Coronavirus Deals Airports Blow, Zagreb International Airport Suffers Badly

Lauren Simmonds

Updated on:

Lauren Simmonds
An empty Zagreb Airport arrivals, February 2021
An empty Zagreb Airport arrivals, February 2021

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, air transport continues to unfortunately be one of the biggest losers in the coronavirus crisis, as evidenced by the daily news reports of losses and government “injections” for airlines and airports alike. The latest Eurostat data for January shows that the leading European airports recorded a decrease in the number of passengers and air operations by more than 80%, and Croatia’s Zagreb International Airport is very much within this framework.

In January this year, the largest drop in the number of commercial flights in the EU was recorded at Germany’s usually very busy Munich Airport, by as much as 25,400 flights, which represents a concerning drop of 85 percent.

Paris CDG had 23,500 fewer flights, down 63 percet, and within that are Amsterdam and Frankfurt with 23,100 fewer flights and a drop of 61 percent and 64 percent respectively. Madrid dropped by 22,900 flights and Barcelona by 17,700. This is followed by Rome with 16,400 fewer flights, Vienna with 15,800, Copenhagen with 14,900 and Düsseldorf with 12,800.

Zagreb International Airport had 38,036 passengers in January, compared to 203,033 in the same month last year, down a massive 81 percent. In terms of the number of air operations, Zagreb International Airport had a decline of 55 percent given that last month there were 1403 commercial flights compared to 3133 in the same month last year.

Eurostat points out that the first results of the coronavirus pandemic were recorded back at what was then the beginning of things going dramatically wrong for most European countries, namely in March 2020, when the number of commercial flights to the European Union, including passenger, cargo and postal air transport, fell by 44 percent compared to March 2019. The largest drop in traffic was recorded in April 2020, when only nine percent of traffic from the same month a year earlier actually operated, and in May it improved by a mere one percent, despite being one month closer to summer.

During the warmer summer months which are known for tourism, there was a partial recovery and in July there was a decline of 64 percent when compared to the same month back in 2019, and in August the decline was 53 percent, only to rise again in September to 59 percent, in October to 62 percent and in November and December to 68 percent and 67 percent respectively.

There has been no recovery to speak of yet this year because the statistics show a decrease in traffic at the EU level by 68 percent compared to January 2020. During the month of January, there were 156,867 commercial flights in the EU, with Germany receiving 36,932 and France 36,313 flights.

Spain had 30,157, Italy 19,986, and the Netherlands 16,997 takeoffs and landings in January. For Croatia, Eurostat records 1448 flights, which means that there were only 45 flights at all other Croatian airports except Zagreb International Airport, which is truly astonishing.

At the EU level, Slovenia had the fewest flights in January, standing at just 402. The decline in total air traffic last year was recorded by the Croatian Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), whose data shows that 675,000 passengers were transported by air last year, and 2.27 million were transported in the same way the year before, which is drop greater than 70 percent in total.

In terms of cargo, there is not so much difference because last year a total of 1461 tonnes of cargo was transported compared to 2133 tonnes in the year before. Last year, a total of 48.7 million passengers were transported by road, rail, sea and air to Croatia, which is a decrease of 42.1 percenr when compared to 2019.

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