Croatia: Airports busy despite the pandemic

Croatia: Airports busy despite the pandemic

Croatia is recording one of the lowest declines in the number of operated flights in Europe this summer when compared to last year and the lowest in the former Yugoslavia, according to Eurocontrol. In the week ending July 26, the Croatian market registered a 52% decline in traffic with some 279 flights. It was behind only Albania, which is recording the lowest decline in Europe, then Norway, Luxembourg, Lithuania, France and Belgium. On the other hand, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro have registered a 63% drop in traffic, while Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia have registered a 65% and 66% decline respectively. Moldova, Georgia and Armenia have seen the steepest decrease in traffic on the continent.

Aiding Croatian airports is the relative openness of the market this summer to tourists from Western Europe, with those on the coast generating the recovery. According to exyuaviation.com report, over the past weekend, Split Airport registered 135 arriving and departing flights, carrying some 23.000 passengers. Although this figure represents just 30% of last year’s traffic, it was the busiest so far this year. “Considering the coronavirus pandemic, we are delighted by these numbers”, Split Airport’s Operations Director, Mate Melvan, said. He added, “We expect the busiest part of the year to be on the first and second weekend of August when we anticipate around 30.000 passengers each”. The head of the Croatian Tourist Board, Kristjan Saničić, noted, “We are conducting an intensive promotional campaign on our most important near-by markets to communicate that Croatia is a safe destination for tourists. These figures, given the circumstances, are an excellent indication for August, during which we expect for the positive trend to continue”.

Recovery in markets including Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia has been slowed by ongoing flight bans, as well as travel and entry restrictions for nationals from these countries. Based on Eurocontrol’s Network Operations Recovery Plan, most will see a small increase in traffic during August. While the entry of nationals from the abovementioned countries is currently restricted to most other nations in Europe, there is also a total ban on flights to Italy and Austria, the latter generating considerable traffic during the summer months from all markets. While the bans are to be reviewed in the coming days, there is no indication they will be lifted, although Austria is likely to green-light the resumption of flights after introducing new entry measures for arrivals from these markets./ibna