Friday, 23 October 2020

Flights to Croatia: LOT Operates to Zagreb in November, Dubrovnik Service Canceled

October 23, 2020 - The latest news for flights to Croatia as LOT operates to Zagreb in November and cancels its Dubrovnik service.

Croatian Aviation reports that Polish national airline LOT has announced its flight schedule for November this year. Compared to last year, the company will operate only to Zagreb, and the line to Dubrovnik has been canceled for this year's winter flight schedule.

This summer, LOT Polish Airlines operated on numerous routes from Warsaw and other Polish cities to destinations in Croatia (Zagreb, Rijeka, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik). Despite the corona crisis, more than 13 new lines have been introduced. Croatia was extremely accessible to Polish tourists by air bridges in this crisis summer season, which is confirmed by the number of arrivals of Polish tourists in the Republic of Croatia this year.

LOT returned to Croatia on July 1, and this summer, it operated on a larger number of routes compared to the summer flight schedule of the previous year.

In the winter flight schedule, which will take effect soon, LOT will keep only one active line to Croatia. Namely, the company plans to operate on the line between Warsaw - Zagreb. Four flights a week have been announced every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. E170 aircraft with a capacity of 70 passengers will operate on the route.

Flights on Wednesdays and Fridays will operate in the morning, while flights on Mondays and Saturdays are announced in the afternoon and evening, respectively.

Although LOT also operated on the Warsaw - Dubrovnik line last winter, this will not happen this winter. Due to the impact of the global pandemic and weak demand, the company has temporarily discontinued this line and plans to operate on it from the spring of next year. 

As confirmed to Croatian Aviation from this airline, LOT plans to operate next summer on all routes on which it operated this summer (only the Warsaw - Rijeka route is in question). Still, the decision on the realization of these flights will depend primarily on travel restrictions and demand itself.

Until the spring of next year, LOT will operate regularly only to Zagreb, to a much lesser extent compared to last year's winter flight schedule.

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Thursday, 22 October 2020

Flights to Croatia: Windrose Announces an Additional Weekly Flight to Zagreb

October 22, 2020 - The latest news for flights to Croatia as Windrose announces an additional weekly flight to Zagreb.

Croatian Aviation reports that less than a month after the launch of the Kyiv-Zagreb route, Windrose Airlines decided to increase the number of weekly flights on the route to Zagreb. In addition to flights on Wednesdays and Sundays, the company will operate on this route from December on Fridays!

Windrose Airlines launched the Kyiv - Zagreb route on October 4 this year, a little less than a month ago. Due to excellent occupancy and high demand, the company will add another flight per week on this route in December.

As confirmed to Croatian Aviation by this airline, which also operates to other airports in Croatia (Pula, Split, and Dubrovnik) in the summer flight schedule, the occupancy of aircraft to and from Zagreb is excellent, which consequently led to the decision to increase the number of weekly flights to this line.

In the first three weeks of operation, almost 600 passengers traveled on this line, which gives an average Load Factor (passenger cabin occupancy) of a high 82%.

Windrose Airlines planned to operate ERJ145 aircraft on the route, which has a capacity of only 48 seats in the fleet of this carrier, but all Sunday flights operate on aircraft of higher capacity, ATR75 (72 seats).

During the pandemic, especially when the numbers of infected are rising again across Europe and the world, Windrose Airlines has excellent results on this newly established route between the capitals of Croatia and Ukraine. 

Unlike flights on Wednesdays and Sundays, the additional flight on Fridays will operate in the morning:

Kiev 07:40 - 08:50 Zagreb 09:35 - Kiev 12:30

On the additional rotation on Friday, ERJ145 aircraft was announced.

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Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Flights to Croatia: Air France Operates Five Times A Week to Zagreb in November

October 20, 2020 - The latest news for flights to Croatia as Air France operates five times a week to Zagreb in November from Paris. A look at the winter schedule. 

Croatian Aviation reports that in the announcement of the winter flight schedule, on October 2, Air France announced daily flights on the Paris - Zagreb route. The company has reduced the number of weekly flights on this route for November.

Air France returned to Zagreb on July 1 and has since operated regularly between Paris and Zagreb, changing the number of weekly flights on this route from month to month, depending on demand and travel restrictions between the two countries.

In the first week of October, the company announced daily flights on this route in the winter months ahead, but in the last week of October, from October 26 to 31, the company will operate between Paris and Zagreb three times a week (Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays), as announced earlier.

From November 1, Air France offers five flights a week on this route, every day except Tuesdays and Sundays, which provides passengers from Zagreb with a large number of connections via Paris to further destinations in Europe and the world.

Terminals 2E, 2F and 2AC are currently in operation at Charles de Gaulle Airport, from which all domestic and international traffic takes place. The airport will put the other terminals back into operation as needed, following an increase in aircraft and passenger operations.

In November, E190 aircraft with a capacity of 100 passengers in the fleet of this carrier will operate on the Paris - Zagreb route. Five flights a week is currently a satisfactory weekly frequency that allows passengers from Zagreb with one stop in Paris to continue their journey to more than a hundred destinations across Europe and the world.

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Monday, 19 October 2020

Flights to Croatia: Aeroflot Will Not Return to Zagreb this Winter

October 19, 2020 - The latest news for flights to Croatia as Aeroflot will not return to Zagreb this winter, suspending operations on the Moscow Zagreb route. 

Croatian Aviation reports that Russia's national airline will not return to Zagreb airport this winter. Aeroflot suspended operations on the Moscow-Zagreb route during the pandemic and did not operate on it in the summer flight schedule this year.

Under normal circumstances, Aeroflot operated on the Moscow-Zagreb route daily, in both summer and winter schedules. After the outbreak of the pandemic, the company stopped traffic on this line and the possibility of re-establishing flight operations in the winter flight schedule was left as an option, but after the number of infected people in Croatia (as well as in other countries across Europe) increased again, the company closed sales on the Moscow-Zagreb line for the entire winter flight schedule 2020/2021.

Zagreb is no exception in this case, as Aeroflot has drastically reduced the number of its destinations in Europe and the world.

This summer, Aeroflot, along with Zagreb, did not operate to the other two destinations in Croatia, Split and Dubrovnik, although flights to Split were announced from August this year. However, in early May, Aeroflot landed at Zagreb Airport with a B777-300ER aircraft without passengers, transporting humanitarian aid from China via Moscow to Zagreb.

The first regular flight between Zagreb and Moscow is currently announced for March 28, 2021, when the summer flight schedule also begins. The capitals of Russia and Croatia will be without a direct air connection for more than a year.

However, not all hope is lost for Zagreb. Croatian Aviation recently announced that Dutch airline KLM is offering daily flights between Amsterdam and Zagreb until the end of November this year.

The company plans to operate daily on this line in November, with E190 aircraft, with a capacity of 100 passengers. The daily direct connection between Zagreb and Amsterdam is extremely important, primarily because it is possible to continue the journey through Amsterdam to a number of European and world destinations.

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Thursday, 15 October 2020

Flights to Croatia: Turkish Airlines Operates to Zagreb 4 Times a Week in November

October 15, 2020 - The latest news for flights to Croatia as Turkish Airlines operates to Zagreb four times a week in November.

Croatian Aviation reports that Turkish Airlines plans to operate on the Istanbul - Zagreb route four times a week in November this year. The company operates regularly to Zagreb, without canceling the announced flights.

The Turkish national airline, a company that normally operates to the most destinations in the world (over 315), plans to operate four times a week on the Istanbul - Zagreb route in November this year.

It is, of course, a smaller number of weekly flights compared to last year's winter flight schedule (10 to 14 flights a week), but given the global pandemic and reduced demand, this move is not really surprising. The company also operated four times a week in the summer flight schedule to Zagreb (twice a day last year) and the same number of weekly operations was announced for the first month of this year's winter flight schedule.

Turkish Airlines has direct flights on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Flights fly on Mondays and Fridays in the evening, while flights are on Wednesdays and Sundays in the morning.

Given the fact that entry into Turkey is possible without a COVID-19 test, and there are currently very favorable prices for return tickets on the Turkish Airlines route from Zagreb to Istanbul, a large number of Croatians decided to travel to this destination at this time, so the occupancy of this company's aircraft on the only route to Croatia is very good.

The second destination of Turkish Airlines in Croatia is Dubrovnik. Due to the impact of the pandemic, the Istanbul - Dubrovnik line did not operate this summer season, and it is obvious that it will not operate in the winter months ahead.

Turkish Airlines launched regular flights to Zagreb on July 1 this year and since then there have been no cancellations of departures on this route, which is really a rarity in the aviation industry today.

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Saturday, 3 October 2020

Flights to Croatia: Emirates Cancels Zagreb for 2021

October 3, 2020 - The latest news for flights to Croatia as Emirates cancels Zagreb for 2021.

Croatian Aviation reports that Emirates, a world-famous airline based in Dubai, has canceled the Dubai-Zagreb route for all of 2021!

The company planned to operate on the Dubai-Zagreb route in this year's summer flight schedule. Still, due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the start of operations on this route was first postponed, and then it was completely canceled for this year.

Emirates then left daily flights on this route on sale for the 2021 summer flight schedule, but that too has now changed. Namely, the company canceled all flights to Zagreb for the next year, closed its office at Zagreb Airport, and fired its employees. The large B777-300ER aircraft in Zagreb every day will not return to the Croatian capital any time soon, which is certainly a financial blow to the airport, given the revenue it generated from the daily landings of this company's aircraft.

The arrival of this airline in Zagreb was truly a success for the management of Zagreb Airport, but its complete withdrawal can certainly be considered a failure. Emirates connected Zagreb with the rest of the world on a daily basis, offering excellent service to passengers on its flights on which it operated modernly equipped aircraft. The departure of this airline is a step backward for Zagreb Airport. The management had to do everything in their power to keep this company on schedule for 2021 but unfortunately failed to do so.

In addition to the Dubai-Zagreb line for 2021, Emirates also canceled the following lines:

Dubai - Edinburgh,

Dubai - Porto,

Dubai - St. Petersburg.

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Monday, 14 September 2020

Flights to Croatia: British Airways Cancels Zagreb in October, TAP Portugal Returns to Capital

September 14, 2020 - The latest news for flights to Croatia as British Airways cancels Zagreb in October, TAP Portugal returns to the capital in 2021, and Lufthansa operates 14 fewer flights than in August.

Croatian Aviation reports that British Airways has made changes to its flight schedule for October, and there was a further reduction on the London Heathrow - Zagreb line.

As announced earlier, British Airways operated its last flight on the London-Zagreb route on September 6 and withdrew all flights until the end of this month. Until a few days ago, the company again offered daily flights on this route from October 1, though passengers were advised to wait to purchase tickets on these flights because they could be canceled, which has now happened.

British Airways has canceled all flights until the end of October on this route, and the company will not operate to Zagreb for the rest of this year's summer flight schedule.

However, a change has been made that leaves the possibility of returning to the winter flight schedule. Namely, from Sunday, October 25, the company offers direct flights on the London Heathrow-Zagreb line four times a week, every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Flights on Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays are in the afternoon, while the flight on Fridays is announced in the morning. A320 aircraft have been announced on the route.

Regular aircraft traffic on this route will depend solely on the booking status and the yield itself. British Airways offers return tickets on this route from the end of October for less than 700 kuna, and just a year ago, it was almost impossible to find a direct flight between Zagreb and London for such an amount.

Once again, the company failed to achieve satisfactory business results on this line in September. The question arises about how this will then be possible in the winter flight schedule when demand is significantly weaker than the summer months. Thus, further flight cancellations on this route and the complete withdrawal of British Airways from Zagreb by the spring of next year is possible.

Furthermore, Croatian Aviation reports that the Portuguese national airline TAP has announced its flight schedule for the 2021 summer season. The Lisbon - Zagreb line is being re-introduced!

Namely, TAP Portugal has announced its new routes for next year's summer flight schedule, and Zagreb is among several destinations. The company already operated regularly on the line Lisbon - Zagreb, but it was discontinued in March 2016.

Flights on the line Lisbon - Zagreb have been announced since the beginning of the summer flight schedule, on March 28, 2021, and will operate three times a week, every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Tickets are already on sale on the airline's website.

Departure from Lisbon is planned for 8 am, with arrival in Zagreb 2 hours later. A319 and A320 aircraft with a capacity of 144 and 174 seats, respectively, have been announced on the route.

Croatia Airlines operates seasonally on this route, but this year, due to the pandemic's impact, the route was not in operation. TAP Portugal is the first airline to announce a new route to Zagreb Airport for next year's summer flight schedule.

Finally, Croatian Aviation reports that German Lufthansa has reduced traffic to four Croatian airports, and the same number of flights was retained only to Zagreb. We bring you the current flight schedule for September.

Lufthansa will continue to operate to five Croatian destinations until the end of September; Zagreb, Pula, Zadar, Split, and Dubrovnik, but certain departures were canceled on almost all routes. Compared to August, the company will have 14 fewer flights a week to Croatia.

The Frankfurt - Dubrovnik line will operate twice a week until the end of September, on Saturdays and Sundays, one flight less per week than August (flight canceled on Wednesdays).

The Munich - Dubrovnik line operates 4 times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The flight was canceled on Saturday.

The Frankfurt - Split line operates 3 times a week, every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. The flight was canceled on Friday.

The Munich - Split line will operate 4 times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, until the end of September, while the flight is canceled on Fridays.

The Frankfurt - Pula line operates 2 times a week, on Fridays and Saturdays. The flight was canceled on Monday.

The Munich - Pula line operates once a week, on Saturdays. The flight was canceled on Sunday.

The Frankfurt - Zadar line operates twice a week, on Saturdays and Sundays. The flight was canceled on Wednesday.

The Munich - Zadar line operates once a week, on Saturdays. The company retains the same number of flights as in August on this route.

The Munich - Zagreb line operates 5 times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Lufthansa kept the same number of flights on this route as in August.

The Frankfurt - Zagreb line is not in operation, and the company does not plan to launch it until the spring of next year. On this route, flights are operated by Croatia Airlines, and Lufthansa has them on sale thanks to a code-share agreement between the two companies.

The Frankfurt - Zadar line operates twice a week, on Saturdays and Sundays. The flight was canceled on Wednesday.

The Munich - Zadar line operates once a week, on Saturdays. The company retains the same number of flights as in August on this route.

Until the end of September, Lufthansa will offer 48 flights a week on its nine routes to Croatia, or 14 fewer flights than in August this year. The company has not yet finalized its flight schedule for October, but it is to be expected that there will be further cancellations on the routes to the mentioned airports.

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Thursday, 10 September 2020

Anniversary of Croatia's Worst Airplane Crash over Vrbovec in 1976

Thursday, 10 September 2020 – On this day in 1976, the explosion above Vrbovec was not just Croatia's worst airplane crash, it was the deadliest mid-air collision the world had ever seen

That summer there had been a heatwave. Although European holidays were not as standard as they are now, some of the 54 passengers on board the British Airways Hawker Siddeley Trident from London were no doubt looking forward to extending their good summer on this trip south to Istanbul. For the passengers of the other plane, 108 mostly-German tourists en route from Split to Bonn Cologne on a Douglas DC-9, this was the end of their vacation. They were headed home after rest on the Dalmatian coast. But, neither set of passengers would that day reach their destination.

The explosion above Vrbovec, just north-east of Zagreb on Thursday 10 September 1976 was not just Croatia's worst airplane crash, at the time it was the deadliest mid-air collision the world had ever seen. All 176 people aboard both aircraft were killed.


English language news footage taken in the aftermath of Croatia's worst airplane crash

The fault of the collision was a severely overworked, ill-equipped and understaffed Zagreb air traffic control. The ineffectiveness of their procedures that day had harrowing consequences.

In 1976, Vrbovec was known for its industry, its surroundings rich in agriculture. At the time of the crash – around 11.15am in Croatia - those working in the fields would have been thinking about coming inside to escape the glare of the sun and take lunch. The skies above them exploded before they could take that journey. Debris rained down over an area of 10 square kilometres.

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Plane wreckage, photographed by the Croatian media shortly after Croatia's worst airplane crash

Over 1000 locals were engaged in the fruitless search for the victims. All were dead. Small comfort could later be taken from learning that most had died instantly, at the moment the planes depressurized. The last five metres of the DC-9's left wing had cut through the Trident's cockpit and the front of the passenger compartment.

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The British Airways plane involved in Croatia's worst airplane crash © Mike McBey

Vrbovec was soon the destination for hundreds of journalists from around the world, not least Britain and Germany. News of Croatia's worst airplane crash had been reported within an hour of the incident. German families waited nervously at Bonn Cologne airport for relatives who would never come. The story had reached Germany. Their plane had not arrived. It took airport authorities another four hours to confirm that, sadly, it never would.

Near the town of Vrbovac today, in a countryside that remains very similar to that searched for survivors 44 years ago, a lasting memorial stands surrounded by trees, a permanent reminder of Croatia's worst airplane crash.

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A memorial to some of the victims, at Zagreb's Mirogoj © SpeedyGonsales

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Friday, 4 September 2020

Flights to Croatia: Qatar Airways Cancels Zagreb Service, Again

September 4, 2020 - The latest news for flights to Croatia with as Qatar Airways cancels Zagreb once again.

Croatian Aviation reports that Qatar Airways has again canceled flights on the Doha - Zagreb route in the next two weeks, just as it was in July and August this year.

Just a few days after we learned about the percentage of canceled flights on the Doha - Zagreb route, new bad news followed - Qatar Airways has canceled all flights on this route until September 19 this year.

On September 2, the company operated a flight on this route and due to low demand, canceled all planned flights until September 19 this year. The Qatar Airways Doha - Zagreb line primarily serves a large number of tourists from Asia who use it to come to Croatia in the summer season (but also outside it). It is already generally known that there are no passengers from the Asian market this year, and due to its favorable prices and numerous destinations, Qatar was also the choice of many Croatian and Slovenian citizens for trips to distant destinations, but few choose such trips today. 

It is for these reasons that Qatar Airways is unable to achieve a satisfactory charge of its aircraft on this route which ultimately leads to frequent cancellations. As has been stated several times, the companies generally adjust their flight schedule in the period from 2 to 3 weeks in advance, so Qatar Airways did the same, canceling all scheduled flights on this route in the next two weeks.

The question is whether Qatar will return to Zagreb this fall and winter. If in July, August and September they cannot achieve a satisfactory load factor (percentage of occupancy of the passenger cabin), then it is almost certain that this will not be possible in the months ahead, when the average occupancy on the line is already lower than summer months.

If Qatar Airways decides to maintain this route anyway, one thing is for sure - numerous cancellations of individual flights will continue, as has been the case so far. And until when? Until the recovery of the market, which will certainly not happen in the months ahead.

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Sunday, 19 July 2020

Flights to Croatia: Emirates Cancels Zagreb Service for 2020, CA Rijeka-Munich Service Announced

July 19, 2020 - The latest news from around Croatia’s airports for flights to Croatia with updates from Zagreb and Rijeka airports. 

Croatian Aviation reports that Emirates, a renowned Dubai-based airline, has canceled all flights on the Dubai-Zagreb route for this year.

Before the outbreak of the pandemic, Emirates planned to launch its seasonal route from Dubai to Zagreb with the first day of the summer flight schedule, at the end of March this year. For obvious reasons, this did not happen, and the start of the line was delayed several times. The last plan was to launch the line in September this year.

As this is a seasonal line (it operates only in the summer flight schedule, until the end of October), it was to be assumed that Emirates will not come to Zagreb this year, which has now been confirmed.

Namely, the company canceled all flights on the said route, withdrew sales on all dates, and currently offers flights from Zagreb only in the summer flight schedule in 2021.

Emirates connected Zagreb with Dubai daily, using a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, which was also the largest wide-body passenger aircraft at Zagreb Airport. With the complete withdrawal of Emirates from this line for this year, Zagreb was left without wide-body aircraft. Recall that Korean Air, Air Canada Rouge and Air Transat also canceled flights to Zagreb and used wide-body aircraft to operate them.

In the winter flight schedule on the Dubai - Zagreb line, FlyDubai should return with a B737-800 aircraft, but this will depend on epidemiological measures and travel restrictions.

Emirates canceling this line is another significant blow to Zagreb Airport traffic. 

Croatian Aviation also announced that Croatia Airlines will still launch a direct line between Munich and Rijeka, according to Rijeka Airport. 

Although Croatia Airlines previously closed sales on this route and has not operated on it since the beginning of the pandemic, the company has now released tickets on the direct route between Rijeka and Munich.

The Munich - Rijeka line will operate twice a week, every Thursday and Sunday, on a DashQ400 aircraft, from August 6 to September 27 this year.

This is certainly good news for Rijeka Airport, but it is a smaller number of weekly flights (previously operated on Tuesdays), and given that the route has been announced until the end of September, there is a possibility that it will not operate in the winter schedule, which has been the case so far.

As before, the aircraft will first operate the Split - Munich flight, then Munich - Rijeka - Munich, and then the return flight Munich - Split. The flight schedule remained the same, with the morning departure from Munich to Rijeka, while the return flight to Munich was scheduled shortly after noon from Rijeka Airport.

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