After 2 hard years of crisis at Rijeka Airport caused by
the COVID 19 pandemic, which led to a drop in passenger traffic of a whopping
86% in 2020 and 70% in 2021. compared to the record 2019, a significant
recovery of air traffic was achieved at Rijeka Airport in the current summer season.
Despite the predictions of all analysts in the industry that air traffic will
recover to pre-pandemic levels only in 2024, full recovery has almost already
been achieved at Rijeka Airport. The same is the result of the exceptional
effort of the Rijeka Airport Management in cooperation with its co-owners (Ministry, County , the Cities of Opatija, Krka, Crikvenica and the Municipality of
Omišalj), as well as the leaders of the Jadran Crikvenica and Hilton hotels
from Rijeka, as well as the tourist board system and a number of participants of the
truist sector who, through joint efforts, managed to restore almost all regular
international lines that operated before the pandemic.
In the first 8 months of 2022, passenger traffic grew by
almost 225% compared to the same period in 2021, i.e. almost 85% of the
pre-pandemic traffic from the record year 2019 was achieved. The months of July
and August, with a traffic of 78.434 passengers, are at the level of 90% of the
performance from 2019, when the traffic of 88.379 passengers was realized.
Our important partner Ryanair, which canceled its operations
to Rijeka in 2021, returned with 3 international routes: Stockholm, Brussels Cherleroi
and London Stansted, and Condor Airlines with 2 routes to Frankfurt and
Duesseldorf, as well as Air Serbia to Belgrade, which operated at Rijeka
Airport before the pandemic. In addition to the aforementioned
"returnees", the key airline responsible for its record traffic in
2006 and 2007 finally returned to Rijeka Airport after 15 years, one of the
most significant low-cost airlines from the UK market: the large easyJet with
two routes from London Gatwick and Berlin.
In addition to the mentioned "returnees" and new
airlines, all airlines that operated in 2021 continued to operate at Rijeka
Airport. Namely: Lufthansa (Frankfurt and Munich), Eurowings (Berlin, Hamburg,
Duesseldorf, Cologne, Stuttgart), Transavia (Eindhoven), Croatia Airlines
(Munich), Air Baltic (Riga), LOT Polish Airlines (lines to Warsaw, Zielena Goru
and a new one for Rzeszow).
domestic regular PSO line to Osijek, Split and Dubrovnik, and the new line to
Zadar, which will be operated by the airline Trade Air in accordance
with the Ministry tender, which was supposed to operate throughout the year, is
currently not in service due to administrative barriers, but we hope that this
too will be resolved soon.
In addition to the aforementioned problem with the domestic
PSO line, air traffic in Europe has faced a new challenge due to the pandemic:
the lack of staff at European airports and airlines, which is causing numerous
delays and cancellations of flights in the Republic of Croatia as well. Faced
with demand significantly higher than planned after the COVID-19 pandemic, some
European airports due to labor shortages are limiting the capacity of
passengers they can serve, which leads to a reduction in the sales capacity of
airline aircraft and flight cancellations due to unprofitability, while others
fail to serve passengers in a timely manner for the same reason leading to
significant flight delays. However, the problem of labor shortage is
significantly present in airlines which, due to the lack of cabin crew and
crews, fail to perform the planned rotations, and especially in the case of
delays when they are forced to cancel flights due to the inability to replace
crew whose duty-time has expired. Like other airports in the Republic of
Croatia and Europe, Rijeka Airport is also suffering the consequences of the
aforementioned situation, and so far a total of 70 flights of regular carriers for
the summer season have been canceled, of which 40 refer to the newly introduced
easyJet line to London, which was supposed to operate until the end October,
but due to problems with the staff of the mentioned airline, as well as low
occupancy of the aircraft caused by insufficient promotion, it was canceled
from 16.7. onward.
Therefore, in accordance with all of the above, this year
Rijeka Airport planned a complete recovery of air traffic to the levels before
the COVID-19 pandemic, and the achievement of a record traffic of about 200,000
passengers, however, due to the sudden cancellation of about 10% of the total
planned international regular flights due to of the aforementioned, a somewhat
smaller realization is expected, i.e. around 180,000 passengers.