ZAGREB, 17 July 2020 – Croatia’s flag carrier Croatia Airlines departed on its historic first-ever flight to China in the early hours of Friday morning, Croatian Aviation reports.
Using its A320 aircraft, Croatia Airlines departed one hour and nine minutes after midnight from Zagreb Airport with 122 passengers on board. The passengers on the charter flight were young Chinese athletes from Beijing University who were in Croatia and were being returned home.
It first made its way to Nursultan Nazarbayev Airport in Kazakhstan for a technical stopover before heading on to Tianjin Binhai Airport in China. The distance between Zagreb and Tianjin, over 7,700 km, is too large for this narrow-body aircraft to fly on this route without a stopover.
The Croatia Airlines aircraft landed in Kazakhstan after 5 hours of flying time and continued to China after one hour and ten minutes on the ground for a crew change and refuelling. 9A-CTK is expected to land in China at 12 o’clock local time.
Departure from China is scheduled for Saturday, July 18th, while arrival in Zagreb is expected at 2:30 p.m. local time. A large number of diplomats are expected to be on the return charter flight.