State mulls reopening of Zagreb Airport’s old terminal

Zagreb Airport’s old terminal building, which has been closed for passenger use since March 28, 2017, could get a new lease on life with the government considering reopening the facility to cater for low cost carriers. Ryanair is Zagreb’s second largest airline based on available seat capacity. According to the Croatian government, an analysis has been launched into the building’s reopening. The state is willing to extend the concession of Zagreb Airport to its operator, the Zagreb Airport International Company (ZAIC), by three years and nine months if the consortium running the airport returns the old terminal into a functioning state. Zagreb Airport’s existing concession runs until 2042.

The process is still in its early stages but informal talks between the competent authorities and the European Commission have taken place. The Croatian Ministry for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure is aiming to reopen the terminal for commercial use in 2026. The ZAIC consortium had previously planned to use the old terminal for freight storage and administrative offices, and in doing so develop the airport’s cargo traffic. However, this initiative never materialised. The old terminal building previously reopened its doors to the general public in 2019 for an all-night concert and for several one-off events in the proceeding years.
The use of a low cost terminal would enable the airport to offer lower handling fees to airlines. In the past, several carriers have said Zagreb Airport’s fees act as a deterrent for expansion. Eurowings stated, “Zagreb Airport’s charges are higher than most major European airports, making it less appealing for low cost carriers”, while Wizz Air noted, “It is a high-priced airport environment with fluctuating demand. Should the costs come down, they would attract us”. However, Ryanair made use of an incentive scheme to open a base at the airport and become its second largest carrier.

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