Croatia Sees A Big Hit To Both Cargo And Passenger Numbers

The aviation industry in Croatia suffered a big blow in May this year, as displayed by the recently released statistics about both cargo and passenger numbers. This is likely going to lead to an easier negotiation process between the country of Croatia and its flag carrier Croatia Airlines about the next round of financial aid.

Croatia Airlines Airbus A320 Dubrovnik
Croatia Airlines was the sole operator on almost all Croatian airports in May this year. Photo: Getty Images

The statistics are dire

The Croatian Bureau of Statistics (Državni Zavod Za Statistiku) released a fairly dire set of figures for the aviation industry in Croatia for May 2020. What is particularly dire is that several airports did not record a single passenger in the entire month.

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The entire passenger traffic across all nine international airports in Croatia equaled 19,315 for the entire month of May. Last year, the figure was over a million: 1,115,680. This constitutes a 98.3% fall in traffic. For an economy like that of Croatia, which relies on tourism for as much as a fifth of its annual GDP, this is an incredibly worrying figure.

The number of aircraft movements was 91.2% lower than last year in the same month, at 1,123 movements compared to 12,832 in May 2019.

Numbers by airport

The breakdown of passenger traffic figures by airport reveals some fairly surprising developments. Let’s take a look at the figures at these nine airports one by one.

Zagreb Airport recorded 13,161 passengers. This is 4,3% of the number of passengers recorded in May 2019. This major drop in numbers follows several months of negative developments at Zagreb Airport last year.

Croatia Airlines Zagreb Airport
Thanks to Croatia Airlines, Zagreb Airport was the busiest airport in Croatia in May 2020. Photo: Getty Images

The second busiest airport in Croatia in May 2020 was Dubrovnik Airport. Dubrovnik Airport is usually in third place on an annual level, but because it is geographically separated by land from the rest of the country, its passenger numbers did not drop by as much as they did in Split Airport, which is normally in second place.

Dubrovnik Airport recorded 3,797 passengers, which is 1.2% of the level recorded in May 2019. Split Airport was third, with 2,319 passengers. This is only 0.8% of the level recorded in May 2019.

In third place is Brač Airport, with 33 passengers, which is 2,4% of the level recorded in May 2019. Mali Lošinj is in fourth place with only five passengers, which is also 2,4% of last year’s level for the same month.

Lauda leaving vienna
The loss of Ryanair Group routes has been a major blow for Croatia, and in particular Zadar Airport. Photo: Getty Images

Four airports without a single passenger

The most drastic statistic of all is that Zadar, Rijeka, Pula, and Osijek airports did not record a single passenger for the duration of the entire month. This news is particularly shocking for Zadar Airport, which was meant to have three Lauda Airbus A320 aircraft based there during the month of May.

Cargo has fallen too

Perhaps more surprisingly, at a time when there has been increased cargo activity across Europe for medical purposes, Croatia has recorded a major drop in freight traffic too in the month of May. Only 452 tonnes of freight were transported, which is 62.5% lower than in May 2019, when the figure was 1,204 tonnes.

How long do you think it will take for countries like Croatia to recover their 2019 results for both cargo and passenger traffic? Let us know what you think in the comments below.