Croatian coastal airports surge

With just 21 days left until Croatia becomes the 28th member state of the European Union, a surge in tourist numbers in the pre season period is already enhancing the performance of airports along the country’s coast. Zadar, Dubrovnik and Split have recorded impressive passenger figures in May, with the three handling a combined total of 370.250 travellers over the past month. Zadar’s notable passenger surge is being fuelled by Ryanair, which opened its first EX-YU base in the city in April. Last month Zadar Airport handled 52.851 passengers, up 37.5% on last year’s 38.430. Authorities estimate the airport will handle over 500.000 passengers this year. So far in 2013 Zadar has welcomed 98.708 travellers through its doors, up 30.4% on last year.

Dubrovnik Airport also did well with 177.763 passengers handled in May. That’s 15.1% more than the same month last year. “This indicates an excellent start to the tourist season. If such trends continue this could be a record year”, the airport said in a statement. However, it also warned it could be hit by a sharp fall in Russian and Ukrainian tourists as they now need visas to enter Croatia. “We have recorded a decline in Russian and Ukrainian passengers compared to last year. Obviously there is some sort of a problem with visas”, Frano Luetić, the airport’s deputy CEO says. So far this year, Dubrovnik Airport has handled 322.877 passengers, up 9%.

Finally, Split is also recording an increase in passenger numbers. Croatia’s third busiest airport welcomed 139.636 passengers through its doors, an improvement of 9.7%. The airport has also recorded a 9% passenger increase over the past five months. The impressive results for Croatia’s coastal airports come despite the fact that Croatia Airlines staff staged a weeklong strike in May which affected flights from all three.

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