ZAGREB, Dec 23 (Hina) – The bridge connecting the southern Peljesac peninsula to the mainland should be completed in November 2021, Minister of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Oleg Butkovic announced on Tuesday evening.
Despite the coronavirus outbreak, not all large infrastructure projects have been slowed down or paused. The construction of the Peljesac bridge, which includes the construction of 30 kilometres of access roads, is going very well. The bridge should be finished sometime in November 2021, Butkovic said in an interview with the HTV public television service.
Speaking of access roads, Butkovic said that a 2.5-km-long tunnel had been drilled last week, 74 days before schedule, adding that the whole project, including the access roads, should be completed before the 2022 tourist season.
Commenting on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the transport sector, Butkovic said that following the discovery of a new, more contagious strain of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom, the temporary suspension of flights to that country had been prolonged until December 31.
He said that 160 Croatian citizens would be flown to Croatia by Croatia Airlines on Wednesday. They would all have to present a negative PCR test, otherwise they would have to self-isolate and get tested.
Speaking of the national carrier Croatia Airlines, Butkovic said that the pandemic had had a disastrous impact on the aviation industry globally.
In the year to September, all Croatian airports recorded 19% of their results in 2019. Croatia Airlines reported year-on-year declines of 90% in April and May, of 80% in June and of 70% in July and August during the summer tourist season, he said.
The minister confirmed that the national carrier wasn’t doing great regardless of the pandemic and the government had launched a search for a strategic partner, which has been suspended.
“Who will buy Croatia Airlines when everything has come to a standstill?” Butkovic said, adding that with the consent of the European Commission an arrangement had been made to help Croatia Airlines back on its feet. He expressed hope that the industry would recover over the next three years and announced that the search for a strategic partner would continue.
Butkovic also announced an additional HRK 400 million in aid to the transport sector to help it weather the crisis.