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ZAGREB: Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary's press conference

Written by: Nenad Sredojević / Bruno Habus..

© Ivo Gračanin - AvioRadar


Today, at the Amadria Park Capital Hotel in Zagreb, starting at 2:30 pm, Michael O'Leary, CEO of the low-budget airline Ryanair, held a press conference.

Ryanair, Europe’s No.1 airline, today (21st Sept) launched its first ever Winter schedule in Zagreb – operating 24 routes to exciting European destinations such as London, Paris, Milan, Malaga and Naples. Earlier this summer, Ryanair opened its first Zagreb base, which will increase in December to a three aircraft base to support strong demand from inward visitors to Croatia. This is an investment of $300m in Zagreb, delivering 100 direct jobs and supporting over 750 onsite jobs in Croatia, as Ryanair continues to recover and rebuild tourism and jobs post Covid.

Croatian citizens/visitors can now book a well-deserved break on one of these 24 new winter routes. As travel recovers from the Covid pandemic, Ryanair’s growth continues to lead traffic and tourism recovery across Europe.


Baden Baden Gothenburg Naples
Basel London Oslo
Brussels Malaga Paris
Dortmund Malta Paphos
Dublin Malmo Podgorica
Dusseldorf Manchester Rome
Eindhoven Memmingen Sofia
Frankfurt Milan Thessaloniki

Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary said:

“Ryanair is investing in Croatia to help recover its tourism industry post Covid and strengthen connectivity to the rest of Europe as Ryanair continues to grow and air travel returns to pre-pandemic levels. As Ryanair takes delivery of 55 new B737-8200 ‘Gamechanger’ aircraft this Winter, we are delighted to base three of these new aircraft in Zagreb - operating 24 new routes - during Ryanair’s first ever winter with a base in Zagreb.

To celebrate these 24 new Winter routes, we are launching a seat sale with fares from just 150 Kuna/€19.99 one way for travel until end Nov 2021. These promo fares must be booked by midnight Thursday, 23rd September. Since these amazing low fares will be snapped up quickly, customers should log on today www.ryanair.com to avoid missing out.”

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14:20 - The beginning of the conference is expected

14:30 - O'Leary: This is my first visit to Zagreb and I bring good news

14:32 - He praised the connections of Croatia Airlines, but that it is not enough for Zagreb, so they jump in (Ryanair)

14:33 - Announces fleet expansion with 737MAX

14:34 - 4 based aircraft in the summer flight schedule are an investment of approximately $ 400,000,000

14:35 - The base in Zagreb directly employs 100 people with 750 on-site jobs

14:37 - Croatia Airlines opened 3 routes in 6 months while RYR opened 24. Criticism was expressed for state aid to CTN in the amount of 12 million euros

14:40 - He emphasizes once again that they (RYR) do not have any support from the Government of the Republic of Croatia

14:41 - O'Leary claims that they are responsible for the accelerated recovery and development of tourism in Zagreb

14:42 - The focus is not on the lines covered by CTN but on new destinations

14:43 - CTN is a good and reputable airline, but they have lost pace with the development of passenger traffic in Croatia,, especially in ZAG

14:44 - ZAG is one of the most expensive airports in Europe, he emphasizes.

14:45 - He believes that ZAG should have 3.5 million passengers in 2022, 6 million in 2023, and over 7 million passengers in 2024

14:46 - Expresses satisfaction that Ukraine joins the EU open skies initiative before Christmas, where he sees a great opportunity that can be replicated in Croatia

14:47 - MZLZ management has no ambitions for accelerated growth, claims the CEO, but they support the desire for development and support RYR in their plans

14:48 - Croatia Airlines does not see it as a competition, because they do not fly to the same airports on double routes and the profile of RYR and CTN passengers is not the same

14:50 - Zagreb is a new, exciting destination for RYR and claims that there is enough space in Zagreb for both CTN and RYR

14:51 - RYR is currently not interested in opening a year-round bases in Croatian coastal cities. Although the base in Zadar will stay over this winter for the first time, it cannot announce on which routes it will fly from Zadar.

14:53 - RYR does not want to cooperate with travel agencies and encourages passengers and groups to book flights directly through the Ryanair website

14:55 - An interesting group of passengers are, for example, Americans who come to Europe with other carriers and then look for City hop destinations with Ryan, including Croatia.

14:57 - He believes that Ryanair will change the habits of passengers in Zagreb and its surroundings and encourage passengers to use air transport more often

14:58 - They are in negotiations with ZAG to base the 4th and 5th plane in the summer season of 2022

14:58 - The current number of passengers in Zagreb is satisfactory

14:59 - The number of inhabitants of Zagreb and its surroundings should generate 8-9 million passengers per year, he emphasizes

15:00 - O’Leary expects over 10 million passengers over a period of 5-6 years in collaboration with MZLZ

15:01 - He believes that a holding of all airports and Croatia Airlines is a failure, and that it can only function in North Korea or in other "bullshit concept communism systems"