Qatar Airways has scaled back its planned flight operations to Croatia significantly. Dubrovnik has lost all flights to Doha while seat capacity to Zagreb has been reduced drastically. Further cuts are expected when Qatar updates its timetable for the month of June onwards.
Zagreb is cut back drastically
Between today, Monday January 11th, and the end of the winter schedule, Saturday March 27th, Qatar Airways will operate just 11 rotations to all of Croatia. This is a drastic reduction compared to the seat capacity that Qatar previously had on offer to this country.
The Doha-Zagreb-Doha flights will operate only on Fridays for all of January, February, and March, up to March 27th. Then, as the summer timetable kicks in on Sunday March 28th, Qatar Airways will increase its frequency to Zagreb to two weekly, and flights will then operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Compared to the pre-pandemic era, this is a drastic downgrade of the route. Qatar Airways used to fly from Zagreb to Doha twice daily, year-round. In the winter, flights were sometimes downgraded from Airbus A320 to Airbus A319 aircraft, and on rare occasions the afternoon rotation was canceled due to low demand in January and February. But, in the summers, Qatar would send a mixture of Airbus A320 and Airbus A321 aircraft to Zagreb, always maintaining double daily operations.
In doing so, Qatar Airways would compete against Emirates, Turkish Airlines, and Korean Air to capture the transfer passenger market to Croatia. Almost all of this seat capacity has now evaporated. Along with Qatar Airways making drastic cuts, Korean Air is not coming back to Croatia, Emirates has been replaced by flyDubai, and Turkish Airlines has cut back on seat capacity too.
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Dubrovnik is canceled
Furthermore, Qatar Airways will not be flying any flights to Dubrovnik in the summer of 2021. As Simple Flying reported last year, Qatar intended to launch Doha-Dubrovnik-Doha flights in the summer of 2020, but then postponed these plans by a year. The route is now no longer in Qatar’s booking system.
The first flight from Doha to Dubrovnik was scheduled to depart Doha (DOH) on 1 July 2020 at 07:00, landing in Dubrovnik (DBV) at 11:35. The aircraft was then meant to depart Croatia at 12:40, to arrive back in Qatar at 18:45. All flights were due to be operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft. They carried the codes QR367 (outbound) and QR368 (inbound).
Qatar’s downgrade from double daily flights to a single weekly frequency from Doha to Zagreb is to be expected. Croatia, as an EU member, maintains harsh restrictions on arrivals outside of the European Economic Area. Non-EU nationals are not allowed to enter the country unless they are coming from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Uruguay, China, and Hong Kong.
Even so, given that Croatia is in a lockdown, it is not surprising that tourists do not want to arrive even if they are allowed to do so. As a result, Qatar Airways will not be providing nearly as many frequencies on its flights to Zagreb as it once used to.
Do you think Qatar Airways will ever return to providing double daily flights between Zagreb and Doha? Will it ever return to Dubrovnik? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.