Air France and KLM Remain Dominant in the Croatian Market

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:


Croatian Aviation reports that following yesterday’s article about airlines that have temporarily postponed traffic to Croatian airports, there are two that stand out that have regularly connected Zagreb with two European hubs since the outbreak of the global pandemic.

Before the pandemic, the Lufthansa group was dominant in Croatian airports. However, in March 2020, Lufthansa suspended traffic to Zagreb Airport, and in the summer flight schedule, it reduced traffic to airports on the coast. KLM and Air France operated to Zagreb in the summer of last year and to Split and Dubrovnik, while Lufthansa has not been in Zagreb for almost a year. Instead, Croatia Airlines operates on the route to Frankfurt, while the Croatian national airline also suspended the route to Munich in November.

On the other hand, Lufthansa announced that it would resume traffic to Zagreb from Munich and Frankfurt at the end of March, only to cancel all flights on the route to Munich again just a few days later until the beginning of May. It remains to be seen what will happen to the Frankfurt-Zagreb route, given that there is still a month left until the start of regular operations, enough for the company to cancel certain or almost all departures for a short period.

On the other hand, the KLM – Air France group did not miss the opportunity. At the end of 2020, KLM announced that it was introducing a second daily flight on the Amsterdam-Zagreb route in February, which was optimistic given the whole situation. Hence, flights are now available from the beginning of March.

The realization of these flights will occur, and KLM will have two daily flights to Zagreb from March 1. In the first week of March, KLM offers 10 direct flights a week, in the second and third 11, and as of March 22, there are 14 flights a week on this route! The company plans to have two flights a week to Zagreb until the end of October. The original plan was to operate daily flights with an E170 aircraft, while a larger capacity aircraft, the E190, is now available on certain flights.

Air France also plans to offer two daily flights between Paris and Zagreb this summer, but only from mid-May. While KLM will operate almost twice a day to Split, Air France will also operate to Split and Dubrovnik. There is also the low-cost carrier Transavia from the same group present at almost all Croatian airports last summer, and according to the current schedule, the same will be the case in the upcoming season.

The KLM – Air France Group has significantly increased its presence in Croatian airports in this crisis, which the Lufthansa Group has in some way made possible by an almost complete withdrawal from the Croatian market. Namely, there were only two Eurowings lines to Zagreb and one to Split (which did not operate all winter), while KLM briefly introduced the Amsterdam-Split line during the Christmas and New Year holidays. The question is whether the Lufthansa group will allow it; by all accounts, it seems that this is exactly what is happening at the moment.

For the end-users, us passengers, it is certainly good that these two groups have entered into a kind of “conflict” in our market. When both groups are launching several operations at Croatian airports (which will certainly happen at some point this summer season), companies will have to attract passengers to their routes and hubs at affordable prices. The only question is who will be more successful in this and whether we will travel to destinations in Europe and the world via Amsterdam and Paris or Frankfurt, Munich, Brussels, or Vienna.

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