The largest Asian carrier China Southern Airlines has commenced negotiations with Zadar Airport over launching flights from Guangzhou in China to the Croatian city of Zadar.
The General Manager of Zadar Airport, Irena Cosic, the Croatian Ambassador to China, Nebojsa Koharovic, and the Croatian-based Chinese Southeast Europe Business Association (CSEBA), held talks with both Guangzhou Airport and China Southern Airlines over the potential service.
''Our negotiations went very well and Guangzhou Airport expressed a strong interest in this service. However, China Southern Airlines required some additional technical details. The main problem of Zadar Airport is the inability of larger aircraft to land on our airport.Nevertheless, Guangzhou Airport will contact other air carriers if China Southern Airlines decides not to launch the service due to the short runway in Zadar'', explained Mario Rendulic, the head of CSEBA.
China Southern Airlines is the world's fourth busiest airline and the largest Asian air carrier by fleet size. It operates flights to 190 destinations around the globe, but has a limited presence in Europe, only through its services to Frankfurt, London, Moscow, Paris, St Petersburg and Rome. Flights to Zadar would surely contribute to the air carrier's further expansion in Europe and bring more Chinese tourists to Croatia.
''It is important to establish direct flights, as well as to simplify and speed up the issuance of visas. Last year, 100,000 Chinese tourists visited Croatia, which is almost nothing considering the size of the Chinese travel market; however, it was an improvement of 20 percent in comparison to 2015’’, recently commented Hu Zhaoming, the Chinese ambassador to Croatia.