Connections analysis of Croatia Airlines’ flight Mostar – Zagreb

At the beginning of May, Croatia Airlines resumed flights with Dash 8-Q400 aircraft to Mostar. The line has been re-established after a three-year hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic. With it, Croatia Airlines offers passengers not only a connection to Zagreb but connects them to destinations all over Europe, and at the same time offers the possibility of traveling all over the world.

Currently, Croatia Airlines has three flights a week from Zagreb to Mostar. On Thursdays and Sundays, flights depart from Zagreb at 11:00 p.m., and on Wednesdays at 11:25 a.m. On Mondays and Fridays, the plane leaves Mostar at 6:00 a.m., and on Wednesdays at 1:05 p.m. The flight to Mostar takes 1 hour and 5 minutes, while the flight to Zagreb takes 1 hour. Overnight flights in Mostar are from Thursday to Friday and from Sunday to Monday.

Passengers who arrive in Zagreb by Croatia Airlines can continue their journey with other airlines that fly to Zagreb, for example, KLM, LOT, Air France, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, etc. It is possible to buy tickets from other carriers in the Mostar – Zagreb flight combination.

On the following maps, you can see the connections from and to Mostar, which are made at the airport in Zagreb. A very important piece of information that was taken into account is the length of the wait. The acceptable waiting time is 3 hours, and sometimes an hour more. But certainly, less than 6 hours because that is too long a wait. Although in the case when there is no alternative, those 6 hours will be tolerable, for this article, an acceptable waiting time is still taken.

The morning flight on Wednesdays from Zagreb to Mostar departs at 11:25. Only a few flights from major European airports and a few flights from regional airports such as Skopje, Sarajevo, Dubrovnik, and Split connect to this flight. Connections from Split, Sarajevo, and Dubrovnik are not so important due to the proximity of these cities, so traveling by car is a faster and better option. The majority of Croatia Airlines flights from the main European hubs arrive a little later, around 1 p.m., and do not connect to Mostar. However, three very important flights are connected to that flight, namely KLM’s from Amsterdam, Croatia Airlines’ flight from Munich, and Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul, and with these flights passengers arriving from North America to Amsterdam or Munich, or from Asia to Istanbul, can reach Mostar without much waiting. Unfortunately, another connection could have been made on that flight, because the Austrian Airlines plane lands in Zagreb at 11 a.m., and because of the 5-minute difference, it does not make the connection because the distance between the flights is too short. The reason for the departure for Mostar at 11:25 is also clear, and that is so that the plane would return to Zagreb before the departure of the flights at 14:30 and to make connections. If the flight arrived ten minutes later, it would not make connections to Split, that is, Rome, Frankfurt, and London.

The evening flight to Mostar makes many more connections in Zagreb than the morning flight, and this also makes traveling easier for passengers because they have more options for traveling with only one stop in Europe. With that flight, which leaves at 11 p.m., there is also a challenge, and that is a very short transfer from incoming flights to Zagreb. For example, the plane lands from Brussels at 22:30, so passengers have only half an hour to change planes. In addition to Brussels, there is also a flight from Munich that arrives ten minutes earlier. If your flights are not delayed, no problem, just a short layover, is actually ideal, because no time is wasted. But if the plane is just a little late, trouble starts for the passengers. Nowadays, airplane delays are quite common, so there is a possibility of losing the connection to Mostar. However, the majority of other flights arrive between 19 and 22 hours, so there is no short layover and there should be no challenges with delays. The flight from Amsterdam arrives at 22:35 and because of 5 minutes, it loses the possibility of connection to Mostar. At least at first glance, there is no limit as to why the flight could not be moved by those 5 minutes, but there may be some other operational reasons.

The morning flight from Mostar to Zagreb makes connections to some of the most important hubs in Europe such as Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, Istanbul or Zurich. Flights to Warsaw and Copenhagen provide good connections to Scandinavia. There is even a connection to Osijek. This flight is well adapted and passengers in Zagreb wait between 1 and 2 hours for a transfer, while only the flight to Warsaw takes a little less than 3 hours. Flights in this period, we can say, are ideally arranged.

On Wednesday, the noon flight from Mostar to Zagreb will make a lot of connections, to 8 destinations the wait for a connection will be less than 3 hours, and some of the destinations are Split, Sarajevo, and Brač, which are easily accessible by car, so rarely will any passenger decide to travel by plane to these destinations. By waiting 4 to 5 hours, which is already a lot and sometimes unacceptable, a connection is made to an additional 7 destinations. Connections that have to wait more than 5 hours are not on the map.

It is possible to conclude that travelers from Mostar got a good connection with the world, and finally have the opportunity to travel without having to go to Split, Dubrovnik, or Sarajevo. Flights and connections are the most adapted for connection to Lufthansa Group hubs, so it is possible to get to Frankfurt or Munich with almost every flight and their slightly “smaller” hubs in Vienna, Brussels, and Zurich. It is also an important connection to Amsterdam and Paris, which are an alternative to Lufthansa’s hubs. Also, one of the more important connections is on Turkish Airlines and its flight to Istanbul, because Istanbul is connected to “every corner” of the world. Connections with LOT to Warsaw are also an alternative to Lufthansa for trips to Europe. For travelers, it is a great thing if there are more carriers, that is, more alternatives, because they do not depend only on one carrier, but have the option of choosing. With greater competition, lower ticket prices are possible, and ultimately the passengers themselves will benefit.

Croatia Airlines must certainly continue to improve connections and potentially increase capacity in order to establish itself almost as a “domestic carrier”. This will be achieved with good marketing and certainly with ticket prices. The opportunity exists because it is the only conventional carrier at the airport and there is no competition, not even in the form of low-cost airlines. Other airlines via Zagreb can also contribute to the filling of the aircraft towards Mostar. Time and statistics will show the success, and it would certainly be interesting to find out where most travelers from Mostar travel via Zagreb.

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