Emirates will continue to maintain its route-sharing arrangement with Flydubai to Zagreb into next year. The Gulf’s largest airline resumed operations between Dubai and the Croatian capital on Sunday following a five-month hiatus, during which the service was run by its partner Flydubai. Emirates has noted it will continue to maintain flights to the Croatian capital on a seasonal summer basis until October 26, after which Flydubai will once again take over for the winter. “The strategic partnership between both airlines ensures capacity is deployed to best serve customer demand”, Emirates said in a statement. Both airlines mutually codeshare on each others’ Zagreb service.
Emirates’ daily flights to Zagreb will operate in a three class configuration this summer on board the Boeing B777-300ER, featuring eight lie-flat seats in first class, 42 seats in business class and the remaining 304 economy class. Due to the planned upgrade works on the southern runway at Dubai Airport, from April 16 until May 30, the service will operate four times per week – on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. From May 31 onwards, the route will be run as a daily service.
Over the winter months, Flydubai maintained daily operations to Zagreb with its 166-seat Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. The hybrid carrier noted that the partnership has allowed Emirates to better cope with the traditional drop in demand over the winter while reiterating that Croatia “remains an important market for Flydubai”, as it also maintains seasonal summer flights to Dubrovnik. Emirates’ President, Tim Clark, noted that seasonal route swaps, such as the case with Zagreb, could become more common in the future, opening prospects for other markets in the former Yugoslavia as well. “Focusing the network according to two carriers playing their role is working well. We haven’t finished that exercise by any stretch of the imagination”, Mr Clark said.
Despite the majority of passengers on the Dubai – Zagreb service transferring from other far-away destinations, the Croatian National Tourist Board is looking to contribute to the route by generating greater interest for point to point travel. “The Croatian National Tourist Board wants to create greater awareness of Croatia’s unique attractions and offerings as a leisure and business travel destination for visitors from the United Arab Emirates”, Karla Bronobi? Vojvodi? from the Board said. She added, “As part of our ongoing efforts to reach out, broaden and strengthen our connections with the UAE, we are seeking to develop new joint business opportunities, the creation of new holiday packages for UAE residents, and, going forward, increased visits from the market to Croatia”.