- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Low-Cost Carrier
- Dublin Airport, London Stansted Airport, Milan Bergamo Airport
- Year Founded:
- Airline Group:
- Ryanair Group
- Eddie Wilson
With the start of the IATA winter timetable on 30th October, Ryanair’s base in Zagreb Airport was converted to a weekend base. The three A320 Lauda Europe aircraft that are based in Zagreb now operate flights only on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays. For the other three days of the week, they are parked in Zagreb.
Despite this, Ryanair still operates flights to Zagreb Airport every day of the week. Its destination network from the Croatian capital includes airports that are not Ryanair bases. Thus, to be able to operate these routes between two non-bases, Ryanair has scheduled an interesting selection of W-rotations to Zagreb for the duration of the IATA winter timetable.
There are six of these in total:
1. STN – ZAG – TGD – ZAG – STN
On Tuesdays, a Stansted-based Boeing 737 aircraft operates the following W-rotation:
- London Stansted (06:00) to Zagreb (09:10)
- Zagreb (09:35) to Podgorica (10:45)
- Podgorica (11:10) to Zagreb (12:20)
- Zagreb (12:45) to London Stansted (14:20)
2. OPO – EIN – ZAG – EIN – OPO
Also on Tuesdays, there is this W-rotation operated by a Porto-based Boeing 737:
- Porto (06:55) to Eindhoven (10:25)
- Eindhoven (11:00) to Zagreb (12:45)
- Zagreb (13:20) to Eindhoven (15:15)
- Eindhoven (15:40) to Porto (17:15)
3. KTW – DTM – ZAG – DTM – KTW
Tuesdays also see a third W-rotation, operated by a Katowice-based 737 aircraft that is operated by Ryanair’s subsidiary airline Buzz as follows:
- Katowice (13:40) to Dortmund (15:25)
- Dortmund (15:50) to Zagreb (17:35)
- Zagreb (18:00) to Dortmund (19:45)
- Dortmund (20:10) to Katowice (21:40)
RYR Fleet Ryanair, MaltaAir, Buzz parked at Ramp C, Renton Field
4. BGY – ZAG – OSL – ZAG – BGY
On Wednesdays, Ryanair has one W-rotation in Zagreb. This is operated by a Bergamo-based Malta Air Boeing 737 as follows:
- Milan Bergamo (07:20) to Zagreb (08:35)
- Zagreb (09:00) to Oslo Torp (11:35)
- Oslo Torp (12:00) to Zagreb (14:35)
- Zagreb (15:00) to Milan Bergamo (16:15)
5. DUB – ZAG – BSL – ZAG – DUB
On Thursdays, a Dublin-based Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft operates the following W-rotation:
- Dublin (06:50) to Zagreb (10:35)
- Zagreb (11:00) to Basel (12:30)
- Basel (12:55) to Zagreb (14:15)
- Zagreb (15:05) to Dublin (17:05)
6. STN – FKB – ZAG – FKB – STN
Lastly, also on Thursdays, there is a W-rotation that Ryanair runs via Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden Airport, which is another one of Ryanair’s weekend bases operating only on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays, just like Zagreb Airport’s Lauda Europe base does.
This W-rotation runs as follows:
- London Stansted (15:55) to Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden (18:20)
- Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden (18:45) to Zagreb (20:15)
- Zagreb (20:40) to Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden (22:10)
- Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden (22:35) to London Stansted (23:05)
Ryanair is no stranger to W-rotations. The pan-European airline uses such scheduling to fly many of its routes that connect two airports that are not its bases.
No new Ryanair routes in Zagreb this winter
Zagreb Airport was heavily hit by the COVID-19 pandemic because its passenger traffic was strongly dependent on long-haul routes from North America and Asia.
Emirates, Korean Air, and Air Canada Rouge all used to fly to Zagreb but no longer serve the airport since the pandemic. Others, like Air Transat, have returned but with lower capacity. Qatar Airways used to fly twice daily to Zagreb from Doha but now flies only four times weekly.
As a result of the ongoing long-haul travel disruption, Zagreb Airport decided last year to create a recovery of passenger traffic through new European routes in the absence of long-haul ones.
The airport offered a Passenger Service Charge discount of as much as 80% for each passenger carried on a route launched in 2021 that had not operated in 2019 or 2020. This discount had a five-year horizon, and it required that 20% of the passenger traffic take place during the winter schedule.
Except for Eurowings and Vueling, Zagreb Airport is not served by any of Europe’s major LCCs like Wizz Air, easyJet, Volotea, or Transavia.
Thus, with airport fees lowered, Ryanair arrived in Zagreb Airport, operating its first flight to Zagreb in June 2021. Shortly afterward, it opened a Lauda Europe base there that would eventually grow to three Airbus A320 aircraft.
Within just 13 months, Ryanair launched a staggering 27 new routes out of Zagreb in the following order:
- 2nd June: Brussels Charleroi (CRL)
- 17th June: Milan Bergamo (BGY)
- 23rd July: London Stansted (STN)
- 23rd July: Gothenburg (GOT)
- 23rd July: Rome Ciampino (CIA) (now swapped to Fiumicino FCO)
- 3rd August: Sofia (SOF)
- 2nd September: Oslo Torp (Sandefjord) (TRF)
- 2nd September: Karlsruhe / Baden-Baden (FKB)
- 2nd September: Paris Beauvais (BVA)
- 3rd September: Frankfurt Hahn (HHN)
- 3rd September: Memmingen (FMM)
- 3rd September: Dortmund (DTM)
- 4th September: Düsseldorf Weeze (NRN)
- 4th September: Podgorica (TGD)
- 4th September: Malmö (MMX)
- 1st December: Malaga (AGP)
- 2nd December: Manchester (MAN)
- 2nd December: Dublin (DUB)
- 2nd December: Thessaloniki (SKG)
- 3rd December: Paphos (PFO)
- 3rd December: Eindhoven (EIN)
- 3rd December: Basel (Mulhouse-Freiburg) (BSL)
- 4th December: Malta (MLA)
- 17th December: Naples (NAP)
- 27th March: Bratislava (BTS)
- 27th March: Brindisi (BDS) as a replacement for Lviv (LWO)
- 4th June 2022: Corfu (CFU)
The rapid expansion was a severe blow for Croatia Airlines, as Simple Flying analyzed.
Croatia Airlines, which had enjoyed informal protection in Zagreb for years while the airport was under government control, has not launched any new routes out of its Zagreb base in the last four years. It appears that Zagreb Airport realized it could not achieve a substantial post-COVID traffic recovery by relying on Croatia Airlines, which is why it dropped its fees to attract Ryanair to come.
However, Ryanair has not launched any new routes in Zagreb since June this year. Two destinations, Bratislava and Malmö, were converted from year-round to summer seasonal ahead of this winter. Capacity on other routes is lower than it was in the summer schedule.
Furthermore, there appear to be further cuts in the summer 2023 schedule: flights to Corfu, Dortmund, Frankfurt Hahn, and Düsseldorf Weeze are no longer on sale. The capacity that was previously deployed on these routes has been swapped to other routes, chiefly Dublin and Rome Fiumicino. However, the network is still smaller, so it looks like Ryanair may be ending its exceptionally rapid growth in Zagreb.
What do you think of Ryanair’s W-rotations in Zagreb Airport? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.