Croatia Airlines is the latest new-comer at Helsinki Airport, Finland. The Helsinki-Zagreb route opened on 21 May, and will further increase travel to Croatia. The country is a favourite with Finnish tourists: last year, the number of passengers on Croatian routes increased by 24 percent.
Helsinki Airport has had routes to three destinations in Croatia: Pula, Split and Dubrovnik. Since May, Croatia Airlines is operating a new route, between Helsinki Airport and Zagreb. There are three flights a week on this route.
The growth rates on routes between Helsinki Airport and Croatia have been nothing short of amazing. In 2010 there were only 33,000 passengers travelling to Croatia, whereas last year 150,000 passengers travelled to the country from Helsinki. Even compared to 2015 alone, the number of passengers on the Croatian routes increased by a whopping 24 percent.
“Passenger records are being broken at great speed. Finns have discovered Croatia’s most impressive destinations, where there is no shortage of both shoreline and city attractions. The arrival of Croatia Airlines to Finland is indeed a good news for people travelling to South-eastern Europe, because the airline’s onward flight possibilities from Zagreb make new destinations available. We wish Croatia Airlines a warm welcome to Finland,” says Helsinki Airport director Ville Haapasaari, SVP at Finavia, the Finnish airport operator.
Croatia Airlines will at the same time enjoy access to new flight connections, for example from Helsinki to Asia. Helsinki Airport is one of the most important flight hubs between Europe and Asia, and connections to China, for example, are world-class. Helsinki Airport has a total of 94 flights a week to Asia.
– We are glad that Helsinki has become the 39th destination in our network. We are now offering to our passengers the fastest travel option between Finland and Croatia and I believe that many of them will recognise the value of this route. I hope that our flights will help to discover natural, historical and cultural beauties of our capital, but also the whole country. The Finnish market has a large potential and I am convinced that our new direct flights will contribute to the strengthening of business links between our countries, as well as our traditional friendship, said Krešimir Kucko, President & CEO of Croatia Airlines, at the ceremony organised at Helsinki Airport after the celebratory flight.
The route between Helsinki and Zagreb is open during the summer season until 15th of October. In addition to Zagreb, the other new routes between Helsinki Airport and South-eastern Europe that will be opened in 2017 are Pristina in Kosovo, Varna in Bulgaria, and Bucharest in Romania.
“The region as a whole has now clearly become an important area of emphasis for Helsinki Airport. This is a sign both of increased demand and of successful sales work. Greece continues to be a huge attraction, and as an up-and-comer Croatia is in a class of its own. The upswing is not accounted for entirely by Finnish holidaymakers – the demand is on both sides. Finland itself is an attractive final destination, as are the onward destinations that are accessible through the Helsinki Airport,” Haapasaari says.
Preparations for new passenger records are currently underway at Helsinki Airport, with major extension work being carried out. The number of passengers is estimated to exceed 18 million this year, and by 2020 a total of 20 million passengers a year will pass through the airport.