Zagreb Airport maintains double-digit growth for 4th straight year; Spanish services start this summer

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Zagreb airport is Croatia’s busiest airport and last year passed through the two million passenger mark for the first time. Promoting itself as “Gateway to Southeast Europe” the airport recorded double-digit growth for a fourth successive year resulting in a passenger increase of 50% in just four years.

Airport Traffic
Source: Zagreb Airport

Growth has been remarkably consistent in recent years with traffic only declining in 1999.

Source: Zagreb Airport

The airport’s seasonality profile follows a traditional European city profile with a peak in July. The effect of Easter’s shift into March in 2008 can clearly be seen. The seasonality of other Croatian airports is much more extreme reflecting their role as gateways to coastal resorts.

Croatia Airlines has two-thirds of capacity

Airline Frequency share Capacity share Number of routes
Croatia Airlines 59.3% 66.4% 17
Lufthansa 9.7% 7.8% 2 (FRA, MUC)
Germanwings 4.8% 6.3% 3 (CGN, STR, SXF)
Austrian 5.5% 3.5% 1 (VIE)
Turkish Airlines 2.4% 3.4% 1 (IST)
Air France 4.8% 3.1% 1 (CDG)
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 30 March 2009
Image: Girls
Traffic has surged as the rest of Europe has “discovered” Croatia. Visitors and young Croatians alike have gained access to low fares through Germanwings and Wizz although Zagreb is still an under-exploited destination.

National flag-carrier Croatia Airlines dominates traffic at the airport and this summer will operate non-stop to 17 destinations giving it two-thirds of all scheduled traffic at the airport.

Lufthansa and its partner low-cost airline Germanwings are the next two biggest airlines operating a total of five routes to Germany. Other airlines operating scheduled services this summer include Malév, Wizz Air, Aeroflot, CSA Czech Airlines and TAP Portugal. TAP’s service is to Bologna which then continues on to Lisbon. Wizz Air, the only LCC other than Germanwings with a presence at the airport, operates a single route daily to London Luton.

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Star Alliance member Croatia Airlines has two-thirds of scheduled traffic. Spain is currently unserved although this will change when Croatia Airlines starts flights to Barcelona in June and Iberia launches Madrid services in July. However, real opportunities remain with route vacancies on both Rome and Milan.

More German than domestic capacity

Analysis of schedule data for this summer reveals that Germany has the most flights and seat capacity. Domestic services are operated by Croatia Airlines to Dubrovnik, Split and Zadar.

top countries
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 30 March 2009
Image: Croatia airlines
Last summer: the new Zagreb service lands in Pristina (Kosovo).
Long haul opportunities: Around 1 million ethnic Croatians live in Australia and North America. For a full list of potential routes visit the Zagreb entry in The Route Shop.

Croatia Airlines is present in nearly all of the leading markets except Hungary and Turkey where Malév and Turkish Airlines have a monopoly. Surprisingly there are no flights to either Rome or Milan although regional links continue grow within former Yugoslavia: In June Croatia Airlines began thrice-weekly regional services to both Pristina (Kosovo) and Podgorica (Montenegro). Spain is currently unserved though this will change when Croatia Airlines starts flights to Barcelona in June and Iberia launches Madrid services in July.

Other new routes starting this summer include Gothenburg (twice-weekly with Croatia Airlines) and Tel Aviv (weekly with El Al subsidiary Sun D’Or from 15 April). However, routes to Dortmund (with Germanwings), Dűsseldorf (with Croatia Airlines) and Geneva (with Baboo) which have started during the last two years appear to have been axed, or in the case of Geneva will cease at the end of the winter season.


  1. Chris says:

    “Surprisingly there are no flights to either Rome or Milan”

    Incorrect: ZAG-FCO is served daily with Croatia Airlines… flights operate one-stop via either SPU or DBV. Direct flights would be nice to see though.

    MXP used to be served by Alitalia twice daily until the major cuts. Will be interesting to see if the route is taken up again in the future.

    Great to read this article otherwise.

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