Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Croatia Airlines and Trade Air Operate Regular Domestic Routes in January Despite Restrictions

December 29, 2020 - The latest news for flights to Croatia as Croatia Airlines and Trade Air operate regular domestic routes despite restrictions.

Croatian Aviation reports that Croatia Airlines and Trade Air will continue to operate on domestic routes despite the restrictive measures introduced.

Below is the flight schedule on domestic routes in the first 10 days of the new year.

In the first 10 days of January, the Croatian national airline will have three active domestic routes, from Zagreb to Dubrovnik, Split, and Pula via Zadar. The airline reduced the number of weekly operations, adjusting capacity to current demand.

The Zagreb - Dubrovnik line will have 24 return flights in the first 10 days of January, mostly 2 to 3 a day, and two flights are also available on New Year's Day, January 1, 2021. Only on Friday, January 8, is one departure from Zagreb to Dubrovnik announced. 

The Zagreb - Split route will have 27 return flights from January 1 to 10. This is a larger number of operations, given that Croatia Airlines operates from Zagreb to Rome via Split. On that flight, it is possible to buy tickets in the domestic segment Zagreb - Split - Zagreb.

The Zagreb - Zadar - Pula - Zagreb will have the smallest number of operations in the first 10 days. Namely, only three flights were announced on this line in the mentioned period, on January 3, 7, and 10, 2021.

Another airline operating on routes within Croatia is Trade Air. The airline did not change its flight schedule due to the introduced measures and continues to operate according to the following schedule:

Osijek - Zagreb - Osijek, 6 times a week, 2 daily flights on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays,

Osijek - Rijeka - Osijek, 2 times a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays,

Osijek - Pula - Split - Pula - Osijek, 2 times a week, Mondays and Fridays,

Rijeka - Split - Dubrovnik - Split - Rijeka, 2 times a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Trade Air will also operate on January 1 on the Osijek - Zagreb - Osijek, and Osijek - Pula - Split - Pula - Osijek lines.

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Monday, 28 December 2020

Flights to Croatia: Eurowings Operates Three Lines to Croatia in January

December 28, 2020 - The latest news for flights to Croatia as Eurowings operates three lines to Croatia in January.

Croatian Aviation reports that Eurowings has announced its flight schedule for January 2021. In the first month of the new year, the airline will operate to two destinations in Croatia, Zagreb, and Split.

Thus, in January 2021, Eurowings will operate on three lines to Croatia, two to Zagreb and one to Split.

Lines to Zagreb

Eurowings plans to continue operating on its two lines to Zagreb, from Cologne and Stuttgart.

The Cologne - Zagreb - Cologne line will run twice a week, on Fridays and Sundays, while the third weekly flight is available only at the beginning of the new year (Monday, January 4, 2021). In January, Eurowings will operate 11 return flights between Cologne and Zagreb, offering the airline a total of 3,168 seats in both directions.

The Stuttgart - Zagreb - Stuttgart line will also operate twice a week, on the same days as the line from Cologne, on Fridays and Sundays. This line will have 9 return flights in January, but Eurowings will also use a larger aircraft (type A320), while on the route from Cologne, mostly smaller aircraft of type A319 have been announced. There are currently over 2,800 seats on sale between Stuttgart and Zagreb.

Two lines to Split until January 10

As announced earlier, Eurowings has increased traffic to Split during the holidays. For this reason, Split Airport will have two routes until January 10.

Namely, the Stuttgart - Split - Stuttgart line will be in operation once a week, every Sunday, until January 10, 2021. Eurowings plans to resume traffic on this line with the beginning of the summer flight schedule or the end of March next year.

The second Eurowings line to Split, from Dusseldorf, will be in operation throughout January. 

The Dusseldorf - Split - Dusseldorf line will operate once a week, every Saturday, and the airline announced 6 return flights on this route in January (additional flight on Wednesday, January 6, 2021). The airline currently plans to use A319 and A320 aircraft to Split, which will offer a total of over 1,900 seats on this line.

Given the current epidemiological situation and reduced demand, the airline still did not launch a line from Cologne to Split during the holidays. However, it was confirmed, announced at airports, and on sale.

Other Croatian airports do not have Eurowings flights in this year's winter flight schedule, and it is to be expected that the airline will soon start revealing its flight schedule for the 2021 summer season.

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Wednesday, 23 December 2020

COVID-19 Vaccinations in Croatia to Start on Sunday, December 27, Announces PM

December 23, 2020 - The Croatian Government has announced that COVID-19 vaccinations in Croatia will begin on Sunday.

As Index.hr reports, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said today at the press conference in the National and University Library that the vaccination will begin on Sunday, December 27, 2020.

"Safety is based on controlled clinical trials. Vaccinations will start on December 27, and it will take place over the next few months. We want as many of our fellow citizens to be vaccinated, and preferably everyone. That is why we have a clear debate that as many people as possible decide to get vaccinated. We aim for 70 percent of our fellow citizens to be vaccinated," Plenković said, reports Večernji list.

People in nursing homes will first get vaccinated

The vaccination will be free and voluntary. The first to be vaccinated will be those at risk because of their age or illness and their type of work.

"The priority groups are health professionals who are in contact with COVID-19 patients and users of social care homes. In the second phase, the elderly and those with chronic diseases will be vaccinated. The vaccine is coming on Saturday, it will be distributed to counties on Sunday, and mostly those in nursing homes will be vaccinated," said Krunoslav Capak, director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health.

Only the documentation content has changed, so now pregnant women and those who are planning to become pregnant can be vaccinated. There is no evidence that the vaccine acts on the fetus and pregnancy.

"We entered the negotiations on vaccine procurement with a timely response from the Government. We are a small market for large companies, and we often have problems with regular supply. We have secured maximum quantities of vaccines. When everyone gets the vaccine, we will get it too. That will happen on Saturday," Capak said.

Campaign 'Think of others, get vaccinated'

The Croatian Government has so far ordered 5,905,000 doses of the vaccine, of which one million from Pfizer, over two million from AstraZeneca, one million from Moderna, 900,000 from Johnson&Johnson, and 300,000 from CureVac.

Prime Minister Plenković said the vaccination plan's success depends on how many people will want to be vaccinated. He called on all media outlets to join the campaign under the slogan, "Think of others, get vaccinated."

"The Croatian Institute of Public Health has launched a campaign to promote vaccination. This is a key message. The arrival of the vaccine is an encouraging message, a message that gives hope for the normalization of life, social, and economic activities," Plenković explained. "This is an unprecedented crisis that has changed the world," he added.

Plenković said there is a loud but small group of people who oppose vaccination, but that there are many more people who want to be vaccinated than the vaccines that will come in the first tranche. Capak added that there would be enough vaccines for everyone.

"The arrival of the vaccine is a hope for the future. This is the moment when we come to the situation that by the end of March, we have about 270,000 doses of vaccine," Plenković said.

To read more about coronavirus in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Flights to Croatia: LOT Temporarily Suspends Warsaw-Zagreb

December 23, 2020 - The latest news for flights to Croatia as Polish airline LOT temporarily suspends Warsaw-Zagreb from mid-January.

Croatian Aviation reports that from mid-January 2021, the Polish airline LOT will temporarily suspend traffic on the Warsaw-Zagreb line.

Namely, from January 13, the Polish national carrier will stop traffic on the Warsaw - Zagreb - Warsaw route.

LOT Polish Airlines launched its regular route between Warsaw and Zagreb this summer after completing the lockdown, and the line continued to operate in the winter flight schedule after October this year.

However, due to the development of the epidemiological situation, reduced demand, and the introduction of restrictive measures, the airline will suspend traffic between the capitals of Poland and Croatia for just over a month and a half.

The Warsaw - Zagreb - Warsaw line will operate until January 13, 2021, and by that date, the airline will perform 8 return flights and offer a total of 1120 seats in both directions. From January 13 to March 1, 2021, the airline will not operate on this line, and in that period, there will be no direct flights between the two mentioned cities.

On the eight return flights in January, LOT will operate E170 aircraft with a capacity of 70 passengers.

The temporary suspension of the Polish national airline is not a surprise; the company is not satisfied with the occupancy of the aircraft on this route, which is expected at the moment.

Zagreb Airport will temporarily be without another foreign airline from mid-January. Recall, many other foreign airlines have temporarily suspended flights to Zagreb in the winter flight schedule this year.

From March 1, 2021, LOT plans to resume traffic on the line to Zagreb with four flights a week, the realization of which will depend, above all, on the epidemiological situation that directly affects passenger demand.

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Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Flights to Croatia: January 2021 Croatia Airlines Flight Schedule Announced

December 22, 2020 - The latest news for flights to Croatia as the January 2021 Croatia Airlines flight schedule is announced. 

Croatian Aviation reports that Croatia Airlines has announced its flight schedule for January 2021. You can find the network of destinations and the number of weekly flights on all international routes departing from Zagreb below.

In January next year, Croatia Airlines will connect Zagreb with 10 international destinations. The Zagreb-London-Zagreb route, on which Croatia Airlines has open sales on certain dates, is excluded from this number, but since the Croatian Civil Aviation Agency has issued a NOTAM banning direct flights between Great Britain and Croatia, traffic on this line will depend on the development of the epidemiological situation. We remind you that the entry of passengers from Great Britain by air into the Republic of Croatia is currently not allowed (either by direct flight or by transfer).

The Croatian national airline will continue to operate daily on two routes from Zagreb; to Amsterdam and Frankfurt. The Zagreb-Frankfurt route will have a minimum of two flights a week, which should be more than enough in terms of capacity.

The Zagreb - Brussels line will operate twice a week, on Fridays and Sundays, and the Zagreb - Paris line will operate on the same days.

The Zagreb - Rome (via Split) line will have three flights a week in January, every Monday, Thursday, and Sunday.

The Zagreb - Copenhagen route will operate twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays (additional flights are available on Saturdays and Sundays, February 2 and 3, 2021),

Flights from Zagreb to Sarajevo and Skopje will operate twice a week, to Sarajevo on Thursdays and Sundays and Skopje on Mondays and Fridays.

The Zagreb - Zurich line will operate twice a week in January, on Wednesdays and Sundays (additional flight on Saturday, January 2), while the Zagreb - Vienna line will operate only once a week, on Wednesdays.

The route from Zagreb to Copenhagen is currently the longest (in nautical miles) in the network of the Croatian national airline. These are OU480 / 481 flights. The journey takes a little more than 120 minutes on average, especially in the winter months when the DashQ400 aircraft operates on this route, which has a significantly lower maximum speed than aircraft from the Airbus 320 family.

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Monday, 21 December 2020

Croatia Imposes Temporary Ban on Flights from UK over New Coronavirus Variant

December 21, 2020 - Croatia, along with several other countries, has introduced a temporary ban on flights from UK due to the new coronavirus variant there.

December 22 update - this ban has now been extended until December 31.

A late-night tweet from Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic yesterday evening:

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"Croatia is temporarily suspending passenger flights from Great Britain in the period of next 48 hours as a precaution, until we are provided with more precise information about the new variant of the virus," Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic wrote on the Twitter on Sunday evening.

 "Protecting the health of citizens is a priority," Plenkovic tweeted.

Apart from Croatia, France, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Canada and Italy as well as some more European nations have already begun to apply travel bans with the UK after it reported a more infectious and "out of control" coronavirus variant.

The whole European Union is set to impose the ban, and the consultations are under way on the joint response to travel by sea, rail and road from Great Britain.

The ban, already in place, is the first ban imposed on any country due to coronavirus by Croatia, which has enacted a much more relaxed approach to interpretations of EU directives. It was the only EU country open to Americans this summer, initially without a negative PCR test until July 10. 

Croatia will most likely follow other EU countries with the current ban. Whatever happens with the ban, there will be a change in British requirements to enter Croatia from January 1, when the Brexit transition period ends. Currently, Croatia is closed to non-EU/EEA countries for tourism until at least January 10, although some tourists have been able to enter for economic reasons with accommodation fully paid in advance. 

For the latest situation on the ground, the real time experiences of the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community have been invaluable. 

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

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Sunday, 20 December 2020

Visit Portugal, a Lesson in Promotion of Remote Worker Tourism

December 20, 2020 - Tourism promotion in the corona era has been a challenge. One tourist board has been doing things rather well - lessons from Portugal. 

Is it worth even promoting tourism during a pandemic, with future travel so uncertain?

This year has brought unprecedented challenges to the tourism industry, from event management to marketing and promotion.  While many destinations chose to remain quiet or engage in campaigns such as #CroatiaLongDistanceLove, the best Croatian destination for 2020 promotion in my opinion was Zagreb, and the Croatian capital responded brilliantly to the twin disasters of the pandemic and earthquake with some very innovative marketing on a budget. Campaigns such as Zagreb Loves You and From Zagreb Balconies and the new Around Zagreb platform are but some examples. 

One tourism country stood out for me in 2020 for its tourism promotion. So much so in fact, that we have decided to visit when we next get round to that foreign holiday - Portugal. 

Portugal first came on my tourism radar this year back in April, being the first, along with South Africa, to post a promotional video aimed at the post-corona world, with a global captive audience locked down and yearning to travel.  

Both Portugal and South Africa's videos stood out at the time as beacons of hope and positivity. I remember discussing Portugal as a place to visit with the family a couple of times over lunch. 

I was back to Portugal in August while researching new avenues for Croatian tourism to move it a more sustainable and 12-month destination. Portugal is doing everything right - Lessons from Portugal: Taking Advantage of the Retirement Lifestyle Opportunity.

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And, as we approach the end of the year, Visit Portugal is featuring large in my social media feed. Either Facebook has been listening to our family luncheon conversations, or perhaps our coverage of digital nomads is the reason, but I have been peppered with Visit Portugal ads in the last 24 hours, a different one every time I go on Facebook. 

So why visit Portugal if you are a remote worker? The food perhaps. Head to the Algarve and 10 Michelin Star restaurants. 

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Perhaps you are a hiker. More than 190 miles of trails to explore when you close down the laptop.  

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Looking for a little socially-distanced sport after work. There is none so socially distanced as golf, and the Algarve is one of the premier golf regions of Europe.  

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A culture vulture? More than 75 museums and art galleries from your temporary home in Porto.  

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Or what better way to kick start the day in the Lisbon region than a little surfing from one of 25 surfing spots.  

What I particularly liked was that each ad led to the same landing page, which summarised the tourism offer of Visit Portugal in 12 sections, each with their own short intro paragraph and dedicated promo video: the cities Lisbon and Porto; sun, sea and beach; walking and cycling trips; paths of faith; surfing; golf; wines; gastronomy; UNESCO World Heritage Sites; read Portugal; travelling in safety; and the people. In 30 minutes, accompanied by some great short videos, the entire offer for remote workers is presented. 

When do flights from Zagreb to Lisbon start up again? 

 

 

 

Saturday, 19 December 2020

Queues of 8 Hours at Bregana Border Entering Croatia from Slovenia

December 19, 2020 - With the festive season almost here, huge queues appear on Croatia's borders, with the current wait at the main Bregana border now 8 hours. 

I haven't left the house for over two weeks, and the more I look at the big bad world out there, the less I want to leave the sofa any time soon. 

With many things closed due to the pandemic, and inter-county restrictions coming at midnight on Tuesday, there is less incentive to move anyway.  But there are plenty of people with plans to head home for Christmas to family in Croatia, and perhaps an even larger number needing to transit through Croatia to get to their home countries in time for Christmas. 

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And the pressure is building on Croatia's bordes, particularly at the main Bregana border between Croatia and Slovenia, where the current waiting time to come info Croatia is 8 hours, according to HAK. Traffic in the other direction is minimal. 

"Procedures are a bit stricter in both Croatia and Slovenia, after the decision and each passenger must be registered and checked whether they meet the conditions of entry or transit to the Republic of Croatia. By 6 pm on Friday more than 9000 passengers crossed, and we expect even more crowds over the weekend and next week on the eve of the holidays ", said Marijan Burić, Assistant Chief for State Border Protection, as a guest on RTL Danas.

"However, the turnover is significantly lower, by 70 percent compared to last year if we look at the entire 12 months, and these days it has decreased by 35 to 40 percent compared to last year," said Buric.

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You can see the current waiting times at Croatia's borders, information which is regularly updated by HAK here, and you are advised to check the latest situation before you travel. 

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Friday, 18 December 2020

Closures and Passes: December 18 New Croatian Measures - What You Need to Know

December 18, 2020 - As the battle to contain the pandemic continues, a guide to new Croatian measures announced today, effective from midnight on December 21 to January 10. 

Please note: this article was sent for - and received - approval from the Ministry of the Interior for its content.

The Croatian authorities have announced stricter measures from midnight on Monday in an effect to reduce the spread and infection of COVID-19, and the return of 'propusnice' (passes) is one of the notable additions to the current rules. However, as Police minister Božinović explained at the press conference today, the point of the measure is NOT to introduce the passes, rather, it's to drastically reduce travel within Croatia during the holiday period as much as possible. So, it's important to keep in mind that it will not be easy to get a propusnica during the next two and a half weeks.

We are getting lots of messages from foreigners, mostly through the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community about the details. Back in March, during the first lockdown, our Viber community did not exist and there was relatively little tourism. The situation is a little different at the moment, with tourists in the country, as well as many people looking to return to spend Christmas with their loved ones. 

This article is an attempt to add clarity on a confusing situation, and it will be updated as more concrete information. PLEASE BE AWARE that it is a guide for information purposes. In order to make your final travel plans, you are advised to receive official confirmation from the authorities. 

Please note that there are two slightly different dates in this announcement:

Midnight on December 21 to January 10 - a continuation of the current measures, which are set to expire on December 21.

Midnight on December 22 to January 8 - the introduction of restrictions for inter-county travel.

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Here are the key points and answers to some of the early questions. 

The new Croatian measures now require an official pass to cross a county border. Where can I find these county borders?

Croatia consists of 20 counties plus the city of Zagreb. See the map below for details. Travel within counties will still be unrestricted, but you will need a pass (propusnica) to cross a county border. These will be manned by the police.

Please note that Zagreb County and the City of Zagreb will be counted as one, so travel between the two will be unrestricted. 

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What criteria are necessary to get a propusnica?

In order to get a propusnica which will allow you to go to a different Croatian county, you will have to prove your reason for needing to do so, and they will be issued only in those cases when it can be shown that it's absolutely necessary for the person asking to get a pass to travel to a different county. Minister Božinović also explained that those who have already booked accommodation before the decision was announced will be given the passes to get to the location where they booked their stay. 

The list of reasons to get a propusnica, as presented in the document, is as follows: 

  • those required to maintain traffic and supply;
  • daily migrations of those working in: health and veterinary services, medicines delivery, maintenance of the communal activities (water, electricity, natural gas) and protection services;
  • public reporting;
  • patients requiring medical care;
  • travelling to work, in those cases when it is proven that work can not be done from home;
  • urgent and operative services required to stop the spread of COVID-19;
  • diplomatic staff;
  • those who have booked reservations in hotels.
  • if they consider that they have a "valid reason" and the previous reason is not stated in the exceptions for obtaining passes.

Where do I apply for a propusnica as a local resident?

 Croatian residents can apply for a propusnica through an online system called e-građani, or (if they don't have access to it) by contacting their county Civil Protection (Civilna zaštita) office.

Where do I apply for a propusnica as a foreign non-resident?

Upon entry in Croatia, the foreign travellers will be issued the passes at the border crossing of their entry, which will allow them to reach their destination. For any additional necessary travel within Croatia, the travellers will have to contact the Civil Protection office in the county where they are staying.  

For any further inquiries, koronavirus.hr shared the helpful contact information: 

Will hotel bookings be enough reason to obtain a propusnica?

Crossing county borders for just for the purposes of tourism will NOT be allowed, BUT passes will still be available to those who have booked accommodation in advance, for example in hotels, despite the earlier proposal that this should not be a valid reason for issuing passes. Upon arrival in the country, you will receive your propusnica to travel to your hotel. If you have accommodation booked and paid for in a second location, you will be allowed to travel, BUT you will have to get individual passes from the local civilian headquarters. If you have not booked and paid for the accommodation, my feeling is that this will be a lot more difficult.  Please note that this is a very fluid situation, and if you have booked hotels in several places, there is probably less guarantee. 

What will be open and what will be closed?

From what we know now, nothing will drastically change in terms of further closing of businesses in this period: the restaurants and the bars will stay closed, the hotels will stay open and will be allowed to make food only for those staying in the hotels. Museums, movie theatres and theatres will remain open under the same rules as in the previous period: with the reduced number of people and while maintaining social distances.

What about ferries, trains, buses - will they be running?

The Split - Ancona ferry is not running currently. For the latest on ferries, check the official Jadrolinija website

For the latest on the trains (Google Translate is your friend).

We are still seeking confirmation on the situation with buses, but would expect a reduced service. 

For the latest news from Croatian roads.

Restaurants are closed, but will takeaway still be possible?

Yes.

Will Croatia close its borders and is there any danger I may be trapped in Croatia and miss my flight home?

Even at the heights of the initial lockdown (which restricted movement between local communities, not counties as here), the borders remained open for repatriation - Croatians coming home and foreigners leaving Croatia. It will be the same this time, even if the border restrictions tighten further. 

For official answers, check the FAQ on the Ministry of the Interior website (it may take some time for the English version to reflect the updates). There is a form at the bottom where you can ask your questions in English, Croatian or German - they are pretty responsive. 

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

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Friday, 18 December 2020

Flights to Croatia: Flydubai Returns to Dubrovnik in 2021

December 18, 2020 - The latest news for flights to Croatia as Flydubai returns to Dubrovnik in May 2021.

Croatian Aviation reports that as we already know, Emirates will no longer operate to Zagreb. The airline's partner low-cost airline, Flydubai, was supposed to travel to Zagreb this winter, but that will not happen, either.

However, Flydubai will resume traffic between Dubai and Zagreb at the start of the summer flight schedule, from March 31, 2021. The airline will thus replace the famous Emirates, which has temporarily canceled the line to Zagreb and will not operate on it in 2021, due to the impact of the pandemic.

Flydubai will operate its first flight to Zagreb on March 31, 2021, and will run four times a week on this route through April and May, every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Four flights a week in the spring, daily to Zagreb in the summer of 2021.

From the beginning of June, Flydubai will operate daily between Dubai and Zagreb until September 5 next year.

The number of weekly flights from September 6 will be reduced to four (Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays) by the end of October. This is the framework plan of this well-known airline. Still, it was also to be expected that FlyDubai would return to Zagreb and replace Emirates, which estimates that there will not be enough demand for their wide-body aircraft in Zagreb next year.

Flydubai will operate on the Zagreb - Dubai route with narrow-body aircraft type B737-800, and in the summer flight schedule, it plans to perform as many as 164 return flights!

Over 57,000 seats available between Dubai and Zagreb in the summer of 2021.

This low-cost company will offer more than 57,000 seats between Dubai and Zagreb in the summer flight schedule, which is significantly less than in 2019 when Emirates operated on this route with a B777-300ER wide-body aircraft with an average capacity of 358 seats per flight (in 2019, more than 152 thousand seats were available on this line, so the number of seats offered on this line will be lower by over 60% compared to 2019.)

Apart from the smaller capacity, the Dubai - Zagreb line will no longer have a first-class seat offer for which Emirates is world-famous. The number of offered seats in business and economy class will be drastically reduced. Nevertheless, the return of Flydubai to Zagreb will enable Emirates passengers to continue their journey to Zagreb with a partner company, which is very important for the market's recovery next year.

Flydubai also plans to return to its second destination in Croatia - Dubrovnik. The Dubai - Dubrovnik line should operate from May 13, twice a week, on Thursdays and Sundays. From June 25, the airline plans to add a third weekly flight (Fridays), and scheduled flights are announced until the end of September next year.

Neither Flydubai nor Emirates flew to Croatian airports this year due to the impact of the global pandemic. Still, given that the market is expected to recover next year, Dubrovnik and Zagreb have returned to this airline's network of destinations.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

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