Zagreb Airport handled over two million passengers between January and July, marking its best performance to date during the seven-month period. However, the airport’s passenger numbers began to stagnate in May when compared to the pre-pandemic 2019 and growth failed to reach over 1% in July. Despite Ryanair opening a base in the Croatian capital in 2021 and launching over twenty new routes since, it has failed to compensate for Croatia Airlines’ reduced schedule out of Zagreb, as well as the loss of three airlines which maintained wide-body operations to the city over the summer months – Emirates, Korean Air and Air Canada Rouge.
The stagnant growth is expected to continue into August as the airport’s total offered capacity will be up just 1.6% on the same month in 2019. This month alone, Croatia Airlines has 25% fewer seats in Zagreb compared to four years ago, while other airlines that have notably reduced their number of flights or capacity include Eurowings, Iberia, Qatar Airways and Air France. Unlike in August 2019, the airport is no longer served by Aeroflot, Swiss, Brussels Airlines and Czech Airlines, in addition to the abovementioned wide-body operators. Overall capacity in September is currently projected to lift just under 3% versus 2019.
During the last month of the 2023 summer season in October, the airport is expected to accelerate its growth rate once again, with capacity set to increase in the double digits this December for the first time since April. Growth is expected despite Ryanair announcing the termination of three routes out of the Croatian capital from late October – Podgorica, Sofia and Manchester. At the same time the budget carrier will increase frequencies on several other routes including Malaga, Dublin, Gothenburg and Malta. Unlike last winter, Ryanair will not operate a weekend base in Zagreb and will have at least one departure out of its base each day of the week, although Fridays and the weekends will continue to be its busiest. Despite this, Ryanair will have some 2.000 fewer seats on its Zagreb flights this winter season compared to last. Croatia Airlines will continue to hold its position as the largest carrier in the city, with double the capacity of that of Ryanair. The pair will be followed by Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, KLM, Austrian and Eurowings as the largest carriers in terms of capacity, while in terms of the number of flights, Croatia Airlines and Ryanair will be proceeded by Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, KLM, Austrian Airlines, Air Serbia and LOT Polish Airlines.