"Pilots take no special joy in walking. Pilots like flying." - Neil Armstrong
Availability of air transport within Croatia
Written by Ivan Stojaković.
As long as we do not emphasize to people the availability of air transport within Croatia at affordable prices, we will continue to hear public appeals to the public railway carrier, HŽ Putnički prijevoz, which at the end of December 2020 reduced or completely canceled a number of lines due to "Covid situation" and reduced travel needs. The Osijek-Zagreb-Rijeka-Osijek line, which has been completely abolished, is often mentioned.
Of course, when we talk about transport by train, which has stops in many smaller cities and towns and thus becomes more accessible to more people than an aircraft that flies directly from the departure point to the destination, the train is an advantage. But given the ratio of train and aircraft capacity, as well as the travel time from the first departure to the end point, the aircraft is at an advantage. Consequently, passengers from Osijek, Rijeka and the surrounding area, as an alternative to the canceled train number 702/703, have Trade Air flights that fly twice a week between these cities / airports. It should be emphasized here that Trade Air also flies on the Osijek-Zagreb route and vice versa three times a week with two daily departures. We wrote about a similar topic last summer, so there you can find more details about departure times, duration, advantages and disadvantages of air travel.
In addition to the controversial train line 702/703 Osijek-Zagreb-Rijeka-Osijek mentioned here, the public is also raising concern about connecting our two largest cities, Zagreb and Split. In this case as well, the HŽPP deprived both the direct passengers on the mentioned route, but also all those from places and small towns where the canceled high-speed night train 820/821 was stopping. Unfortunately, for passengers on the intermediate route air transport is no alternative, but for direct passengers, and those who gravitate to the airports of Zagreb and Split, Croatia Airlines offers morning and evening flights every day, leaving them all day to perform various errands and fly back home.
Through the PSO financing program, the Republic of Croatia covers the losses of carriers on unprofitable lines in order to connect areas of the country that the carrier would not connect due to low demand. A large amount of money is allocated from the state budget for PSO, which is used to pay for non-profit lines, regardless of whether there will be passengers on them or not. Therefore, we will ask the question, if Croatia Airlines and Trade Air respect the agreements with the State and fly empty or half-empty, then why does HŽPP not respect its obligation for which they received financial resources ?!
As we said, planes (PSO-funded) fly from cities where there are airports, but trains (also PSO-funded) do not run where they could. Who is to blame for this? We are not here to call out HŽPP, but to point out the traffic issues and praise the segment in which we are experts, aviation and our national (Croatia Airlines) and (so far) the only private airline (Trade Air).
P.S. Now that you know of an alternative to discontinued train lines, and would like to travel by plane, but don’t know where to start… Don’t worry, we have a solution for you: