Air Croatia (Zagreb Franjo Tuđman) and other Croat start-ups such as Dalmatian (Split), Libertas Air (Dubrovnik), and Adriatic Skyways (Dubrovnik) are set to be joined by another as yet unnamed competitor being set up by the Chinese Southeast Europe Business Association (CSEBA) and local partners.

The association says it is looking into establishing flights between Zagreb Franjo Tuđman and the Serbian capital, Belgrade Nikola Tesla, between which there have been no direct flights for the last 23 years.

In a bid to tap into the growing Chinese tourism market, other plans include offering charters between Croatia and China CSEBA's President Mario Rendulic explained.

The former Yugoslavian state has been attempting to court Chinese investors in recent months among them a pitch to Hainan Airlines (HU, Haikou) and China Southern Airlines (CZ, Guangzhou) for a 49% stake in struggling national carrier, Croatia Airlines (OU, Zagreb Franjo Tuđman).