I will answer to all of you...
Yeah, especially me
First, Mark_D. Sorry, but this is aviation, not political forum.
You're right it is, but since civil aviation is big business and since business is affected heavily by political situations, and finally as White Eagle already mentioned a bit about, I wouldn't have said a thing if Stretch8 hadn't've gone to town (excuse the pun) with his "why the hell would I want to go" snide remark which you seconded, even spreaded over to JAT itself. So y'see, you started it, not me.
Secondly (and I want to get done with this politics stuff, to move on to just the business and aviation part) I do
wish Croatia the best, now that it's a country, and I am
glad it's proven to be such a phenomenal tourist season so far, auguring really well for the future and yes the Dalmatian and Istrian coastline is
an absolute jewel, I think even the most hardened Chetnik would agree with that assessment
So by all means, let it get visited and enjoyed and by as many people near and far, as possible in the years to come. It'll be good for everybody.
Politically the country does
have some issues to work, and you only harm your own interests by denying it. For Croatia to be an open and welcoming member of the European community (you see it does take more than just beautiful coastline and mountains, alone), needs to be not just a welcoming, positive, and accommodating attitude generally, but also and maybe more difficult, an open reconciling with the past as well, everything from coming to terms with and repatriating the hundreds of thousands of Krajina refugees, --yes that's what they are, what else would you call them anyway-- to reestablishing previously-severed bilateral ties with Serbia and Montenegro --and yes you mention the business interests are starting to move the politics aside, I agree and am glad it's finally happening. I don't know how difficult procedurally it is for Croats visiting Yugoslavia but I do know the other way round is quite involved, in fact even to the point of an American multinational having the YU contingent fly via Munich rather than go through Croatia on the way to their annual regional business-holiday reunion meeting in Ljubljana and then on to Skiing at Kranska Gora or Austria, simply because it was less hassle.
And then even to just some honest appraisals about not just Domovinski Rat, that it wasn't all total roses and valour for lijepa nasa, especially not with Franjo around and even in some cases not these days still, as we see these days with difficulties facing the Mirko Norac and Ante Gotovina indictments. Even down to as well finally dedicating some overdue resources to commemorating Jasenovac, you know just so it's not others that have to continually take the initiative there.
And finally, yes the NATO bombing was illegal, you don't do yourself any good trying to make light of something like that, especially not when relegating it just to the domain of 'stories for bars in Serbia'. Or for that matter defeat yourself in one sentence by first calling me a friend then a few short words later say I'm not brave enough to go visit my homeland, which btw you only make your own self look again look childish and rabid in assuming. Does not help you at all, to do such a thing.
Anyway though, back now to the aviation, I think it would be great if there was something as flexible as a OU-JAT codeshare for ZAG-BEG. The TIA suggestion I was actually just joking, yes I don't think there's route traffic demand there to justify it, probably not even just weekly, and not for a number of years yet , anyway. SOF a similar prospect, though finally some expatriates (and not just King Simeon, either) back there now and really trying to get the economy turned around. so maybe it could be a business prospect for OU, say maybe for companies like Mercator looking to expand, and especially if Balkan Air still has to endure its current difficulties after the disastrous years of the Teevi buyout. For OTP, I think could be a potential destination if maybe ZAG a midway stopover for Italian business having interests in both Croatia as well as Romania. And ATH, the giant airport of the whole region these days, seems to me that would make even more sense as a potential OU destination, not just for Greek business travel but also a vacation destination, particularly for the Olympics in a few years' time.
Anyway I wonder about all this because I wonder what OU does with its Airbuses in the October-March months, when it's off-season and not just most Europeans are working but also Adriatic coast too chilly for most to visit, much less swim in the sea. Just seems to me the load factors go way down, so that was another reason I figured maybe the airline might be interested in focussing on prospective business travel, even if only with weekly flights, to other major cities in the Balkans during that time.