After lots of talk, direct flights from China to Zadar seem further away than ever.
The latest twist in the saga of direct flights from Chongqing in China to Zadar came on July 26, 2015, as a spokesman for Hainan Airlines ruled out flights to the coastal Dalmatian city, in a statement to Ex-Yu Aviation, citing concerns that the route would not generate enough interest.
The news comes as the latest disappointment for those trying to implement the route, and is in contrast to the confident declaration of Zadar Airport director Irena Cosic a few months ago.
“The first flight will takeoff on 1 May at the latest and will operate all year, once a week. Visas will be sorted out in Italy, considering there is a Chongqing – Rome route, so they will get multiple entry visas to enter Croatia,” said Cosic earlier this year.
There is no doubt that interest in Croatia is rising, and with Qatar Airways flying daily to 146 destinations from Zagreb via Doha, and Korean Air set to start direct scheduled flights in 2016 to Zagreb, Chinese tourism interest in Croatia – currently at about 60,000 visitors a year – is also set to increase, as is has in Japan and South Korea.
Whether or not Zadar will be the first airport to host scheduled flights from China remains to be seen, but there is no question that the airport is one of the tourism success stories of recent years, powered by the arrival of Ryanair, which recently set up its 54th European regional base in Zadar.