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Split had a record 2023; Amsterdam is now top destination; gained Istanbul flights

Croatia Airlines SPLIT

Split is Croatia’s second-most populous city. It is situated roughly halfway down the country’s coast in-between Zadar and Dubrovnik. Split is closer to Sarajevo and Podgorica than it is to Zagreb. In 2023, Split had almost 3.4 million passengers, its best year to date. Traffic was only about 10% lower than Zagreb’s.

Analyzing Cirium schedules shows that Split’s growth was despite losing various airlines since 2019, many due to the war in Ukraine. Carriers included Aeroflot, S7 Airlines, SkyUp, Ukraine International and Windrose. Other airline losses unrelated to the war include ASL (2019), FlyOne (2020), Luxair (2021) and SWISS (2021). However, PLAY has been gained, with a weekly Keflavik operation beginning on 28 May. It will be Split’s first scheduled service from Iceland.

Split traffic 2011-2023

Split is massively seasonal

Like many European coastal locations, Split is very summer-seasonal. In 2019 and 2023, the first three months accounted for just 3% to 4% of annual passengers. In this quarter, links to Zagreb and large European hubs are especially important. July 2023, the busiest month, had 25x more passengers than February, the least popular month. The difference rose from 20x in 2019.

Split Seasonality

easyJet is the leading carrier; Wizz Air is the only top airline to cut capacity

LCC easyJet has flown to Split since 2006. Analysing Cirium information shows that it has a fifth of Q3 2024 available seats on a network of 14 routes to (in order of capacity) the UK, Switzerland, France, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. While it has not introduced new routes recently, it ceased flying from Newcastle and Venice VCE in 2019 and London STN in 2020.

Wizz Air is the only top 10 scheduled carrier to have cut capacity year-on-year, although it remains Split’s third-largest operator. The ULCC first flew to the Croatia airport in 2006 from Budapest and London LTN, but it pulled out in 2007. It returned in 2010 and, for years, only flew from LTN. It plans 10 routes in Q3 mainly to Poland and the UK. While Poznan has been cut versus 2023, it has reduced frequencies in multiple markets.

Prague International Airport

Split joined Volotea’s network in 2012. Now the airport’s eighth-largest airline, it has expanded by 58% year-on-year. It will start Naples on 31 May 2024 (2-weekly), Athens on 2 June (2-weekly), Strasbourg on 26 June (2-weekly) and Bari on 5 July (2-weekly). It will have 10 summer routes.

Top 10 Split airlines Q3 2024

Amsterdam overtakes London LGW as the top destination; Istanbul IST is new

Using Cirum to compare Split’s scheduled network in Q3 2024 with 2023 indicates that Bari, Keflavik, Istanbul IST and Strasbourg are new. Only Poznan has been cut.

On 7 May, Croatia Airlines began a 3-weekly seasonal IST service, one of 21 international scheduled routes for the airline from Split. While flights get to IST at midnight, which would be good to feed Turkish Airlines, they do not seem to partner. Flights leave IST at the awful time of 05:10, which would be too early for most connections even if they did work together.

Munich has fallen out of Split’s primary destination list, replaced by Zagreb – despite the capacity cut. Amsterdam has risen from second place in 2023 to first, overtaking LGW. Amsterdam has 32-weekly flights in July by KLM (20), easyJet (8), Transavia (3) and Croatia Airlines (1). Vienna seats are by 62%, pushing it three places to second. It has 29-weekly flights by Austrian (16), Croatia Airlines (7), Ryanair (3) and Wizz Air (3). The growth is from the entry of Ryanair on 31 March 2024.

Top 10 Split destinations Q3 2024

Billund Airport