Zagreb's busiest routes: Lufthansa hubs yet to recover, Turkish soars

Several destinations within Zagreb Airport’s top ten busiest surpassed their pre-Covid passenger performance during the first half of the year, data provided by the European Statistical Office shows. During the first six months, Frankfurt remained the airport’s busiest route, with 140.830 passengers handled jointly by Croatia Airlines and Lufthansa, although figures were still down 12.7% on the same period in 2019. Notably, the Lufthansa Group’s hubs within the top ten busiest – Frankfurt, Munich and Vienna – all failed to reach their pre-pandemic passenger figures. Zurich, which was the eleventh busiest, was also below pre-Covid levels. However, both Frankfurt and Munich were hit by industrial action in February, forcing the cancellation of a number of flights from Zagreb to the two German cities.

Zagreb Airport’s busiest routes, H1 2023

Turkish Airlines performed strongly during the first half of the year, establishing Istanbul as Zagreb’s second busiest international route and improving its performance by a 24.3% on four years ago. The only other destination within Zagreb Airport’s top ten busiest to have surpassed its pre-Covid passenger performance during the first three months of the year was Amsterdam, operated by Croatia Airlines and KLM. Ryanair outperformed both Croatia Airlines and British Airways on flights to London. The budget carrier handled 58.120 travellers between the Croatian capital and Stansted Airport, while the two national airlines welcomed a joint total of 51.015 passengers on board their aircraft to and from Heathrow. Stansted is also Ryanair’s busiest Zagreb route with the carrier maintaining daily flights between the two.
During the six-month period, Zagreb Airport handled 1.693.512 travellers through its doors, representing its busiest first half to the year on record. Much of the growth was fuelled by Ryanair, which opened a base in the city in 2021. However, the pace of Zagreb Airport’s growth has slowed notably, with passenger numbers in May and June up 5.8% and 3.1% on 2019 respectively. The growth rate in July further slowed to under 1%. The softer growth is expected to continue into August and September, with more dynamic increases in passenger volumes expected from October onwards,

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