Friday, 22 July 2022

Trade Air Domestic Lines Delayed Again, This Time Until August 15

July 22, 2022 - The latest flight news to Croatia as Trade Air domestic lines are once again delayed, this time until August 15. 

Private Croatian airline Trade Air has once again delayed the start of operations on domestic PSO lines, reports Croatian Aviation

Trade Air announced on its website that it is once again postponing the start of operations on domestic PSO lines. The mentioned lines have been suspended since May, and the start of operations was first announced for June, then for July 1, and then for July 18. Finally, the lines had last been announced for August 1, which now will not happen. The new planned date for the start of operations is August 15.

The announcement reads as follows: "Dear passengers, unfortunately, Trade Air expects to re-establish domestic flights only on August 15, 2022, after receiving confirmation from the relevant authorities. Sales will not open before August 1, so we invite you to visit us again after an unspecified date. When the sales open, we will announce it through established communication channels (news, Facebook, and Instagram)".

As a reminder, this summer Trade Air should operate on the following routes:

Osijek - Zagreb - Osijek,

Osijek - Pula - Split - Pula - Osijek,

Osijek - Rijeka - Osijek,

Rijeka - Split - Dubrovnik - Split - Rijeka,

Osijek - Zadar - Osijek, and

Rijeka - Zadar - Rijeka.

The number of weekly frequencies remains the same as in the previous four-year period, except for the lines between Osijek and Zadar and Rijeka and Zadar, which will operate once a week.

These lines are extremely important for Osijek Airport, which could have recorded high interest in the summer months due to the planned larger aircraft (Saab340 with 34 seats), and lines to airports on the coast. Due to bureaucracy, these lines won't run until mid-August, and considering that the start of traffic has already been postponed several times, it is difficult to say whether the lines will actually start operating from the specified date.

Once they start, all lines except the ones mentioned to and from Zadar will operate throughout the year, which is important not only for Osijek but also for other Croatian airports.

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

Monday, 11 July 2022

Trade Air Domestic Lines Delayed Until August 1, Ryanair to Restore Zagreb Network

July 11, 2022 - The latest flight news to Croatia as Trade Air domestic lines are delayed further until August 1, and Ryanair plans to restore its Zagreb network after months of flight reductions and suspensions. 

Croatian private airline Trade Air has once again postponed its domestic PSO lines, which was previously announced on July 18, reports Croatian Aviation

As stated in the announcement on the airline's official website, Trade Air is once again postponing the start of operations on domestic PSO lines. The mentioned lines have been suspended since May, and the beginning of operations was first announced for June, then July 1, then July 18, and now the lines won't run until August 1 of this year.

The announcement states that the airline will start the routes on the specified date after all the confirmations from the relevant authorities have been collected. Information was also provided that the tickets will not go on sale before July 20 this year.

These lines are crucial for Osijek Airport and other airports, especially in the winter flight schedule.

Osijek - Zagreb - Osijek,

Osijek - Pula - Split - Pula - Osijek,

Osijek - Rijeka - Osijek,

Osijek - Zadar - Osijek,

Zadar - Rijeka - Zadar,

Rijeka - Split - Dubrovnik - Split - Rijeka.

Poland's Sprint Air will operate on the Trade Air lines mentioned, and passengers can only hope that this is the last delay in re-establishing the mentioned lines, adds Croatian Aviation. 

In other news, Ex Yu Aviation reports that Ryanair plans to restore its Zagreb network after months of reductions and suspensions.

The airline thus plans to bring back its third aircraft to resume operations to Basel, Sofia, and Brindisi and restore frequencies on many routes, including to Baden Baden, Bergamo, Beauvais, Charleroi, Gothenburg, Hahn, Malaga, Malmo, Malta, Memmingen, Paphos, Sandefjord, and Weeze. In addition, the route between Zagreb and Corfu will remain at one weekly rotation. 

“Ryanair is Europe’s and Croatia’s number one airline. We have seen strong summer bookings to date from Zagreb with a total of 27 routes. Ryanair’s three Zagreb-based aircraft represent an investment of 300 million US dollars, which will support over ninety highly paid aviation jobs and over 1.000 total jobs in Zagreb. As we look forward with a strong summer of bookings to/from Zagreb, Ryanair will operate almost eighty weekly flights (over thirty more than last year) to give our Zagreb customers an abundance of choices to top European destinations like London, Milan, and Paris or popular holiday hotspots like Brindisi, Corfu and Malaga, whilst giving Zagreb inbound tourism a boost after two lost years," said the airline. 

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

Wednesday, 29 June 2022

KLM Croatia Capacity Boosted in July, Norwegian Zagreb Route Resumes, Trade Air Delayed

July 29, 2022 - The latest flight news to Croatia as KLM Croatia capacity has been boosted to Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik, Norwegian resumes its Zagreb route, and Trade Air pushes back operations until July 18. 

Dutch national airline KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has significantly increased its capacity to three Croatian airports in July - Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik, reports Croatian Aviation

KLM will continue to operate twice a day between Zagreb and Amsterdam in July, but there will be a significant increase in capacity. Namely, until now, E190 aircraft operated between the two cities, but now B737-700 and B737-800 aircraft will operate on two daily flights. Namely, E190 aircraft has a capacity of 100 seats, while Boeing family aircraft have 132 and 186 seats, respectively.

While the number of weekly operations between Zagreb and Amsterdam will remain the same, the number of weekly flights will increase to Dubrovnik Airport.

Namely, until now, KLM has operated on this route only on Saturdays and Sundays since the beginning of the summer flight schedule, but from the beginning of July, this line will be in daily traffic, also with B737-800 aircraft.

KLM already operates to Split on a daily basis, but on weekdays mainly with the Embraer fleet. From the beginning of July, B737-800 and B737-700 aircraft will operate between the two cities, and the number of daily flights will increase from one to two or even three daily flights.

The Dutch carrier will have six daily flights to three Croatian airports in July, offering a wide network of connections through its hub in Amsterdam.

Furthermore, Croatian Aviation reports that well-known low-cost airline Norwegian resumed traffic on the regular seasonal route between Copenhagen and Zagreb on June 25, which had been suspended since the 2019 summer flight schedule.

On this seasonal line, the only one on which Norwegian currently operates to Zagreb, two flights a week are available, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, until mid-August.

Namely, the last flight is planned for Saturday, August 13, so this airline will offer a total of 18 return flights between the two cities this summer, ie 6,048 seats in both directions on its B737-800 aircraft.

Interestingly, one A320 aircraft of the Croatian private airline, Trade Air, is currently leased for this well-known low-cost carrier, but it is based in Stockholm, so it is unlikely that it will fly to Zagreb Airport this summer under the Norwegian flight number.

On the regular route between Copenhagen and Zagreb, the Croatian national airline, Croatia Airlines, operates throughout the year, and in the summer flight schedule, Croatia also operates on the regular route between Copenhagen and Split, three times a week, every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

Although the competent Ministry announced that Croatia Airlines and Trade Air will operate on domestic PSO routes in the next four years, with operations on domestic routes at the beginning of July, this will not happen, reports Croatian Aviation

Trade Air announced on its official website that domestic PSO flights will not be established until July 18 this year. Namely, earlier on the carrier's website, there was information that flights are expected from this Friday, July 1, but that will not happen.

The new information states that Trade Air will re-establish PSO routes from July 18 this year, with sales open only from July 8, and that further information will be published on the official website and social networks of the airline.

As a reminder, this summer Trade Air should operate on the following routes:

Osijek - Zagreb - Osijek,

Osijek - Pula - Split - Pula - Osijek,

Osijek - Rijeka - Osijek,

Rijeka - Split - Dubrovnik - Split - Rijeka,

Osijek - Zadar - Osijek, and

Rijeka - Zadar - Rijeka.

The number of weekly frequencies remains the same as in the previous four-year period, except for the lines between Osijek and Zadar and Rijeka and Zadar, which will be in traffic once a week.

Although the number of weekly flights will remain the same, the capacity will increase significantly as the Saab340 aircraft with a capacity of 34 seats will operate on the routes instead of the Turbolet L410 (19-seat capacity).

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

Sunday, 12 June 2022

Croatia Airlines, Trade Air Awarded PSO Contracts for Internal Croatia Flights

June 12, 2022 - The latest Public Service Obligation PSO contracts for internal flights in Croatia have been awarded once more to Croatia Airlines and Trade Air.

Although Croatia Airlines is the dominant airline on domestic routes in Croatia, one of the great discoveries of this year so far has been the service offered by another, lesser-known, Croatian airline - Trade Air. 

While Trade Air operates mostly outside of Croatia, it does operate some passenger services within Croatia, as part of Croatia's PSO programme, where flights are subsidised to connect various airports within Croatia. When I finally got to looking into what was on offer, I was very pleasantly surprised, as well as a little annoyed with myself that I had not discovered the service sooner. Flights from Zagreb to Osijek taking less than an hour for around 30 euro, only slightly more than the bus. And my favourite - Dubrovnik to Osijek, via Split and Rijeka, for 60 euro, but delivered safely in just 3 hours and 40 minutes, despite the big detour and two stops at other airports. You can read about the experience in Affordable, Useful, Stunning Daily Croatian Internal Flights, And It is Not Croatia Airlines.

The last round of PSO contracts expired a few weeks ago,and these very useful internal connections have been on hold until the new contracts were announced. As ExYuAviation reports, that has now happened, with Croatia Airlines and Trade AIr winning the contracts again, despite some speculation that some non-Croatian airlines might be awarded at least some of the contracts this time. The new contracts are set to run from July 4, 2022 to March 28, 2026. Although the exact routes operated by each airline are yet to be publicly defined, they are expected to be the same as last time, with the prime Zagreb to Dubrovnik route once more operated by Croatia Airlines. According to ExYuAviation:

"Under the previous deal, Croatia Airlines received roughly 11.4 million euros in annual compensation, while Trade Air approximately 2.5 million euros per year according to the European Commission. The routes which will be subject to the latest PSO funding are: Dubrovnik - Zagreb – Dubrovnik, Split - Zagreb - Split, Zagreb - Zadar - Pula - Zadar - Zagreb, Zagreb - Brač - Zagreb, Osijek - Dubrovnik - Osijek, Osijek - Split - Osijek, Osijek - Zagreb - Osijek, Rijeka - Split - Dubrovnik - Split - Rijeka, Osijek - Pula - Split - Pula - Osijek, Rijeka - Zadar - Rijeka and Osijek - Zadar - Osijek."

For more information about flight news to Croatia, check out the dedicated TCN section.

 

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Trade Air Domestic Routes Suspended, Flights Should Resume in June

May 3, 2022 - The latest flight news to Croatia as Trade Air domestic routes are currently suspended. The Croatian passenger and cargo charter airline is awaiting a new PSO contract which should have them up and running again in June. 

Croatian private airline Trade Air made its final rotations on domestic PSO routes on Friday (April 29). The interruption was because the PSO program has expired, reports Croatian Aviation

The Croatian private airline has operated on domestic routes for years as part of the PSO program on the following routes:

Osijek - Zagreb - Osijek,

Osijek - Pula - Split - Pula - Osijek,

Osijek - Rijeka - Osijek,

Rijeka - Split - Dubrovnik - Split - Rijeka.

The lines operated throughout the year with the same number of rotations. However, at the end of April, the contract expired, and on Friday, April 29, Trade Air operated the last rotations from and to Osijek.

The interruption is due to the fact that the competent Ministry has yet to announce the winner of the new PSO program (signing a new four-year contract), so it was expected that the airline would not continue operations when the winner is still unknown. 

Trade Air should resume domestic traffic this summer season and introduce a line between Osijek and Zadar and Zadar and Rijeka, but only after concluding a contract with the competent authorities.

The 19-seat L-410 aircraft owned by the Czech Van Air operated on Trade Air routes. The new four-year contract should provide a higher capacity aircraft on domestic routes. According to the latest information, operations should resume in June.

The PSO program in the Republic of Croatia is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Sea, Transport, and Infrastructure. PSOs are in place to make European funds available for unprofitable, primarily domestic routes which are vital for the economic development of the region they serve, reports Ex Yu Aviation back in 2020. Croatian Aviation has sent an inquiry related to this topic, but has yet to receive a response.

TCN CEO Paul Bradbury recently wrote about his experience flying with Trade Air from Dubrovnik to Osijek via Split and Rijeka.  

"The PSO service is an excellent initiative and vital link for communities (even more so with Jadrolinija connecting islands by ferry)."

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

Sunday, 27 March 2022

Affordable, Useful, Stunning Daily Croatian Internal Flights, And It is Not Croatia Airlines

March 27, 2022 - Looking to travel around Croatia quickly, at an affordable price, and with spectacular views? Meet the Croatian internal flights they don't tell you about. 

The Croatian motorways are excellent. Expensive, but excellent. 

And with so many projects on the TCN plate at the moment, from Dubrovnik to Osijek, travelling between destinations can be not only expensive, but time-consuming. 

Earlier this month, I had a long trip starting in Zagreb, which took in Split, Dubrovnik, Tivat, Tirana, Dubrovnik, Osijek, and back to Zagreb. As my car was in the garage, and with fuel prices rising due to the Ukraine conflict, I decided to use public transport for the journey, which was fine in theory, but how was I going to get from Dubrovnik to Osijek? Even if I had my car, Google told me that I had a tortuous 8-hour drive through the poor roads and eager traffic police of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

"Why don't you fly?" a friend asked. "No, not with Croatia Airlines, but check out the amazing service of Trade Air."

Trade Air. A Croatian airline based in Osijek, but which does much of its business outside of Croatia. I was aware from blogging over the years that they had some curious routes all over Croatia, but I had never considered them before. I decided to take a look. 

croatian-internal-flights_14.jpg

The routes, part of a Public Service Obligation (PSO) tender, seemed to have been prepared especially for me. Apart from the handy connections (the Dubrovnik to Osijek flight was a little circuitous, but it was less than 3.5 hours door to door), I had never come across anyone who had actually flown these routes before, apart from one aviation geek friend who told me that the Zagreb to Osijek route is legendary among the aviation community as being fairly pointless, with little take up - an expensive subsidy. 

Wait, there is a flight from Zagreb to Osijek, which is only 2.5 hours away by car, 3 hours by bus? Not only a flight, but a flight twice a day three times a week. And with a ticket price of just 30 euro one way, rather a cheap deal indeed. As I had one overnight stay in Osijek, I booked the 06:30 flight the next day - I would be in central Zagreb for 08:00 and ready for a new business day. 

But first, I had to get to Osijek from Dubrovnik. As part of its PSO mandate, Trade Air covers different routes through the working week, connecting Dubrovnik, Split, Pula, Rijeka, Osijek and Zagreb with its 19-seater plane. As luck would have it, on my day of travel, the Dubrovnik flight to Osijek was making quick stops at Split and Rijeka Airports (on the island of Krk). When I compared the price of the ticket (450 kuna) to the cost of fuel, tolls, time, and frustration had I gone by road, it looked a bargain indeed. And that was without the views.

So how was it?

croatian-internal-flights_13.jpg

I was curious to see how many people would be on the flight. 10 passengers from Dubrovnik to Split, plus flight attendant - more than half-full in mid-March.  

croatian-internal-flights_11.jpg

In many ways, the flight took me back to the era of the Croatian seaplanes of 2014-6 - a small plane hugging the idyllic Croatian coastline, flying low, and affording the very best bird's eye views out there. Having enjoyed Mljet (see lead photo), passing over Croatia's most iconic beach at Zlatni Rat in Bol on the island of Brac, while waving to my mother-in-law in Jelsa across the water on Hvar. 

croatian-internal-flights_10.jpg

We left Dubrovnik on time at 13:20, and after 30 gorgeous sun-kissed minutes of island gazing, a gentle approach to Split Airport in the March sun. 

croatian-internal-flights_7.jpg

A stop for 30 minutes to refuel and pick up extra passengers - 14 on the short flight north to Rijeka. 

And, rather than looking at more perfect islands, I took my seat on the other side of the plane for this leg, and was rewarded with the fabulous combination of sun, sea, snow.  

croatian-internal-flights_8.jpg

As well as plenty of time to reflect on the vast emptiness of this beautiful country. So much of it completely untouched.  

croatian-internal-flights_9.jpg

And if you do have island viewing FOMO on the right side of the plane, simply look left.  

croatian-internal-flights_4.jpg

One of the joys of the flight is flying low over the islands, so that you can pick out individual idyllic spots, such as this one with one small house having the bay to itself on Vela Luka on the island of Krk.  Croatia has more than a thousand islands, each unique in its own way, and there are few better ways to get an overview than this flight. 

croatian-internal-flights_5.jpg

Some island hopping, as we landed at Rijeka Airport. Time check 15:15. 

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A 30-minute stopover on Krk, enough time to check out some of the interesting planes which have taken up permanent residence close to the runway. Anyone know the story of this baby? Please contact me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Rijeka plane.

croatian-internal-flights_3.jpg

Airborne again, this time heading east, with 9 passengers for the final leg to Osijek. Slavonia, my Slavonia. Once the breadbasket of the region. Could it be again? SO much land, so much potential. 

croatian-internal-flights_1.jpg

Having started at the newly developed Dubrovnik Airport terminal, followed by a stop in fashionablee Split. arrival at Osijek Airport was a reminder of where eastern Croatia lies in the government's list of priorities.  So much potential out east, so much magic, but so little interest or meaningful investment from Zagreb. 

croatian-internal-flights_2.jpg

Arrival time 16:55, a few minutes early. One of the few flights of the day, and the airport was largely deserted. But as for the passenger experience and price, more than 10 out of 10, thanks to Trade Air and the Croatian taxpayer. The PSO service is an excellent initiative and vital link for communities (even more so with Jadrolinija connecting islands by ferry), with one major exception, as I was about to find out the following morning.  

croatian-internal-flights_6.jpg

The Zagreb to Osijek flight. With the Slavonian capital starved of connectivity anywhere (one international route to Munich starting in May), and with the allocated funds which could be used to support other, more useful routes (Osijek to Dubrovnik perhaps, allowing for locals to explore their own country, visit relatives, and do business), the final leg of my 10-day trip made no sense whatsoever. 

Just four people on the flight. How many are normally on it, I asked the Osijek ground crew? They smiled. Sometimes 2, something 3, almost never more than 5. Twice a day, 3 times a week. Yes it is a pointless route, they smiled, shrugging their shoulders. For 7 years now, apparently. And at what cost?

A little Googling got me to this paragraph, highlighting how insane the route is in an otherwise laudable PSO initiative:

The value of the new PSO contracts has not been disclosed. Under the previous deal, Croatia Airlines received 11.4 million euros in annual compensation for the domestic services. The largest amount, 4.2 million euros per year, went towards maintaining flights between Split and Zagreb, where the airline was remunerated some 22 euros per passenger carried, although the largest compensation per traveller was on the Zagreb – Pula - Zadar service, totalling 177 euros. The value of Trade Air's PSO contracts amounted to 2.5 million euros per year. The largest share of the subsidies went towards the upkeep of the Osijek - Zagreb service (1.3 million euros per year), where the airline was compensated approximately 599 euros per passenger.

I checked with some airline sources, who told me that these numbers were not accurate for the latest PSO contracts (as the website said, the amounts for the latest PSO contact were not disclosed). But the numbers were an indicator of the situation. An unnecessary waste of money on an unnecessary route, with so many more useful and deserving routes either underutlised or not existing. 

As I arrived at Osijek Aiport at 05:45 for the flight with just 4 passengers, the cafe was open, as was the souvenir shop. How many flights are there from Osijek today, I asked. Just two, inlcuding this one. The cafe went unvisited, the souvenir shop ignored. Total ticket sales mustered just 120 euro. 

I am sure somebody, somewhere knows why we have this flight for over 7 years now. And maybe one day, someone in authority will question its use and see how to better spend the money to serve Osijek.

But in the meantime, kudos to Trade Air for operating such an efficient and punctual service. It is one I shall be using again. If you want to check out the Trade Air daily timetable and ticket prices, visit the official website

To learn more about Osijek, check out the Total Croatia Osijek in a Page.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Ryanair Domestic Flights in Croatia on the Horizon

July 27, 2021 - After opening its base in Zagreb, Ryanair domestic flights in Croatia are on the horizon. 

Ex Yu Aviation reports that Ryanair is looking to launch domestic flights in Croatia after its new Zagreb base officially launched earlier this month. The airline's CEO, Eddie Wilson, noted it could be done without subsidies. 

“At the moment, all the domestic routes are subsidised. Seems bizarre that you must pay an airline to fly up and down Croatia when Dubrovnik is such a nice place to go to. We would have no difficulty flying internally with zero subsidies. We have just done that in Ireland, where there was one of these Public Service Obligation routes, which is just a way of channelling money to airlines. Why should the taxpayer pay for that on 300 euros fares to Dubrovnik in the height of summer when commercial airlines can do that for no subsidies? We would be quite prepared to do those routes”.

European funds are available for 'unprofitable domestic routes deemed vital for the economic development of the region they serve' through the Public Service Obligation (PSO) scheme in Croatia. Croatia Airlines and Trade Air hold the existing PSO contracts, and new contracts should be opened by the Croatian government later this year. 

As part of the current PSO contracts, Croatia Airlines covers routes from Zagreb to Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, Pula, and Brač, and Trade Air from Osijek to Dubrovnik, Split, Pula, Zagreb, and Rijeka. Croatia Airlines annually receives 10.3 million euros for domestic services, while Trade Air receives 2.6 million euros per year. 

The Ryanair Zagreb base will operate on 24 lines to and from 16 countries - Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. In the first year of flying on routes from and to Zagreb, Ryanair will transport about 700,000 passengers.

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

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

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Croatian Private Airline Trade Air to Fly Domestic Routes This Winter

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes on the 27th of October, 2020, the Croatian private airline Trade Air has opened sales for its domestic routes on which it will operate during its winter flight schedule which will last from November 2020 to April 2021.

This is an extension of the contract it has with the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, and as reported from the Croatian Aviation portal, Trade Air connects Osijek, Zagreb, Pula, Rijeka, Split and Dubrovnik.

They also offer charter and cargo flights, with an entire fleet that currently boasts a 180-seat Airbus 320 and a 109-seat Fokker 100.

The director of Trade Air, Marko Cvijin, who is also a pilot, explained that in cooperation with neighbouring Slovenian travel agencies, they also conducted charter flights from the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana to various Greek destinations until a few days ago, when the Slovenian Government suspended all international activities of the sort.

Through numerous European partners and brokers, Croatia's Trade Air has also operated a large number of flights for the transport of sports clubs and national teams. The company specialises in so-called wet lease where their customers are other airlines.

"According to the statistics of flights realised during the summer season, there were no cancellations due to the pandemic or poor sales, and the average occupancy on our flights along the coast did not fall below 50 percent. We also recorded a decent number of passengers during the off-season. These aren't only tourists, but also people business trips and those going to visit their families,'' said Cvijin, who believes that in 2021, Croatia will have a better pre-season, summer season and post-season.

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Saturday, 13 February 2016

Trade Air Increases Domestic Croatia Flights, Introduces Osijek to Pula and Rijeka

Some more options for internal flights in Croatia this summer, as Trade Air expands its offer.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Croatia's Trade Air Buys an Airbus A320

A major purchase for Croatian airline Trade Air.

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