Azur Air Enters Crowded Market With Zagreb Flight Launch

Russia’s Azur Air will start flying between Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport and Zagreb next week, entering an already crowded market between the Russian and Croatian capitals.

Azur Air, Zagreb, Moscow
Azur Air is launching a scheduled Boeing 737 service between Moscow and Zagreb. Photo: Getty Images

Azur Air launches scheduled flights to Zagreb

Azur Air is launching a scheduled service between Moscow Vnukovo Airport (VKO) and Zagreb Airport (ZAG) next week when the IATA winter timetable kicks off on Sunday 31st October.

The launch is an upgrade to the airline’s previous services on the route. Azur had previously maintained charter flights on this route, but only during the summer months. The route now becomes a scheduled service, bookable via the airline’s website.

Azur’s booking engine shows the following flight details for the route:

  • Flight ZF7785 departs VKO at 10:15 and arrives in ZAG at 11:30
  • Flight ZF7786 departs ZAG at 13:00 and arrives in VKO at 18:10

There will be just one weekly rotation, on Sundays, for the whole of the winter timetable with the last rotation taking place on Sunday 27th March 2022. No flights are on sale for summer 2022, and Azur has not released its winter 2022/23 timetable yet.

Flights will be performed by Azur’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft, though the length of time that the aircraft will be spending in Zagreb indicates that Azur may be planning to upgrade the equipment to a wide-body aircraft. For example, its Boeing 767-300 aircraft.

Azur Air had previously planned to fly to Zagreb with its 767s this summer, but the scheduled route never materialized.

Azur Air Enters Crowded Market With Zagreb Flight Launch
Aeroflot has cut its frequencies between Zagreb and Moscow, and other airlines jumped in. Photo: Getty Images

A crowded market

The market between Russia and Croatia will be particularly busy this winter, with more airline choices for passengers than usual.

Aeroflot will be maintaining its long-running scheduled flights between Zagreb and Moscow’s Sheremetyevo A.S. Pushkin Airport (SVO). These operate three times per week throughout winter with varying equipment. Tomorrow’s flight, for example, is with an Airbus A321, but most others on this route are scheduled to be operated by an Airbus A320.

Aeroflot’s flights to Zagreb used to run daily year-round before COVID-19, but with lower-capacity aircraft. Still, Aeroflot is decreasing its total capacity on the route on a weekly basis, which is why other Russian airlines have jumped into the market.

Nordwind Airlines is one of them. It will run flights to Zagreb from SVO twice weekly throughout the winter, having launched the route last spring. These flights run with a Boeing 737-800 aircraft on Mondays and with an Embraer ERJ-190 on Fridays. The Friday flight is operated by Nordwind’s regional subsidiary, Pegas Fly, under the flight numbers EO1951 and EO1952.

Nordwind Airlines
Nordwind Airlines is also contesting the market. Photo: Getty Images

Dubrovnik gets winter flights to Moscow too

Not only Zagreb is getting more choice of Russian airlines than usual.

Dubrovnik Airport, serving Croatia’s coastal city but also the neighboring country of Montenegro, will get its first scheduled winter flights to Russia next month.

Ural Airlines has put on sale flights between Dubrovnik and Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport (DME) for the entire winter timetable. Flights are on sale every Saturday until 26th March 2022.

Airlines continue to look for new route opportunities in new markets vacated by the incumbent players during the pandemic.

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