Croatian airports recorded a 544% increase in passenger numbers in May
Croatia’s international airports are enjoying a strong rebound from last year’s poor numbers, with passenger traffic up 544% in May 2021 compared to May 2020. However, this figure remains well below 2019 levels .
Passenger traffic increases by 544%
Croatia’s airports recorded a total of 124,000 passengers in May this year, an increase of 544% from May 2020, the Croatian Office for National Statistics reported last week.
With such a sudden boom in passenger numbers, May’s figure surpasses the figures for January, February, March and April combined. May 2021 accounted for 64.5% of total passenger traffic in Croatia for the first five months of this year, or around 350,000.
However, the January-May 2021 figure is 48% lower than that for the January-May period in 2020 because the pandemic only really started to reduce the number of passengers at the end of February 2020. So even with major growth of 544% from May. From 2020 to May 2021, Croatian airports will still be below their 2020 results for much of the summer.
Interestingly, the number of aircraft movements increased by 311% at the same time as passenger traffic increased by 544%. They stood at 4,618 in May 2021.
Why such significant growth?
Croatia never really closed to tourism in 2021, allowing non-essential travel for arrivals from the European Union all the time.
This means that when other countries in the European Union started removing quarantine requirements for passengers returning from Croatia, people started traveling for holidays to the Adriatic coast much earlier than last year.
As of May 2020, Croatia was still in total containment. Croatia Airlines operated only once daily from Zagreb to Frankfurt, mainly with Dash 8-400s. It was not until the last week of May, May 25, 2020, that Croatia Airlines also added another rotation to the country, from Zagreb to Amsterdam. There were no other international flights, not even to coastal airports, except for a few one-off Eurowings flights to Cologne from Zagreb.
In contrast, in May 2021, foreign airlines significantly increased their presence in Croatia, leaving Croatia Airlines behind. Since winter, for example, KLM has flown to Zagreb from Amsterdam twice a day.
Which airports have increased the most?
Split Airport (SPU) achieved the most remarkable growth, registering an increase of 1,550% (yes, one thousand five hundred and fifty). There was no tourism in Split at all last year, so it’s not surprising. In May, Split welcomed 33,000 passengers.
Dubrovnik Airport (DBV) recorded growth of 342%, with 17,000 passengers passing through its gates in the same month.
Other coastal airports in Croatia have seen almost infinite growth in passenger numbers, from a handful of passengers in May 2020 to several thousand in May 2021. Pula Airport (PUY) handled 3,000 passengers, l Zadar airport (ZAD) received 2,600.
Most passengers in May 2021 came to Croatia on flights from Germany, followed by the Netherlands, France, Austria and Turkey.
This order is not surprising as these are the countries that host the most popular transfer airlines in Croatia: Lufthansa, KLM, Air France, Austrian Airlines and Turkish Airlines.
Croatia remains open to tourism for double-vaccinated passengers, which has so far resulted in healthy loads on the brand new United and Delta Air Lines New York (JFK / EWR) services to Dubrovnik.
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