The first aircraft that flew to Pula was back in 1911, on 29th July whose centenary was celebrated in the year 2011, presenting the continuity and development of aviation in Pula at Valtursko Polje .

It was the time when the Austro-Hungarian army engineers and pilots constructed and boldly tried to realize their dream to concur the sky, departing from a grass field, which was the foundation of the present international airport.

Civilian flights in Istria began back in 1924, when the Austrian industrialist Paul Kupelwieser tried to enrich the tourist offer for visitors to Brijuni by buying a seaplane called  “POLA 1” and tried to establish a connection with Trieste, Ancona and Opatija.

The idea of ​​using the former military airport for civil purposes, was initiated at the beginning of 1965, but the idea was realized two years later, and the Airport officially started to work on 1st  May 1967.

In the beginning it was just a prefabricated building called “Ljubljana Airport — Pula” However , it served with a lot of enthusiasm and pride, and even received 701,370 passengers in 1987.

With the support of the local authorities, during 1987 the construction on the new terminal building began and was completed in 1989 allowing simultaneous arrival / departure of 10 large commercial aircraft with a daily  terminal capacity of 5,000 passengers and  an annual capacity around 1.000 000 passengers.

Unfortunately the war years brought a complete stagnation of traffic, followed by ten years of survival with the financial support of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Communications.

During  1999, an appreciable increase in traffic began, but yet the structure of the traffic completely changed, once the most numerous tourists from UK and from Western countries have been replaced by tourists from Eastern European countries, mainly from the countries of the former Soviet Union.

Over the past few years, except the passenger structure which significantly increased with travelers from Europe (mainly from countries of the UK), also a change of the airline structure  took place. Former charter companies, were replaced by low-cost companies and companies with regular flights.

In the last couple of years, passenger traffic has increased markedly, so if we compare, for example, 2014 with 2019, there is a marked increase in numbers in all segments:


  • passenger number 382,992
  • number of countries 15
  • number of airlines 29
  • number of destinations 33


  • passenger number 777,568 (+103%)
  • number of countries 21 (+40%)
  • number of airlines 35 (+21%)
  • number of destinations 67 (+103%)

The development of traffic at Pula airport would not be possible  without the excellent cooperation with the County of Istria, especially with the Istrian Tourist Board. Our job is to join forces, to make Istra closer to  Europe, but also show Istria to  Europe, because we have a lot to show and a lot to be proud of.