Which routes were the most and least popular?
Ryanair first served Zagreb in June 2021. For many years, Zagreb was an airport eschewed by ULCCs because of a lack of incentives and an unwillingness to lower fees and charges. Consequently, it had not seen any real demand stimulation. Ryanair’s base opened in September 2021, and it now has three aircraft there, mainly Lauda A320s.
Ryanair in Zagreb: 2022
Ryanair had 27 routes from Croatia’s capital last year. They can be split into diaspora (Germany, Scandinavia, UK, etc.), outbound tourism (Cyprus, Malta, Spain), and ‘interesting others’ (e.g., Bulgaria, Slovakia).
Two of Ryanair’s 27 Zagreb routes had direct competition: Rome Fiumicino and Dublin. Croatia Airlines introduced Dublin in May 2018, with Ryanair following in December 2021.
While Ryanair typically avoids direct competition, the key reason for the lack of it from Zagreb is that many of its routes, as shown above, are to secondary airports. It would be somewhat different if a city-level analysis was conducted instead.
Over 900,000 passengers
Ryanair carried an estimated 920,000 Zagreb passengers last year and was thus responsible for about 29% of the airport’s total traffic. For 23 of the 27 routes, numbers are from EX-YU Aviation, which got them from the European Statistical Office (I’ve confirmed UK routes by using UK CAA data).
For the remaining four routes, I’ve estimated them using booking data. Note that some routes faced disruption and suspensions, impacting Basel (BSL), Hahn (HHN), Torp (TRF), Sofia (SOF), and Weeze (NRN).
Source of data: EX-YU Aviation, booking data, Cirium. Image: James Pearson.
With nearly 101,000 roundtrip passengers, Zagreb-London Stansted (STN) was the most popular route, as shown in the figure above. Zagreb-Corfu (CFU) had the fewest passengers (fewer than 3,000), which reflected the short season and the number of flights: 14 weekly roundtrips from July to September.
Click here for Zagreb-London flights.
An 80% seat load factor
Relating passenger data to seats for sale suggests that Ryanair had an average seat load factor at Zagreb of about 80%. This was lower than the ULCC’s network-wide average of 92%.
Ryanair is a so-called ‘yield passive, SLF active’ airline. It must consistently fill seats. High loads also mean more passengers from which to generate more ancillary revenue. The more ancillaries, the lower the fares, which helps grow traffic volume and SLFs (capacity discipline is important too). This helps to increase sector revenue, which is more important to Ryanair than what each passenger pays.
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Malaga filled the most seats
Its busiest route, London Stansted (STN), filled 84% of seats last year, about the same as Malta (MLA), Eindhoven (EIN), and Dortmund (DTM). But the best, by this measure, was Malaga (91%). Let’s hope it also had decent fares.
Click here for Zagreb-Malaga flights.
In contrast, Bratislava, just 176 miles (284 km) away as the crow flies, was the worst performing (63%). It launched in March 2022 and operated three weekly. It is unclear if the route receives additional funding. If it doesn’t, and if it hasn’t picked up, it won’t be sustained.
According to the latest Cirium data, Ryanair expects 84 weekly departures in a week in mid-August 2023, up from 77 in the same week in 2022.
What do you make of it all? Let us know in the comments.
Source of data on 23 routes: EX-YU Aviation. As always, 100% of the commentary and analysis by me.