2 decades in the skyLast Friday, Croatia Airlines celebrated 2 decades of existence. On that day 20 years ago Croatia Airlines officially registered as an airline under the name Zagreb Airlines. Zagreb Airlines, in its first year, transported mostly special packages and express mail. A year later, on July 23, 1990 it changed its name to Croatia Airlines and became the national airline of Croatia, transporting passengers, cargo and mail. Croatia Airlines operated its first service on May 5, 1991 between Zagreb and Split with a leased MD82 while a year later it commenced international flights with its first service being from Zagreb to Frankfurt with a Boeing B737-200 leased from Lufthansa. That year the airline began expanding its fleet with Boeing aircraft. Soon after, regional ATR42s joined the fleet. The airline entered the new millennium with the completion of its first fleet renewal. Between 1998 and 2000 the airline acquired Airbus A319s and A320s.
In 1999, the airline began carrying out technical checkups on its own aircraft in Zagreb. This job was previously conducted by Lufthansa in Germany. From 2001 the Croatia Airlines technical division was given a license to service foreign airliners, while last year the Croatian national carrier completed the construction of a brand new hanger at Zagreb Airport.
During its 20 years of existence Croatia Airlines has carried more than 20 million passengers. A millionth yearly passenger was first carried in 2000 and the airline has carried over 1 million passengers each year. The airline carried its 10 millionth passenger since existence in 2003 and its 20 millionth in 2009. The airline has had the honour to transport Pope John Paul II in 1994, 1998 and 2003. Since 2002 the airline has been developing its online service called FlyOnLine via which passengers can book tickets, accommodation and other forms of transportation. The electronic ticketing programme implementation was complete in 2008.
Croatia Airlines has been an IATA member since 1992. In 1998 Croatia Airlines joined the Association of European Airlines. The airline’s current CEO is now the chairman of this organisation. In 2004 the airline became a regional Star Alliance member. Last year Croatia Airlines began a second fleet renewal processe with the arrival of the Bombardier Dash 8-Q400s. The airline has also ordered new Airbus A319 aircraft. Croatia Airlines is the regional leader in terms of passengers carried although the airline constantly suffers from large scale financial losses.