Interior minister: Schengen regime was smoothly introduced at airports

NEWS 27.03.202311:16

Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic on Sunday visited Resnik Airport in the second Croatian city of Split to see how the introduction of the Schengen regime at the airports was proceeding after border checks were lifted at air borders as well.

Border controls at Croatian airports for flights within the Schengen Area were abolished on 26 March, which is also the start of the summer flight schedule, under the 8 December decision of the EU Home Affairs Council on full application of the Schengen acquis in Croatia. The country joined the Schengen Area and internal land and sea border checks were abolished on 1 January.

During his visit to Resnik Airport Minister Bozinovic said that everything was proceeding as planned. He recalled that Croatia’s preparations for the admission to the passport-free Schengen Area had lasted  six years.

As of 26 March 2023, the nine international airports in Croatia – Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, Pula, Rijeka, Osijek, Mali Losinj and Brac – started to fully apply the Schengen acquis and passengers on flights within the Schengen Area no longer have to undergo border checks.

The preparations for the Schengen regime started in Split in 2014 when the construction of the new building of the airport began.

The application of Schengen rules at airports will greatly accelerate the flow of passengers and make the work of border police easier, the interior ministry said on Sunday.

Data show that on the average 70% of air transport passengers will be within the Schengen Area, except at Dubrovnik Airport, where the ratio of Schengen and non-Schengen passengers will be 50:50.

By fully applying the Schengen acquis in air transport, all Croatian airports will implement all transition plans and carry out the necessary infrastructure adjustments in order to separate Schengen and non-Schengen flights.

An increased number of arrivals is expected during the coming tourist season and the abolition of border checks on Schengen flights will facilitate passage through airports, which will increase tourists’ interest to arrive in Croatia by air, the ministry said.

Split Airport expects 13,500 air flights operated by 52 air companies this summer when the biggest Croatian coastal city is connected with 89 destinations by air. An estimated 3.3 million passengers are expected to pass through Resnik Airport during this tourist season.