Croatia Airlines plans Sofia and Podgorica flights


Croatia Airlines plans to expand its destination network next year with the introduction of flights from Zagreb to Sofia and Podgorica. The President of the airline’s Supervisory Board, Zlatko Mateša, said, “Croatia Airlines is a decent and high quality Central European company, whose strategic goals are, first and foremost, quality and passenger safety. In the words of our owner, the government of the Republic of Croatia, the expansion of our destination network, as well as fleet renewal, is our strategic focus in the upcoming period. We’ve already started expanding our network by introducing flights, for example to Dublin, and we will continue to do so. Cities we are focusing on now are Sofia and Podgorica. This is our short-term goal”.

Zagreb Airport identified Sofia several years ago, along with Basel, Geneva, Kiev and Riga, as having sufficient critical mass to sustain nonstop flights. Croatia Airlines planned to introduce services to the Bulgarian capital back in 2014, however, those were shelved as the company embarked on a restructuring process, barring it from introducing new routes at the time. On the other hand, the carrier discontinued its three weekly flights between Zagreb and the Montenegrin capital in February 2012. “The resumption of flights between Podgorica and Zagreb would be of great importance to the Montenegrin diaspora in Croatia, but also for Croatian nationals in Montenegro. Furthermore, it would serve as an added benefit for the tourism sector which is vital for both countries”, the Ambassador of Montenegro to Croatia, Boro Vučinić, said recently. The resumption of flights between the two has also received support from the mayors of Zagreb and Podgorica, as well as the Croatian Ambassador to Montenegro.

Croatia Airlines is expected to be recapitalised or fully privatised mid-way through next year, in order to secure necessary funds to renew its fleet and expand its network. Mr Mateša is a member of the inter-agency committee, set up by the state, whose main task is to seek out potential investors for Croatia Airlines. The company’s CEO, Jamin Bajić, said yesterday, “We have a dynamic period ahead of us. In the first half of 2020, Croatia is presiding over the Council of the European Union and Croatia Airlines will play an important role in connecting our country with Europe and the world. We look forward to this responsible role and will do our best to fulfil everyone’s expectations”.




Comments

  1. oh finally, what a no brainer.

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  2. Finally! about time

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  3. This is great news. Looking forward to their expansion in 2020 :)

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    Replies
    1. What's with OU's privatization process? When is the deadline for DVB, end of December?

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    2. So, should we know the results by the end of the year, although I suppose consultants will say that there are no interested parties in buying OU?

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    3. No, it was reported here numerous times. They have to suggest the best sales model by the end of the year. Not sell them by the end of the year. Like this very article says, deadline for sale is mid way 2020. June 2020.

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    4. Yes, Anon 13:32, I meant the results of consulting, since we assume there won't be anyone interested in buying them.

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  4. Will they lease an extra plane next year or can this be achieved with the two CRJ1000s?

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    Replies
    1. Judging by their expansion in the last two years, they will cut something to make aircraft available for these two routes.

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    2. My money is on ZAG-DBV-ATH

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    3. I think CRJ1000 is too big for ZAG-TGD. Makes more sense for it to be the Q400.

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    4. Going by OU form, Sofia will likely be Q400 2 per week and Podgorica 3 per week. I'm sure they'll find the planes to cover this massive expansion.

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    5. I think you are very wrong @Q400, my bet is on Sofia 3 weekly and Podgorica 2 LOL :)

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  5. Sofia is a good choice now that Adria is dead.

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    1. Let's see how they perform and what they do in Sofia. JU flies daily on the Atr while having more connection options. My guess is that OU will be three weekly.

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    2. OU serves the Bulgaria - Croatia Market. Ju serves the Bulgaria-EU market.

      OU will do very well. There is no need to compete with Ryanair and Wizz for Pax on the SOF-MAD or so market as JU does. OU is not after that market.

      OU will carry the fast growing market between SOF and ZAG/DBV/SPU/PUY/ZAD

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    3. I do not think there are many Bulgarians interested in Croatian coast knowing they have their own for much more affordable prices

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    4. If there was a market from Bulgaria to Croatia FR or W6 would have launched it ages ago.

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    5. Because ULCC have launched every route with potential... don't think so.

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    6. No but they did out of SOF which was a bloodbath up until a while ago. Even with that massive war they skipped on Croatia.

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    7. You can't compare them. ULCC have different cost structures. They have all said ZAG is expensive for them and flying an A320 or B737 between SOF and ZAG without offering any connections whatsoever obviously wouldn't work.

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    8. If millions of Bulgarians can go to the more expensive Greek coast although they have their own, why not also to the Croatian one? People can enjoy more diversity.

      In any case OU will make use of some transfers, esp to Scandinavia I reckon.

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    9. Oh and 2 years there was barely a market from Poland to Croatia. Now it explodes. I always thought Lithuania and Latvia is no market for Croatia. But hey, other prove you wrong.

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    10. Well let's see what happens, I'm not holding my breath especially not when winter 2020 comes and when OU needs another capital injection.

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    11. Well OU is not after those tourist. They do not plan to transport the whole of Bulgaria, but the few that want to see something else.

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    12. Alwaus we takl that someone should come to Croatia. Do people from Croatia travel anywhere?

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    13. Well looking at how OSI and ZAG perform (outbound demand) we can assume that they travel but not much by air.

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  6. I hope at least one of these will be year round.

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    1. Who would fly from ZAG to TGD in winter?

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    2. It used to be year round.

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    3. Yeah before it got cut due to bad loads. SOF and TGD are basic destinations that should have been added ten years ago, not now when the market is much more competitive

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    4. I agree on that.

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    5. They will both be seasonal. Everything they introduced in past few years has been seasonal.

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    6. Mostar is year round :D

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    7. Ok but that is fully subsidised.

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  7. bummer, no OHD then?

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  8. Should have done it years ago! Now it will be much more difficult.

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  9. Maybe they lease a third CRJ1000, introduce these two routes and increase feequencies to others?

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    Replies
    1. Would be nice. They got those 30+ million EUR so hopefully they put it to use so passengers can see some improvement.

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  10. Step in the right direction.

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  11. Zlatko Mateša is absolutely everything in Croatia. President of OU supervisory board, presdient of Olympic committee, consul to Mongolia, former Prime Minister....

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  12. Sofia seems was working really well for Adria and seems to be doing good for Air Serbia too. Hope Croatia Airlines has good results.

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    Replies
    1. But what OU can offer with their small network for transfer flights?

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    2. Dublin and numerous frequencies to Germany.

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    3. Ryan is starting Podgorica-Dublin next year so don't see too many people using OU instead.

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    4. Why you guys believe OU should offer transfers to EU? They should play their best cards and offer connecetions from cities that do not have direct flights to Croatia. They will offer 6 destinations in Croatia through ZAG. None is served from SOF or OTP.

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    5. Maybe there is a reason they are not served from OTP and SOF? RO tried DBV and it didn't work out.

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    6. we never found out what JP exactly meant with "working well". Were they using the Saab's?

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    7. Many are served via BEG.

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    8. SOF was working so well for JP they ended up bankrupt after a year and a bit of flying the route.

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    9. Yeah the route to Sofia wasn't why they went bankrupt.

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    10. from what i've heard JP's SOF route was performing above any expectation. It was very quickly upgraded to crj900 and stayed that way to the end.

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  13. Well at least something from comatose OU.

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  14. I hope the prices will be fare.

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    1. I am 100% sure that prices will be fares. But not sure if those will be fair priced.

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    2. I meant fair :) my phone auto typed fare.

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  15. I presume both are mainly for connecting passengers.

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  16. Bravo Hrvatska!

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  17. Good news for Zagreb. At least something new for next year.

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  18. Pristina, Tirana, Thessaloniki, Ohrid, Budapest, and much more to the East still missing, along with North American destination (s), not necessarily on wide body, A321XLR is the perfect match, but with these people running the company, in my dreams only, unfortunately

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    1. I don't think he is realistic, because he expects Croatia airlines to develop overnight into Singapore airlines!

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    2. Hey buddy, if you want to talk to people first read to learn what they wrote. How can you say I expect something, and not only expect, but overnight, when I clearly said NO CHANCE TO HAPPEN WITH THESE PEOPLE. So I said NO and you claim I said yes, and now. I mean how old are you? Seven?

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    3. Seven and a half hahahaha!!!

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  19. They talk about fleet renewal. Do these refer to those neos in a few years or will there be something sooner?

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  20. I think both could work well for them.

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  21. Good move but long overdue.

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  22. Sofia is surprisingly poorly connected to ex-Yu.

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    1. From ex-yu it is with direct flight connected only to BEG

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  23. Well I guess this is more than what we could have hoped for :(

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  24. Has OU ever flown to Sofia?

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  25. I think Tirana would have been a better option than Podgorica. Sofia should work though.

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  26. Any MNE diaspora in HR?

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    Replies
    1. Somewhat but not considerable. Mostly around the boarder.

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  27. The only way for them to get back on track is to move their ZAG-hub to SPU or DBV but how realistic is that?

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  28. In summer they will have transfers from Sofia to the Croatian coast via Zagreb.

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    1. Bulgaria has its own coast

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    2. Yes when you have your own coast you only want to go there and no where else.

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    3. When Bulgarians are not going to their coast they are going to the Greek or Turkish one.

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    4. Exactly anon 9:38.

      Croatian coast is too far and too expensive for Bulgarians.

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    5. For last three years Bulgaria Air has charters from Sofia to Rijeka. That much about your claims.

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    6. Actually they planned on flying those but in the end they never happened.

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    7. So no charters SOF-RJK after all?

      As concluded - Croatian coast is too far and expensive for Bulgarians

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    8. Those that can afford it go to more famous places like Mykonos or Santorini or the fancy resorts in Spain.

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    9. Absolutely not true @An.14.53. I realized long time ago people here write both true and lies and often even invent things just to prove being right. Well so sorry but I saw Bulgaria Air at RJK with my own eyes.

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  29. Montenegro keeps winning!

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  30. With JU's massive expansion on the horizon and LO focusing on BUD there is very little room for (profitable) growth out of ZAG. OU doesn't have deep enough pockets for this kind of investment. This reminds me of Adria's massive expansion just before the end.

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    1. Didn't Kucko say that Air Serbia is not threat to OU?

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    2. Yeah and then he abandoned the ship he help sink to run Gulf Air.

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    3. There must be a space for profitable direct flying. Too many people here are obsessed with talking about hubs.

      Obviously there is no room for Croatia TATL on OU and OU will never cover hundreds of destinations in Europe, but there must be routes thick enough in O&D between Croatia and its neighbours.

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    4. Yeah because there is more local traffic to Sofia from Zagreb than to Berlin or Madrid, two destinations OU no longer serves. Point is that OU is clueless when it comes to their business.

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  31. Does anybody know what the busiest routes are from Sofia in terms of passenger numbers?

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    1. London when you add up all the airports

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    2. SOF have 11 daily departures to London.

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    3. Vienna was always the busiest route until 2007 until Bulgaria joined EU, then it became London. There are up to 6 daily flights from SOF-VIE and also quite a lot from VAR.

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    4. In terms of p2p top routes according to wiki are:

      London
      Varna
      Milan
      Rome
      Tel Aviv
      Amsterdam
      Brussels
      Athens
      Frankfurt
      Madrid

      OU can definately offer some transfers for some of the routes and develop this gem of an airport to a real Balkan hub.

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    5. Why the hell should they compete with WIZZ and FR on the SOF-LON route? Why?

      They will be offering SOF- Croatia. That is what they are meant for.

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    6. In order to compete on the London market they need to have a good presence in the city which they don't have since they sold most of their slots. Connections can't work for London now.

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    7. From all top airports you started bashing OU about London LOL

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    8. True, I could bash them for Rome if they think anyone will fly SOF-ZAG-SPU-FCO LOL!

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    9. Haters gonna hate

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  32. So is this the network surprise from OU someone was talking about the other week? A bit underwhelming.

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    1. Maybe there will be more.

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    2. I doubt it. Matesa says TGD and SOF are the goals.

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    3. Well as long as they are setting the bar high ;)

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  33. I think it's a lost opportunity for Montenegro Airlines not to have launched Zagreb.

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    1. Who would they carry on an ERJ or Fokker? Who would transfer in Podgorica from Zagreb and to which destination? They would purely rely on P2P passengers which there is not enough on this route.

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  34. Ove linije mogu uspeti jedino ako postoje P2P putnici. Ako uleti po koji transver,dobro bi dosao.

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  35. There will be aprox. 9-10k croatian tourists in OHD this year according mk state stats (80% of them during May-Oct). a 2-3 weekly with a Dash8 is little risk. just saying

    for comparison: dutch tourists are 20k and they have up to 10 weekly in peak season

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  36. Zagreb_Sofia (direct night bus, via Serbia): If you can survive long bus rides you have Flixbus nearly daily to Sofia and Florentiabus daily in high season and 3,4x time x week during low season.

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    1. OU will eventually fail on the line because of the buses.

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  37. I find this VERY good news. JU is doing very good in SOF and so was JP before its demise.
    There is no reason for OU not to compete with JU and have its share in the market and not to be successful. SOF is not only about FR, FB and W6. Plus, SOF needs much more connections to SKP, OHD, TIA but sleepy FB is not doing anything about it.
    I read that the Croatian coast is not popular for Bulgarians, yes and no. There were regular charters to DBV a couple of years ago. Bulgarians traditionally go to the Black Sea coast, Greece and Turkey but also to the Spanish coast: AGP and PMI. So, Croatian coast will be something "new".
    Good luck to OU and "Bravo Hrvatska"! :)

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  38. Central European company? LoL

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  39. Any chance ZAGREB - TIVAT in summer half of year?

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    1. In 1991 Croatia Airlines started, with ex-Adria leased MD-80's domestic services from Zagreb to : Pula, Split, Zadar-Dubrovnik and Dubrovnik, at that time still domestic, but soon to become international to Skopje, Sarajevo and TIVAT, and international services to :Zurich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Berlin and Hannover-Hamburg. However not sure how Tivat would perform today, especially if re-launching TGD and DBV so close, not sure would be success, but at the other hand OU so far had barely any success anywhere, so....

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  40. This week there are going to be 35 weekly flights between BEG and TGD operated by two airlines that code-share. In summer this number goes even higher. Good luck.

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  41. Today JU A319 on BEG-SOF.

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