Croatia targets China flights for 2019


The Croatian Minister for Tourism, Gari Capelli, has confirmed that the country is negotiating flights to China for next year. It comes as Dubrovnik plays host to the fourth high-level meeting on tourism cooperation between China and sixteen Central and Eastern European countries, which form part of the "16+1" cooperation mechanism. "This is primarily about simplifying and accelerating visa procedures, opening and introducing new nonstop flights from China, and adapting Croatian destinations to online payment services through Chinese mobile applications", Mr Capelli said. Croatia is seeking flights from Beijing and Shanghai to both Zagreb and Dubrovnik. During the two-day summit, which wraps up today, Hungary secured a new service between Shanghai and Budapest, which is to be launched by China Eastern Airlines next summer.

According to Mr Capelli, a total of 153.000 Chinese tourists visited Croatia between January and September of this year, compared with 160.000 for the whole of 2017. The Chinese Minister for Culture and Tourism, Luo Shugang, noted, "In the future, we have to put more emphasis on establishing direct flights in order to further stimulate the mutual exchange of visitors. Examples from the Czech Republic, Serbia, Poland and Bosnia and Herzegovina have proved that direct air links or visa-free policies contribute dramatically to the increase of mutual tourist flow". 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".

Hainan Airlines, which launched flights between Beijing and Belgrade via Prague last year, is said to be "very interested" in commencing flights to Croatia. "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", the Zagreb-based Chinese Southeast European Business Association, said. Beijing Capital Airlines, which shares the same owner as Hainan Airlines, was to introduce services between Beijing and the Croatian capital over the 2017 summer season, however, the planned operations were later cancelled. Initially, the carrier filed for a permit for a two weekly service with an Airbus A330-200 aircraft.

Further discussions on the development of air traffic between China and the former Yugoslav states will take place next month when officials meet with the Chinese Minister for Transport as part of the "16+1" mechanism in Belgrade on October 16 and 17.

Comments

  1. "Hungary secured a new service between Shanghai and Budapest, which is to be launched by China Eastern Airlines next summer."

    I think we can safely count them out of launching flights to any ex-Yu country now.

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    Replies
    1. Unfortunately it seems so :( But good news for BUD.

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    2. It's surprising that Budapest hasn't had more flights to China until now considering it is the regional center for the Chinese and there is a big Chinese community there which was established back in the 90s.

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    3. BUD is really, really growing like crazy compared to OTP.
      I think they have a very efficient managament.

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    4. BUD i OTP ne mogu u istu rečenicu, uzevši u obzir long haul.

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    5. TAROM said they will launch US and/or China next year.

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    6. Sure, and SeaAir will launch XIY from Maribor

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    7. ^^ They say that absolutely every year. Same like the Croatian government says about China flights.

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    8. I wouldn't be so confident, in fact I think it is less likely now cause they've got a destination in Hungary which is considered by most of Asia, part of the region, i.e eastern europe/balkans.

      Need to see if China Eastern flies to Vienna, main hub for the region, or Prague. If they fly to both cities, than yes Zagreb will most likely be their choice.

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    9. They fly to Prague but they don't fly to Vienna.

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    10. They probably can't fly to Vienna. China has some weird rule where no more than 2 Chinese airlines can fly the same route. That's why there are so many flights from secondary Chinese cities to other global capitals.

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    11. @Anonymous20 September 2018 at 09:29

      Hm in that case, no idea, can't say if they'll add Zagreb or Dubrovnik seasonally. It might happen, Hainan is more likely to come. Or even both carriers could come, we'll see.

      This year we expect 220 000 Chinese visitors to Croatia, and 300 000 visitors in 2019.
      So anything is possible.

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    12. It is quite normal that Hainan is interested because they are the official airline of the belt and road initiative

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    13. exYU is far from being an important part of the Belt and Road initiative. It may make sense that they connect one city in exYU, maybe two max.

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    14. I don't know about the rest of ex-YU but Serbia is an extremely important partner for China in the region.

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    15. Extremely? You really believe in this nonsense?

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  2. They should stop making these announcements until they actually make a deal with some airline. They talk about it every month and still nothing.

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    1. +100
      Would be nice to finally have a deal. They have been negotiating for four years now.

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    2. +1 - I cannot hear anymore especially „stay tuned“ 🤮, the same with ANA when any „Profis“ tell, it will be announced soon and that since May

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    3. Same goes for US flights to ZAG. Dubrovnik was quiet and surprised everyone.

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    4. If Dubrovnik gets those Canada flights and these China flights on top of the announced US flights they will be on the way to surpassing Split. Really impressive

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  3. I'm from Slovenia and I'm just wondering if there are any plans for Slovenia to attract any flights from China? To me it seems all countries are trying to get these flights. I even read Montenegro wants to attracts charters from China.

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    1. Well there is SHS Aviation with its plans for Maribor :D

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    2. The government did have some talks about linking LJU with China but those talks kind of fizzled out. We will see if new minister Bratusek has a more proactive approach.

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    3. I wouldn't hold my breath. She used to be the PM and there were no flights during that time either.

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    4. Things could have been different. China Southern Airlines was very interested in Adria. But Slovenia wanted to give to Germany at any cost so Germans could own the main airport and airline in the country.

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    5. If flights from PEK to ZAG start there is no chance Ljubljana will get them. Same goes for Japan flights.

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    6. I'm just waiting to here that Kosovo is pursuing flights to China. I think they are the only ones left.

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    7. Kosovo doesn't need them as they can be served via BEG flights.

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    8. In many cases, not saying all cases, but with major carriers from Asia, ME and America's, Slovenia is treated as if it is part of Croatia, if carrier decides to fly to Zagreb, it is unlikely they'll fly to Ljubljana. It seems proximity of Zagreb to Ljubljana, some 117km distance by road is very much determining factor,.

      Most visitors from Asia that visit Croatia often visit Slovenia, in many cases both countries are treated like one, and due to both countries being very small, sold as same package. Slovenia has good position for tourism, it is right next to Italy, Austria and Croatia, 3 very large travel destinations, Slovenia can pick visitors from all 3 destinations, and build its own unique niche in the process.

      This year Slovenia hopes to attract 3.74 million foreign visitors, a third of these not from Europe.
      Italy expect 60 million visitors this year for the first time in its history.
      Austria is expect to attract 30 million visitors this year,
      Croatia is looking to attract 20 million visitors, 18 million of these foreign.

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    9. Bratusek won't focus much on aviation.

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    10. Government interference in aviation in Slovenia is minimal now (both positive and negative) with all airports privatised and the national airline sold. It's up to their owners now to secure or develop new routes.

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

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    1. Actually it could be one of its subsidiaries. Remember they wanted to fly with Beijing Capital Airlines to Zagreb.

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    2. You suspect or you know that

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    3. I suspect but anon 9.08 makes a good point. It could be one of its subsidiaries, if it turns out to be Hainan.

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    4. 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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    5. China Eastern is starting Budapest so I don't think they will start BUD and ZAG.

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    6. They could do PEK-BUD-ZAG :D

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  5. Zagreb was supposed to get China flights last year, but Belgrade snatched these in the last second. Are any Chinese tourists flying to Croatia via Belgrade?

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    1. You are going to get a barrage of criticism now with that comment.

      No, tourists from BEG flights have packages to visit Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro.

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    2. @An. 9:14
      Your question was supposed to be "via PRG and BEG", and the answer is NO, as there is no reason to fly with 2 stops if you can do it with one stop, for same money, of course some special isolated cases are always possible but generally it's NO

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    3. Hainan Airlines has a codeshare on Air Serbia's flights to Skopje, so this is where they probably get passengers via Belgrade,

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    4. Yes but the difference is that they are negotiating about NONSTOP flights making it way harder economically.

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    5. Again calm down.

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  6. Negotiate, discuss, consider... Same old, same old.

    I think there are more chances of BEG getting Shanghai than ZAG a flight to China. Especially since Serbia has a joing marketing approach with Albania, Bosnia and Montenegro.

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    1. Serbia has a very major advantage which is the visa regime. Croatia can't do anything on that as they need to go conform with EU rules as they are currently in process of joining Schengen zone.

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    2. And that is why Croatia has 500% more Chinese visitors than Serbia.

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    3. Have you maybe thought it is because it has a coastline built by the Romans?

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    4. 500%? erm you night want to check that again.

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    5. LOL. Love it when you bring up "the coastline that was built by Romans". It could be built up by Martians, the fact is, they are coming to Croatia.
      Also, the coastline was forming for millions of years by Mother Nature, if we want to be wiseasses.

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  7. I would rather focus on selling Croatia Airlines to one of the Chinese airlines. China Southern Airlines would be a good start, considering they are one of the biggest airlines in the world.

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    1. Hainan Airlines was interested once upon a time. But they are not looking to buy any airlines at the moment.

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    2. OU can’t be fully sold to any non-European owner due to EU laws. At most it can get a non-EU partner with 49% stake.

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  8. Air China would make sense seeing as they are Star Alliance but then again Asiana also is but Korean Air started flights to ZAG.

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    1. Air China would be the most sensible option.

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    2. It does not matter if it's Star Alliance or not. everything is possible through interlining, see e.g. Emirates to Split ... although Asiana is in the alliance offering codeshare on lines to Croatia, Croatian airports are not offered on their website. that doesn't matter, Star Alliance or not

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    3. Does Croatia Airlines codeshare on any Air China flights?

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    4. That's surprising, considering even JU has one from Vienna to/from Beijing.

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    5. A cs with Air China would make sense.

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  9. I really hope something does come of it this time around.

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

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  10. China Southern is a possibility. They plan to become the biggest airline in the world:

    https://airwaysmag.com/airlines/china-southern-unveils-significant-growth-strategy/

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  11. There is a huge potential from Chinese market, and it's yet to "discover"

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  12. this kind of news comes every 2 months somewhere online, HR to USA, HR to China, Balkan to the moon...

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    1. HR to USA starts next June with American Airlines ;)

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    2. You are right. That is why we don't have routes from Toronto, Montreal, Philadelphia and Seol to Croatia. Just stupid talking nothing else.

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  13. There is certainly a market. I hope this happens but like with all things in this part of the world, I'm not holding my breath when grand announcements are made.

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  14. Have there ever been flights between ZAG and PEK?

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    Replies
    1. Confirmed. No. During Yugoslavia, all flights to the Far East and Australia where departing from BEG only which is logicall, while the flights to North America, all flights to Montreal - Toronto, Chicago and majority of New York were starting directly from ZAG, of course originating in BEG where the base was. Also Air Canada used to fly ZAG, never to BEG. After exyu failed aparat, only Far East flight ZAG used to have till now and before Korean Air was Malaysian to Kuala Lumpur via Vienna twice weekly on 777.

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  15. Some really exciting times coming for Zagreb. Excellent news.

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  16. We heard this story before, with Zadar. I'll believe it when I see it.

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  17. I think Croatia Airlines should have led the charge here. They would have a lot to gain if a Chinese airline started flying to Zagreb. They could then fly passengers to Dubrovnik, Split or Zadar and fill up the unprofitable domestic flights...

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    Replies
    1. They would loose more money on domestic routes with more international transfers.

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    2. Coulda, shoulda, woulda.
      With which money exactly?

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  18. Didn't someone write in the comments that there would be flights Guangzhou - Zagreb?

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    1. I don't remember. Peking and Shanghai were only mentioned as far as I know. Maybe you mixed it up as China Southern was stated as one of the carriers ZAG is negotiating, and their base is Guangzhou

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  19. 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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  20. 4x weekly from Beijing to Zagreb and 3x weekly from Shanghai to Zagreb. That would be best.

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    Replies
    1. I believe the flights will start with less frequencies, let's say twice weekly for both but after few years it might be more, similar to what you say, but both HR Government and Tourist Board must do much more to attract Chinese part generally and as tourists

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    2. Twice weekly would make me happy, from each of the cities. That's 4 weekly flights, and if they prove a success increase to 3 weekly flights and eventually down the line to 4 weekly flights.

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    3. The tourist market to Croatia is there and growing rapidly. A Chinese consortium is building the Peljesac Bridge so you can expect to see some business travel too. The Chinese Govt is subsidising their carriers to take up new routes in many parts of the world as part of their 'Belt and Road' initiative. Some solid reasons for it to happen with one of the Chinese carriers very soon ;-)

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  21. Related...

    http://www.seebiz.eu/potpisan-sporazum-o-turistickoj-suradnji-hrvatske-i-kine/ar-181765/

    Joint advertising :)

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  22. Bilo bi lepo kad bi dali više informacija o letu iz Šangaja za Budimpeštu, a ne ovako bez ičega.

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    1. Izjavio je njihov ministar u Dubrovniku juce samo da pocinju letove sledece letnje sezone ali nije otkrio nikakve detalje.

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  23. Not holding my breath. Same minister says the same thing every time he meets with some Chinese official.

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  24. It looks as if flights will finally be announced next month when Plenkovic meets Chinese PM in China in November.

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    Replies
    1. I really hope that is the case.

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    2. Will it be a political route similar to the Belgrade one?

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    3. As a result of that "political" route (how powerful are these Serbian politicians), tourist numbers from China have soared.So the flights serve their purpose.

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    4. @"Anonymous20 September 2018 at 15:07
      As a result of that "political" route (how powerful are these Serbian politicians), tourist numbers from China have soared.So the flights serve their purpose."

      I hear half a million Chinese visitors to Serbia by now ? Your PM was claiming Serbia will have 300 000 Chinese visitors with-in first year, and half a million 2nd year. I presume you're on target to that 500 000th Chinese visitor ?

      @Anonymous20 September 2018 at 14:58
      Will it be a political route similar to the Belgrade one?

      Probably, you know how Balkan politicians are like, however we don't need to worry about half a million Chinese visitors claim. We need to worry about getting enough planes to bring them all in.


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    5. First of all you do not have to attack me personally as I'm neither the president's (not PM) representative or spokesperson, unlike yourself who thinks he is the spokesperson of the Croatian government or the Croatian tourist board. The problem here isn't what some politician claimed, it's the fact that Serbia was even mentioned (you are well known for your outbursts - both here and elsewhere). Vucic's dumb estimates are level with your 50 year predictions. I simply stated that this route has contributed to a huge increase in tourists from China which will reach over 100,000 this year, which is great compared to previous years. That's more than double on last year. So if the route is political or not - it has served its purpose. Nowhere did I even mention Croatia for you to have a tantrum, but like I said it has more to do with that I dared respond to the other person. Seeing as contracts for just over a billion dollars worth of Chinese investments were signed this week between Serbia and Chinese companies, I'm sure travel will continue to grow, and not just for leisure.

      As for Croatia I wish it many routes to China, especially with Hainan Airlines which was described by many here when they announced they would start to fly to Belgrade as a terrible third-tier company linked to Donald Trump lol. Anyway I hope that, if they start flying to Croatia, they will finally be recognized as a 5 star airline they truly are.

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    6. The political routes are quite common I guess. The best ones are when political figures go for a special visit to open a route. Yes, it's nice but I think airlines can speak for themselves and know which routes are potential and which aren't.
      When Etihad-Air Serbia project was initially well studied but cannot be considered as political. Because the destinatiions were carefully studied, there were few destinations dropped like Ohrid, Varna, Hamburg, Abu Dhabi, St Peterburg, Istanbul, Budapest, etc.
      Some routes are really commerical others political.

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    7. St Petersburg and Hamburg are both operating and have not been "dropped".

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    8. @Anonymous20 September 2018 at 15:45

      LOOOOOOL !!!

      You made me laugh, really did,

      I imagine this is you now.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJb02-sn4dQ

      You're throwing tantrums and fits, made me laugh, can't even bother to respond to your nonsense. Other than say thank you for making me laugh. The only thing you forgot to do is make all caps. Still laughing, LOL...

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    9. Hamburg is dropped from winter 2018

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    10. Which ZAG route is most political which was more commercial?
      Is DXB-ZAG political and someone here in the forum mentioned that the airport is now losing money because of the discounts being given to upper class airlines, is that true? Is this why Zagreb does not favour LCC and now focuses on China and possibly Singapore in the future?

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    11. The airport is losing money because of unfavorable deals between TAV Airports and ADP. The money is being transfered from Zagreb Airport to TAV.

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    12. @Anonymous20 September 2018 at 18:20
      The airport is losing money because of unfavorable deals between TAV Airports and ADP. The money is being transfered from Zagreb Airport to TAV.

      Exactly, Croatian Government must step in, expel TAV from Croatia for good. reminds me of Bechtel motorway scam.

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    13. In the end they won't do anything. It will be business as usual. The French were just a mask so that the Turks can get the airport after being disqualified. We got screwed, that's a fact.

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  25. I notice that Hong Kong is often overlooked by ex-Yu governments when they are negotiating flights with the Chinese. Being such a massive city and transfer hub I'm sure flights could actually work out from Hong Kong to a few ex-Yu cities.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unlike regions of China proper, Hong Kong SAR is not spending a dollar for air traffic incentives. Thus CX and other airlines form Hong Kong SAR have to rely solely on market demand, especially premium demand.

      Chinese carriers are heavily subsidized on international routes, mainly from regional governments of secondary and tertiary airports and to some extent from PEK and SHA. Hence so many "political" routes from China proper.

      Even though Hong Kong is in the most populated area of China the distance from Hong Kong to Guangzhou, main hub of China Southern Airlines is only 120 km, so the market is served from there.

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  26. put the tourism aside,
    it is not accidental discussion of opening china flights to zagreb and dubrovnik if we know Chinese started building peljeski bridge this year.
    What I know from a family member working in government is that the very government took negotiations on their own hand.
    airports are just there not asked to much ..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah... if China was to launch flights to countries they were building bridges in, Serbia would have had flights since 2007 same with Angola, Moldova and so on.

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    2. Tourism is the main driver, not economy. Case in point: last week China and Serbia signed dozens of new deals but long rumoured Shanghai - Belgrade flight was not announced. If couple of billions in contracts are not enough then look at tourism.

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  27. Kind of OT but how many flights there were last winter from ZAG to AMS?

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  28. in 2018, so far Croatia was visited by in 000 :

    USA - 417 000 - up - 22.5%
    S. Korea - 335 000 - down 3.5%
    Australia - 187 000 - up 15.5%
    China - 138 000 - up 37%
    Canada - 120 000 - up 24%
    Japan - 108 000 - up 20%
    Taiwan - 69 000 - down 1%
    India - 51 000 - up 7.5%
    Brazil - 48 000 - up 3.5%
    Argentina - 40 000 - up 30,5%
    New Zealand - 32 000 - up 22%
    Hong Kong - 24 000 - up 16%
    Singapore - 32 600 - up 17%
    Malaysia - 30 200 - up 16%
    Thailand - 21 000 - up 40.5%
    South Africa - 20 000 - up 16%
    Mexico - 15 000 - up 21.5%
    UAE/Qatar/Kuwait - 16000, up by 43%
    Chile - 10 000 - up 14%

    This is projected number of visitors for entire 2018,

    USA - 575 000
    S. Korea - 455 000
    Australia - 255 000
    China - 210 000
    Canada - 175 000
    Japan - 170 000
    Taiwan - 120 000
    India - 61 000
    Brazil - 65 000
    Argentina - 57 000
    Singapore - 47 700
    New Zealand - 44 000
    Thailand - 42 000
    Hong Kong - 35 000
    Malaysia - 35 400
    South Africa - 25 000
    Mexico - 20 000
    UAE/Qatar/Kuwait - 21 000
    Chile - 12 000

    This is projected number of visitors for entire 2019,

    USA - 700 000
    S. Korea - 500 000
    Australia - 325 000
    China - 300 000
    Canada - 217 000
    Japan - 200 000
    Taiwan - 140 000
    Brazil - 80 000
    Argentina - 72 000
    India - 65 000
    Singapore - 57 500
    New Zealand - 55 000
    Thailand - 50 000
    Malaysia - 44 000
    Hong Kong - 40 000
    South Africa - 30 000
    Mexico - 30 000
    UAE/Qatar/Kuwait - 27 000
    Chile - 15 000

    ReplyDelete

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