Croatia steps up Beijing flight talks


The Croatian Minister for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković, has met with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing to discuss the introduction of flights to Zagreb this year. Initial talks on establishing the route began in 2018. Mr Butković will also meet representatives from Chinese carriers. A final agreement on the new service is likely to be inked at this year's 16+1 CEEC - China summit in Dubrovnik in May, which will bring together sixteen Central and Eastern European nations and China. "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", Croatia's Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, said recently.

Despite growing demand, Croatia Airlines currently has no codeshare agreement in place with any Chinese carrier nor does it have a codeshare partnership with other airlines on flights to China. Hainan Airlines 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 recently. 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.

Zagreb Airport 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". Over 215.000 Chinese tourists visited Croatia last year, with numbers expected to further grow in 2019. "This is primarily about simplifying and accelerating visa procedures, opening new routes and introducing new airlines from China, and adapting Croatian destinations to online payment services through Chinese mobile applications", the Croatian Minister for Tourism, Gari Capelli, said.

Comments

  1. OU is very slow in doing anything about huge emerging markets. They signed an Asiana codeshare just last year even though Croatia has been popular with South Koreans for years and there is still no agreement with a Chinese carrier. Wake up people!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree, OU should do something with connections to the coast before it's too late.

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  2. Finally! It is supposed to be Hainan, 2 pw to ZAG, 787-9.

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    1. Major victory for Croatia! After BEG's failed Chinese connection (via BUD) Zagreb will be the region's only link to China.

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    2. It was via Prague, not Budapest.

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    3. Flights haven't actually started nor have they been announced. The Belgrade flights did not operate via BUD, by the way.

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    4. We will see. It is mentioned that will be flights from Beijing and Shanghai. Maybe one day from one city anther day from second city. Or two from each city what will be 4 pw.

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    5. 09.08-Moracu da te razocaram,ErSrbija naj verovatnije na jesen pokrece direktne letove za Peking.

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    6. No, it will be Beijing, not Shanghai.

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    7. Hope they consider Dubrovnik too.

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    8. Chinese are generally not interested in seaside vacations.

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

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    10. Anon 10:21, I live in Dubrovnik and I can tell you that the city is practically packed with Korean and Chinese tourists at the moment.

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    11. It would make much more sense to serve DBV instead of ZAG. Middle East carriers already offer a lot from ZAG and therefore will immediately lower the rates.

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    12. @10.21 millions of them go to Thai beach resorts, Chinese beach resorts.. I think you are way off on that one.

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    13. It would be great if they could combine flights from Shanghai to Zagreb as well.

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    14. The best solution would be Beijing to Dubrovnik and Shanghai to Zagreb

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  3. Bravo Hrvatska!

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  4. Telenovela presenta...

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    Replies
    1. Eternal topics:
      - Talks with Chinese carrier to start flying to Croatia
      - US flights to ZAG that are round the corner but never to happen
      - Privatisation of OU

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    2. AA flight to DBV, I am sure loads of peoples feelings were hurt.

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    3. Good, so one topic less to discuss, two to go!

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    4. Who mentioned DBV?

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    5. @09:11
      American Airlines mentioned it when they announced their only Balkan route to it from PHL!

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    6. It was not mentioned as one of eternal topics at all

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    7. If you don't like the topic, don't read it.

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    8. A US airline choosing Croatia to launch direct flights to the region was an eternal topic.

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    9. It was written US flights to ZAG - please read more carefully

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  5. Keep Calm and visit Dalmatia24 January 2019 at 09:04

    Everyone wants to visit beautiful Croatia!

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  6. If this materializes Croatia will be the only Balkan country with a direct flight to China!

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    Replies
    1. It will bring economic benefits.

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    2. Yes, the only Balkan country if we kick Greece and Turkey out.

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  7. There is a huge potential from Chinese market. Croatia has become quite popular in China, especially after the world cup.

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  8. Be careful with the HNA Group. Failed projects in Europe:

    - Hahn Airport failure
    - Belgrade flights failure
    - Plovdiv Airport concession sudden withdrawl
    - Financial problems
    - Sudden death of HNA Chief in Paris

    Look elsewhere, Croatia and be careful with those Chinese.

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    Replies
    1. So, it wasn't a fail while they were flying to BEG?

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    2. HNA group is in trouble BUT HNA airline is very successful and profitable!

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    3. When Hainan launched flights to BEG I remember comments on here that it is a third-tier airline, crap and lousy, even though people pointed out how well ranked the airline is on all industry monitoring sites.. I expect that if they launch flights to Zagreb, they will finally be declared one of the best in the world by our resident experts here.

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    4. "...even though people pointed out how well ranked the airline is on all industry monitoring sites.. I expect that if they launch flights to Zagreb, they will finally be declared one of the best in the world by our resident experts here."

      I really don't understand the point of your post. Is it good, is it bad?

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    5. HNA Airline might be doing well, but it is part of the group who currently have lots of problems and extremely high debt. Stake in Deutsche Bank likely to be sold, etc, etc.
      Seriously, I would never trust them after the failures they accomplished in Europe.

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    6. @ Anonymous24 January 2019 at 09:18
      Of course it is good, especially for Chinese airline standards. Just not when it flies to BEG.

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    7. Ok, Anon 9:23, so?

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    8. Just pointing out double standards. Glad you agree.

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    9. I don't agree.

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    10. So airline is fantastic when it flies to Zagreb but exact same airline is horrible when it flies to Belgrade. Ok...

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    11. That is so not true. Nothing like that was written here. Can you publish link here. Don't think so.

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  9. Everyone is talking about tourists. But demand for business travellers is huge. In the end business travellers and cargo earns money. And that is first reason for them to introduce that line.

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    Replies
    1. Really? And why exactly is the Minister of tourism then begging Chinese to start these flights?

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  10. In my opinion, Air China as Star Al. member would be the best solution. Code shares could be introduced of OU to PEK or PVG, and CA could codeshare on OU to SPU, DBV, SJJ and others. 2 weekly for starters, A330 which would grow in frequencies fast, considering tourism and popularity but increased business activities as well

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    1. Yes, completely agreed. CA is way much better and has class compared to HU. They have also been flying to BUD for many years now.
      OU can benefit indeed in promoting the capital and the coast as you mentioned as it is part of Star Alliance.

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    2. Not necessarily, look at Rouge. They are also in Star Alliance yet all of their flights to Croatian coast are routed through Germany, not Zagreb. The few that go through Zagreb are extremely expensive.

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    3. Nothing to do with "class". CA is actually in my opinion, service-wise and overall product-wise less good than Hainan or China Southern. Speaking of my preferences I would rather see Southern in ZAG, but Air China being state company and Star Alliance member would be better match. I was not talking "class" and "prestige", I leave it to others

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  11. I? Ako se to dogodi ZAG ce imati dva puta tjedno Peking. U meduvremenu OU nikako da se pomakne s tocke, a Zagrebu trebaju LCC i to jucer. Ako se ta Kina dogodi, nije neka vijest. Nek dovedu Ryan ili Wizz ili Easy e onda mozemo slaviti.

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    Replies
    1. Slažem se sa svime! Osim s činjenicom da, ako se letovi do Kine dogode, nije velika vijest. Ostalo je točno, Croatia airlines mora uraditi svoj dio posla, a pod hitno nam trebaju LCC, ali se bojim da ćemo se načekati.

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    2. Htio sam samo reci da ako se ti letovi dogode, wow reakcije nisu potrebne. Bit ce super i za sampanjac kad koji lcc otvori nekoliko novih linija. Nije normalno da putnici idu okolo i traze jeftine letove. Ogromno mladih bi putovalo s Ryanom ili Wizzom. Taj neki kao prestiz je smijurija.

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  12. my wish is AIR CHINA.!!! I dont wanna see Hainan in ZAG. CZ or MU are welcomed too. :)

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    1. CZ seem to work nicely with AF/KL. A380 operator, Dreamliner operator and quite nice hub in CAN. They fly to SYD, PER, CDG, AMS. Seems like a super choice and nice addition to the already nice airlines flying to the Croatian capital. Image and class of the airport will increase.
      Fingers crossed.

      However, ZAG is a very Star Alliance dominated airport so not sure if CZ can fit in.

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  13. It would be nice to finally have a deal. They have been negotiating for five years now.

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    Replies
    1. It's good that they have the initiative at least.

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  14. They key here will be making this route work year-round.

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    Replies
    1. It won't work year-round, not in a ten years. Seasonaly could work.

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

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    Replies
    1. QR and EK probably.

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    2. 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 from Asian market - Emirates and Korean in particular.

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    3. Nonstop flights would bring a completely new type of Chinese tourists to Croatia and these people don't catch connecting flights through Middle East airports. They fly nonstop are welcomed at the airport by Chinese tour guides, taken on busses and don't leave their group.

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  16. Good luck! There is definitely potential.

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  17. All negotiations that were spearheaded by the government never materialised. I will remind you about Japan. Leave it to experts from the airport to negotiate flights please, not politicians!

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    Replies
    1. Well in the text it quotes ZAG airport management which says they are talking with airlines.

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    2. Manje govorancije i vise pravog truda.

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

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    Replies
    1. I'd like to have your crystal ball.

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    2. I would be happy if Seoul stays for the next winter season.

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  20. 2x week from Beijing and 2x week from Shanghai would be perfect.

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    Replies
    1. As far as I know, it is "just" Beijing, 2pw.

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    2. Is there any word on when the flights might start?

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

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  22. 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. Yes, they do.
      Why is DL so much present in CDG and AMS and not LHR for instance?
      Why are BA and IB so married?
      Why are AF/KL so married to CZ?
      Why is SQ so married to LH and UA flying to 6 US routes from FRA?
      Why did RO ditch IB and chose UX partnership?

      Finally, why is JP flying from non-Slovenian capitals to FRA and MUC?

      Sure, it´s not about alliance.

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    3. I'm sorry, but you are wrong, UA and SQ might be in the same alliance, but they do not cooperate closely. SQ flight to EWR don't bear UA codeshare just beeing a prime example.

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    4. Delta in CDG:
      11 routes

      Delta in LHR:
      7 routes + 17 routes by Virgin Atlantic (Delta owns 49% in it) = 24 routes

      Purger

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

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    Replies
    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. No. The idea was to tie ZAD and FCO on triangle flights. Arrival from China to ZAD with fuel spent = no load restrictions. Departure from ZAD to FCO on min. fuel = no load restrictions. It's not load restrictions to make these flights not starting, and what the reason is I don't know

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  24. Considering Hainan announced their flights to Belgrade 2 months before they started I wouldn't write them off for this summer to ZAG.

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    Replies
    1. I don't get it, is there no other Chinese airline interested in this region?

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    2. Air China planned PEK - BEG flights, but never materialized because Hainan was started flights.

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  25. I'll believe it when I see it.

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  26. Toronto, Seoul, potential China flights, potential NY, Japan, Singapore (for Star links to Asia and Australia NZ)...... This should all be OU's domain.

    Sad how hopeless they are!!

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    Replies
    1. I agree with you. They have so much potential at their hands, yet they do very little with it.

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    2. Those flights would be loss making for OU. Other than prestige there is no justification for OU to go there.

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    3. Partly agree, partly disagree with potential versus loss making. Believe China, Japan, Korea with few weekly frequencies and tourist only yield would be more or less loss making. Disagree OU couldn't sustain long-haul at all believe 2 destination EWR and BKK could be profitabile, providing daily frequencies (BKK year - round, EWR summer), and 20 code-shares on each with TG and UA to /from all major North America and FarEast/Australia NZ destinations of Thai and United, with new, modern and not overcapacitated aircraft, Dreamliner for example

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    4. @ pozdrav iz Rijeke. I agree that seasonal EWR flights and year round BKK flights with respective UA/TG feeds would probably work quite well to ZAG. Alas, OU isn't that forward thinking or savvy. Croatia's best hope would be if UA and TG spotted this opportunity themselves sometime in the future.

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    5. Well, I still hope OU finally changes and this come as a result of the change

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  27. How about a year-round connection with ARN? Just sayin'

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    1. Well, if there is no demand for ARN in winter then it's seasonal. If there is demand for PEK or PVG year - round, then it will be year - round. Very simple.

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    2. It's crazy to think that there is no demand to GOT, ARN, PRG... even in winter. Even BEG will have flights in winter adn they have almost no tourism.

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    3. BEG has 1 million tourists.
      "Even" BEG has 5,6 million passengers in total.In summer 2019 BEG will have at least 60 new frequencies.
      You can't compare ZAG with BEG. 2 different leagues

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  28. will happen first:

    ZAG-JFK
    or
    ZAG-PEK

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    Replies
    1. ZAG-PEK first.

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    2. I think PEK will be linked to DBV and PVG to ZAG. Also I think it will not be JFK from ZAG but EWR. And I think PVG starts 2020 and EWR 2021. But of course such controversial and unecpected stuff happens in aviation today that's possible everything goes the other way round

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  29. Hainan is an adventurous airline in terms of trying new routes and it is China's designated airline for the 'Belt and Road Initiative'. Given the growing Chinese tourism to Croatia, Chinese construction of the Peljesac Bridge and assorted commercial interests in the general vicinity I think there is enough underlying demand for a 2 weekly service to ZAG. If it was seasonal it would certainly work out well, year round the winter months will probably be light. Hainan doesn't seem to have any seasonal routes at the moment. I think they are a good idea in certain markets.

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    Replies
    1. They could not make BEG to work and that shows what this part of the world really means to them.

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    2. Just come back from Hainan (Haikou) and Sanya. Just to nebitno that Hainan Airlines with 400+ planes is not that small. And Chinese love coast ( Sanya-tropical Hawaii of China) but only photo taking. Definitely not swimming or sunbathing. Dubrovnik flight yes and no ;)

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    3. I don't think its an issue of Hainan not making BEG work, quite simply there wasn't enough demand and traffic for it to be viable. ZAG is in a much better position to last longer because Croatia is a much larger tourist destination for the Chinese and a rapudly growing one at that too.

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