New York remains Zagreb’s top unserved route


The United States was Zagreb Airport’s top unserved market during the last normal year for commercial aviation in 2019, while New York was the Croatian capital’s busiest unserved route over the past two years. Almost 29.000 people either originated or departed between Zagreb and New York City’s airports in 2019, according to global data provider OAG, with Chicago following as the third busiest unserved destination. London Heathrow was used as the primary point for transfers between New York and Zagreb, from which passengers connected onto a range of airlines. It was followed by Munich and Frankfurt. However, overall, it was Lufthansa that was the single most used carrier for flights between Zagreb and the Big Apple, with 19% of travellers opting to journey with the German carrier for at least one segment of their trip.

Thanks to its close cooperation with Lufthansa, as well as a wide-ranging codeshare agreement with United from points in Europe, Croatia Airlines also profited from indirect traffic to New York. It was the second largest feeder carrier on the transatlantic service. Air Serbia, which is the only national carrier in the immediate region to maintain flights to the largest city in the States, transported 5% of Zagreb’s arriving or departing passengers on the New York route in 2019 placing it among the top five feeder carriers. However, its share declined dramatically in the pandemic stricken 2020, positioning itself in ninth position, while Lufthansa managed to increase its overall share.

Zagreb was likely to see its first nonstop flights to the United States after almost two decades in either 2020 or 2021. Croatia’s former Minister for Tourism, Gari Capelli, announced the service for 2020. Two years ago, he said, "Following the arrangement with American Airlines between Philadelphia and Dubrovnik this summer, which will act as a trial run, we are already in advanced talks for the introduction of a nonstop service from New York to Zagreb. I hope that we will have this route operational next summer". Fast forward to 2021, and there is an ongoing global pandemic, American has terminated its Dubrovnik service and Mr Capelli is no longer member of the government.

Top five busiest USA - Zagreb routes in 2019


If you would like to find out the full list of the busiest unserved routes from Zagreb, of which two of the top five are in the United States, two in Asia and one in Europe, subscribe for this week’s EX-YU Aviation Premium Newsletter here.


Comments

  1. Anonymous09:03

    Very interesting. I’m not surprised LH was the biggest airline.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:04

      And OU seems to benefit from that.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:05

      Maybe if ties with LH were not that strong, they would be able to launch flights to there.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:08

      Too seasonal market.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous14:05

      If Aegean isn't flying to the US then OU shouldn't either.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous14:06

      By that logic JU shouldn't either.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous07:06

      JU has no competition on its market, Aegean does.
      Serbia is a bigger market from the US than Croatia is. These numbers prove it.
      Air Serbia has an extensive and growing network, OU doesn't. You can't make these flights work only with the coast, you need a much larger volume like JU gets from ATH, SKG, TIA, TGD, TIV...

      In the end, there is a business case for A3. I just can't see it for OU. I mean, maybe first they should try to make BER and DUS work.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous06:49

      Business case for OU would be quite easy to imagine. OU is a Star Alliance member, just like TK and A3. OU would have to profile itself more as a network carrier and start feeder flights all over the Balkan + Italy and maybe the Visegrad countries, while TK, A3 and OS connections could serve as feeder flights as well. That way, OU could fill wide-body aircraft on long-haul routes to hubs of other Star Alliance members (i.e. EWR, IAD, PEK) so that their return flights will be fed as well by the alliance partners. With a good pricing strategy, they can attract passengers that otherwise would fly with JU, TK, A3/LH, OS, AZ, RO/KL/AF, OK/KL/AF. It's very much imaginable. But OU would just need other aircraft and to transform into a hub-and-spoke carrier. So the business case has to rely on feeder flights. It is indeed not feasible for OU to operate point-to-point long-haul destinations. They need to exploit their alliance membership here.

      Delete
  2. Anonymous09:04

    It's unfortunate more wasn't done to establish flights to JFK. These are just people who went between these two cities. Imagine all the connecting traffic you would have in New York. Real shame.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:06

      And the connecting traffic you would have from Zagreb too, to domestic destinations and some in the region like SKP for example.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:07

      3 weekly flights to JFK and 2 weekly to an Asian destination with high demand would make sense.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:11

      There could also be some feed from nearby Ljubljana.

      Delete
    4. @An.09.07
      With A321XLR it could be daily 01.06.-30.09., 4-5 weekly for the remaining period of summer timetable, and 2-3 weekly during winter timetable. That being the most conservative numbers within existing regional network, providing codeshares with US partner on connecting flights from /to NYC, within or out of alliance. If regional network, and when I say regional I don't mean ex-yu only, would grow with good connecting times, these numbers could be doubled, or another North American destination(s) introduced. And imagine another one 321XLR operating daily to BOM/DEL, and combination of 30.000 Indian tourists yearly to Croatia, plus transfers to North America and Western Europe. Extremely competitive aircraft which could be ideal for the services in configuration of 24-30 premium and 150-160 economy. But that will never happen, with formal excuse that "aircraft are too expensive to acquire", and with real reason of corrupted government and corrupted management, both accepting feeder role for OU in exchange for other kind of material and other benefits, and glorifying membership (read:feeder role) in star alliance, which cost much more than clever investment in its own development and growth strategy. Corona time being perfect for that, but as I said, not gonna happen

      @An.09.11
      Not only LJU, entire Slovenia, plus Istria and Rijeka /Kvarner, where every second house literally has somebody living in NewYork/New Jersey, and something like 70 % of those using VCE for its NA flights

      Delete
    5. Anonymous01:35

      As someone who lives in the NYC metro and is originally from Zagreb, I tell you five of us in the family would be visiting more frequently if there are direct flights. There are multiple security checkpoints, sometimes passport controls, etc.  Last time I was stuck in Zurich with my 4-year-old for something like a  12-hour layover that should have been 4 hours.  I swore never again will I inconvenience myself and my family with this hassle.  I guarantee you, not having a direct flight hurts Croatia's heritage ties with Croatian Americans, and you are missing a ton of tourists.  We have 2-3 weeks of vacation per year on average, if.  I don't want to spend 2 days traveling for what should be an 8 hr flight.Also, if the direct flight doesn't happen after Covid gate ease, they will never happen.

      Delete
  3. Anonymous09:07

    Where is the Croatian diaspora in the US mainly concentrated?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:10

      Illinois (Chicago)

      Delete
  4. Anonymous09:07

    Who are the third and fourth busiest carriers?

    Air France, Austrian?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:14

      KLM is also a possibility. They have been successful in ZAG.

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    2. British Airways and LOT Polish Airlines.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:19

      How much % has LOT?

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10:07

      I do not get it. LH is no. 1. If BA is no. 3 and LO no. 4, then who is no. 2?

      Delete
    5. Anonymous10:12

      It says in the article.

      "Croatia Airlines also profited from indirect traffic to New York. It was the second largest feeder carrier on the transatlantic service"

      Delete
  5. Anonymous09:07

    Latin America should be an underserved market as well, especially Argentina where there is a sizeable diaspora.
    EZE-ZAG may work out 3 weekly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:09

      It does not seem to be:

      "busiest unserved routes from Zagreb, of which two of the top five are in the United States, two in Asia and one in Europe"

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:19

      Diaspora? Yeah there is a diaspora but not and demand.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:11

      That market was/is pretty much catered for by daily Iberia flights and now to some extent by TAP Portugal.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10:52

      ZAG-EZE? I really hope you're joking.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous23:52

      Someone always writes how there is this huge interest for flights to South America. But at least now we can see there is not single South American destination in top 10 unserved routes (and I assume much further down the list as well).

      Delete
  6. Anonymous09:11

    Great read, thanks- perhaps you could also do it for the other ex yu capitals

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:14

      I think that's the idea. Last Friday we had BEG.
      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2021/02/china-becomes-belgrades-top-unserved.html

      Delete
    2. Yes, there will be an article each week. Ljubljana and Skopje will be the next two.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:19

      There could be a lot routes missing.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous12:22

      Admin, are these numbers only towards NYC or they include Newark?

      Delete
    5. They include Newark

      Delete
  7. Anonymous09:23

    Come to Belgrade, all you friendly Zagreb peeps. We'll sort you out for NY direct.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:24

      Is the JU connection from Zagreb to New York good? And viceversa?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:25

      JU will have to work harder to attract more connecting traffic from Zagreb onto JFK. People are used to flying with Lufthansa and the majority of diaspora ticketing agencies in the US work with them and OU.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:45

      How many passengers were between BEG and JFK in 2019?

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:49

      72.902
      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2020/11/air-serbia-tops-new-york-jfk-load-factor.html

      Delete
    5. JATBEGMEL14:43

      @ 09,24

      The JU230/231 rotations work well in both directions 3 days a week, with immediate connections (roughly 1-2 hours).

      The JU234/235 rotations give several hours (7-10) connecting time in BEG.

      Delete
  8. Anonymous09:27

    29.000 is not a lot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:33

      It's not bad actually. BEG had just a bit more when flights started. Remember, these are only O&D passengers. There would be a lot of passengers connecting in New York and Zagreb. Imagine the number of transfers to Dubrovnik or Split

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:35

      And also like someone wrote above, the proximity of Ljubljana should not be underestimated.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:39

      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2015/11/strong-demand-for-belgrade-us-flights.html

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:55

      Why would someone connect in ZAG to Dubrovnik when there is direct on AA which has a massive domestic market and then there are other airlines like LH, BA, OS...

      Delete
    5. Anonymous09:58

      AA does not fly to Dubrovnik any more and doesn't plan to return in the short term.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous10:10

      Sorry to say that but Game of Thrones is finished, and so are American Airlines' and GoT fanboys' appetites.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous10:12

      You are right. The global pandemic has nothing to do with it. American scheduled daily flights to DBV in 2020.

      Delete
    8. Anonymous10:25

      @anon: 10.10. Your words in God´s ear! I a Dubrovcanin would love to have the GoT hype come to an end asap.

      Delete
    9. Anonymous10:29

      Those 29.000 are just travellers that begin and end their journey in NY. Many, also on JU´s service, continue their journey to other destinations that fill the JFK flight. In the above mentioned numbers a direct flight could cater for 75.000 pax!

      Delete
    10. Anonymous10:44

      75.000? That would be more than Belgrade, unrealistic

      Delete
    11. @An.10.44
      Are you sure it's unrealistic? If you count the numbers of 5 US cities from ZAG only, from the table above on the article, it is 72.000. Now those passengers travel via MUC, FRA, VIE, ZRH, LON, AMS, BRU, BEG.... They could be flying via NYC. Not to mention passengers from DBV and SPU to NYC which could also fly via ZAG instead other European airports. Not to mention passengers from SJJ, SKP and other ex-yu destinations, who now use other cities to transfer to NYC as well. Not to mention passengers from Slovenia and Istria which are, belive me, not few, and now using VCE for direct flights to NYC. Not to mention the possibilities if regional network would be extended. So, no, it is not unrealistic, on the contrary

      Delete
    12. Anonymous17:12

      Agree with Pozdrav. Lots of potential. I assume these flights would have happened sooner or later.

      Delete
    13. Anonymous19:01

      Pozdrav,

      you make the same error again and again. Flying to NYC does not mean flying to ORD, MIA, LAX etc. United Airlines, a star alliance member, would have no interest whatsover to take a pax that flew on OU to NYC further to ORD, MIA, LAX etc. United prefers to take a star alliance pax from ORD, MIA, LAX etc. to FRA and then on LH to ZAG. As simple as that. Why would they prefer flying somebody MIA to NYC and leave the bigger part of the route (NYC-ZAG) to OU, if they can fly this pax MIA to FRA on their own metal or on LH (a joint venture partner) and earn more?

      The same is with JU. NYC is a dead end for them, just the same as it would be for OU. Couple of days before some fanboy replied to me that they have many transfers onwards. Oh, boy. People replace their dreams with reality.

      Delete
    14. As I announced yesterday, no more discussion with Anonymouses

      Delete
    15. Anonymous19:28

      No arguments, no discussion.

      Delete
    16. Anonymous07:11

      United doesn't even codeshare with LO or TK and I don't see them putting their code on ZAG-JFK. They would ignore this route as it would happen without LH's blessing.
      Also, by that logic, how much would BEG-JFK be if we also added passengers to ORD, MIA, LAX... and so on. It doesn't work like that.
      Croatia Airlines failed in many gasto heavy destinations. What makes people think they would be successful here? Don't forget that OU is in a horrible financial state and they are in no position to enter the long-haul market.

      p.s. we saw from JU's experience that transfers from SKP and SJJ are not enough. You need a much wider network.

      Delete
    17. Anonymous13:13

      Much much wider.

      Delete
  9. Anonymous09:33

    JU bi sigurno imao veći % da aerodrom u Zagrebu radi 24h. Noćni let bi obezbedio bolju povezanost za jutarnji let do JFK.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:35

      ZAG works 24 hours. What are you talking about??

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:37

      Kolko ja znam noću mogu da sleću samo mali avioni,čak ni ATR ne može

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:40

      JU sa svojih 6 tjednih letova za JFK uopce ne moze imati veci udio u Zagrebu naprema AFu, LOu, SKu, LHu, LXu, OSu itd.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:42

      Pa kao sto vidis, u 2019 su imali veci i od SK i LX (LX i SK ni ne lete u ZAG).

      Delete
    5. Anonymous09:43

      SJJ is the one not open.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous09:46

      Ako sa 3 jutarnja leta iz Zagreba koji su dobri za konekciju ima 5% sa dodatna 3 noćna leta taj % bi sigurno bio bar malo veći.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous09:47

      Guys JU flights are full with locals and transfers from Montenegro, Greece, Albania... Zagreb can play a bigger role when more seats are added on the market.

      Delete
  10. Anonymous09:40

    2019:

    Two airlines from the United States have expressed interest in launching nonstop flights to Zagreb, however, it could take several years until the service materialises. The Director of the Croatian National Tourist Office in New York, Ina Rodin, said, "We are in serious talks with two large carriers and we hope that within the next two to three years we can establish nonstop flights between New York and Zagreb".

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous09:41

    They have been delaying these flights from Zagreb each year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:42

      You can only delay something that has a firm start date. No dates have ever been announced so what is there to delay?

      Delete
  12. Anonymous09:54

    I'm sure this route would have been launched this year had it not been for corona.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous23:51

      I don't know. It was being announced each and every year since 2009 but never launched.

      Delete
  13. Anonymous09:55

    ex-OU CEO Kucko once said that Croatia doesn't need direct flights to NY because they already have so many options to NY and elsewhere in the US with 1-stop connections over Europe...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:57

      What else could he say? That statement was made when JU launched JFK.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:42

      It was before

      Delete
    3. The list of what Kucko said and has or had nothing to do with reality is pretty long

      Delete
    4. Anonymous23:50

      Speaking of Kucko, I wonder what he has been doing since he left Gulf Air.

      Delete
  14. Anonymous09:55

    ZAG-NYC route will be more successful than some European ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:21

      Not with the competition.

      Delete
    2. Wrong. With A321XLR and labour and service costs in Croatia lower than to the west, plus better and bigger regional network and good marketing it could be very competitive. People tend to forget that yields won't be problem here because US tourists coming to Croatia are usually not travelling on budget and lot of them choose premium product compared to ethno traffic only which generally looks for the best price in economy

      Delete
    3. Anonymous07:13

      Yes but those tourists are going to Dubrovnik, not Zagreb. By making them transfer in ZAG you lose your competitive advantage especially if AA returns to DBV.

      Delete
  15. Anonymous09:56

    Fingers crossed there will be nonstop flights one day.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous09:57

    I don't get the hype about direct flights to the US. Ticket price can't be that much lower than with a single stop in Frankfurt or Munich.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:58

      USA passengers prefer nonstop flights and connections in USA.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:05

      Actually price for direct flight is almost always more expensive

      Delete
    3. Anonymous11:10

      My friends/colleagues from the USA actually only prefer one thing - to book their tickets literally a few days before the trip :D And then they end up with routings such as ORD-AMD-VIE-BEG and BEG-AMS-WAW-ORD. They never complained about the abundance of connecting flights in their itineraries.

      Delete
  17. Anonymous11:09

    Pan Am used to fly 4 p/w with A310s to ZAG once upon a time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous11:12

      There were also JAT flights to New York, Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:14

      From which city did Pan Am fly from?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous11:17

      NYC

      Delete
    4. Anonymous11:25

      Thanks. That was quite an extensive network from Zagreb to the US back in the day.

      Delete
    5. Poster @11.12 forgot to mention JAT 3 weekly to Montreal-Toronto and Air Canada 3 weekly to Toronto. Also not mentioned weekly scheduled DBV to both JFK and ORD

      Delete
  18. Anonymous11:17

    I would be more happy if they tried to attract a LCC to base an aircraft. Having flights to New York is nice but the benefits of having an established LCC serving several cities out of ZAG outweigh a few flights per season to New York.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous11:47

      +1

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:47

      ZAG should have both.

      Delete
    3. @An11.47
      Absolutely agree both needed but not see it happening with people controlling life in Croatia

      Delete
  19. Anonymous17:13

    Unfortunately with corona I don't see flights to JFK starting any time soon. If it were not for Covid, we would probably have flights this summer, although I think the American flights from DBV might have impacted the loads.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous23:50

      Wasn't American also planning ORD-DBV in 2021?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous23:53

      They said they were considering it, yes.

      Delete
  20. Anonymous18:30

    Numbers from 2019 are no longer relevant. Less that 29.000 travelled ZAG-JFK and ZAG-EWR in 2019. Air Serbia handled 72.902 travelers between Belgrade and New York, including transfers. However that number does not include LH and other carriers on BEG-XXX-JFK route. It also does not include other carriers offering BEG-XXX-EWR. Total number of BEG-NYC O&D in 2019 was at least couple of times more than ZAG-NYC but not much of that matters post-Covid. What matters is that Air Serbia kept JFK service open, had strong performance and gained new customers that would not travel on JU if it wasn't the only option.

    With StarAlliance partners LX, OS, LO and LH strongly against direct flights to protect their transfer options, it is very unlikely OU will have financial and other support to start NYC after Covid.

    AA is in deep financial trouble due to Covid and there is zero evidence they would be interested in starting ZAG for years *if they survive at all.

    ReplyDelete
  21. These flights are inevitable with such numbers and will happen eventually.
    Meanwhile, ZAG has a lot to do in other departments with respect to its connectivity.
    Also, something to think about is a strong anti LCC and pro train travel campaign in Europe due to climate change among other things.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous23:45

    I wonder which airline would be potentially interested in operating JFK-ZAG flights

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous23:48

      At this point, I don't think anyone would. In better times, United would make most sense.

      Delete
  23. Anonymous23:46

    Surprising that Iberia is not up there with transfers to US from ZAG.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous23:47

      ZAG is Star Alliance territory.

      Delete
  24. Anonymous23:48

    Would be interesting to see how much flights to JFK would bring in new tourists. Average rate of growth for the US market is 18-19% over the past 5-6 year period. And US travelers do like direct flights..

    ReplyDelete
  25. Anonymous23:49

    Well I do hope flights eventually start.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anonymous07:17

    Guys, 29.000 traveled both ways between the two cities and three airports (ZAG, JFK and EWR). When you calculate how many per day, per direction you get 39 passengers. This is very little to make it work. JU which is in a much larger market struggles in winter. Imagine the issues OU would have when winter comes.

    Demand is simply limited. OU is going bankrupt. They are not interested in anything but feeding LH and they don't have the imagination for an adventure like this one. If the market from ZAG was that big then someone would have jumped at it by now. AA chose DBV for a reason.

    ReplyDelete

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