New Zagreb Airport Too Small?

Total Croatia News

New terminal at the Zagreb Airport has not yet been opened, but it might already be too small for the expected number of passengers.

“The current status of the new terminal is a cause for deep concern, primarily due to issues with maintaining the existing flight schedule of Croatia Airlines, including associated operating costs”, says a preliminary report of the Croatian national airline which was prepared in February this year, reports Večernji List on March 7, 2017.

The report further noted that the first tests of transport procedures at the new terminal of the Franjo Tuđman International Airport in Zagreb were conducted at the end of 2016. The purpose of these activities was to test aircraft operations and compliance with regulatory safety standards and operational efficiency standards agreed between Croatia Airlines and the Zagreb Airport.

The tests have showed that the new airport terminal, which is scheduled to be officially opened in just about 20 days, could bring plenty of problems to both airlines and passengers. Asked about its concerns, Croatia Airlines responded that testing was still underway and that it would soon make an official statement.

However, sources which have been informed about the testing of the new terminal, which cost more than 300 million euros, reported very pessimistic forecasts about the operations at the new terminal. For example, the new terminal has just 13 positions on the apron, while the old terminal has 22 positions. Furthermore, the new terminal has 14 gates, while the old one has 18 gates. The new terminal has only three gates where passengers can use buses to reach planes, while the airport regularly has five simultaneous flights with planes which cannot use jet bridges. In addition, positions on the apron at the new terminal are quite narrow, so service vehicles will have to wait their turn to reach the aircraft. Also, when a wide-body plane lands in Zagreb, it will occupy two positions.

Sources are also worried about bottlenecks in the terminal building itself regarding transfer passengers, because they will have to cross narrow stairs and then pass through a security check area which is equipped with just one metal detector. “The new terminal covers an area of 66,000 square metres, but there are so many bottlenecks. In summer, when the number of passengers is at the highest, the old terminal was over-capacitated, but the new terminal will be even worse”, said the sources, adding that this will result in long delays.

They believe that these problems cannot be solved prior to the opening of the new terminal building because they require major construction.

How complicated procedure will many passengers have, especially those transferring to other flights, can best be seen on an example of a passenger from Sarajevo arriving in Zagreb and having 30 minutes to get on a connecting flight to Amsterdam. The plane from Sarajevo will stay on an old apron, which will continue to be used because there is not enough space in front of the new terminal. The passenger will take three minutes to exit the plane and 10 to 15 minutes to reach the new terminal by bus. They will then have only 12 minutes to pass through security control, passport control and find their way to the flight to Amsterdam.


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