After the successful introduction of the Air Transat route from Toronto to Zagreb, airport authorities are talking more of the possibility of a direct service from Zagreb to New York on June 26, 2017, just weeks after Dubrovnik predicts it may have its own direct service from 2017.
These are good times for airports in Croatia, with record numbers passing through the country’s airports as Croatia’s tourism boom increases. Expansion is underway in Dubrovnik, Split and Zagreb, all of which will have new and upgraded terminals in the near future. Split alone is connected to more than 90 cities this summer, and the gentle rise of scheduled inter-continental flights to Zagreb (Qatar Airways 10 times a week to Doha, Air Dubai, Air Transat from Toronto, as well as Korean Air direct from Seoul also in the planning) has opened up Croatian tourism to a truly global audience.
The introduction of the Air Transat route from Toronto is particularly significant, especially after the failed SkyGreece service last year (nothing wrong with the route, the airline went bankrupt), as it opens up the possibility of direct flights to North America where – in addition to the increasing number of tourists interested in Croatia – a significant number of the Croatian diaspora (1.2m out of 3m) resides.
Initial results from the seasonal Air Transat route from Toronto are favourable, and the airline is already considering expanding its operations, according to respected regional avaiation website ExYuAviation.
According to the website, Sani Sener, the CEO and founder of TAV Airports Holding and TAV Construction, which forms part of the consortium running Zagreb Airport, said the most desired route from the Croatian capital would be New York, while Jacques Feron, the General Manager of Zagreb Airport said it would be ‘fantastic’ to have non-stop flights to New York, adding:
“In the US, New York would be an excellent destination, although it is true that this metropolis is well connected to all major European airports.”
Discussions about direct flights are certainly ongoing, as was confirmed in an interview with TCN with Ambassador Paro in Washington earlier this year, in which he said:
“The Embassy has this month again re-started discussions with various players in order to again explore realistic possibility to establish direct flights to Croatia. However, this will require, among others, a conclusion of a serious independent market study in the US that can verify the passenger interest and establish a credible passenger load for the aircraft that is essential to properly calculate the economics of these direct flights. We will do all we can to spearhead and facilitate this effort, and achieve direct flights as soon as it is economically possible.” Read the full interview here.
And while it may be expected that all the inter-continental traffic may go to Zagreb, keep an eye out on Dubrovnik, which has New York aspriations of its own. The Pearl of the Adriatic already received direct charters from Japan in season, and it recently announced both that it is signiifcantly increasing its our of season traffic with 14 direct international flights this winter, as well as planning to offer a twice-weekly service from the Big Apple direct into Dubrovnik for 2017, according to ExYuAviation:
“The Mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahusic, said the city expects for the route to be maintained twice per week throughout the year as of 2017. At this point, a partner is being sought out to maintain the route.”