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Bol Airport on the Croatian island of Brač will close its doors after twenty years of operations due to mounting debt. The airport operator and the Croatian government have agreed to shut down the airport prior to the start of the 2013 holiday season, with the operator to declare bankruptcy. Brač Airport handled just over 12.550 passengers in 2012, making it busier than the likes of Banja Luka, Osijek, Lošinj and Maribor. Croatia Airlines maintained seasonal flights between Brač and Zagreb, while Austrian Airlines also operated seasonal services to the island from Vienna, Innsbruck and Graz. Brač Airport also enjoyed numerous charters during the summer months.
The airport’s closure has caught the Austrian tour operator Gruber-Reisen off guard. It had already sold 3.500 tour packages for the summer, which included direct flights to the island. Gruber-Reisen also operates a hotel on Brač. “Since Split Airport is overbooked during the high season, Brač is the ideal alternative for our charter flights during the summer, where we operated an average of 100 flights per year. We fear what will happen if the airport is closed”, the tour operator said in a statement. However, other sources claim that plans for the airport’s closure were made known to tour operators as early as last year.
The airport is believed to have been generating an annual loss of 66.000 euros. During its hay day Brač Airport used to handle some 35.000 passengers per year. The airport employs sixteen people. Some of them have been offered to transfer to Split Airport while others will be offered jobs at local hotels. Brač Airport opened on May 22, 1993 and is Croatia’s youngest commercial airport.
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