With almost as much peak season passengers as Croatia Airlines, easyJet is emerging as a significant player in the Croatian aviation market.
These are boom times for the airports on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, as more and more airlines schedule flights to service the growth of interest in tourism and Croatia. Split, Dubrovnik and Zadar are all experiencing growth, and leading the way is British low-cost airline easyJet, which will have 32 routes to Croatia for 2016 and last year carried more than 600,000 passengers to Croatia, reports ExYuAviation on January 5, 2016.
So popular was the airline that it was second only to Croatia Airlines in flights to and from Dubrovnik, and in August, its 21,960 seats sold was only marginally behind the national carrier’s 23,192.
Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Commercial Manager, says, “We see a growing demand for short and long breaks to Croatia and we’re continuing to make it convenient for our customers to visit Croatia’s fantastic destinations contributing to the local economy”. Furthermore, the airline notes, “easyJet periodically assesses the opportunities on the basis of market research with business cases on several routes and then we choose the ones that result to prove more attractive for our customers. easyJet currently offers as many as 32 destinations to and from Croatia confirming the airline’s commitment to the country and to making travel easy and affordable for local passengers to connect to Europe”.
While the airline would not be drawn on plans to return to the capital Zagreb, where it used to operate, perhaps the most likely source of future growth is Istria. The airlines commenced their first flights to Pula in 2015, and have already added Hamburg and Paris for 2016, good news for tourists looking to visit the popular Istrian peninsula. There is certainly room for growth in Pula, which suffered badly as a result of Croatia’s EU entry in 2013. Previously some 40% of the airport’s traffic came from Russia, a number which was sharply reduced once the post-accession visa restrictions for Russian visitors were imposed. Expect further easyJet announcements for Istria in the coming months.