Croatia negotiating Beijing and Shanghai service


The Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, has said his government is negotiating the establishment of flights from Beijing and Shanghai to Zagreb. "We are attempting to reach an agreement over nonstop flights between Zagreb, Beijing and Shanghai. Croatia has been recognised by Chinese tourists as an interesting new destination in Europe and this year some 200.000 could visit the country", Mr Plenković said following talks with his Chinese counterpart at the 16+1 CEEC - China summit in Sofia last week, which comprises of sixteen Central and Eastern European nations and China. Zagreb Airport's General Manager, Jacques Feron, recently noted, "We anticipate to finalise talks over the arrival of a Chinese carrier because Croatia is becoming of growing interest to Chinese tourists. There is also an increasing number of Chinese investments in Croatia and we believe that we will be able to find a common ground for the introduction of flights from a Chinese city".

Earlier this year, the Zagreb-based Chinese Southeast European Business Association (CSEBA), said Hainan Airlines could introduce flights to Croatia in the near future following talks with the government of Hainan province and the Croatian Embassy in China. "We discussed the possibility of Hainan Airlines introducing nonstop flights from China to Croatia, most probably to Zagreb. The launch of this service would boost the number of Chinese tourists to Croatia. There is certainly increased interest for Croatia from both the provincial and central governments after the China Road and Bridge Corporation was awarded a contract to build the first phase of Pelješac Bridge", CSEBA said in a statement. It added, "Hainan Airlines is very interested in introducing services to Croatia and the region in general".

The Chinese carrier, which launched flights between Beijing and Belgrade via Prague last year, has said that, in line with China's One Belt, One Road initiative, it plans to continue expanding its presence outside of its home market, especially across countries in Central and Eastern Europe, most of which have already established close ties with China. Last year, the CEO of the HNA Group, the parent company of Hainan Airlines, held talks with Croatia's President, Kolinda Grbar Kitarović, where the two discussed both investment opportunities and potential flights. Beijing Capital Airlines, another HNA subsidiary, was to introduce services between Beijing and Zagreb over the 2017 summer season. The carrier filed for a permit for a two weekly service with an Airbus A330-200 aircraft, however, the planned operations were later cancelled.

A record 160.081 Chinese tourists visited Croatia in 2017, an increase of 56.5% on the year before. In March, Dubrovnik hosted the 16+1 tourism summit, while in September a meeting of 16+1 tourism ministers will also be held in the city.

Comments

  1. Ugh would be nice to finally have a deal. They have been negotiating for four years now.

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  2. I don't get it, is there no other Chinese airline interested in this region? BEG, LJU, ZAG and even SJJ were/are targeting Hainan.

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    1. They are all targeting Hainan because Hainan has established itself as the official airline of the Belt and Road initiative. In the article they even said so themselves.

      "in line with China's One Belt, One Road initiative, it plans to continue expanding its presence outside of its home market, especially across countries in Central and Eastern Europe, most of which have already established close ties with China".

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    2. I doubt Hainan will fly both Beijing and Shanghai. It will probably be two different airlines.

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    3. What is the main airline at Shanghai?

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    4. China Eastern Airlines

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    5. Hainan Airlines is quite small out Pudong Airport but they have interesting international routes from there - Boston, Brussels, Seattle, Tel Aviv...

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    6. I think it will be wither China Eastern or Hainan from Shanghai. The others don't really offer too many international destinations from there. There is Air China but they only fly to some major European cities.

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    7. Could have been Croatia Airlines if they leased an A330 or B787.

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    8. ^ Yes and they would go bankrupt the second they were to do that.

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    9. Maybe if they get a strategic partner then they could do some ventures like that. But for now it's impossible.

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  3. What? PM and President negotiating and announcing flights China? I thought things like that don't happen in Croatia

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    1. Actually , there is a little difference :in this case, PM only announces negotiating for the service are going on, taking part on international conference, based on numbers of tourists, with the lines aimed to be profitable, and with no changes in legislative or administration. In the other case, one person not only announces but decides unilateraly on introduction of unprofitable service and abolishment of visas against joint european policy, so yes, it's not happening in Croatia and I 'm glad it's like that



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    2. Definitely not as often as in Serbia.

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    3. @ 9.27 Yes, I'm sure Vucic forced Hainan to start flights to Belgrade because he is so powerful. So he managed to do it all unilateral. Give me a break.

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    4. Chinese don't need visas for Serbia. For Croatia and EU they do. Makes a helluva difference.

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    5. Of course he does not have power to force them. But he used political influence and other business packages.

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  4. I wonder if and how LH, QR and EK could be affected by this. Although mostly I'm interested in how LH could be affected by all this extra competition at Zagreb - AC, Korean, EK... Quite interesting to see how their operations develop there in the future.

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    1. What combination are Chinese using the most to fly to Croatia at the moment? Aeroflot, Lufthansa?

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    2. Second quarter statistics are still not out but in Q1 of this year Qatar carried 31.894 passengers in ZAG. That comes out to be 354 passengers in total per day, both ways. If I am not mistaken, and if my math is not failing me, that's 177 passengers each way. If they operated double daily flights then it means on average they had 86 passengers per flight.

      Q1 2016: 18.819
      Q1 2017: 29.864
      Q1 2018: 31.894

      Emirates seems to be experiencing issues with seasonality as well.

      ZAG-DXB

      Q3 2017: 50.412
      Q4 2017: 33.094
      Q1 2018: 24.397

      If EK operated a total of 50 flights in Q1 (five weekly) then it means they carried some 170 passengers per flight. That said, they were flying almost full in summer.

      On the other hand, Air Transat seems to be doing really well and the market with Canada seems to be developing quite nicely.

      ZAG-Canada

      Q3 2016: 7.604
      Q4 2017: 13.520

      No wonder Rouge is launching Zagreb flights.

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    3. Well, the number of tourists from Far East is still rising, so...

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    4. Thank you very much for the stats Nemjee. Interesting figures there.

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    5. 9.24

      I think mostly Star Alliance hubs - Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna...

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    6. Mostly by Qatar, Emirates and Turkish.

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    7. So QR and EK were half empty or ...?

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    8. Is the seasonality something we just discovered? He was giving numbers for low season.

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    9. Only for QR, Transat was for high while EK was for both.

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    10. None of them fly full or anywhere near full during the low season. That is a fact for a long time, not just for these airlines, but for (almost) all of them. And this is not specific only for ZAG, but for every airport in the region.

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    11. Here are the Q2 and Q3 for Qatar.

      Q2 2015: 14.200
      Q2 2016: 25.832
      Q2 2017: 30.782

      Q3 2015: 23.599
      Q3 2016: 34.024
      Q3 2017: 35.301

      Qatar increased ZAG to double daily last July 1st but we can see that their numbers more or less stagnated. This could also be attributed to Emirates and extra frequencies were a defensive mechanism.
      That said, double daily during Q1 is an overkill. It would be enough to operate daily or 9 weekly but I guess with the embargo QR doesn't mind deploying aircraft so that they don't sit in Doha.

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    12. Where did you get these numbers from ?

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    13. Qatar's numbers where growing rapidly until the arrival of EK. They probably did introduce double daily as a response in the third quarter of last year. We'll see the results this year, but one daily with a widebody could be the next thing they do.
      That said...it's absolutely fantastic that you can fly from Zagreb to Bangkok, in business class with Emirates and Qatar both for a few hundred dollars lower price than with Turkish!

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    14. Well, the numbers above show that EK has created additional demand, despite certain sceptics.

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    15. Yes, 170 passengers per flight, double of FZ loads.

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    16. Any numbers FZ loads?

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    17. Anon 11.12

      Here they are:

      2014: 1.095
      2015: 28.484
      2016: 28.848

      Three busiest months:

      June 15: 1.797
      June 16: 1.678

      July 15: 2.834
      July 16: 3.221

      August 15: 3.218
      August 16: 3.404

      Anon 02.58

      A friend has them so he is generous enough to share them with me.

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    18. So this year Qatar will have 140 000 pax on Doha Zagreb route, or 72% load factor, 2019 Qatar might do 150 000 pax on the route, and 2020, 160 000, quite decent 84% lf if you ask me.

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  5. There is a huge potential from Chinese market, and it's yet to be discovered.

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    Replies
    1. More should be done to attract them to Croatia.

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  6. If they can put OU as part of the package for these flights I would be more than happy.

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  7. Hainan has done wonders for Serbia in terms of tourist numbers from China. Zagreb could benefit the same way.

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    Replies
    1. Zagreb is already benefiting from existing links, 90 000 Chinese visitors to Croatia in first 5 months.

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  8. Good luck! There is definitely potential.

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  9. Hope they consider Dubrovnik too.

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    Replies
    1. Chinese are generally not interested in seaside vacations.

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    2. There is much much more to Dubrovnik then the sea.

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  10. Great news. Nice to see they that advanced talks are taking place. I really hope something does come of it this time around.

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  11. Before it was the US, now it is China...

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    1. What will happen first JFK-ZAG or PEK-ZAG?

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    2. And there's potential for both!

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    3. Well it is but not right now. Maybe in 3-4 years when there will be enough passengers to fly year round! ZAG will get china flights while LJU will get seasonal japan flights!

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    4. Well it is but not right now. Maybe in 3-4 years when there will be enough passengers to fly year round! ZAG will get china flights while LJU will get seasonal japan flights!

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    5. @An.9:15
      It was not US before and China now. It was both before and it's both now. And it will be both, very soon, no matter how unhappy you feel about it

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  12. Bravo Hrvatska!

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  13. So my guess is that Hainan might start
    PEK-BEG-SJJ and maybe PEK-ZAG or PEK-PRG-ZAG.

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    1. I don't think the ZAG flights will need a stopover. They will be nonstop.

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    2. Hainan just launched DUB via EDI so I doubt ZAG would be non stop.

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    3. Do they have fifth freedom between EDI and DUB?

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  14. That will be a nice collection of Asian cities from Zagreb - Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai and hopefully Tokyo soon.

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    1. There is also a chance that there will be flights to Bangkok. Air Asia X is quite interested, like it was reported here before.

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    2. I'm not sure that will happen. Seems far fetched.

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    3. I mean the AirAsiaX flights from Bangkok.

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  15. 2x week from Beijing and 2x week from Shanghai would be perfect.

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    Replies
    1. More realistic would be 4x per week from Beijing and 3x per week from Shanghai.

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  16. China is seriously interested in economic and trade cooperation with Croatia so flight would make sense. I hope sooner rather than later.

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    Replies
    1. The summit of 16 European countries and China is to be held in Croatia next year, also, Chinese company building the Peljesac bridge.

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  17. Let's hope some of these talks materialize into some actual flights finally from this market.

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  18. I think there is no chance for these flights to launch this year. Accommodation in Croatia is already booked out. But in 2019 there is a good opportunity for these flights to happen.

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    1. I don't think anyone expects them for this year. It's too late.

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    2. Not necessarily. Hainan put tickets on sale for Belgrade in August and started flights in September.

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  19. Generally speaking I think Air China would be the most sensible option, especially since they are Star Alliance members.

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    Replies
    1. By that theory, Asiana should be the one starting flights to ZAG not Korean. Alliances don't mean that much.

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    2. Are they going to have a codeshare with Korean on the Zagreb-Seoul flights?

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    3. Yep there was an article on here, an interview with Korean where they said they would seek a codeshare with Croatia Airlines.

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    4. Found it

      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2018/06/korean-air-readies-for-zagreb-launch.html

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  20. What happened to that interest for flights from China to Zadar?

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    1. Airport can't accommodate wide bodies without load restrictions.

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    2. So the whole thing was just a farce?

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    3. They are not giving up lol
      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2017/11/zadar-airport-maintains-china-flight.html

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  21. Is Croatia visa-free with China like Bosnia and Serbia are?

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    Replies
    1. No, Croatia has to follow EU visa policy.

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    2. China has asked Croatia to improve the pace of visa issuing.

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  22. Does Croatia Airlines have a codeshare with a Chinese airline?

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    1. No. A cs with Air China would make sense.

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    2. They will probably make a codeshare with the airline that starts flights to ZAG.

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  23. Jučer Emirates Zagreb-Dubai
    Zbog potražnje stavljen najveći 777-300ER, sa 428 mjesta (386 u ekonomskoj i 42 u bussines)
    420/428 = 98,1%

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    1. It's the summer season, what's so surprising?

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    2. Extra capacity, 20% bigger plane. For sure is.

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    3. It's not the first time this summer that EK is sending a bigger plane.

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    4. No demand for first class, low possibility for A380

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    5. Even in that case Emirates does have 2-class A380s with 57J/557Y so the possibility is all but low in high season

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  24. Via Maribor, presumably...

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  25. Very excited to see so many new airlines in the works for Zagreb.

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    Replies
    1. What happened with ANA that people were talking about here?

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    2. If any of you that is throwing numbers, predictions and announcements would sign with an actual username, then we just might buy something. Like this, it just looks a post that anyone can put down and not being able to be called for in the future.

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    3. Number of Canadian and US visitors in first 6 months up, by a third.

      So far in first 6 months Visited Croatia,

      230 000 US Visitors (600 000 nights)
      61 000 Canadian visitors (157 000 nights)

      Projection based on current trend, 585 000 US Visitors and 185 000 Canadian visitors are expected to visit Croatia this year, generating 1.75 million nights + 550 000 Nights respectively.

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    4. @frishkiJuly 10, 2018 at 1:58 PM

      Sure friski,

      https://www.htz.hr/hr-HR/informacije-o-trzistima/informacije-o-trzistima/profili-trzista-2018

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    5. reason why I come as Annon as I am not signed in to my work computer account, here there you go, now you know who I am.

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    6. What about this link to Chinese tourist profile? Anon was mentioning predictions and numbers for this year.

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    7. @Frishki, Again projections are based on current trend, sorry I am on work computer and can't remain logged for long as it is against office policy (no social media, chatting, youtube or facebook, I am an architect working in a traditional architectural practice in Amsterdam and London), anyhow, numbers for Chinese visitors are based on overall trend, projections between 200-225 000 for this, 300-320 000 if direct link with China are established.

      From direct link to North America, we can see massive jump in number of visitors from North American continent, 585 000 US Visitors projected to visit Croatia this year, and 185 000 Canadian Visitors. hope that explains things...

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    8. That's all fine, but these news are so 2000-and-late and we are all over them. It's becoming rather annoying reading "news" about the talks and negotiations regarding routes that were supposed to be already up and running. So, all the numbers and projections obviously don't mean a thing since airlines have their own pace and politics. I get it that you can't have daily news about the regional aviation, but c'mon.

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    9. I can tell you first hand, as my firm did some work on new terminal and we established good contacts with french company from past contracts. Problem often is politics, before EU membership was local mayor who is considered highly corrupt, he literally asked what's in it for me. And now it is EU regulations, visa restrictions and open air agreements.

      With in EU rules Croatia can try to agree some sort of agreements, often these agreements have political aspect and require 2nd expert opinion which can take time. Chinese carrier has been talking to Zagreb airport and Croatian Government for number of years, specifically April 2015, and I think finally we have some sort of a deal in place, ANA, is another airline that has been talking to Zagreb airport, and they're about to clinch the deal, baring any political issues, we could see both lines to Shanghai and Tokyo service from May next year. Hainan and ANA are airlines in question. No idea about Beijing flights, however if Beijing flights also materialize, that would be added bonus.

      Both services to Zagreb are direct and twice per week with possibility of three weekly flights from 2020 if service proves a success.

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    10. *barring

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    11. Again, it is all in the planning and we've heard it so many times before. Talking to an airline for 3 years?? What is there to talk about that long? Even if all this you're saying is true and a fact, it is extremely annoying reading about it every couple of months, for years now.

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    12. Croatia had no open air agreement or any form of civil aviation agreement with either China or Japan. There was an add-hock agreement for charter flights, but these were limited to maximum of 16 per year for Japanese carriers.

      Only recently did the two governments agree on open air agreement and few other bilateral aviation agreements. Politics takes time, often years pass with no change to status quo. it all depends who is in power and also domestically there's little vision, no ambitions of any sorts from local politicians.

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  26. Hainan and China Eastern would be perfect. Hainan Airlines ia without doubt the best Chinese carrier on international flights.

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    1. Agree. Most western among them.

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  27. Just give up.

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  28. Why not look into more serious destinations like SIN or SYD?
    There is a huge Croatian diaspora in Australia. Maybe ZAG-PER or ZAG-SYD with QF 789 Dreamliner?

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    1. Sure, Zagreb would be 2nd Australian destination in Europe, as London is the only European destination from Australia now. Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid...? Noooo, Zagreb should be next!

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    2. Are You serious or joking? I mean Frankfurt, Rome, Amsterdam, Paris, Istanbul don't have direct and nonstop flights to Australia and you suggest Zagreb should have them? It reminds me very much of the guy here proposing about a month ago flights from Belgrade to the French Antilles. Com'n people get real and get down to the Earth

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    3. It's time to EVOLVE and open our horizons.
      Why would a city like ZAG not be connected to SYD? Do you doubt that a 300 seater will not be filled? I repeat, the HR diaspora is very big in Aussieland.
      As for BEG, wasn't the destination Guadeloupe? This was a hypothesis because of the Vinci arrival.

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    4. @AnonymousJuly 10, 2018 at 1:58 PM

      Zagreb won't get Sydney or Australia flights any time soon. right now, Croatia is still growing as a destination, with 1.5 million visitors expected from Asia in 2020, and total of 2 million from Australasia including ME. I think by 2025, there's a potential for direct link with Australia, with Qantas, but we'll need 500k Aussies visiting Croatia beforehand, at present rate this could happen around 2025.

      Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong might be the destinations that get direct service to Zagreb way before Sydney, especially if number of Chinese visitors continue to grow at 30% yoy for foreseeable future. Hong Kong had 32000 visitors in 2017, Taiwan 127000

      Number of visitors from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia is up, as well as from Thailand. 150 000 visitors from these 4 nations visited Croatia in 2017.

      FYI, Total number from Asia in 2017 was around 1.1 million.


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    5. 1.1 million, who has chosen Croatia as its final destination or counted together with tourists who visited croatia as part of a European tour?

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