Jetstream J32. What a fantastic joyride it was.

Riva - Split's beautiful waterfront is where I started my journey that day

Croatian Government is subsidizing all domestic flights in Croatia. This particular PSO service was started back in 2013 with aim of better connecting Osijek and region of Slavonija with the capital city of Zagreb and several coastal airports in Croatia (RJK, PUY, SPU and DBV). Croatia's Trade Air (C3) is the selected operator of these flights. At first, flights were operated by sub-leased Budapest Air Service Embraer 120 Brasilia aircraft. In 2016, PSO was amended, number of routes and frequencies was increased, while aircraft operator changed to Dutch AIS Airlines with smaller 19 seat BAE Jetstream 32, which has been operating the flights since.


Today's route. 2x per week flights operate ZAG-OSI-PUY-SPU and back (Mon, Fri), while 2x per week OSI-RJK-SPU-DBV and back (Tue, Thu). With fares available for as low as 58,85 € for a 3 sector flight and a flight time of about 4:30 minutes this flight is as good as it gets if you are looking for a proper joyride :) Flights are easily searched and booked here: http://www.trade-air.com/ScheduledFlights.

Date: April 2, 2018
Flight #: C3818 (Trade Air)
Aircraft: BAE Jetstream 32 PH-BCI (operated by AIS Airlines)
Route: Split (SPU) - Pula (PUY) - Osijek (OSI)

Split Airport


New terminal building under construction. Split is the 2nd busiest airport of Croatia, with almost 3m passengers per year. Airport is extremely congested during summer months and has been operating over capacity for several years already. This new terminal building scheduled to open in 2019 is long overdue.


Not many flights scheduled to operate as summer flight schedule started just days before.


Croatia Airlines Q400 on a regular service to Zagreb. I am going the same way, with a short detour.


Jetstream 32 has a capacity of 18 pax + 1 flight attendant, with free seating arrangement. It's first time for me to fly the Jetstream 32 aircraft so I was pretty excited.



Today's ride is PH-BCI, built in 1991. Crew, consisted of Dutch cockpit and Croatian flight attendant, seen here walking back to the aircraft after a short stop @ Split Airport.

Shortly after take-off from Split's runway 05


I chose seat 2A because it offers a good view of the cockpit area. Jetstream 32 has no cockpit doors.


Unfortunately the engine and dirty/old windows were obstructing the views of the beautiful Dalmatian coast. As the flight was full, I couldn't switch the seats.Our route followed the coastline, as we overflew Šibenik, Zadar and the island of Cres before descending towards Pula (PUY).



Flight is taking a short stop @ PUY during which transit passengers to OSI stay on board. Both legs were full, 16/18 and 18/18 passengers respectively.


Aircraft is being refueled for the longest leg of the journey, 1 hour flight to OSI.


Istrian coastline and the Island of Krk. These flights are flying on a relatively low altitude, therefore if the weather is nice, they offer some amazing views.

Snow covered mountains of Lika and Gorski Kotar


Glass of water is served on each leg of the flight. Legroom is quite good having in mind the size of the aircraft.


Touchdown. Old Trade Air's (Sun Adria branded) F100 has been sitting @ OSI for many years now.



Arrival at Osijek. Passengers and crew disembark. Another crew will be continuing on to Zagreb.




I have exactly 55 min before my next flight to Zagreb. Check-in hasn't started yet. I had to check in again because I didn't get a boarding pass while my luggage was removed from the flight, no matter it was checked in all the way through to Zagreb. Staff @ OSI is apparently not used to having any transfer passengers. When I asked the lady at the check-in counter about transfer passengers she said they get one or two every 2-3 months. Not so strange I guess. I am using this time to wander around Osijek's small terminal. OSI is served just by a few airlines and is together with Brač (BWK) and Lošinj (LSZ) by far the smallest airport in Croatia.

Date: April 2nd 2018
Flight #: C3813 (Trade Air)
Aircraft: BAE Jetstream 32 PH-BCI (opby AIS Airlines)
Route: Osijek (OSI) to zagreb (ZAG)



Check-in is open and it's time to fly to Zagreb. Unlike Split-Pula-Osijek flights which were quite full, flight to Zagreb carried 10 passengers.These PSO flights are very popular during summer months along the Croatian coast. Flights between Zagreb and Osijek are not as busy, especially during slow winter months. PSO is arranged in a way that the government is paying approximately 60-70€ per seat per flight minus the ticketing revenues. Therefore the airline faces no risks if the flights are empty.


Touchdown in Zagreb, new terminal building which opened just over a year ago, in March 2017.

Both passengers and crew disembarked and left to terminal building using the same bus. It took them just around 3-4 minutes to secure the aircraft before leaving it.


Very spacious arrivals hall and new Zagreb airport terminal building from the outside.


Hope you enjoyed this trip report. I really enjoyed taking these flights, and hopefully will have a chance to do it again. Starting May 2018 the route will be operated by Van Air Europe and their Turbolet L410, so hopefully I will get to try out that aircraft as well. If you want to fly between Croatian coastal airports or are just looking for an affordable and very interesting joyride I definitely recommend Trade Air's PSO flights in Croatia.

Comments

  1. Unusual trip report, I love it. Thank you.

    What time did you land in ZAG? The airport looks quite empty, I guess it's between two busy periods, no?

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  2. WOW amazing flights almost like sightseeing tour of Croatia. L-410 is interesting plane but i think Jetstream is faster and more comfortable.

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  3. I just wanted to write same , for around 55€ you can't find better deal to see Croatia from above. What's avarege cruising attitude on those airplanes?

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    Replies
    1. LET L-410 fly around 10-12 000 and that is fine when the weather is nice. Jetstream goes higher maybe 14-16 000 and it is way too faster than little LET.

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    2. Do they fly this route with LET L410 from time to time?

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  4. Very interesting! Thank you for sharing.

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  5. nice report, thank you for sharing with us

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  6. The most developed domestic network in Europe! Bravo HR!

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  7. Exotic! Thanks for the nice report.

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  8. Great report! Thx

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  9. Very nice Trip report. I have done the same last year on the J32 and booked already the L410 flight, which is gonna be a first for me :)

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    Replies
    1. L410?? Who is operating this one?

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    2. The answer is in the article mate, how about reading it?
      Van Air Europe

      It surprises me that Trade Air is not at least using 31 or 34 seater such as Do328 (prop version) or S34. Seems like the demand is there for a bigger plane.

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    3. Thank you very much.
      I must admit that I did not read it at all as I was quite familier with this routing and operation. L410 is something new.
      You are quiet right, they can use much more seats during the season but out of season the seats are not really utilized.

      Delete

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