Zagreb Airport (ZAG) is experiencing a strong recovery, with forecasts suggesting that the airport will handle three million passengers by the end of this year. Let’s look closely at Zagreb Airport’s latest trends.

Traffic figures close to 2019 levels

The total of three million passengers is approximately 88% of the total traffic that transited through the Croatian airport in 2019.

This optimistic scenario lays its foundation in the fact that, between January and August, the airport handled 87% of 2019 traffic. Particularly, August proved the busiest month since the pandemic started. Indeed, in August 2022, 348,381 people traveled to/from Zagreb, representing a reduction of just 7.4% compared to the total number of passengers registered in August 2019. The number of aircraft movements amounted to 4,061, 7.7% fewer than in August 2019. Overall, between January and August, Zagreb Airport handled a total of 1.976.818 passengers, a reduction of 13.1% compared to the first eight months of 2019.

Which airlines dominate at Zagreb airport?

Zagreb airport is the main hub of Croatia’s national airline, Croatia Airlines (OU). However, the full-service carrier faces intense competition from the Irish low-cost carrier (LCC) Ryanair (FR). These two airlines now represent almost 60% of the airport’s total traffic.

Ryanair Boeing 737-8 MAX 9H-VUN

Ryanair is the largest operator to and from Malta and has held that title for over half a decade now. Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying

According to the Official Airline Guide (OAG), by the end of 2022, Croatia Airlines will have operated a total of 8,451 frequencies from Zagreb Airport, 65% more than those operated by the strongest competitor at the airport, Ryanair. Turkish Airlines (TK) places third, with a total of 636 frequencies. In terms of capacity, measured in seats, Croatia Airlines will deploy 41% and 88% more seats than Ryanair and Turkish, respectively.

Ryanair’s relevance in Zagreb stems from the fact that last year, the Irish carrier announced a new base in ZAG, with three aircraft based at the airport and the opening of twenty routes. Additionally, after months of route suspensions and reduced frequencies because of the pandemic, the airline has officially restored its network from Croatia’s capital city. Consequently, Zagreb airport’s restored capacity has almost been fully realized by the Irish LCC.

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More airlines are returning to Zagreb

Besides Croatia Airlines and Ryanair, other European and non-European carriers are contributing to the airport’s recovery.

First, Lufthansa (LH) has restored its service from Munich; the LCC Norwegian Air Shuttle (D8) offers a connection from Copenhagen, while Finnair (AY) announced a new seasonal service from Helsinki. Beyond Europe, Zagreb is connected to Toronto, in Canada, through a direct flight operated by the Canadian carrier Air Transat (TS). Additionally, Air Canada (AC) might also launch a seasonal flight from Toronto next summer after it canceled plans to do so this year. In Asia, the Korean LCC T’Way Air (TW) has shown interest in commencing services from Seoul, even though no timeframe for the start of the new flight has yet been announced by the airline. Furthermore, while Korean Air (KE) might return to Zagreb in 2023, Emirates (EK) has announced it will restore the route from Dubai when it becomes commercially and operationally feasible.

Lufthansa Airbus A320 Getty

Lufthansa has restored its direct service from Munich to Zagreb. Photo: Getty Images 

Considering extra-European destinations, in 2022, Qatar Airways (QR) offers the most frequencies from Zagreb Airport, followed by Flydubai (FZ) and Air Transat.

Simple Flying reached out to Zagreb Airport for further comment. We will update the article with any additional announcements from the airline.

Do you think Zagreb airport’s recovery will continue to follow this positive trend until the end of the year? Let us know in the comment section below!

Source: EX-YU Aviation News


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