Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Croatia Should Welcome Vaccinated UK Tourists without Restrictions, Says Dubrovnik Mayor

March 9, 2021 - Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franović announced on Monday that Croatia should welcome vaccinated UK tourists without restrictions and all Britons who overcame COVID-19 or have a negative PCR test from May 1, 2021. 

HRTurizam writes that the UK is currently the focus of all tourist destinations.

It is also among the top three countries globally in terms of vaccinating citizens, with only Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) vaccinating more citizens. By Sunday, at least 21 million Britons were given their first dose. About 400,000 citizens are vaccinated every week, which is why all tourist countries are turning directly to the British market, from Greece, the Canary Islands, Turkey, Cyprus, Spain, and many other countries, because it is in British tourists that should travel en masse first due to high vaccination coverage.

The mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, is keeping this in mind. After a recent initiative to enable tourists at Croatian airports to be tested for COVID, he launched a new initiative aimed precisely at tourists from Great Britain.

Namely, Franković sent a proposal to the competent ministries to agree with the United Kingdom for British guests.

All Britons who received two doses of vaccine overcame COVID-19 or have a negative PCR test would be allowed to come to Croatia on vacation without restrictions. May 1.

"The UK market is the most important tourist market in the city of Dubrovnik, and since the UK left the European Union, its guests are considered guests from third countries, and the quarantine obligation is in force upon arrival at the destination. Given that such a measure could seriously jeopardize the season, this proposal was made, following the examples of Cyprus and Portugal that have concluded such agreements," said Franković, adding that leading British media report almost daily on which European Union countries the British are allowed to enter without having to quarantine upon arrival.

The consequences of Dubrovnik's inclusion on the UK red list are most clearly shown by the numbers of arrivals, according to which Dubrovnik ended 2020 with 20% of the total number of overnight stays compared to the number of overnight stays in 2019, concluded Franković.

Both initiatives are focused on air guests because the city of Dubrovnik is extremely dependent on air traffic. Still, they also show the mayor's proactivity and determination to define some things much faster. There is not much time until summer, and everyone is currently targeting the UK market with marketing messages. 

The European Union will present a "digital green pass" on March 17, i.e., to present the framework of the Member States' decision regarding Covid passports and all other open issues regarding opening to tourism. It is also important to point out that according to Minister Brnjac, Croatia is considering a model that would allow tourists to be tested by rapid antigen tests, as well as PCR testing at several points, which will be decided in cooperation with regional tourist boards and the Croatian Institute of Public Health.

On the topic of introducing digital green passports that would enable easier travel, and at the same time provide air destinations with a faster tourist recovery, Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franković held a meeting with the Director-General of the European Region of Airports Council International Olivier Jankovec and the president of the Air Transport Association at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Tonči Peović.

Olivier Jankovec informed Mayor Franković that 100 European airports had introduced COVID testing so far. Still, he believes that the full implementation of the system requires urgent harmonization of recognizing rapid antigen tests between the EU member states, allowing easier travel.

On the other hand, Mayor Franković presented the initiatives and protocols proposed by the City of Dubrovnik, which relate to travel from all countries, regardless of whether they are part of the EU or not. The proposal introduces the rules according to the zones 'green', 'orange' and 'red,' and following them; guests would have certain conditions for coming to Croatia. Thus, the goal is not to stop travel but to make it possible for everyone under certain conditions.

Do you believe that Croatia should welcome vaccinated UK tourists without restrictions from May 1 this year?

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Friday, 5 March 2021

Aer Lingus Flights to Split, Dubrovnik, and Pula Returning this Summer!

March 5, 2021 - Aer Lingus flights to Split, Dubrovnik, and Pula have been announced in the Irish carrier's 2021 summer flight schedule! 

Croatian Aviation reports that the well-known Irish carrier Aer Lingus plans to return to three Croatian airports in the upcoming summer flight schedule, which will take effect at the end of March.

In the 2020 summer season, AerLingus did not operate to Dubrovnik and Pula, while the airline had relatively short and reduced traffic to Split Airport. In the upcoming summer flight schedule, Aer Lingus plans to renew all routes to Croatia, but this will primarily depend on restrictive measures between Ireland and Croatia, which in turn directly affects bookings.

From May 1, Aer Lingus plans to operate again on the Dublin - Pula - Dublin route. The line is scheduled to operate twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, until September 28. A320 aircraft have been announced on the route.

On 45 announced return flights to Pula, Aer Lingus currently offers as many as 15,660 seats.

The Dublin - Dubrovnik - Dublin line has been announced from March 30, but it is expected that Aer Lingus won't begin operating on this line until May. From May to the end of September, five flights a week have been announced, every day except Tuesday and Thursday, also with A320 aircraft. In October, the airline will reduce the number of rotations to three flights a week.

The Dublin - Split - Dublin line should also operate from May 1 to October 1, with two flights a week, every Tuesday and Thursday. This is also the only line on which Aer Lingus operated last year after the lockdown was lifted in European countries.

From the beginning of May, the airline also offers the Cork - Dubrovnik - Cork line, but there is a great possibility that flights will be withdrawn from sale and that this line will not be in operation in the 2021 summer season. Two weekly flights are available from May 5 to the end of September, on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

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Thursday, 4 March 2021

More Delays to the Capital: Iberia Postpones Flights from Madrid to Zagreb

March 4, 2021 - After TAP Portugal delayed the start of operations between Lisbon and Zagreb, Spanish national airline Iberia has postponed the start of flights from Madrid to Zagreb.

Croatian Aviation reports that Iberia and TAP Portugal have postponed the start of traffic on their lines to Zagreb. Obviously, the growth of passenger demand is not expected, which is logical given all the current restrictive measures and recommendations not to travel to other countries to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Iberia planned to resume traffic to Zagreb from Madrid as early as the first day of the summer flight schedule (March 28), but this will no longer happen. All announced flights for March and April have been canceled, and the first flights on this route are now announced from May 1. As a reminder, Iberia did not operate on this line in the summer season of 2020 due to the pandemic. Iberia plans to fly to Dubrovnik from March 28 and has not canceled certain departures to Dubrovnik as of yet.

Recall, TAP Portugal has also postponed the start of traffic from Lisbon to Zagreb. The line was supposed to operate from the first day of the flight schedule (March 28), but it has been postponed until June due to weak demand. The first flight between Lisbon and Zagreb has now been announced for June 2. Flights to Zagreb will operate three times a week, on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

The delay in the start of operations of two well-known carriers is not surprising, as the same is being done by many other airlines not only to Zagreb but also to the coastal Croatian airports. The reality is that Croatia will probably only have an adequate number of weekly flights to a number of European destinations during the peak summer season; when the pandemic subsides again and the current passenger restrictions between countries are lifted.

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Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Lufthansa Cancels All Flights from Munich to Zagreb, Croatia Airlines to Run Daily Service

March 3, 2021 - Despite the announcements, Lufthansa has canceled all flights from Munich to Zagreb this summer. 

Croatian Aviation reports that just two weeks ago, Lufthansa announced plans to fly to several destinations in Croatia in the summer flight schedule, including two routes to Zagreb, from Frankfurt and Munich.

Lufthansa suspended the Frankfurt - Zagreb route in March 2020, after the pandemic outbreak, and has not operated on it for a year. Under the current flight schedule, the airline was to resume traffic on this route with the start of the summer flight schedule effective March 28. But that will no longer happen. 

Lufthansa suspended traffic on the Munich - Zagreb route on December 1, and because Croatia Airlines has not operated on it for a long time, Zagreb Airport has been without a direct line with the Bavarian capital for 3 months.

Many Lufthansa lines from Munich are currently suspended, as the airline has decided to keep its wide network of destinations mainly from the hub in Frankfurt. Thus, a larger number of lines are available from that German city to keep Frankfurt's functionality as a big "hub."

Croatia Airlines has not yet confirmed its summer flight schedule. Still, in the current reservation calendar, it is possible to buy tickets for a direct flight between Zagreb and Munich from the first day of the summer flight schedule (March 28, 2021). Flights are available daily, in the morning or evening, depending on the date of travel, throughout the summer, which is a significant reduction in capacity and number of flights, given that Croatia Airlines had two daily flights on this route in the summer of 2019. If Croatia Airlines stays with the current schedule, it will have no competition on the route to Munich this summer, which is certainly good news for the Croatian carrier.

From Sunday, May 2, Croatia Airlines plans to re-establish the Rijeka - Munich route with three flights a week (Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday), and the Dubrovnik - Munich route with two flights a week (Friday, Sunday). The Split - Munich line has been in operation since May 2020 and will continue to operate in the upcoming summer season.

Lufthansa also plans to connect Munich and Frankfurt with Croatia's coastal airports from the beginning of the summer flight schedule, which should be finalized in mid-March. However, there is still a great possibility of reductions.

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Tuesday, 2 March 2021

TAP Portugal Delays Flights from Lisbon to Zagreb until June

March 2, 2021 - The latest news for flights to Croatia as TAP Portugal delays flights from Lisbon to Zagreb until June.

As we previously reported, Portuguese national airline TAP will operate on the direct line Lisbon-Zagreb this year, but not as early as originally planned. 

Namely, the two capitals were to be connected from the first day of the summer flight schedule (Sunday, March 28), and on a planned 94 return flights in the summer flight schedule, the airline was to offer more than 32,700 seats between the two cities.

However, Ex Yu Aviation reports that the Portuguese airline has delayed the new seasonal service until June 2. 

Three flights a week have been announced, on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, with afternoon departures from Zagreb Airport. On all flights to Zagreb, A320 aircraft (previously planned and smaller A319) with a capacity of 174 passengers have been announced.

As a reminder, TAP Portugal connected Zagreb and Lisbon in the past, but the line was suspended in the spring of 2016. In the winter flight schedule, the flight between Zagreb and Lisbon had a stop in Bologna.

Returning to Zagreb in the spring of 2021, TAP Portugal wants to regain its position on the Croatian market, counting on Croatia Airlines not to resume traffic on its seasonal route between the two mentioned cities. Given that the Croatian national airline is unlikely to operate on this route in this year's summer flight schedule (as it did not operate even in the summer of 2020), TAP Portugal will not have direct competition on the route between the capitals of Portugal and Croatia.

This is a very welcome return of another large airline to Zagreb Airport, which has not been present at Croatian airports for almost 5 years. It is currently possible to buy return tickets on this line for less than 130 euros. In addition to passengers who can choose the direct line between Zagreb and Lisbon, TAP Portugal is counting on a larger number of transfer passengers, primarily from the United States, who will have an excellent connection to and from Zagreb with the introduction of this line.

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Monday, 1 March 2021

Swiss Readies for Summer with New Flights from Geneva to Split!

March 1, 2021- The Swiss national airline is readying for summer with the announcement of flights from Geneva to Split, scheduled to operate during the peak season, from the beginning of July to the end of August. 

Croatian Aviation reports that Swiss national airline will introduce a new route to Croatia in this year's summer flight schedule, with flights from Geneva to Split!

The Swiss national airline has announced its summer flight schedule for this year and announced the introduction of a number of new routes from Geneva. In a series of new lines, there is one to Croatia, to Split Airport.

Namely, from July 3, Swiss will introduce the Geneva-Split-Geneva line, which will operate twice a week. A220-300 aircraft with a capacity of 145 seats will operate on the route, and tickets are not on sale yet. The company announced that booking on the new lines from Geneva will be possible at the beginning of this month, i.e., in the next few days.

There is already a direct airline between Geneva and Split, as easyJet operated on this route in the previous seasons. The well-known low-cost carrier has announced flights between the two mentioned cities this summer season as well, as early as April.

Swiss used to travel to Zagreb from Zurich, but that line was canceled even before the pandemic, and also from Geneva to Pula and Dubrovnik. The Pula-Geneva line will not operate in the summer of 2021, while the line to Dubrovnik has been announced from Saturday, July 3, only once a week.

The new Swiss line from Geneva to Split, as well as the line to Dubrovnik, will operate briefly, until the last Saturday in August, i.e., only in the peak of the summer season. EasyJet, on the other hand, plans to operate on lines from Switzerland to Croatia until the end of October.

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Thursday, 25 February 2021

Summer is Coming: Aeroflot Flights to Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik and Maybe Pula!

February 25, 2021 - Summer is well on its way, with the announcement of Aeroflot flights to Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, and maybe Pula!

Croatian Aviation reports that Russian national airline Aeroflot plans to resume traffic to Croatia at the end of April.

Russian airline Aeroflot suspended traffic to Croatia in the spring of 2020 and has not operated on regular flights to Croatian airports since. However, in the summer of 2021, the company plans to return to Croatia, with the announcement of a new route to boot. 

The company currently plans to resume traffic on the Moscow-Zagreb-Moscow line from Thursday, March 11, once a week. From Thursday, April 29, daily flights are available between the two cities with A320 aircraft.

Aeroflot previously announced the start of traffic on this route and then postponed it, but this summer there should be a direct airline between the capitals of Moscow and Croatia. Interestingly, Aeroflot resumed traffic to Ljubljana a few days ago and has been operating to Belgrade for a long time.

From June 1, the Moscow-Split-Moscow should be in traffic again, also daily in the summer flight schedule. As in previous years, Aeroflot will use a larger aircraft on this route - A321. 

The company plans to re-establish the Moscow-Dubrovnik-Moscow route in the upcoming summer flight schedule, but the schedule has not yet been confirmed and tickets on this route are not yet on sale on the company's official website.

A positive surprise could be a Moscow-Pula-Moscow line, but Pula airport confirmed that negotiations are currently underway and that they hope that Russia's national carrier will decide to establish a line to and from Pula this summer. As soon as the traffic on this line is confirmed and the tickets are on sale, Croatian Aviation will announce the news. 

Aeroflot is the national and largest airline in the Russian Federation. The company was founded in 1923, which makes it one of the oldest in the world. According to the announcement from February 1, 2021, the company's fleet consists of as many as 236 aircraft with an average age of only 5.7 years. The fleet consists of:

19 B777,

47 B737,

01 A350,

16 A330,

33 A321,

72 A320,

48 SSJ100.

The company mainly uses A320 and A321 aircraft on the routes to Croatia, while on the route to Zagreb, the Russian SSJ100 is mainly planned in the winter months. In addition to point-to-point passengers, Aeroflot transports a significant number of passengers (mostly tourists) from China, South Korea, and Japan, so the occupancy of aircraft to Croatia will largely depend on passenger restrictions to and from these countries and their ability to travel.

Under normal circumstances, Croatia Airlines operates in the summer flight schedule on the Zagreb-St. Petersburg-Zagreb route. However, this route has not yet been announced by the Croatian national airline for this year's summer flight schedule.

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Thursday, 25 February 2021

Bookings for Dubrovnik Explode after Boris Johnson's Plan to Ease Lockdown

February 25, 2021 - Bookings for Dubrovnik explode after Boris Johnson's plan to end restrictions by June 21. 

Jutarnji List reports that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement that England is finally moving towards easing measures had a tremendous effect on tourism. According to British and world media, the world's largest travel company TUI recorded an increase in bookings from the British market by as much as 600 percent compared to previous days. Good numbers are coming from other companies.

EasyJet, for example, says that demands from the British market have tripled, and Thomas Cook is recording a 75 percent increase in traffic from the British market.

British interest in travel has also found Croatia, especially Dubrovnik, which is very much looking forward to welcoming Brits on holiday this year.

As Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franković confirmed for Jutarnji List, booking from the British market increased immediately after Johnson's announcement that England plans to implement the measures in four phases, with the ultimate goal of abolishing all measures by June 21.

"Of course, immediately after that announcement, we felt the effect. Dubrovnik hoteliers have confirmed an increase in bookings from the British market in the amount of 30 to 40 percent compared to previous days, which makes us especially happy. These bookings mostly refer to the summer season, but hoteliers are hoping for a good September and October, especially with regard to vaccinations," Franković said.

According to foreign media reports, most Britons eagerly awaiting travel this year will, logically, opt for their traditional markets - Greece, Spain, Turkey, but Portugal and Italy will also benefit, according to Skyscanner, which on the day of Johnson's announcement saw growth in bookings of more than 100 percent compared to the day before.

Good announcements from the British market come just ten days after TUI UK announced that it would re-launch 15 lines to Croatia from May to three airports, Pula, Dubrovnik, and Split. There will be five direct daily lines from five UK cities to Pula from May to October, eight daily lines from eight UK cities to Dubrovnik, and two daily lines to Split. 

The return of TUI UK is good news for domestic tourism after traffic between these two markets was suspended last year, so in the 2021 season, if the epidemiological situation does not worsen, higher numbers of British tourists are expected than last year.

In the 2020 season, namely, only 127,129 Britons were recorded in Croatia, of which they achieved 685,000 overnight stays, only 14.8 percent of the year before.

In 2019, 898,000 Britons stayed in Croatia, recording 4.6 million overnight stays.

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Monday, 22 February 2021

SkyUp Flights from Kyiv to Pula, Split, Dubrovnik Starting in June!

February 22, 2021 - The latest news for flights to Croatia: SkyUp flights from Kyiv to Pula, Split, Dubrovnik starting in June! 

Croatian Aviation reports that the Ukrainian low-cost airline, which also operates charter transport, offers as many as three scheduled flights to Croatia in the 2021 summer flight schedule.

In 2019, this carrier operated only between Kyiv and Pula, while in 2020 there were no regular operations to Croatia due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the upcoming summer flight schedule, SkyUp will introduce two new routes to Croatia and resume traffic to Pula Airport.

The Kyiv - Split - Kyiv line will operate from June 19 to September 18, twice a week, every Wednesday and Saturday. On the route to Split and Pula, aircraft type B737-700, with a slightly smaller capacity (144 seats) was announced. On 27 return flights, SkyUp will offer more than 7,000 seats between Split and Kyiv.

The Kyiv - Pula - Kyiv line will operate from June 20 to September 19, twice a week, on Thursdays and Sundays. The airline will perform the same number of rotations on this line as to Split and offer a total of the same amount of seats from or to Pula Airport.

The Kyiv - Dubrovnik - Kyiv line will operate from June 25 to September 17, once a week, every Friday. B737-800 aircraft will operate on 13 return flights. In total, almost 5,000 seats are available on this line.

SkyUp is the second airline to announce a flight schedule to Croatia from Kyiv for the upcoming summer season, as Windrose has also confirmed its flight schedule to Croatia this summer. 

Namely, Windrose will connect Kyiv directly to Pula, Split, Dubrovnik, and Zagreb.

Kyiv to Pula
The Kyiv - Pula - Kyiv line will operate from June 5 to September 25 this year. Three flights a week will be available on this route every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from mid-June. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, A321 aircraft will operate between Kyiv and Pula, while on Thursdays, the two mentioned cities will be connected by smaller capacity aircraft - E145.

Kyiv - Split
On the same date, the line to Split will start operating, and as the line to Pula, it will operate three times a week, on the same days (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays). A321 aircraft have been announced on Thursdays and Saturdays, while E145s will operate on Mondays.

Dubrovnik only once a week
In the summer of 2020, Windrose launched the Kyiv-Dubrovnik line, which will continue to operate this summer. The first flight is announced on June 18, once a week, every Friday. E145 aircraft will operate on the route.

No increase in Zagreb
The Kyiv - Zagreb line was introduced in the winter flight schedule 2020/2021. The company currently operates on this route twice a week, and although it had announced an increase in the number of weekly flights, it never came to fruition. The company has temporarily given up on that plan and will continue to operate between Zagreb and Kyiv twice a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays, this summer as well. On the route to Zagreb, Windrose will use E145 and ATR75 aircraft.

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Friday, 19 February 2021

Flights to Croatia: Austrian Airlines Resumes Traffic to Croatia from End of March

February 19, 2021 - The latest news for flights to Croatia as Austrian Airlines resumes traffic to Croatia from the end of March.

Croatian Aviation reports that from the beginning of its summer flight schedule, Austrian national carrier Austrian Airlines will again operate to three Croatian airports from its base in Vienna; to Dubrovnik, Split, and Zagreb!

A spokeswoman for the airline confirmed the flight schedule for March and April. While the number of weekly flights for the rest of the summer months has not yet been defined, the airline will define the flight schedule for the rest of the summer season in the next two weeks.

With the first day of the summer flight schedule (March 28), Austrian will renew three routes to Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik airports.

You can find the confirmed flight schedule below:

Four flights a week to Dubrovnik and Split
The Vienna - Dubrovnik - Vienna line will also start operating from March 28, and in March, it will also operate on Tuesday, March 30.

In the first week of April, two flights have been announced (Thursday and Friday, April 1 and 2); three flights are available in the second week (additionally on Sundays). From the third week of April, the airline will have four flights a week to Dubrovnik, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

By the end of April, Austrian will operate 17 return flights between Dubrovnik and Vienna, using various aircraft types from its fleet (DashQ400, Embraer 195, Airbus 319, and Airbus 320), with A319 aircraft operating on most flights. 4,664 seats are on offer between Dubrovnik and Vienna until the end of April.

The same number of flights, 17 of them, was announced on the Vienna - Split - Vienna route. The company will gradually increase the number of weekly operations, just as in Dubrovnik, offering four flights a week every week from mid-April, also on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

Concerning the line to Dubrovnik, larger aircraft (mainly A320) will operate to Split, so the number of offered seats between Split and Vienna is significantly higher than the other two lines to Croatia. A total of 5,400 seats between the two cities are currently available on the market.

It is currently possible to buy tickets for a direct flight to Zadar Airport from May 1. Still, Austrian Airlines has not yet defined its flight schedule from May to September, so it is advised you wait another 10 days when the flight schedule for the peak of the summer season should be confirmed.

The return of Austrian Airlines is important news for the three mentioned Croatian airports. Although this is a smaller number of flights than in 2019, Austrian will offer an enviable number of flights to Croatia in the pre-season given the current situation. Namely, in the stated period of only one month, a total of more than 15 thousand seats are available on the flights of this well-known airline.

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