Split becomes fastest growing airport in former Yugoslavia


Split Airport was the former Yugoslavia's fastest growing in 2018, adding an extra 305.891 passengers compared to the year before. Its General Manager, Lukša Novak, has said the airport has never been closer to catching up to the country's busiest in Zagreb as it welcomed a record 3.124.067 travellers in 2018, an increase of 10.9% year-on-year. It was the busiest in the former Yugoslavia in July, and ahead of Zagreb for half a year, reducing the difference between the two to 212.243 passengers. Jointly, Croatia's three busiest airport's - Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik - handled a record 8.999.789 passengers in 2018, or an additional 766.501 travellers on the year before.

Split Airport passenger numbers 2018

MonthPAXChange (%)
JAN33.699 10.8
FEB30.629 28.0
MAR53.165 57.2
APR124.352 0.9
MAY304.135 18.1
JUN474.646 17.6
JUL695.506 5.9
AUG627.846 5.7
SEP455.595 8.2
OCT225.170 13.6
NOV54.856 38.7
DEC44.072 21.9

Mr Novak previously conceded that Split Airport's extreme seasonality may prevent it from overtaking Croatia's main hub, but added that it was not an impossible task. "Almost half of our annual traffic is achieved during July and August. During the four summer months we have the most passenger traffic in the country. We are extremely seasonal in character but when looking at it on a annual level we are in second place and have never been closer to Zagreb", the General Manager said. He added, "In the aviation sector, 5% - 7% passenger growth on an annual basis is the norm. If you are lucky enough, you can double your numbers in about fifteen years. We have managed to achieve that in just six years, and that is a truly amazing feat". In addition, Split Airport remains Croatia's most profitable. "The substantial passenger growth and the control of our expenditures has resulted in this level of profitability. We have not altered our fees over the past ten years as we do not want to jeopardise our growth with our pricing. I think this has proved worthwhile", Mr Novak said.

Split Airport's new terminal under construction

Work on Split Airport's much needed new terminal building, which will ease congestion, is nearing completion. The 59.7 million euro project includes a new car park, bus terminal and baggage handling system. It will feature thirty check-in desks, six gates, five carousels, restaurants, an observation deck and a business class lounge. Passengers are expected to start using the new facility from July. "We plan to make the move from the old to the new terminal during the winter because a lot of complex equipment needs to be tested, which is better done during the slower months", the airport's Assistant Director, Pero Bilas, said previously. General Manager Novak explained, "This is a complex investment taking place over an area of almost 80.000 square metres, with the terminal taking up 35.000 square metres. Upon completion, the entire terminal complex will spread over 48.000 square metres, which is comparable to our counterparts in Zagreb and Dubrovnik".


As contraction of Split's new terminal nears completion, the airport is turning its attention to easing seasonality. "We need attractions which are not only of interest to locals, but must be competitive with European metropolises because we need to measure up to them. This is not easy or cheap and it requires time, energy and vision. There are some good developments but we have to work on creating an appealing offer for tourists to come outside of the peak season and then we will have more aircraft arriving in the winter", the General Manager said. He added, "Carriers say they don't want to fly to a destination where they register fantastic results between April and October, which then have to cover losses generated over the winter. They want certainty and that is why there are so many airlines in Split in summer and few in winter". However, Mr Novak noted that the peak travel season has been extended at the airport and now lasts longer than before. A number of new carriers will introduce flights to Croatia's second largest city this year, including Air France, British Airways, Luxair, Ryanair and Laudamotion.

Comments

  1. Congrats, Split! Keep up the good work!

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  2. I think SPU is overtaking ZAG this year. The list of new airlines, many of them legacies, is quite impressive this year.

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    Replies
    1. It is possible. We will see.

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    2. Sooner or later it will become the busiest in Croatia. It will never have too many passengers during the winter but the volume of traffic during the summer will be enough to secure number 1 position.

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    3. If I am not mistaken this is what ZAG has going for itself this year:

      - Extra flight on Air Transat
      - Extra flight on Aegean's Q400
      - OU's extra flights on the CRJ in April
      - DUB being year-round

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    4. If ZAG doesn't announce new routes, it could happen. Or they can end the year with almost same numbers.

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    5. - Extra flight on Air Transat
      - Extra flight on Aegean's Q400
      - OU's extra flights on the CRJ in April
      - DUB being year-round

      +

      - DUB will be 3pw instead of 2pw
      - Korean first 8 months 3pw
      - All of 8 OU seasonal routes will start 2 weeks before
      - Iberia first 4 monts 2pw
      - LOT increase 14pw from 1.April
      - Vueling to BCN +1pw

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    6. Nedovoljno.

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    7. Istina, nedovoljno. Zasad bez novih destinacija i prijevoznika, samo ta slaba pojačanja. Nije još puno vremena ostalo da se i dogode neke najave. Bez najava sigurno će biti borba između ZAG i SPU do kraja 2019.

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    8. + LH has upgraded its midday MUC service from regional jet to A320s family, often operated by A321s

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    9. All that is enough for 5% growth, not more. Also we have to see what impact BNX has on ZAG, they already managed to lower their growth in December.

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    10. How do you know it is because of that? It could be because of a whole wide range of things, most notably the absence of Emirates B777.

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    11. Brojke na ZAG-DXB (zimska sezona) sigurno nisu manje, vrlo lako moguće da su čak i veće. 777 je letio slabije popunjen 4-5pw, a sada je 737 daily.

      Značajnijeg povećanja prometa u prosincu nije bilo jednostavno, jer su samo KE i IB značajnije nove linije, ostalo sve je po starome.

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    12. We are almost in February, if anyone adds new flights it won't be before May, June.

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    13. Znači novih putnika u ovoj godini

      302.870 SPU
      275.573 ZAG
      216.347 DBV
      122.375 PUY

      Razlika između Zagreba i Splita se i dalje smanjuje, no sada su brojke povećanja skoro iste. Ipak obzirom na skromne najave Zagreba iduće godine i vrlo značajne Splita, mislim da će se iduće godine Split ponovo bitnije približiti Zagrebu

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  3. Will Mr Novak be called a hater like we were when we said SPU will be eventually number 2 in ex-YU? Looking at 2019 SPU will have growth of around 10% while ZAG should be happy to reach 5%. Difference between the two might fall to just 100.000!

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  4. I thought was BNL fastest growing but congrats SPU!

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    Replies
    1. BNX was probably in terms of % but SPU in absolute numbers. Even faster than BEG. Maybe it will eventually come to overtaking it as well? Who knows.

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    2. No. Fastest growing isn't determined by passenger increase but by the number of passengers that an airport added. Because from 1 passenger to 2 is an increase of 100%, so percentages are irrelevant.

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    3. *sorry I meant percentage increase not passenger increase

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  5. With Ryanair coming it means they will eventually introduce more destinations and numbers will only keep growing.

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    Replies
    1. Give them some subsidies and let them fly there in winter. Seasonality problem would be solved.

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    2. 10:48

      No it won't. Look at what happened in Zadar. They just took the money, promised they would operate year round and made in seasonal. I'd never trust them.

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  6. Dalmatia needs to work on opening hotels during winter too. From a tourist point of view, even if there would be flights to SPU in winter, you can hardly get a good hotel with the appropriate amenities like Spa, wellness etc. to spend a few nice days.

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    Replies
    1. It would be a challenge for Dalmatians :D

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    2. Zdravstveni turizam, lovci, skijanje na Kupresu (SPU najblizi iako je BIH) , kockarnice, golferi, kongresni turizam, pripreme sportskih klubova, penzioneri sa Islanda, Skandinavije, Sibira, iz svih jako hladnih podrucja, pa gastronomske priredbe, pa raznorazni izbori za misice i mistere, pa timbildinzi, ekskurzije.... sve se moze kad se hoce, ali ne vazi za Hrvatsku generalno, ocito

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    3. A na ovaj spisak iz Rijeke, treba dodati mega-koncerte, vrhunske izložbe, partye, Advent, velika sportska natjecanja (koja su se na Jadaranu odrganizirala toliko puta, dakle postoji i znanje i infrastruktura)...

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    4. Nažalost, sve su to puste želje u današnjoj rentijerskoj i iseljavajućoj Hrvatskoj. Radnu snagu je sve teže pronaći i za glavnu sezonu, a komunalna naknada se naplaćuje u punom iznosu i za zimsko razdoblje. Za to što pišete potrebne su radikalne promjene, od ovih kozmetičkih puževim korakom neće biti ništa.

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  7. Mark my words, in 2019 SPU and ZAG will be in a tie. ZAG doesn't have much going on this year while SPU does... A LOT! Numbers will keep on booming and it's time to think of a new terminal expansion. :D

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    Replies
    1. U 2018. razlika poraste Zagreba i Splita je bila tek 27.000. Ako se ovakava razlika zadrži i dalje Splitu će trebati 8 godina da dostigne Zagreb (sada je 213.000 razlike).

      Ne vjerujem da će Split toliko naglo porasti, a Zagreb pasti da bi bili toliko blizu u 2019. No, 2021-22. bi se to već moglo desiti.

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  8. The encouraging fact is the huge growth the airport had in the low season!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, very good numbers for November and December.

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  9. Finally they will open the new terminal. It will make them even more competitive.

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    Replies
    1. Such a shame the terminal isn't already done up yet. Hopefully they finish the terminal in the projected time and there are no more delays.

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    2. That new terminal can't come soon enough.

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    3. Not this year though ... works have been slowed down to a crawl.

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    4. What?!?! So it's not going to open in July?

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    5. I'm from Split and travel frequently. The work zone looks still very much rough and it will take months before it would be close to completion. I wouldn't put my money that terminal will be put to use before September.

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    6. What about that suggestion to build a new airport for Split?

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    7. Who would invest the money and what returns would they expect to get?

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    8. The country could invest. It would pay off long term if you built a large airport with the capabilities of handling heavy aircraft as well. Apparently some airlines have been turned away from Split because there is a lack of capacity on the apron.

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    9. The country is broke and does not have money to invest in something like that when there are already existing SPU and ZAD airports at a close distance and still underutilized.

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  10. Pity about Transat cancelling its flights to Split.

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    Replies
    1. Still wondering what happened there...

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    2. If they increased ZAG flights, I think they calculated that is cheaper to maintain 3pw in ZAG then 2pwZAG and 1pwSPU.

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  11. Any idea how many passengers they will have in 2019?

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    Replies
    1. My guess is 3.3 million.

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    2. Probably more than that, I would guess 3,35 million.

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  12. My prediction for 2019:

    BEG 6.1
    SPU 3.5
    ZAG 3.4

    Others will be tricky, especially DBV. I don't think they can pull of a 10% increase.

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    Replies
    1. DBV said it plans 5% growth this year.

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    2. DBV growth will be higher than 5%. Mark my words!

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    3. Enough with "mark my words" comments. Annoying af.

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    4. @frishki
      So are your rude comments.

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    5. Iako je Split ove godine porastao za 302.870, a Zagreb za 275.573, iskreno nije realno misliti da će u idućoj godini Zagreb porasti tek 70.000 putnika (samo 2%), a Split za 410.000 putnika

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  13. Healthy domestic competition :)

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    Replies
    1. It is very good. In the end Croatia will soon have 3 airports with over 3 million annual Pax and altogether over 12 Million Passengers.

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  14. And where will all those pax reside? Split and its surroundings simply cant absorb much more visitors. That is going to put a cap to any future growth and it will slow down significantly in a very near future. Zagreb has much more potential to achieve and that will allow him to not only keep the number one position in Croata but even to extend the difference to Split and Dubrovnik significantly.

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    Replies
    1. Ako jedan gradić DBV može imati uskoro i 3mil, onda SPU sa nemjerljivo većom okolicom, kako obala tako otoci i zaleđe + veći bazen stanovništva može imati barem 10mil!

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    2. Disagree, spu with its catchment area can absorb more passengers than u think.

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    3. Btw, SPU will be connected to the railway network (future Split metro trajektna-kopilica new main rlw station-solin-kaštela-airport) in next 4-5 years.

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    4. And you like to believe in fairy tales? No rail to the airport in the next 20 yrs.

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  15. "Jointly, Croatia's three busiest airport's - Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik - handled a record 8.999.789 passengers in 2018, or an additional 766.501 travellers on the year before."

    Svaka cast.

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    Replies
    1. And all Croatian airports will be at around 10.5 million in 2018.

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  16. If Mostar wakes up and offers cheap flights, it will hurt Split.

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    Replies
    1. lol yeah I'm sure its really going to hurt them.

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    2. I think he meant that people going to Medjugorje would not go via Split anymore, they would go direct to Mostar.

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    3. Mostar will not but Banja Luka surely will!

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    4. If Mostar Airport develops it might hurt Split by like 0,2%.

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    5. Ni BMX ni OMO ne mogu i nece imati utjecaja na SPU

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  17. With all due respect to the airport CEO there is no chance Split will overtake Zagreb anytime soon.

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    Replies
    1. It already has.

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    2. It was said already. No need to repeat well known facts!

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    3. @9,36
      usual comparisons are done on yearly basis

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    4. uf sto se purgeri pjene :D

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  18. Bravo Hrvatska!

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  19. Split is Croatia's most successful airport. Biggest profit, biggest revenue, busiest during the summer. The only thing that really lets it down is the terminal but this will change soon as well.

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    Replies
    1. I still think Dubrovnik is better managed.

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    2. That is not the only thing. Biggest SPU problem is rnw length and apron size. Because of that, future peak months growth is very limited. Of course, it is hard to get any long haul flights.

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    3. So no chance of seasonal TATL flights from Split? Were there ever transatlantic flights from Split during Yugo times?

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    4. No TATL flights in a near future. Split area is well served from major EU hubs and what could be done better is to connect better to some smaller airports in Europe. That is most sensible strategy for a small city like Split.

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    5. Do you know what happened with the Transat flights. Why were they cancelled after they were selling tickets?

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    6. @10.25 not during Yugo times (there was from Dubrovnik but not Spli). But Skyservice flew one season from Toronto to Split around 10 years ago or more.

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    7. It's not hard to have the biggest profit, biggest revenue, and to be the busiest during the summer if you have sea, islands and large leisure catchment area. It's hard to be succesful if during the winter time you end behind third tier gasto airports.

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  20. Honestly I am surprised that Dubrovnik is behind Split.

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    Replies
    1. Only suprise is that the gap between SPU and DBV is not even bigger!

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    2. Why? Dubrovnik being such a beautiful and well known city I would expect them to have more tourists than Split.

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    3. DBV serves Dubrovnik, Dubrovačko primorje, Korčula, Pelješac, small part of Herzegovina.

      SPU serves Split (5 times bigger city than Dubrovnik + it is tourist destination), Šibenik, Brač, Hvar, Trogir, Kaštela, Dalmatinska Zagora, Makarsko primorje, big part of Herzegovina... it is more than million people of cachment area.

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    4. Bigger catchment area hun, not difficult to understand.

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    5. Ispravak netocna navoda.
      Sibenik je podjednako usluzen i od SPU i od ZAD....

      No, opet trust lokalnih mozgova zagovara gradnju aerudruma 🤔

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    6. How large are the DBV and SPU catchment areas?
      Somebody previously said that it´s around 3-4 million for both airports.

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    7. There are significant number of people living there but very few have travel habits, and most of the travel is done by car. Thus not much of business potential with local population.

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    8. That's true, the traffic is predominantly inbound and the tourist accomodation capacity of Split Airport's cathment area is far more greater than that of Dubrovnik Airport. On the other hand Dubrovnik area offers more premium accomodation units, e.g. 5* hotels.

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  21. Now that is really impressive. Congratulations Split.

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  22. Kad zaveje u Splitu grad sa okolišom bi tokom zime mogao da ponudi recimo kockarnice, festivale, sajmove nautike recimo, kongresni turizam. Kad pomenu sneg onolike planinčine oko Splita a ni jedan ski centar...Za peglanje sezonalnosti zimi mora se gospodo malo i ulagati. Split bi mogao biti Balkanska Nica samo ko ce se time baviti dovoljno je more...

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    Replies
    1. Snijeg? Are you serious? Nije to Gorski Kotar. O cemu ti? Ae nadi nekog da inveztira u celave gore.

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    2. Anon 11:49, jesi li kad čuo za pješačke ture ("hiking")? Seoski turizam, kao što ga ima Istra?

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    3. Ski centar kao sto si napisao, nije bas hiking. Seoski turizam isto tako.

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  23. Am I the only one who thinks that the new planned capacity with new terminal is too little- they will reach 3.5 million this year!

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    Replies
    1. Agree 100%. From day 1 I have been thinking how they will break capacity in the very first year.

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    2. The capacity of the new terminal is around 3 million. The current one remains open and handled 3,1 million last year. In total they will have a capacity of 6 million Pax p.a.

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    3. Nop. Capacity of old and new terminal together is 3,5 million.

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    4. You're not the only one. I doubt they'll reach 3,5 million this year, but next year Split will be way beyond that for sure. I don't get it.

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  24. Split overtaking Zagreb would be a massive achievement but I'm not sure they will be able to make it to be honest. Zagreb will also grow strongly in the years to come.

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    Replies
    1. Maybe in the years to come but I don't see many new arrivals in 2019.

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    2. Things can change. It is still early days of the year.

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    3. It won't change a lot without a proper low cost. And this is now impossible.

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  25. E sad....da li je rasta najbrze ili najvise pitanje je sad.
    Ako uzmemo kako je brzina relativna mjerljiva od pocetne do zavrsne tocke izrazena u % a velicina apsolutna izrazena u broj putnika, ipak bi kazao kako nije najbrze rastao vec najvise.

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  26. Amazing year for Croatian airports all round.

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  27. Once LCCs finally start flying to ZAG in bigger numbers it will record a lot of growth, making it difficult for Split to overtake.

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    Replies
    1. I agree but the question is when?

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    2. Exactly. When? Kad na vrbi rodi grozde.

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    3. Sve ce se uskoro znati. 30.2. ide sluzbena objava

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    4. Da, steta sto ima samo 28 dana u februaru.

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    5. To je i poenta 30.2
      Dakle nikad

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    6. Nisu mi jasne rasprave o preuzimanju prvog mjesta od strane Splita ili Zagreba, kao da zaboravljate da se radi o jednoj državi? Apsolutno mi je svejedno, osobno bih volio bolju povezanost unutar Hrvatske i više međunarodnih linija zimi.

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    7. Kompleks manje vrijednosti.

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  28. The gap between SPU and BEG is becoming smaller and smaller as time goes by. I predict a 1 million difference during the next 3 years going down to 500,000 thousand by 2026-2027.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, in 20 years it will have even more traffic than Vienna. In 30 years more than Frankfurt, and so on ...

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    2. What silly comments can be seen here. In 10 yrs time Split and its surrounding will have more than 50.000 people less living there due to depopulation. Who will travel then?

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    3. More tourists and gasterbaiters. Just like everywhere else where the numbers are on the rise.

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  29. Well, I would be happy if Laudamotion introduced a Vienna-Split service. Or maybe even Level.

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  30. OS just announced that by 2021 it will retire all of its 18 Q400. This is a great opportunity for OU to get some. Also with the 120 seat E95 being the smallest aircraft in their fleet, I see a lot of ex-YU cuts coming.

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  31. Congratulations Split!! Even the November & December numbers were really good!
    The only thing that I find troubling, is the capacity of the new terminal - 3,5 million which means that within a year of its opening next summer, it'll already be operating at full capacity.

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  32. No worries Michael. The number of pax will not grow much more than 3.5 million anyhow. The tourism in Dalmatia has reached its peak and with a return of Turkey, Tunisia and others to the tourism map we'll see stagnation in the number of visitors in the coming years during peak season. During pre- and post-season the capacity of the terminal is more than sufficient.

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  33. With all respect to Split, but the fastest growing airport in ex YU is PRN with growth 14,7%.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, because Split added more passengers.

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