Saturday, 4 December 2021

New Ryanair Summer Lines from Zagreb, Rijeka, and Zadar in 2022

December 4, 2021 - The latest flight news to Croatia as new Ryanair summer lines from Zagreb, Rijeka, and Zadar have been announced for next year, which are interesting for both tourists and Croatian travelers. 

Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair announces new routes for the 2022 summer flight schedule from three Croatian airports - Rijeka, Zagreb, and Zadar, reports Croatian Aviation and Ex Yu Aviation

From Zagreb to:

Bratislava, twice a week, from March 27, 2022, every Wednesday and Sunday, until October 26 next year. There have been no regular lines between the two cities so far.

Corfu, twice a week, from June 4, 2022, every Tuesday and Saturday, until September 27 next year.

So far, there has been no regular line from Zagreb to Corfu. This line will certainly be attractive in the summer, given that an increasing number of Croatian citizens go on summer vacation to Greece. Along with Thessaloniki, Corfu is Ryanair's second destination from Zagreb to Greece.

From Rijeka to:

Stockholm (Arlanda), twice a week, from March 27, 2022, Thursdays and Sundays, to October 27 next year.

Ryanair has operated between the two cities in previous years, but from Skvasta Airport, which is dislocated from Stockholm, so the change in operations in Arland is very positive news for all passengers on this line. This is the third announced Ryanair route for next year from Rijeka, with the addition of lines to Brussels and London.

From Zadar to:

Sofia twice a week, from March 27, 2022, Wednesdays and Sundays, to October 26 next year.

Helsinki, twice a week, from June 3, 2022, Mondays and Fridays, to September 30 next year.

The new additions bring Ryanair’s total number of destinations out of Zagreb to 26, far more than national carrier Croatia Airlines, reports Ex Yu Aviation.

“Ryanair has added 24 routes out of Zagreb, while Croatia Airlines has introduced three in the past three years and been the beneficiary of twelve million euros in state aid. We, on the other hand, receive no subsidies from the government. Croatia Airlines is a distinguished carrier, but it has lost touch with the development of air travel in Croatia, particularly from Zagreb. We do not see them as a competitor because even on the routes we both operate on, we fly to different airports. Ryanair will change travel habits in Zagreb and encourage locals to travel more by air," said Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary on Croatia Airlines’ slow development out of Zagreb before these new lines were announced. 

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

Friday, 3 December 2021

Ryanair Zagreb Flights to Basel, Eindhoven, Paphos Officially Launch Today

December 3, 2021 - Ryanair Zagreb flights to Basel, Eindhoven, and Paphos are officially taking off today! 

Ryanair operates on three more new routes from Zagreb Airport to three new airports in the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Cyprus - Paphos, Eindhoven, and Basel, reports Croatian Aviation.

Zagreb - Basel - Zagreb
Ryanair connects Zagreb and Basel twice a week. Basel Airport is located in France, but an extraterritorial route connects it to the city. Basel is the second-largest city in Switzerland, with approximately 170,000 inhabitants. In addition, a relatively large number of emigrated Croatian citizens live in Basel and the wider region, and an even more significant number of diasporas from Serbia, BiH, and Kosovo.

Zagreb 13:45 - 15:15 Basel 15:40 - 17:10 Zagreb

The Irish low-cost airline will operate on this route twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, in the afternoon, with A320 aircraft. However, it should be noted that Basel is not a big hub for Ryanair; most of the traffic at this airport is generated by the British EasyJet.

Zagreb - Eindhoven - Zagreb

Zagreb Airport is also connected to Eindhoven, the fifth-largest city in the Netherlands, with around 400,000 inhabitants in its urban area. The airport is located very close to the border with Belgium, and due to its location, these flights are used by passengers who continue to Essen, Dortmund, Cologne, or Dusseldorf.

Eindhoven is a large base of Ryanair and Hungarian Wizz Air and Transavia. Transavia operates from Eindhoven to coastal airports in the summer, while there are no scheduled flights in the winter.

Zagreb 17:35 - 19:30 Eindhoven 19:55 - Zagreb 21:50

Ryanair will also use A320 aircraft from the Zagreb base on this route and operate in the afternoon and evening. It is expected that Ryanair will record good results on this line, and ticket prices are currently very affordable.

Zagreb - Paphos - Zagreb

This morning, the third new line took off for Paphos at 6:40 am, connecting Zagreb and Cyprus twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays.

Zagreb 06:40 - 10:35 Paphos 11:00 -12: 55 Zagreb

This line is primarily oriented to Zagreb tourists who travel to Cyprus for a short weekend vacation or longer, especially in the summer months. There have been no regular flights between Cyprus and Zagreb, and traffic at Paphos Airport is mainly due to Ryanair flights.

In addition to these three new lines, new lines to Thessaloniki, Dublin, Manchester, and Malaga also started this week.

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

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Third Ryanair Aircraft in Zagreb Arrives, Additional 9 Routes Launch in December

November 30, 2021 - The latest flight news to Croatia as the third Ryanair aircraft in Zagreb will arrive this week, with 9 additional lines launched around Europe. 

As already announced, Ryanair is basing its third A320 aircraft (from the Lauda fleet) at Zagreb Airport this week and is launching an additional 9 new routes to well-known European destinations, such as Dublin, Manchester, and Eindhoven, reports Croatian Aviation.

Ryanair will start regular operations on 9 new lines this week according to:

Paphos (Cyprus), from 03.12., twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays,

Thessaloniki (Greece), from 03.12., twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays,

Dublin (Ireland), from 02.12., three times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays,

Naples (Italy), from 17.12. twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays,

Malta (Malta), from 04.12., Twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays,

Eindhoven (Netherlands), from 03.12.,, twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays,

Malaga (Spain), from 01.12., twice a week, Wednesdays and Saturdays,

Basel (Switzerland), from 03.12., twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays,

Manchester (UK), from 02.12., twice a week, on Thursdays and Sundays.

Taking into account the existing lines, only Dublin is not a new direct destination from Zagreb, while the eight other mentioned destinations are new.

On December 2, Ryanair will base the third A320 aircraft from Vienna to Zagreb on new routes, giving the well-known airline a total of 24 scheduled international flights from Zagreb Airport. More than 60 weekly flights from or to Zagreb have been announced, which is more than 22,000 seats on a weekly basis.

The new lines are not completely diaspora-oriented, which is the case with other lines that are already operating. It should also be noted that Ryanair does not have a representative office in Zagreb, so there are often problems when accepting and departing passengers on these flights, as was the case this Friday on a flight from Zagreb to Charleroi when passengers physically attacked airport employees, adds Croatian Aviation.

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

 

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Increase in Ryanair Zagreb Christmas Flights from Dublin, Eindhoven, Stockholm

November 17, 2021 - The Croatian capital will be busy this holiday season with an increase in Ryanair Zagreb Christmas flights from Dublin, Eindhoven, and Stockholm! 

The Irish low-cost airline is offering a number of weekly flights around Christmas and New Year on several existing routes, as well as on routes running in early December, reports Croatian Aviation.

In addition to the new lines announced for next summer, Ryanair is also preparing for increased demand on European lines around Christmas and New Year and has thus made several operational changes to the lines from its Zagreb base.

Ryanair is showing great interest in the line between Dublin and Zagreb, which will run from December 2 this year, three times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. From December 20 to January 9, Ryanair will increase the number of weekly flights on this route to a total of four, operating between the two cities on Wednesdays, too!

On the new Ryanair line between Eindhoven and Zagreb, which runs from December 3 (twice a week, Monday and Friday), there will be an increase in the number of weekly rotations on this line from December 20 to January 9, totaling four-weekly flights with additional flights on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

There will also be an increase in operations on two lines to Sweden, to Gothenburg and Malmö. The Gothenburg-Zagreb line currently runs three times a week and will run four times a week around Christmas, additionally on Tuesdays. From January 3 to January 9, six weekly flights have been announced, every day except Saturday.

Finally, on the Malmö - Zagreb - Malmö line, there will also be an increase in operations at the very beginning of January, and four weekly flights have been announced on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The line currently operates twice a week.

More good news: Ryanair introduced a line between Rome (Ciampino Airport) and Zagreb this summer, though the flights were transferred to Fiumicino at the end of October due to work at Ciampino. Now, Ryanair will stay at Fiumicino and will operate to Zagreb from there until the end of the winter flight schedule. This is great news for travelers given that Fiumicino is significantly better connected to the center of Rome than Ciampino.

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

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

2021 Croatia Airlines Winter Schedule Announced, More Spring Ryanair Zagreb Flights

October 26, 2021 - The 2021 Croatia Airlines winter schedule has been announced, while Ryanair has begun announcing even more spring flights from its Zagreb base next year. 

Croatia Airlines has announced its winter flight schedule, which will take effect on the last day of October and run until the end of March next year, reports Croatian Aviation.

Croatia Airlines has thus announced 13 international routes from Zagreb, 3 from Split, and one from Osijek, a total of 17 international routes to and from Croatia.

Lines from Zagreb

Croatia Airlines will have the largest number of flights and weekly flights from Zagreb Airport, its main base. Flights to the following European destinations have been announced:

Amsterdam, 7 times a week, daily,

Vienna, 3 times a week, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays,

Brussels, 6 times a week, every day except Saturday,

Dublin, 2 times a week, Thursdays and Sundays,

Frankfurt, 3 to 4 daily flights

Copenhagen, 5 times a week, every day except Tuesdays and Saturdays,

London, 4 times a week, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays,

Munich, 5 times a week, every day except Wednesday and Saturday,

Paris, 7 times a week, daily,

Rome (via Split), 7 times a week, daily,

Sarajevo, 6 times a week, every day except Saturday,

Skopje, 4 times a week, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays,

Zurich, 11 times a week, daily, two daily flights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.

Lines from Split

Croatia Airlines will operate on three routes from Split Airport to two destinations in Germany and one in Italy; scheduled flights to Munich, Frankfurt, and Rome have been announced:

Frankfurt, 7 times a week, daily,

Munich, 7 times a week, daily,

Rome, 7 times a week, daily.

Flights from Osijek

Croatia Airlines will introduce a regular flight between Munich and Osijek on November 15 this year. Aircraft will operate on this route twice a week, every Monday and Friday. Thus, passengers will be able to continue their journey to 6 European destinations via Munich.

On most routes, the Croatian national airline will use DashQ400 aircraft with a capacity of 76 seats, but in a much smaller proportion than last winter. Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft have been announced from Zagreb to Amsterdam, Dublin, London, Frankfurt, Paris, and Copenhagen and from Split to Frankfurt. 

There will be no regular international flights to Rijeka and Dubrovnik this winter, as before the pandemic. Still, Croatia Airlines continues to operate on domestic routes to Pula, Zadar, and Dubrovnik and PSO routes from Zagreb Airport in the upcoming winter flight schedule.

Furthermore, Ryanair has launched additional departures on several international routes from Zagreb Airport next spring, adds Croatian Aviation.

Namely, the Irish low-cost carrier released tickets for next year's summer flight schedule, including flights from Zagreb Airport, with additional departures on 9 international lines from the new Zagreb base, allowing flexibility for travelers to and from Zagreb.

The following lines have increased from 2 to 3 flights per week: 

Zagreb - Memmingen - Zagreb (March 2022),

Zagreb - Malta - Zagreb (March 2022),

Zagreb - Paphos - Zagreb (March 2022),

Zagreb - Weeze - Zagreb (March 2022),

Zagreb - Basel - Zagreb (March 2022).

The following lines will operate four times a week instead of three times a week:

Zagreb - Frankfurt Hahn - Zagreb (March 2022),

Zagreb - Gothenburg - Zagreb (May 2022).

Lines to Bergamo and Brussels are in the highest demand, so Ryanair is introducing additional flights on these routes:

Zagreb - Milan Bergamo - Zagreb, from 4 to 5 weekly flights (April 2022),

Zagreb - Brussels Charleroi - Zagreb, from 4 to 5 weekly flights (April 2022).

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Over 7 Million Zagreb Airport Passengers by 2024, Says Ryanair Boss

September 22, 2021 - Could 7 million Zagreb Airport passengers be the reality by 2024? Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary thinks so. 

As TCN already reported yesterday, low-cost airline Ryanair will connect Zagreb with 24 destinations in 16 countries in the winter flight schedule. In December, it will introduce a third aircraft into the Zagreb base, expecting around one million passengers on all routes by next summer, announced Ryanair CEO, Michael O'Leary.

Three based A320 aircraft with a capacity of 180 seats will operate from Zagreb to Baden Baden, Basel, Brussels, Dortmund, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Eindhoven, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, London, Malaga, Malta, Malmö, Manchester, Memmingen, Milan, Naples, Oslo, Paris, Paphos, Podgorica, Rome, Sofia, and Sofia.

"Ryanair is investing in Croatia to help it recover from the tourism industry after Covid and strengthened connectivity with the rest of Europe as Ryanair continues to grow and air transport returns to pre-pandemic levels. As Ryanair takes over 55 new B737-8200 aircraft this winter, we are pleased to base three new aircraft in Zagreb, which will fly a total of 24 new routes during Ryanair's first Zagreb-based winter," he said. 

This is also Ryanair's first winter flight schedule from Zagreb, which starts at the end of October. O'Leary added that this is his first press conference and visit to Zagreb, reports Jutarnji List.

He emphasized that Zagreb is a great challenge for them and that they see great potential there, as in the whole of Croatia, already recognized in the world for its tourism. For Zagreb, he pointed out that it is currently one of the growing 'hot city break' destinations.

"People want to come to Zagreb, especially for the Christmas fair in winter, and it also has a lot of cultural and historical sights, good food and a growing number of foreign tourists. The recognizability of Croatia in football is also important, and as far as I was able to see, there are a lot of beautiful women," O'Leary added.

The Ryanair CEO believes that Zagreb deserves to have at least about 3.5 million air passengers a year because it is the capital, and he believes that in cooperation with Zagreb Airport, with which they share a vision of growth, these figures will be reached.

He reiterated Ryanair's earlier announcements that they would invest a total of $300 million in Zagreb to 'base' three aircraft by the end of this year, two of which are already in the base from July and September, thus directly creating 100 jobs and another 750 indirect ones throughout Croatia. However, he would be disappointed if they only brought the fourth plane to Zagreb next summer because they could have three to five of them there.

He also mentioned the excellent cooperation with other airports in Croatia - Zadar, Pula, and Dubrovnik, and that from next spring, they will fly to Rijeka. Still, only Zagreb will work in the winter, while other flights will be seasonal. 

O'Leary noted that Ryanair wants Croatia Airlines to be a "living and healthy" company, as they do not have the same passenger structure nor fly to the same destinations and airports.

"We care that Croatia Airlines lives, and we did not come here to destroy it, but we came to create healthy competition, and as the line to Dublin did not destroy the Polish LOT or AirLingus, neither will CA," O'Leary replied.

He is satisfied with the current business with Zagreb and Croatia. He expects continued strong demand for their flights, concluding that there is no reason why the number of total air passengers of all carriers will not increase to around 7 million in the next three years.

The airport should be handling 3.5 million passengers next year, six million in 2023, and over seven million travelers in 2024. We plan on carrying over ten million passengers in cooperation with Zagreb Airport over the next five to six years”, Mr O’Leary said.

Ryanair was expected to announce new routes to Zagreb at this press conference. However, the company instead used media attention to promote its lines from the new Zagreb base.

Follow the latest flights to Croatia HERE and the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Ryanair Zagreb Winter Schedule Announced, Plans for Fourth Jet Next Summer

September 21, 2021 - The Ryanair Zagreb winter schedule has been announced with 24 routes, and plans to add another jet to the capital city base are in the works for next summer.

Ryanair announced the first winter flight schedule from the new Zagreb base at a press conference in the capital on Tuesday. 

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary said at the press conference today: "Ryanair is investing in Croatia to help it recover from the tourism industry after Covid and strengthened connectivity with the rest of Europe as Ryanair continues to grow and air transport returns to pre-pandemic levels. As Ryanair takes over 55 new B737-8200 aircraft this winter, we are pleased to base three new aircraft in Zagreb, which will fly a total of 24 new routes during Ryanair's first Zagreb-based winter." 

Three based A320 aircraft with a capacity of 180 seats will operate on 24 international scheduled flights from Zagreb to Baden Baden, Basel, Brussels, Dortmund, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Eindhoven, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, London, Malaga, Malta, Malmo, Manchester, Memmingen, Milan, Naples, Oslo, Paris, Paphos, Podgorica, Rome, Sofia, and Thessaloniki.

Ryanair also plans to add a fourth aircraft to the Zagreb base next summer and will add a third jet in Zagreb this December, though O’Leary did not reveal which routes could be expected.

“We are not focusing on routes covered by Croatia Airlines but those that are not served from Zagreb. The airport should be handling 3.5 million passengers next year, six million in 2023 and over seven million travellers in 2024”, O’Leary said, as reported by Ex Yu Aviation.

O’Leary also took the chance to criticize Croatia Airlines:

“In the past six months, Croatia Airlines has introduced three new routes, while Ryanair is in the process of adding 24. Croatia Airlines has also been the beneficiary of twelve million euros in state aid. We, on the other hand, receive no subsidies from the government. Croatia Airlines is a distinguished carrier but it has lost touch with the development of air travel in Croatia, particularly from Zagreb. We do not see them as a competitor because even on the routes we both operate on, we fly to different airports”.

Ryanair also stated that the investment in the Zagreb base is worth $300 million. 

The new winter lines are currently on sale and one-way tickets are already available at a price of 150 kuna or 19.99 euros. Tickets at these prices must be booked by Thursday, September 23, at midnight.

Follow the latest flights to Croatia HERE and the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

Friday, 3 September 2021

New Ryanair Destinations from Zagreb, Second Aircraft Stationed at Airport

September 3, 2021 - After announcing 9 new Ryanair destinations from Zagreb earlier this week, a second aircraft of the low-cost carrier has been stationed at the capital city airport. Better yet, a third aircraft should be based at Zagreb Airport from December 1!

Ryanair has based its second aircraft at Zagreb Airport, following the opening of its base in July. The deployment of a third aircraft is planned for December. As travel recovers and approaches pre-pandemic coronavirus levels, Ryanair’s expansion encourages traffic and tourism recovery across Europe, reports Avio Radar.

Ryanair's total investment for Zagreb is $300 million, and the carrier will offer more than 40 outbound flights a week on 15 different routes, including 9 new routes to European destinations - Sandefjord, Baden Baden, Beauvais, Memmingen, Hahn, Dortmund, Podgorica, Weeze and Malmo,

Also, nine more new routes will be launched this winter based on the third aircraft expected on December 1. 

Travelers from Croatia can book a vacation for the end of the summer on one of Ryanair's new routes, such as Dortmund, London, Oslo, Paris, and many others.

After welcoming the second aircraft in Zagreb and announcing 9 new routes, Ryanair's head of sales and marketing for countries in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans, Olga Pawlonka, said:

"We are delighted to base another aircraft in Zagreb as part of our expansion plan in Croatia. This is part of a $300 million investment that will play an important role in supporting tourism recovery in the Croatian capital. Ryanair provides connectivity to several Zagreb destinations throughout the year.

With nine new summer lines starting this week, or a total of 24 lines during the winter, our passengers will have a great choice when planning late summer holidays in cities like Sofia, Paris, Rome, and many others.”

Yavuz Aytis, route manager for Zagreb International Airport, said:

"We are happy to welcome another aircraft at the Ryanair base at Zagreb Airport and are proud to announce 9 new Ryanair flights to Zagreb from this week. As a result, citizens of Zagreb and the surrounding area will have more opportunities to fly directly to various destinations. We believe that the increased availability of Zagreb will lead to a faster recovery of tourism and the economy.

Zagreb International Airport will continue its efforts to expand the network of direct flights from Zagreb because the citizens and visitors of our city deserve a wide range of affordable flights. We expect these efforts to contribute to an even stronger positioning of our beautiful capital as an attractive destination for many European travelers."

Follow the latest flights to Croatia HERE and the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Flights to Croatia: Ryanair Zagreb Boosts Operations, Blue Air Split and Dubrovnik Routes

August 18, 2021 - The latest flight news to Croatia as the Ryanair Zagreb base boosts operations on two lines, and Blue Air Split and Dubrovnik routes are on the horizon. 

The newly launched Ryanair Zagreb base will boost operations on two routes from September 1, reports Ex Yu Aviation

Namely, the airline will operate four weekly flights to Charleroi compared to the existing two, while there will be four weekly rotations to Gothenburg compared to the existing three flights a week. 

Furthermore, Ryanair will station a second jet, the Airbus A320, in Zagreb from September 1, thus launching nine new routes. 

Ex Yu Aviation reports that Romanian low-cost carrier Blue Air will run seasonal flights from Bucharest to Split and Dubrovnik in 2022. The new routes will work from June 23 and June 28, with two flights per week on the 189-seat Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

The airline is introducing seven new routes next summer, with Split and Dubrovnik included. 

Eurowings has also announced that it will introduce its third route to Zagreb Airport, a year-round flight between Dusseldorf and Zagreb, which was canceled in 2019. The route will run on Tuesdays and Saturdays beginning August 31.

Follow the latest on flights to Croatia HERE and the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Monday, 16 August 2021

Ryanair Zagreb Base Will Destabilize Croatia Airlines, Says Air Transport Expert Tonči Peović

August 16, 2021 - Air transport expert Tonči Peović discusses the Ryanair Zagreb base, the fate of Croatia Airlines, and when Croatian airports will see pre-pandemic figures again. 

While the number of tourists arriving by road in Croatia in recent weeks is the same as in the record 2019, aircraft and passengers at Croatian airports are still significantly less than pre-epidemic times. Tonči Peović, director of Brač Airport and the Air Transport Association president, which brings together all Croatian airports and airlines, talks about the challenges facing civil aviation with Jutarnji List.

What is the traffic like at Croatian airports?

"Traffic is returning, but we are not even close to the figures from 2019. In the first six months, we achieved 16 percent of the traffic of 2019, but July brought a dose of optimism with about 30 percent of passengers compared to 2019. In the first seven months, we are at 25 percent of 2019, and if there are no major disruptions with the measures, I believe that this trend will continue in August and September and that in the whole of 2021, we will have 35 to 37 percent of passengers compared to 2019. The biggest drop in the number of flights are from North and South America, as much as 60 percent, and toward other markets about 40 percent. The drop in the number of passengers is somewhat bigger because the planes are less crowded. Purchasing power seems to have fallen, and epidemiological measures are often not clear enough."

British Jet2 has recently established numerous routes to Split and Dubrovnik; Ryanair has started flying to Zagreb and is announcing many new routes. Is there a reason for optimism?

"Of course there is. Ryanair is the first operator in the European sky in terms of the number of flights."

Is the low-cost model the future?

"I wouldn't say. Low cost is rising, but all models must be represented. Traditional carriers that adapt to the new conditions will survive. Currently, 39 percent of traffic in Europe is held by low-cost carriers, 44 percent by traditional companies, and 12 percent by charter companies. Air traffic has become more accessible than ever. Before the crisis, the annual number of passengers in the world was seven billion. Low-cost airlines bring in less revenue to airports. Therefore, I am not sure how good the Ryanair base is being established in Zagreb. This will bring great uncertainty to Croatia Airlines. In Split and Dubrovnik, Ryanair pays the same price for airport services as all other companies."

Last year, only 2.2 million passengers were transported through all Croatian airports, and in 2019 there were 11.5 million.

"Last year is better to forget. We are at least twice as good now. Dubrovnik, for example, had 60,000 passengers in June and only 10,000 last year. So I hope this season will be quite long. If the weather is good and the epidemic doesn’t go wild, we could have the season until the end of October."

Why does air passenger transport recover more slowly than road transport?

"The companies offered flights, but they fill up less. Passengers prefer to come by personal vehicles because they have the freedom to return whenever they want. We didn’t even have guests from Scandinavia, the UK, and the US in the first half of the year. Now that the measures have eased, it will take time for the traffic to start. People usually buy tickets a month before the flight. And many passengers were unable to return from distant destinations last year due to the measures. Fearing this will happen again, people are less willing to travel by plane. Today, even guests from Sweden come to Croatia by car, which is a two-day trip."

If the epidemic calms down, how long will it take to reach the number of passengers from 2019?

"There are estimates that it will take three to four years. I estimate that many weaker airlines will go bankrupt in the fall, mostly those with a smaller fleet that will not pay for aircraft leasing. This year, the price of kerosene is also very high, about $75 per barrel, and last year it was $15. On the other hand, new companies that do not have losses from previous years are being established, so they are attractive to investors. For example, Croatian Trade Air recently acquired a new aircraft with four Airbus 320s and several more Fokkers with about 100 seats. In contrast, another small Croatian company, EasyFly, already has three aircraft. Regarding the number of seats, the two companies together are almost as big as Croatia Airlines."

How do Croatian airports operate in these times of crisis?

"It is easier for airports than for airlines because they have a larger share capital than income. Croatian airports will be on the verge of covering workers' salaries with their revenues this year. We asked the Government to continue with the support measure of HRK 4,000 per worker. We want no one to lose their jobs because our workers are specially educated, and we want to keep them for the future. We get support from the state if we prove that our turnover drop is greater than 70 percent compared to 2019. Without that, we would have to borrow from banks."

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

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