Thursday, 28 November 2019

Flights to Croatia: LOT Connecting Budapest and Dubrovnik, Air Serbia Stops Rijeka Service for Winter

November 28, 2019 - The latest news from around Croatia’s airports for new flights to Croatia with updates from Dubrovnik, Rijeka, and Zadar. 

Ex Yu Aviation announced that LOT Polish Airlines would launch a seasonal service between Budapest and Dubrovnik next year. The new route will operate from June 7 and run once a week, on Sundays, until September 27. 

This will be the third city LOT services to Dubrovnik, in addition to Warsaw and Krakow.You can find more details about the new Budapest - Dubrovnik route here.

Avio Radar reported that Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair will boost the Cologne/Bonn-Zadar route for next summer. The line only started operating this year with two flights per week. Next summer, Ryanair will run three flights a week, and in addition to Wednesdays and Sundays, they will service Zadar on Mondays from the beginning of June to the end of September 2020. A Boeing 737-800 aircraft flies on all Ryanair lines. 

Avio Radar also reported that Serbia’s national air carrier Air Serbia would suspend traffic between Belgrade and Rijeka during the winter. The last flight is scheduled for December 5, 2019. A few more flights around the New Year remain on offer. The line will then continue to operate on a regular basis from May 1, 2020, according to the summer flight schedule, which runs twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays. Compared to this year, Air Serbia will begin operations to Rijeka one month earlier than in 2019. An ATR-72 runs on this line. 

To end this week of flight news, Dalmacija Danas reported that the Split Architectural Bureau of Ante Kuzmanić is the winner of a competition for the conceptual architectural and urban design of the Zadar Airport passenger terminal. A group of Split architects designed the extension and renovation of the existing terminal building and parking lot. They received a prize of 250,000 kuna for the project. The competition was conducted by the Society of Zadar Architects.

The projects were evaluated by a jury chaired by academician Nikola Bašić, who said that if the conceptual design is transformed into a design project, Zadar Airport will be the most modern airport in Croatia, as it combines all the new parameters that make such an object comfortable and safe.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Rijeka Airport to Hit 200,000 Passengers For First Time, Still Far Behind Others in Croatia

November 20, 2019 - For the first time in its history, Rijeka Airport will reach 200,000 passengers. But how does this compare to the other airports in Croatia? A closer look. 

Novi List writes that for the past seven to eight years, the airport on Krk has made its way from an airport threatened with closure, with traffic barely at fifty thousand passengers, a building that hadn’t seen any renovations since the early 1970s, and business dependent on grants from the budget, to an airport that manages to cover operating costs, while generating profits. Furthermore, more than thirty million kuna was invested in the renovation of the building, new facilities, as well as the necessary infrastructure and equipment.

As good as it may sound at first glance, Rijeka still lags far behind all airports in Croatia, apart from Osijek. Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik have millions of passengers, so they should not be compared, but Pula and Zadar, which, similar to Rijeka, are highly seasonal airports, exceed half a million passengers a year, which is the goal of Rijeka Airport. With just 200,000 passengers, it is nowhere near that figure, but the growth of passenger traffic in recent years shows that there is room for progress, and Rijeka Airport is at a turning point at the co-owners, with the largest share in Croatia (55 percent), followed by the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (20 percent), will have to make the right moves with the tourism economy of the country and region. Rijeka would at least reach Zadar and Pula, of which the tourism sector would benefit the most, as well as the economy as a whole.

Deputy Mayor of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, Marko Boras Mandic, said that by setting up a new administration and investing, the county had turned the negative trends that prevailed at the airport just seven years ago.

“With 200,000 passengers, I believe that we have reached our maximum of what we, together with the Kvarner Tourist Board and local governments, could do. We managed to stop the shutdown of the Airport, when it was considered, at the national level, that Croatia did not need it. At that time, the development of the Zadar Airport, which with fifteen thousand passengers, came to over half a million today, as well as Pula, was primarily encouraged. Unfortunately, at that time, many tourist workers in Kvarner supported the thesis that this was an auto destination and that we did not need the airport. We managed to deny it,” says Boras Mandic.

Through the combined advertising system, the counties and the tourist boards are investing around HRK 6 million a year in the development of air traffic in Rijeka, but Boras Mandic believes that with changes to the provisions on the collection of tourist taxes, the tourist boards will have more money to be directed towards air traffic.

“Majority stakeholders and politics are now on the move. It should be made clear that we currently have political trump cards that we must use - Croatian National Tourist Board Director Kristjan Stanicic, Transport Minister Oleg Butkovic and Tourism Minister Gari Capelli, three key persons for the development of the Rijeka Airport, are from this region and I believe they recognize the importance of the second tourist region in Croatia and many second cities. It is not necessary to look for the impossible, but only what is economically justified. 

When Bozidar Kalmeta was Minister of Transport, Zadar Airport was growing at a rapid rate, just as Pula was growing during the term of Tourism Minister Lorencin, as they recognized the potential of these airports. I believe that the mentioned three will equally know the potential of Rijeka Airport. First and foremost, Rijeka will receive at least one hundred thousand seats a year through the Flight Incentive Program (PSO), and that the funds for joint advertising will be increased and that conditions will be created for Eurowings or another company to establish its base on Krk. With these three conditions, we can reach half a million passengers. We have the same majority owner, but also totally different policies and investments in airports, with Rijeka getting the least, even though it is the airport that needs the most development. And in the way that, as we finance the development of less developed counties, the development of Rijeka Airport can be funded from the earnings at larger airports and tourist boards,” says Boras Mandic.

Airport director Tomislav Palalic says the changes to the PSO program would encourage flights within Croatia as well as the EU (in which Rijeka now has only four thousand subsidized seats on planes a year, with Pula and Zadar at seventy thousand each, and Split over 200 thousand ), and traffic could increase by another 20 to 100 percent in the next year.

“With the increase in the number of passengers and operations, we directly influence the development of accompanying external service providers, in particular, the Croatian Air Navigation Control and the INA d.d. and we encourage them to develop their resources at the Rijeka Airport site, which by their work greatly influences the provision of services to all entities at the Rijeka Airport,” says Palalić.

Rijeka Airport has resolved property legal relations on the land on which it is located in the past, adding that it has acquired the basic preconditions for applying to all types of sources of funds, especially EU funds, to which the Airport will apply for new development projects.

“Another prerequisite for upgrading the infrastructure in order to optimize and modernize the capacities in some parts is to prepare the project documentation and obtain the associated permits, which is intensively done on major projects such as the construction of a subway connection of the passenger terminal building with the bus station on the D102 Most - Krk road, the expansion of the aircraft platform and the construction of a vertical runway in relation to the existing one, to cancel the negative impact of storms on the existing runway and thus the availability of the same 365 days a year,” says Palalic.

Rijeka Airport expanded its operations beyond the airport last year and now provides training for airport staff, as well as a screening service for passengers at the Losinj airport, and intends to apply the same at large airports with traffic greater than two million passengers and at small sports airports.

“We went to the furthest airport away, Vis Airport, where we expect a location permit and the approval of the Croatian Civil Aviation Agency soon, and we even hope to put it into operation for the 2020 summer season,” says Palalic.

Regarding the investments made so far in the system of infrastructure, as well as the equipment that serves the safety of performing aviation operations, they proudly point out that Rijeka is today among the more modern airports in Croatia, and by some systems also the first thanks to the Ministry of Transport and the County of Primorje-Gorski Kotar as the two largest co-owners.

Despite this, Rijeka Airport, in relation to all other Airports in which Croatia is the majority owner, receives the least amount of funds directly and indirectly, which, even with the present indicators, is considered insufficient, but it is slowly but surely changing thanks to the Ministry of the Sea, Traffic and Infrastructure, says the director.

About the future development of Rijeka Airport and the allocation of larger incentives, primarily through the PSO program, the Ministry said that over the past three years, their budget has invested more than HRK 14 million, and over the last seven years, over thirty million.

“Rijeka Airport marked last year with historical records, generating a total of 183,606 passengers, and this trend continues this year, as the results in the first nine months indicate an increase of 11.1 percent compared to last year. Such a significant increase in passenger traffic, among other things, is the result of numerous activities, efforts and financial resources that the Rijeka Airport Administration, in cooperation with the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure and other stakeholders, have invested in the introduction of new routes, as well as extending the operation period of existing ones.

Considering the potential of traffic development at the Rijeka Airport, it is necessary to take into account the plans of the Management Board as well as the potential of generating additional economic activities and traffic demand in the environment served by the Rijeka Airport. Comparisons with other airports in the Republic of Croatia are not good because each operates in the circumstances unique to its environment where the market does not have the same potential or does not realize it with the same dynamics. Thus, the process of analyzing the possibility of establishing lines between Rijeka Airport and destinations in the other EU Member States, also within the PSO system, is currently underway. It is also important to emphasize that investments in the infrastructure of the airport, but of local communities, primarily tourist entities, will depend, to a large extent, on the increase in the number of passengers at Rijeka Airport,” the Ministry said.

Director of the Croatian National Tourist Board Kristjan Stanicic points out that Rijeka Airport has the largest space for increasing the number of passengers in the tourism sector, since Kvarner is still lagging behind other tourist regions by the number of airlines and more markets. According to Stanicic, they could open new markets and extend the tourist season.

“Airports play an important role in the development of all tourist destinations as they enable faster and easier travel to the destination, which is an important criterion when choosing a destination for certain segments of tourists as well as tourists from more distant markets. In line with these trends, it is desirable that airports, such as destination hotels, cooperate more closely with each other to establish and maintain business relationships with tour operators, as this is one of the most effective ways to positively increase the number of flights. The added synergy of all stakeholders in joint appearance and promotion in established and emerging markets is key to strong marketing support in introducing new airlines,” says Stanicic.

The trend in tourism, he added, is that the number of guests traveling by plane is continuously growing, so he sees the opportunity for Rijeka Airport as well.

“There is certainly room for further growth and progress, especially in the tourist sense, as it is in a good geographical position near the most popular destinations in Kvarner, but also near key road routes. The Croatian National Tourist Board will also contribute to harnessing these potentials and stimulating further traffic growth, primarily through joint advertising with strategic partners. Kvarner has all the potential for quality positioning as an airline destination in foreign markets. In the Croatian National Tourist Board, together with the system of tourist boards, as part of strategic projects, we very intensively cooperate and support partners, that is, tour operators and air carriers that have programs for Croatia and Rijeka Airport as well. For these activities, we have secured around HRK 40 million this year for the implementation of strategic promotional campaigns in broadcast markets, or for strategic cooperation with airlines and tour operators, which have organized programs for Croatia in their offer,” says Stanicic.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Friday, 5 July 2019

Croatian Airports Record Busiest June in History

July 5, 2019 - It’s another busy year for Croatian airports, which saw the busiest June in history. 

Rijeka Airport continues to grow each year and saw a record increase in passengers and operations compared to June 2018, reports Novi List

"After the successful 2018, when Rijeka Airport broke all records, achieving a total turnover of 183,606 passengers and a growth in traffic of almost 30%, this summer season also opened with great news.

Namely, Rijeka Airport can boast the busiest June to date and has increased passenger traffic by 37% as compared to June 2018, while traffic operations accounted for 40% higher turnover compared to the previous year,” the airport said. 

These excellent achievements are an excellent introduction to the season, in which they expect 200,000 passengers. 

The reason for the increase is the introduction of new lines for Belgrade, Munich, and Marseille, but also an increase in the number of existing carriers, in particular, Transavia for Eindhoven, which increased by 350% compared to last season's number of operations,” they added.

Avio Radar reports that Dubrovnik Airport also recorded a stellar June, which saw 415,876 passengers, which is 50,528 more passengers than last year. Thus, Dubrovnik Airport welcomed a passenger growth of 13.83% last month. 

The first direct line from the United States to Croatia operated by American Airlines has significantly contributed to Dubrovnik’s success. 

Dubrovnik Airport has recorded an increase in traffic in each month this year. In the first half of the year, 1,059,564 passengers traveled through the airport, which is 157,184 more passengers than last year, or a growth of 17.42%. 

Split Airport welcomed 513,706 passengers or an increase of 8.2% for a record June, and in the first six months of 2019, they welcomed 1,102,118 passengers, which is up 8%. 

Ex Yu Aviation reports that Zagreb Airport saw 336,618 passengers in June, which is an increase of 1.5% compared to last year. In the first half of the year, Zagreb Airport handled 1,534,105 passengers, which is up 4.2%, or an additional 62,477 compared to 2018.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Thursday, 6 June 2019

First Volotea Flight Lands at Rijeka Airport from Marseille, France

As Novac writes on the 6th of June, 2019, on Wednesday the 5th of June, 2019, at 20:10 a Volotea flight (V72616) arrived in Rijeka directly from from Marseille, making it the very first Volotea airplane to land at Rijeka Airport.

The arrival of this flight to Rijeka Airport precedent for the entire Kvarner region, since this flight marked the first time in the last twenty years that a regular route has been established between not just Rijeka and the city of Marseille, but between Rijeka and any other French city, as they stated from Rijeka Airport.

Although a direct line between Paris and Rijeka was established last year, these regular flights represent a much greater potential as regardless of the quantity of tickets sold, will allow each individual to fly at a very low price to the second largest French city, as was reported by Rijeka Airport.

On June the 5th, the inauguration ceremony of another new airline at Rijeka Airport was held with the classic display of water and cutting ribbons, and passengers were welcomed with homemade cakes and a taste of the area's local folklore, writes Novi list.

The new Volotea line will fly on the Rijeka-Marseille route once per week, on Wednesdays until October the 2nd, 2019, and traffic on this line will be powered by a Boeing 717 aircraft which can accommodate 125 passengers.

Volotea is a Spanish low-cost airline that connects over 83 cities throughout Europe, of middle and smaller sizes, with special emphasis placed on passenger quality and safety. Volotea's main focus is destinations located on the European side of the Mediterranean coast, in both Western and Southern Europe.

With over 6.5 million passengers, Volotea saw an increase of 36 percent over the previous year in 2018, making it one of the fastest growing carriers in the whole of Europe.

Make sure to follow our dedicated travel page for much more.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Air Serbia Touches Down at Rijeka Airport for First Time in 30 Years

Just a few days ago, Lufthansa landed at Rijeka Airport for the first time and thus established a permanent line with Munich. And now, on June 4, 2019, Air Serbia landed at Rijeka Airport. Therefore, for the first time in almost 30 years, Rijeka is once again linked to Belgrade with a direct flight, reports on June 4, 2019. 

The new airline was welcomed with a traditional inauguration ceremony and water cannon salute. Representatives of the Rijeka Airport attended the ceremony with chief representatives of Air Serbia Goran Grozdanić, Chief Marketing Officer Maja Šotra, Regional Manager for Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina Damir Rigo, and Area Controller in charge of Rijeka Airport Zlatko Kuzmanović.

Thirty passengers were on the flight from Belgrade and were welcomed with homemade cakes and folk dancing by the young KUD Ive Jurjević from Omišalj. The tape was cut collectively by Air Serbia representative Goran Grozdanić and head of the RJ Plan and development of the Rijeka Airport Vedrana Čubranić.

This new line has established a direct air link between Rijeka and Belgrade, which will take place twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays throughout the year. This will, as Vedrana Čubranić pointed out, cut travel time between the two cities from six hours on the highway to only eighty minutes in the air. 

Traffic on the Belgrade-Rijeka line will be operated by the ATR 72 which can accommodate 66 passengers. During the high season, the A319 aircraft will work with a capacity of 144 seats.

Air Serbia is Serbia's national airline flying to a total of 49 destinations in Europe and the Mediterranean, with direct lines to the Middle East and North America, and direct flights from Belgrade to international destinations in Asia, Australia, and Africa.

“Introducing a direct year-round regular line between Rijeka and Belgrade represents a very significant step forward for the Kvarner region, since it was introduced after almost 30 years when it was traded twice a day in the former Yugoslavia. This line is of great significance as it will travel throughout the year, and introducing lines that will travel for 12 months are the foundation for the further sustainable development of the Rijeka Airport, as it reduces its seasonality and passengers can connect with larger centers throughout the year,” concluded Čubranić.

Air Serbia will also soon begin flights to Zadar, which will operate twice a week, on Fridays and Sundays, from June 21 to September 15, 2019. 

Recall, Air Serbia has already operated seasonal flights from Belgrade to Dubrovnik, Split and Pula, while the airline flies to Zagreb throughout the year. This summer, however, the Serbian airline will cover Croatia’s entire Adriatic coast, plus Zagreb, with its new flight announcements. 

Airline expert Alen Šćuric revealed that Air Serbia would have 31 flights per week to Croatia on the summer flight schedule, which is 4.5 flights a day, while they will run 12 flights a week in the off-season. The airline will offer about 165,000 seats annually, in both directions, on their total flights to Croatia, said Šćuric.

“This means that around 1.5 percent of all Croatian air passengers will travel through Belgrade,” says Šćuric. Though Croatia’s tourists may find that these lines are primarily used to bring Serbian tourists to the Adriatic, Šćuric believes that 70 percent of those passengers will travel across Belgrade to other destinations where Air Serbia operates. 

On the other hand, the Croatian national carrier Croatia Airlines has only one line for Serbia and Belgrade from Split in the summer, where it offers a total of 5800 seats. And it will stay that way for now. Croatia Airlines said that Belgrade has been part of the regular evaluation of the company's network planning department for a long time, but also that the new lines introduced in the last three years showed a higher demand, and accordingly gained an advantage when opening new routes.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Plans and Expectations for Croatian Airports 2019: Pula, Rijeka, Osijek

February 26, 2019 - TCN continues looking at the plans and expectations for Croatian airports in 2019, with updates from Pula, Rijeka, and Osijek, thanks to AvioRadar

Friday, 8 February 2019

Rijeka Airport Hopes to Grow in 2019 from Year-round Flights, New Airlines

After a record 2018, what should Rijeka Airport expect in 2019?

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Rijeka Airport Adds Another New Airline: Welcome, Lufthansa!

Rijeka Airport has added yet another new airline to the list for the upcoming season. 

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Cheap Flights from Rijeka! Frankfurt, London, Oslo...

Some welcome news if you're planning to fly from Rijeka!

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Rijeka Airport to Be Open Round the Clock

ZAGREB, April 3, 2018 – The Rijeka airport on the northern Adriatic island of Krk will be open round the clock starting from April 4, when construction work begins on the runway of Zagreb airport, which will be closed during the night over the next two months.

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