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AVIORADAR - Croatian aviation website

2020 summer season at three Adriatic airports

Written by Nenad Sredojević.

Rijeka Airport


On Sunday, October 25, the summer flight schedule has officially ended. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this has been the worst period for Croatian airport traffic since the independence.

We bring you the figures that Pula, Rijeka and Zadar Airports achieved in that period, as well as the comments of the management.

  • Pula Airport

In the period from April 1 to October 25, Pula Airport had 3,510 operations carrying 79,621 passengers. In the same period in 2019, those numbers were 9,244 operations with 769,519 passengers. This means that only 10.35% of last year's passenger traffic was realized, compared to 38% of operations.
From this we can conclude that the aircraft occupancy was extremely low.

In terms of traffic figures since the beginning of the year, the figures are similar.

82,278 passengers were transported on 4,060 operations, while last year those numbers were 9,976 operations and 773,165 passengers. So on just over 40% of last year's operations there were 10.64% of passengers carried. The conclusion about the occupancy is the same as with the summer season. 


In the winter (if the epidemiological situation allows), Pula Airport will be connected with Zagreb via Zadar (CTN) and Split and Osijek (TDR).

The director of Pula Airport, Nina Vojnić Žagar, commented on the situation: "Istria is primarily a car-destination. Air traffic in Istria is the biggest loser given the structure of passengers coming to Istria this way. With the beginning of the pandemic, expectations were that it would not be a good season. At one point we didn't expect to cross the 100,000 passenger mark, which unfortunately came true. " - said the director.

  • Rijeka Airport

In the summer season of 2020, Rijeka performed 1,988 operations with 25,484 passengers. This is slightly more than 50% of operations and 13.3% of passengers compared to summer season of 2019, which ended with 3,952 operations and 190,905 passengers.

Since the beginning of the year, 2,972 operations have been performed with 26,863 passengers.
In the same period last year, there were 4,622 operations and 196,155 passengers. In percentage, this amounts to 64.3% of operations with 13.7% of passengers.

During the winter, Rijeka will be connected with Osijek, Split and Dubrovnik.

Rijeka Airport officials did not want to comment on these figures.


  • Zadar Airport

From January 1, 2020 to October 25, 2020 the number of operations at Zadar Airport was 4,824 compared with 10,960 in the same period in 2019. The number of passengers from January 1, 2020 to October 25, 2020 was 119,168, compared to 801,352 in the same period in 2019. 

For the same period in 2020, the aircraft occupancy is 45.8% compared to 76.3% in 2019. 

As for the season itself, from July 1, 2020 to October 25, 2020 the number of operations was 3,534, compared to 6,116 in the same period in 2019. The number of passengers from July 1, 2020 to October 25, 2020 is 105,000 compared to 490,000 in the same period in 2019.

For the same period in 2020. occupancy is 49.3%, while in 2019. was 83.85%.

Regarding the winter flight schedule, Zadar Airport will be connected to Zagreb and Pula by the Croatia Airlines OU634.

"After a record 2019 and big plans for 2020, with the outbreak of the pandemic, Zadar Airport shared its fate with the rest of the Croatian and world economy.

Last year's record 801,347 passengers and all predictions at the end of last year spoke of new records being made in 2020, and also breaking the limit of one million passengers. But in early March, things began to change significantly and the lockdown resulted in a historically unprecedented drop in air traffic worldwide.

Zadar Airport has so far generated 119,000 passengers this year, or about 15% of last year's traffic, which will not change significantly by the end of the year.

July with a 33,684 passengers and 76% drop compared to the same month in 2019, and August with 51,148 and 66% drop in traffic is finally a satisfactory result in a season in which there was practically no serious flying until July and which will be remembered as the biggest challenge for the air transport industry in history. We can say this especially considering the average occupancy of aircraft in August, which was 65% and was one of the highest this season at Croatian airports. All of our major companies and long-standing partners have been retained, from Ryanair to Lufthansa, Eurowings and easyJet. Ryanair is our biggest partner this year as well, with over 41,000 passengers transported, and it will certainly remain so in the coming years.

The second largest number of passengers was carried by Eurowings, followed by domestic Croatia Airlines and Lufthansa. But what makes us especially happy is the reaction of LOT, which included as many as 6 destinations towards Zadar at the beginning of the season and thus additionally opened a very interesting Polish tourist market. The occupancy of LOT aircraft was excellent in these circumstances and we believe we have prepared the ground for much larger numbers from Poland in the coming years.

It should also be noted that general and business aviation has managed to respond to all the challenges of the Covid-19 crisis, and is almost at the level of last record year. Given that Zadar is obviously an attractive destination for such guests, and Zadar Airport with its VIP terminal can meet all the needs of the most demanding guests, this fact gave us a clear signal, so we will continue to develop our services in this direction.

In the end, we can summarize this 2020 in just a few words, and that is - Hope it will never happen again! "- they told us at ZL Zadar.