Thursday, 28 July 2022

Milanović: Korčula Needs An Airport

ZAGREB, 28 July 2022 - President Zoran Milanović visited the southern Adriatic island of Korčula on Thursday to attend a ceremonial meeting of the Town Council on the occasion of Town Day.

He said that Pelješac Bridge, which was opened on Tuesday, was much more than a transport corridor and more than steel and concrete. "I am very pleased that Pelješac Bridge is here, but I am confident that what you need is an airport. That would work wonders for the island's economy and tourism," the president said.

Speaking of Korčula's tradition, development and beauty, Milanović said: "This tradition, this country and this culture were not created yesterday. This place was civilised, successful and progressive, it was written about. Our islands are like a paradise, this cannot be found anywhere else, so close to the heart of Europe. If you had a bridge, nothing would change here, this would still be a beautiful island. Enjoy your island."

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Saturday, 2 April 2022

Tegeltija: Why Would Trebinje Airport Be a Problem to Dubrovnik?

ZAGREB, 2 April 2022 - The Chairman of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Council of Ministers, Zoran Tegeltija, said on Saturday it was not clear to him why anyone in Dubrovnik and Croatia would be against the construction of an airport at Trebinje, noting that everyone would benefit from the project.

Tegeltija confirmed to the local media that he had received a letter from Dubrovnik Mayor Mate Franković requesting that all preparations for the construction of the Trebinje airport be suspended until the possible impact of the project on the environment, including the River Ombla, was assessed.

In his letter, Franković reminded Tegeltija that Bosnia and Herzegovina, just like Croatia and Serbia as a potential investor, was a signatory to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context and that the airport construction should be suspended until it was confirmed that there would be no risk to the source of the River Ombla, which is situated only eight kilometres from the planned construction site.

The airport would be built in highly porous karst terrain.

Tegeltija said he was ready to discuss all unresolved issues with the Croatian government, including its plan to build a nuclear waste facility on Mount Trgovska Gora at Dvor na Uni, near the Bosnian border.

"I do not understand why the mayor of Dubrovnik is not happy about the construction of the airport at Trebinje, given its economic importance not just for Trebinje, but for the whole of Republika Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina," Tegeltija said, avoiding a comment on Dubrovnik's concern about the possible pollution of the Ombla.

Trebinje Mayor Mirko Ćuk said that Franković should not be interfering in this project. "I am in favour of all conditions being met, but without political interference. It is superfluous to comment on the claim that the construction of the Trebinje airport will affect the source of the river."

Earlier this week, the Council of Ministers formulated a proposal to open talks with Serbia on a memorandum of understanding for the construction of an airport at Trebinje. The opening of talks requires the approval of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The idea to build the Trebine airport was first floated two years ago by Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, who said that the project was important for connecting Eastern Herzegovina to Serbia and the region and that it would be fully financed by Belgrade.

The airport would serve a town of barely 30,000 inhabitants and would be situated in a sparsely populated region. There are already three airports within a 50-km radius of Trebinje -- at Mostar, Dubrovnik and Tivat.   

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Saturday, 2 April 2022

Dubrovnik Mayor Asks Bosnia Government to Halt Construction of Trebinje Airport

ZAGREB, 2 April 2022 - Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franković has sent a request to Bosnia and Herzegovina's Council of Ministers to halt the construction of the airport in the town of Trebinje, southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, until the impact of the project on the source of the River Ombla is assessed.

The road distance between Dubrovnik and Trebinje is roughly 30 kilometres.

The mayor sent the request to the chairman of the Bosnia and Herzegovina's ministerial council, Zoran Tegeltija, on Friday following the adoption of a memorandum by Bosnia's Council of Ministers and the government of Serbia on the future cooperation with the aim of implementing the project of Trebinje Airport.

Franković recalls that apart from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia are also signatories to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (informally called the Espoo Convention).

The document is a United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) convention signed in Espoo, Finland, in 1991 that entered into force in 1997.

The Convention sets out the obligations of Parties—that is States that have agreed to be bound by the Convention—to carry out an environmental impact assessment of certain activities at an early stage of planning. It also lays down the general obligation of States to notify and consult each other on all major projects under consideration that are likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact across boundaries.

Franković says that the construction of airports is covered by the convention whereby the signatories are obliged to apply the principles and provisions of ESPO as well as of the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).

"Therefore we express dissatisfaction with the current course of action and with the absence of initiative for dialogue...concerning this environmentally important issue," writes the mayor of the southernmost Croatian city.

Dubrovnik insists on the immediate suspension of the project until all the fulfillment of the requirements under the ESPO convention and SEA protocol.

According to the available information, the future airport should be situated in a Karst area and on soil permeable to water in the Talež settlement in the Serb entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, just eight kilometres of the source of the River Ombla.

For more, check out our business section.


Monday, 10 January 2022

Rijeka Airport Bounces Back With Passenger Traffic Doubled in 2021

January 10th, 2022 - Almost twice as many passengers traveled through Rijeka Airport in 2021 than in the previous year, with the upward trend expected to continue due to new summer lines announced for 2022

Rijeka Airport recorded 56,388 passengers in 2021. It’s an increase of almost 29,000 passengers compared to the airport traffic in 2020, reports Croatian Aviation.

Unsurprisingly, the largest number of passengers was recorded in summer months. Rijeka Airport saw over 15,000 passengers in July 2021, around 20,000 passengers in August and some 13,000 in September.

In contrast, there was very little off-season air traffic on Krk island. At present, Rijeka Airport only has two flights on its winter schedule, those of a local carrier operating from Rijeka to Osijek and Rijeka-Split-Dubrovnik. 

On the upside, international airlines have lately been announcing plans to boost their existing summer lines from Rijeka and introduce new routes, so we can expect a further increase in traffic this year. It might be a while before the airport bounces back to its pre-pandemic levels; in 2019, over 200,000 passengers traveled through Rijeka Airport. 

Low-cost carrier Ryanair will operate from Rijeka to London, Brussels and Stockholm twice a week starting from March 27th, 2022.

German airlines Condor and Lufthansa have announced summer lines between Rijeka and Frankfurt, once and twice a week respectively. Lufthansa and Croatian Airlines will also operate from Rijeka to Munich.

In 2021, eight Croatian airports recorded a total of 4,771,520 passengers combined. It’s a significant increase compared to a little over 2 million passengers in 2020; in the record 2019, Croatian airports saw a total of 11,376,915 passengers.


For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Saturday, 19 December 2020

Zadar Airport Gets Airport Health Accreditation

ZAGREB, Dec 19, 2020 - Zadar Airport has been accredited in the Airport Council International (ACI) Airport Health Accreditation programme which has been designed to help reassure the public that airport facilities remain safe and that precautions are being taken to reduce any risk to their health.

The accreditation is valid for the next 12 months.

After a long evaluation, it has been established that Zadar Airport operates in line with ACI and International Civil Aviation Organization guidelines and international industry standards.

"We are confident that our efforts will help us succeed in achieving this common goal and that is safe travelling," the airport said in a press release on Saturday.

Saturday, 7 November 2020

Flights to Croatia: Lufthansa Cancels Munich-Zagreb, Chair Airlines Operates to Split

November 7, 2020 - The latest news for flights to Croatia as Lufthansa cancels Munich-Zagreb from December 1, and Chair Airlines announces a route between Zurich and Split next year. 

Croatian Aviation reports that German airline Lufthansa has canceled the Munich-Zagreb line from December 1. With the cancellation of this line, the airline will temporarily leave Zagreb Airport. Recall, the Frankfurt-Zagreb line was previously canceled until the spring of 2021.

Lufthansa launched the Munich-Zagreb route shortly after the lockdown and initially operated on it three times a week, gradually increasing the number of weekly flights between the two cities. During the lockdown, the airline stopped traffic on the Frankfurt-Zagreb line, and its resumption of operations was announced for March 2021.

The figures confirm how important Lufthansa is as a partner of Zagreb Airport - in 2016; this airline had a share of a high 18.25% of passenger traffic; in 2017, as much as 17.45%

Lufthansa was expected to operate the entire winter flight schedule on the Munich-Zagreb route (the only active route to Croatia). The number of operations has even increased for November, and daily flights are available. Still, from December 1, they will suspend traffic on this route, and will completely, temporarily, withdraw from Zagreb Airport, and consequently from the Croatian market.

Because Lufthansa will stop traffic on the currently only active route to Zagreb, and with previously canceled flights of Austrian Airlines, Eurowings is the only company from the Lufthansa Group will operate to Zagreb Airport this winter.

Thus, 53 years after the first flight to Zagreb, Lufthansa will temporarily withdraw from Zagreb Airport due to the global pandemic and weak demand.

From Wednesday, December 16, Croatia Airlines will offer daily flights on the Zagreb-Munich route, which will primarily depend on booking, which, after the withdrawal of Lufthansa, could be satisfactory, especially during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

The withdrawal of Lufthansa from Zagreb is certainly bad news, considering that the direct connection with Munich is being lost, which, as a hub, enables the continuation of travel to numerous destinations in Europe and the world.

Croatian Aviation also reports that Swiss Chair Airlines has announced its destinations for next year's summer flight schedule. Among others, the Zurich-Split line is being introduced.

It is an airline operating under the name Chair Airlines since the summer of last year, formerly known as Germania Flug. The airline has two A319 aircraft in its fleet that can carry up to 150 passengers.

The announcement of the Zurich-Split route by Chair Airlines comes just a few days after the news that the German Condor will also operate on this route in the summer flight schedule next year.

With this new Chair Airlines route, Split and Zurich will be connected with as many as four airlines, with Croatia Airlines, Edelweiss, and Condor Airlines operating on the same route. Chair Airlines line will be in operation from April 25 to October 24, 2021, almost the entire summer flight schedule.

"After most citizens spent their summer vacation in Switzerland, we believe that next summer, popular destinations will be in demand more than ever before, that's why we decided to introduce a line to Split."

Chair Airlines between Zurich-Split-Zurich will be in operation twice a week, every Thursday and Sunday in the evening. The company has a total of 15,900 seats on sale between the two cities for the summer of 2021.


Thursday: Zurich 18:40 - 20:10 Split 20:55 - 22:30 Zurich

Sunday: Zurich 17:20 - 18:50 Split 19:35 - 21:10 Zurich

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Thursday, 10 September 2020

Anniversary of Croatia's Worst Airplane Crash over Vrbovec in 1976

Thursday, 10 September 2020 – On this day in 1976, the explosion above Vrbovec was not just Croatia's worst airplane crash, it was the deadliest mid-air collision the world had ever seen

That summer there had been a heatwave. Although European holidays were not as standard as they are now, some of the 54 passengers on board the British Airways Hawker Siddeley Trident from London were no doubt looking forward to extending their good summer on this trip south to Istanbul. For the passengers of the other plane, 108 mostly-German tourists en route from Split to Bonn Cologne on a Douglas DC-9, this was the end of their vacation. They were headed home after rest on the Dalmatian coast. But, neither set of passengers would that day reach their destination.

The explosion above Vrbovec, just north-east of Zagreb on Thursday 10 September 1976 was not just Croatia's worst airplane crash, at the time it was the deadliest mid-air collision the world had ever seen. All 176 people aboard both aircraft were killed.

English language news footage taken in the aftermath of Croatia's worst airplane crash

The fault of the collision was a severely overworked, ill-equipped and understaffed Zagreb air traffic control. The ineffectiveness of their procedures that day had harrowing consequences.

In 1976, Vrbovec was known for its industry, its surroundings rich in agriculture. At the time of the crash – around 11.15am in Croatia - those working in the fields would have been thinking about coming inside to escape the glare of the sun and take lunch. The skies above them exploded before they could take that journey. Debris rained down over an area of 10 square kilometres.

Plane wreckage, photographed by the Croatian media shortly after Croatia's worst airplane crash

Over 1000 locals were engaged in the fruitless search for the victims. All were dead. Small comfort could later be taken from learning that most had died instantly, at the moment the planes depressurized. The last five metres of the DC-9's left wing had cut through the Trident's cockpit and the front of the passenger compartment.

The British Airways plane involved in Croatia's worst airplane crash © Mike McBey

Vrbovec was soon the destination for hundreds of journalists from around the world, not least Britain and Germany. News of Croatia's worst airplane crash had been reported within an hour of the incident. German families waited nervously at Bonn Cologne airport for relatives who would never come. The story had reached Germany. Their plane had not arrived. It took airport authorities another four hours to confirm that, sadly, it never would.

Near the town of Vrbovac today, in a countryside that remains very similar to that searched for survivors 44 years ago, a lasting memorial stands surrounded by trees, a permanent reminder of Croatia's worst airplane crash.

A memorial to some of the victims, at Zagreb's Mirogoj © SpeedyGonsales

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Friday, 31 March 2017

Dubrovnik to Zagreb: Road Testing the New Terminals

We booked our flights from Dubrovnik to Zagreb to finally experience the long-awaited new airport terminals in Dubrovnik and Zagreb to see how everything was going. Was everything really ready, were there any problems (well as you could have already read, there might be some problems with translation) and what passengers thought about the new terminals.

Cabin crew, prepare for take-off!

When I write “we booked our flights” I actually want to say that my boss called me on Sunday, told me to cancel all my plans for Tuesday and come to Zagreb. I think this is probably my 31st flight since the beginning of the year 2017, so I always have one luggage ready next to my writing desk, just in case.

I was actually very enthusiastic about embarking on this voyage and checking the new airports. Let’s be honest here, the previous Zagreb airport was just horrible, small in size, nothing to do, nowhere to go and the restrooms were built probably in the years when my role model was still Britney Spears. I was always a bit ashamed of that airport when I brought my friends to Croatia, but this time I wanted to see the new building and feel that national pride at first sight. And they didn’t let me down: if I were a football fan, I would probably have orn Football national team jersey.

Tuesday, Dubrovnik, Departure 12:55 p.m. (or so I hoped…)

The new passenger terminal in Dubrovnik started operating in February, 2017 and it has been announced that the moving to the new terminal will be completely finished by summer season 2017. In the first phase, terminal A is to be completely closed and check in counters and security checkpoints are to be moved to the new terminal.

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Further expansion is planned for completion in 2019. A new 24,181 square meters terminal with four jet bridges is under construction; the new terminal will have a projected annual capacity of 3.5 million passengers. The catchment area of Dubrovnik Airport is the southern part of Croatia, as well as parts of the neighboring countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.

One thing you immediately notice about this airport: it is impeccably clean and everything looks so shiny, bright and new that you don’t even want to depart. There is a plenty of space for the summer crowds, self service check-in machines are placed at the very beginning and this time all of them work (yaaay!), the atmosphere is very relaxed and people chill in the airport bar before departing. There is a currency exchange office, a few souvenir shops, Croatia Airlines office, TISAK kiosk and that would be it: not too many things to do, but having in mind that Dubrovnik is not a big town, and it is mostly a summer destination, we’re completely fine with this. They might add some more souvenir shops or food stands, but I guess (and hope) the management board is already discussing these options.

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The new Dubrovnik Airport still offers only 15min of free WiFi, argh! But let’s just think for a second here: why wouldn’t the airport management board or the tourism board in Dubrovnik enable free WiFi access at the airport, at least for one or two hours? 15 minutes is just ridiculously short.

Let’s just brainstorm this a bit: as the passengers wait for their flight, they get emotional and they might take a selfie or that “creative” photo of the tanned legs and post it on the social media saying "Bye bye, Dubrovnik, you were good! See you soon!", insert hashtag Dubrovnik and you get free marketing. If you take into account that every passenger has around 400 friends on Facebook / Instagram / Snapchat, let’s just multiply a number of passengers with this number. Sounds a lot, right? Exactly, don't waste all your money on tourism fairs for promotion, while you're wasting this marketing potential at the same time.

Just my two cents…

So I checked in and headed to my departure gate: everything went smoothly mostly because people working at the airport are very nice. An interesting fact for the non-locals: people working at Dubrovnik Airport are usually people from the Konavle region and they tend to be very nice and relaxed there, not like the hectic and super busy people from the center of Dubrovnik when the summer season hits high gear. Well, they are nice when they are around, but what happens when they are not…

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My flight at 12:55 p.m. was delayed, but the passengers were just notified about that at 12:50 p.m. when they grew nervous and started wandering around to get some information. Not a single member of staff around and no screens working. (You might work on that.)

Dubrovnik Airport and Zagreb airport both opened new terminals so there might occur some problems with the management. However, passengers are able to understand all problems if appropriately notified about it. But this time, we waited for 20 minutes without being told a single word, at least in the Croatian language so we, the local passengers, could translate it to the confused tourists. At 1:05 p.m. we were finally told that our flight was delayed and that we will be notified about the new departure time in 15 minutes. Screens suddenly showed the departure destination.

Back to the seats and waiting. :/

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At 1:24 p.m. they announced boarding. "We wish you a pleasant flight!" without apologizing at all for this inconvenient situation.

Tip: You always have to genuinely apologize to customers when things get wrong. Sometimes even twice.

The woman in front of me asked the staff what was the problem, they answered: Technical problems. No one likes to hear that, Kolinda get those new planes!

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On the Croatia Airlines plane we were served with one glass of Jana water. This is also to some extent reasonable as it is just a 40 minute flight. But one passenger next to me wanted to purchase something from the Sky Shop for 30 Croatian kuna. The stewardess told him that is not possible if he does not have the exact change because they were cashless (I remember this happening a few times before). He didn't have and guess what, he couldn't buy something to eat. Stay hungry, stay foolish, Croatia Airlines.

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Tip: Always have some cash on the plane, do not lose a single opportunity to sell something, otherwise brands would not be interested in buying ads in the Sky Shop magazine.

But one thing I need to particularly compliment. As I live in Dubrovnik, I often take planes to Zagreb and one thing I always look forward is reading Croatia Airlines magazine. Beautiful photos, professionally written texts, excellent graphic design and after all a great source of information. Kudos to the editor-in-chief Ksenija Žlof and her team (Ana Ćulumović Šoštarić, Davor Janušić, Anamarija Jurinjak, Natalija Osvald, Zlata Prpić, Ivana Ivanković, Nenad Vujošević, Mirjana Miholek and Boris Kolka), you're doing a great job!

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Landed in (finally!) sunny Zagreb with a one hour delay, but I told myself I won’t be bothered by it. Zagreb Airport struck me with its beauty, but as I was late I immediately headed to the Pleso bus station and hit the road.

The parking and the surrounding area in front of Zagreb Airport, popularly known as DFT :D offered a lot of space and a feeling that I really arrived in the capital of Croatia. (The previous airport did not provide me with such a nice welcome, and I felt as if I have arrived to donate aid to Croatia.)

After 2 days, plenty of food and uncountable glasses of the drinks not served for kids, I headed again to take another flight, this time from Zagreb to Dubrovnik. Arriving by bus to Zagreb Airport will offer you a full uninterrupted panorama of the airport and will leave you speechless. My national pride started to grow and I was very happy to see that this long-awaited project has finally come to life.

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The new terminal covers 65,000 square meters on four floors and has a distinctive wavy roof and 30 check-in counters, eight jet-bridges and three aprons for smaller aircraft, a luggage sorting facility, many catering outlets and shops, more than a thousand parking spaces, spaces for prayer and care of infants... Its capacity is five million passengers a year in the first phase, with the possibility of increasing the number to eight million. The staff at the airport is very nice and well organized, and I overheard some staff discussing new positions and they seemed very enthusiastic about the new management.

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How does the airport look? I could go on and on about the beauty of the architecture and the interior design, but I will let photos speak volumes… It was designed by Croatian architects Branko Kincl and Velimir Neidhardt and constructor Jure Radić.

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In a nutshell, both airports finally deserve the adjective “international”, and according to the number of passengers who were taking photos of the new airports, it is easy to see that you left us all very impressed!

There are a few little details that need to be taken care of, but with the right management board and enthusiastic and proud staff, it seems this will be a piece of cake!

Congratulations everyone and I hope we’re ready for the upcoming summer season that is predicted to break records! Bravo!

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Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Croatian Airports Break Records in Traffic

On the last day of June, Dubrovnik Airport set a new record with 16,542 passengers