history of aviation in Pula
History of aviation in Pula
The area of Pula Airport represents an ideal territorial and climatic location indicated to perform air traffic. Even before World War II today's airport was in existence with a grass runway, which was later destroyed during the war.
From autumn 1954 to 1st May 1967 the airport was operated by the Yugoslav Army for military purposes. The idea of having a civilian airport dates back to the beginning of 1965.
Shortly after an agreement was reached between the Yugoslav Army representatives, Pula Municipality and Ljubljana Airport which inaugurated a dual purpose airport, military and civilian.
A prefabricated terminal was constructed which became operational in 1967 ran by a joint management called Airport Ljubljana Pula. From the opening of the new terminal on until 1990 Pula airport registers a constant increase in traffic, particularly so during the seasonal flights from April to November.
From 1967 until 1983 the total number of passengers exceeded 400.000, these were mainly tourists from great Britain followed by Germany and the Nederlands on package holidays to the Istrian and Kvarner Rivieras. During 1986 550.000 national and international passengers passed through Pula Airport ( an area of only 1600 m2).
During this time heavy air traffic of 7 to 9 aircraft per hour, with 5 parking positions only on the apron, with over 30 coaches awaiting passengers with inadequate parking area made this extremely difficult, and therefore, plans to build a new terminal and extension to airside apron to cope with far greater traffic were commissioned.
Approved by the Regional Authority construction on the new terminal building (8000m) began in 1987 and was completed in 1989 enabling the airport to deal within expected arrival/departure of 10 aircraft and 5.000 passengers concurrently.
Pula was finally able to cope with an expected passengers throughput of 1.000.000.
During 1990 the airport registers the highest number of passengers : 670.000, mostly from Great Britain carried by Yugotours and Thomson Holidays. Unfortunately the unrest of the war years brought the airport to a virtual standstill, this followed by almost 10 years of total subsidy by the Croatian Ministry of Transport.
The year 1999 shows a significant increase in air traffic, however, this follows by a drastic change in the structure of passengers, as, prior to the civil hostilities almost all tourists through Pula were from Western Europe, whilst now the tourists arriving are mainly from Eastern Europe and by far the largest groups from the former Soviet Union. The demand from Russia in particular is constantly increasing and the positive signs are operations all year round.
Presently, Pula airport is capable of handling large aircrafts such as Boeing 747 and Iliusin 86 which are indeed being handled efficiently this year.
Thanks to favourable climatic and technical conditions Pula is designated as the alternative airport for neighbouring countries Slovenia, Italy and Austria.. Pula has a special interest in JET SET passengers flying privately or rented aircraft visiting Brijuni islands or attending concerts and shows at Pula Arena and sailing their yachts.
The airport management is ready and willing to discuss new possibilities on all areas of marketing following changes in tourism trends. We are in positive negotiations with some of the European most competitive and low cost Airlines and hope to reach an agreement which will be mutually beneficial. Pula Airport together with the Istrian Region is engaged in a project called "Free Zone" in partnership with a substantial Israeli company, the feasibility study anticipates a very substantial increase in trade and tourism for the whole region.
A promising new era is opening its doors to Pula Airport and the region. We are constantly upgrading our facilities and look forward to new challenges.