Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Zagreb Airport breaks two million mark

Zagreb Airport posts September growth

Zagreb Airport has welcomed its two-millionth passenger in 2014, just over two weeks ahead of last year. The two-millionth passenger, Jelena Raić, was travelling on an Austrian Airlines flight from Zagreb to Vienna. She passed through the airport last Friday, October 17, and received two free return tickets from Austrian. Croatia’s busiest airport has now handled 134.737 passengers during the first seventeen days of October and is preparing to welcome Eurolot as its latest customer this Sunday. The airline will operate daily flights from Warsaw, with the service to be codeshared by Poland’s national carrier LOT. Meanwhile, Flydubai will inaugurate services from its hub to Zagreb next month.

Commenting on Zagreb Airport’s recent growth, Passenger Service Manager, Ivana Akmadžić, said, “I am very happy to have had the opportunity to welcome and greet Zagreb Airport’s two-millionth passenger and I am especially delighted that we recorded this number fifteen days ahead of last year”. She added, “This comes as a result of teamwork and close cooperation among all of us. Following record passenger growth of 10% in August, we have continued with such trends in September when we recorded an increase of 7%. We expect for these positive trends to continue at Zagreb Airport throughout the 2014/15 winter season”.

In September, Croatia’s busiest airport saw 251.280 travellers pass through its doors, an increase 7% compared to the same month last year. The number of flights operating to and from the airport also increased, from 3.564 last year, to 3.632 this September. Over the past nine months, Zagreb Airport has handled 1.865.263 passengers, up 4.2% on the same period in 2013. Last year, Zagreb welcomed a total of 2.300.231 passengers. Ealier in 2014 the airport estimated it would record an 8% passenger increase by the end of the year.

MonthPAXChange (%)
JAN135.758 2.6
MAR165.336 5.7
APR192.443 3.1
MAY217.775 5.9
JUN243.984 6.8
JUL260.783 4.7
AUG269.500 10.5
SEP251.280 7.0

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Montenegro Airlines plans 2015 expansion

Montenegro Airlines to launch new destinations next year

Montenegro Airlines has announced plans to expand its route network next year, in a move aimed at combating increased competition in the region. The Montenegrin carrier is negotiating the launch of flights to Copenhagen via Zagreb, which it intends on operating three times per week on a year-long basis. The airline hopes to be granted fifth freedom rights out of Zagreb and cooperate with Croatia Airlines on the route. Furthermore, new seasonal summer flights will include Manchester and Lyon next year. Montenegro Airlines also intends on launching a range of charter flights to Germany, as well as Prague and Warsaw. In a statement, the airline said, “The company still aims at conquering the market, primarily Western Europe, harmonize its ticket pricing policy and further optimize its network”.

The national carrier has also hinted at a possible return to Pristina after it said it was close to paying off its 429.000 euro debt to the Kosovan airport. Montenegro Airlines suspended operations to Prisitna in early 2011 after one of its jets was grounded at the airport for several hours due to outstanding debt. It was cleared to depart back to Podgorica only after a 50.000 euro deposit was made. The airline is also making good on other outstanding obligations such as those to Airports of Montenegro and the Serbia and Montenegro Air Traffic Services Agency. “The airline is meeting all of its fiscal obligations in 2014”, the carrier said.

The airline has managed to see an increase in passenger numbers this year. While it has not revealed its total for 2014 so far, in August it saw a 3% passenger increase, with 4.183 travellers on scheduled flights and a further 1.594 on charter services. The result comes despite a decline in the number of operated flights. In a statement, the airline noted, “Despite increased competition on the market, the strategic partnership between a company in the region and a global giant of commercial aviation, natural disasters in neighbouring countries, the Ukraine crisis and poor weather conditions over the summer, the national carrier is satisfied with its performance during the first eight months of the year”. Montenegro Airlines is the third national carrier in the former Yugoslavia to announce its expansion plans for next year following Adria Airways and Croatia Airlines.

Monday, October 20, 2014

National Airlines eyes US - Dubrovnik flights

Potential New York - Dubrovnik flights on the horizon

US charter carrier National Airlines has expressed interest to launch flights from New York to Dubrovnik next summer season. The news comes following the recent World Route Development Forum in Chicago which brought together a wide range of airlines, airports and tourism and civil aviation authorities who wished to meet, plan and conduct business for new global routes. Frano Luetić, Dubrovnik Airport’s Commercial Manager and Deputy Director General, confirmed that National Airlines is interested in launching nonstop charter flights between the States and Dubrovnik in 2016. The airline has two Boeing 757-200s in its fleet, which have the capacity to seat 239 passengers.

US tourists now rank fifth by visits to Dubrovnik and future flights from the United States could prove popular. Only recently, American Airlines began codesharing on Iberia flights from Madrid to Dubrovnik over the summer while US Airways added its codes on British Airways flights from London. During the 1980s, Pan Am operated summer services from the States to the seaside city. Mr. Luetić says it is now up to National Airlines to decide whether it will inaugurate transatlantic flights to Dubrovnik, adding that future operations will depend on a range of circumstances, primarily in the tourism sector. Dubrovnik Airport is no stranger to long haul charter flights. Japan Airlines has been operating summer charters to the city for several years. In 2013, a Chinese carrier expressed interest to fly to Dubrovnik but in the end these flights did not materialise.

Pan Am in Dubrovnik, 1980s

The recent World Route Development Forum proved successful for Dubrovnik Airport with strong interest shown by airlines. Edelweiss, Brussels Airlines, airBaltic and SunExpress have all confirmed flights to the seaside city next summer. Edelweiss and Brussels Airlines will operate two weekly flights from Zurich and Brussels respectively. airBaltic will run two weekly services from Riga to Dubrovnik, while SunExpress will maintain one weekly flight from Leipzig. As EX-YU Aviation News learns, Aegean Airlines will launch seasonal flights from Athens to Dubrovnik from June 18. Currently, Croatia Airlines maintains the route three times per week during the summer months.