Ryanair revives routes out of ZagrebReading Time: 2 minutes
Europe’s largest airline Ryanair has announced plans to restore all of the flights from the Croatian capital of Zagreb that it suspended last month, while commencing services from Zagreb to Bratislava, Lviv and Corfu.
Ryanair launched its base in Zagreb, where it hosts three aircraft, last year and after the recent service disruption, now plans to fly 3.5 million passengers annually from the facility. Ryanair has another Croatian base in Zadar, and also serves Rijeka, Pula, Split and Dubrovnik. By the summer, the Irish company will be making 70 weekly flights from the city, to a total of 27 destinations, including London, Paris and Frankfurt.
Last month Ryanair suspended 12 routes from Zagreb for January and February, citing plummeting demand due to Coronavirus and travel restrictions across Europe. Ryanair chief David O’Brien told Croatian media that “Ryanair is investing in Croatia to help the tourism industry recover from the Coronavirus pandemic and strengthen ties with the rest of Europe (as) air traffic returns to pre-pandemic levels.”
O’Brien pointedly noted that “with no external backing” Ryanair has launched more than 80 Croatian routes and directly created 180 jobs. “This is a total investment of USD 600 million from Ryanair in Croatia, and all this without a single euro of any state subsidies from the government, unlike the EUR 12 million that Croatia Airlines receives annually.” Ryanair is aiming to compete with Lufthansa, as travel from Zagreb to almost anywhere in Europe has previously meant flying with Germany’s flag-carrier airline, O’Brien said.
The COVID:19 pandemic has similarly disrupted the plans of Ryanair’s aviation peers. Hungary’s Wizz Air permanently ceased flights to 84 destinations in December: most significantly from Vienna, where it opened a base in 2018, as well as 7 routes from Warsaw, and 4 from Sofia. The Hungarian airline has said it will maintain all of its routes in Central and Eastern Europe, which make up half of its business.