New Business Opportunity in Croatian Airports

Lauren Simmonds

croatian airports

January the 11th, 2024 – A new business opportunity worth millions of euros is set to open up at Croatian airports in Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik.

As Novac/Jutarnji/Luka Fisic writes, a business opportunity worth approximately ten million euros will soon open up in several Croatian airports. In the airports of Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik, the Croatian Civil Aviation Agency will announce tenders later this month for the selection of another provider of ground services. The date is yet to be specified, but it will definitely occur in January.

“The provision of ground services at airports includes everything from registering passengers and taking care of their luggage to accepting and dispatching all types of aircraft. Being a so-called ‘handler’ is a serious, complex, but also lucrative job,” explained Alen Šćuric, an aviation analyst.

While in Zagreb this work was performed by the company MZLZ Zemaljske usluge, or the Turkish Havas, in Split and Dubrovnik, ground services belonged to the local airports themselves.

The reason for announcing tenders is quite clear. The Ordinance on the provision of ground services states that “it’s necessary to call for a tender for another provider of ground services after the airport exceeds the figure of two million accepted and dispatched passengers in one calendar year, in order to provide access to the airport infrastructure to independent interested providers of ground services”.

Moreover, the Croatian Civil Aviation Agency is late in announcing the tender, since the airports in Split and Zagreb passed the limit of two million passengers annually a few years ago now. The global coronavirus pandemic has also been cited as the reason for the tender’s postponement.

How financially valuable the contracts signed by “handlers” at Croatian airports are, is best illustrated by the case of the Turkish enterprise Havas, a service provider at Zagreb’s Dr. Franjo Tuđman International Airport. The company Havas Zemaljske usluge achieved an income of slightly less than 18 million euros back in 2022, and its profit stands at about 500,000 euros. Approximately 500 employees work for them in Zagreb alone, supported by 176 motor vehicles.

Who are the players for this valuable job at multiple Croatian airports?

It seems that the Turkish Havas is currently the biggest favourite to get the job of performing the ground services in the Croatian airports they’re currently not present at, namely those in Split and Dubrovnik.

“I believe that Havas will apply for the tenders at the airports in Split and Dubrovnik. Its advantage as a company is that it already has all of the equipment and personnel in Zagreb Airport, so it could relatively easily direct its resources down towards Split and Dubrovnik,” believes Šćuric.

Interestingly, there are no companies actually from the Republic of Croatia that could perform the job of “handler” at the largest Croatian airports.

“It’s a business where big players have an advantage over local companies. Havas, for example, provides services at airports over in Turkey as well, but also in Riga, Latvia,” revealed the analyst, before listing which companies could also apply for the tender as “second handlers”.

“These are Swissport, Aviapartner, SAS Ground Handling, Menzies, Dnata, Goldair and SkyPartner. We need to look for new handlers among these companies,” concluded Alen Šćuric.


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