TRIP REPORT: Croatia Airlines, Zagreb - Skopje


Written by Atanas Alkov

This is my first genuine EX-YU trip report, meaning that both the origin and destination, as well as the airline, were all from EX-YU. I'm reviewing Croatia Airlines' Zagreb - Skopje route with Croatia Airlines, flight number 366.

The ticket price was 170 euros with hand luggage only. The load factor was 66% in business and 95% in economy.

I flew from Zagreb Airport's new terminal for the first time and I can say I like the architecture of the building. It is true that it has some unused spaces, but future growth will probably take care of that. To be honest, I was expecting more shops and restaurants and I think the lighting in the airside departures area could be better.

While I was waiting for my flight, there was a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul operated with an A321 with a light load that evening. Not to my surprise, the majority of passengers were Asian. People in Zagreb told me that Asian tourists spend almost nothing aside from what they pay as part of their package. That made me realise why a 45kg Asian lady was eating like a waterpolo player at breakfast in my hotel.

Our flight was operated by a Dash 8, so boarding was done from the ground level gates and with a short bus ride. The last three flights out of Zagreb that evening were to Belgrade, Sarajevo and Skopje. The waiting area on the ground level has three gates and a small duty free stand. Air Serbia flight to Belgrade had only eighteen passengers and the Croatia Airlines flight to Sarajevo was not much better.

Prior to entering the aircraft, all larger bags were put on a cart, then in the cargo hold, and you had to pick it up after landing.

The flight was uneventful and the Dashenka named Dalmacija landed in Skopje in 1 hour and 7 minutes. Shortly after departure, all passengers were served a savoury snack and drinks. I ordered marasca juice, my usual when flying Croatia Airlines.

Overall, I can say it was a nice flight. My impression is that Skopje is doing well for Croatia Airlines and that Dash 8 is perfect for the slow months.

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  1. Anonymous09:10

    Wow ZAG terminal looks nice but it's so deserted. Maybe management should encourage foreign airlines to add flights during the slow hours like BEG is doing.

    At that time there were like what, 36 passengers to SJJ and BEG, 70 passengers to SKP and a light load to IST. That's barely 200 passengers at 21.00.

    1. Anonymous00:22

      Yup and what's more striking is that there were only 3 flights between 14h and 20h i.e. 1 flight every 2.5-3 hours.

    2. Anonymous01:52

      @Anon 00:22 - on the screen you can see that the time is 19:15, ten, that EK is taking off at the time (19:00), AF also late, boarding, and others three are on schedule. Turkish is not even listed. So, EK landed at 14:30, but stood at the airport till evening for some reason, and in between other flights were normally arriving, and you can't see that on this screen because it shows only DEPARTURES AT THIS TIME AND FURTHER UNTIL THE END OF THE DAY, not the all-day arrivals.

    3. Anonymous07:40

      Today between 14.00 and 00.00 there are 23 departures. Including a widebody aircraft. ;)

    4. Anonymous09:00

      In that time of day you have flights to:
      Osijek 1-3-5--
      Mostar, 1---5--

      And it is not true that Belgrade has more flights for departures in that time. You just have:
      20:25 Istanbul
      20:50 Bucharest ----5--
      23:35 Moscow
      00:20 Tirana 12-4---
      00:25 Tel Aviv 1---5--
      00:25 Bucharest ---4---
      00:30 Skopje 1--4---

      So it is
      54 weekly flights from Zagreb
      23 weekly flights from Belgrade

    5. Anonymous09:56

      You forgot a few more for BEG

      20.00 Zurich ------7 (Swiss)
      20.15 TGD ----5--
      20.45 TGD ------7
      21.00 Oslo -----6-
      20.50 Bucharest --3-5-- (you forgot day 3)
      23.15 Moscow ----5-7
      23.40 Beirut -2--5-7
      23.55 Larnaca ----5--

    6. This foto of departures is in international area, domestic flights are not listed..

  2. Observer09:20

    Hey Atanas, when did you fly?

    ZAG looks stunning, but it's clear that the operator is looking at cost savings with lighting at night. Also, Nemjee really had a point about non-class jet bridges, they look brutal. But there is no doubt in my mind that slowly but surely the terminal will get busier and busier, the lights will be fully turned on and, who knows, maybe even the jet bridges will be 'upgraded.' And, if this terminal/airport does not win an award then it'll be a confirmation that all these awards are bought.

    Also, I was curious to know the percentage of O&D passengers on OU flights to SKP. It would be interesting to know where most of the passengers are connecting to considering that OU network to western Europe during the winter season is not the most extensive (compared to OS or TK as an example).

    1. Nemjee10:01

      When I mentioned the ugliness of these airbridges someone pointed out that they were installed due to safety reasons. Something to do with fire if I remember correctly. Then again, there are glass airbridges all over the world so I wonder if that's true.

      By the way, what do you mean that terminal lights were not fully lit?

    2. Anonymous10:38

      look on the arrival screen: he flew few days ago ;)

    3. Observer08:33

      @Nemjee, the first photo of the terminal from outside shows that while it's still dark outside and the road is not clearly visible the street lighting is not switched on.

      Also, on the fourth photo it seems that it's very dark near the gates with lighting only along the storefronts. Surely, there is more lighting available at the terminal but it is not switched on.

      I get the impression that they're on a cost saving mode, but it could be just the photos.

  3. Anonymous09:51

    Nice report :)

  4. Anonymous10:43

    when i look at the first pic, its not your usual gasto Wizz crowd.

    1. Anonymous10:58

      Why not. That makes perfect sense.

  5. Photo 6..... fake plants??

    joj.... that's lol big time!!


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