Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Croatia’s first low cost airline

More competition for Croatia Airlines?
Croatia could soon get its first low cost airline. Plans are being put in motion for a new low cost carrier to be created by the end of the year, the daily “24 sata” reports. The project is being headed by Željko Romić, a Croat from Australia. He plans for his low cost airline to operate a mixed fleet of short haul Airbus and Boeing aircraft, an unorthodox move for a low cost carrier. Furthermore, Romić plans for his airline to operate seasonal long haul flights to the United States with Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft. Local media report that Romić has found vital financial backing for his ambitious project. The airline would also operate domestic flights and could be a rival to Croatia Airlines.

Croatia is served by many low cost airlines but none are local. There have been numerous plans for a Croatian low cost carrier to be created but none have ever materialised. Do you think Croatia needs a low cost airline? Will the abovementioned airline ever see the light of day? Post a comment.

25 comments:

  1. ambitious move, especially A330's and A340's for the states. wish them luck. will be another low cost airline from the balkans. i just hope it doesnt go the same way as Centavia.

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  2. I think it wont see a light.

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  3. How well can a Croat in Australia understand the inner workings of the airline industry in Croatia? It's ambitious and risky, in my opinion, so I would be surprised if it comes to anything.

    If it does and the airline is established I would bet that it will be low cost in name only. Do you really expect me to believe that a Croat in Australia (with no airline industry experience that I know of) can crack the intercontinental low cost flying when the likes of Ryanair don't even contemplate it?

    Good luck to them. I hope it works for them because only good things can come out of another airline in the region but "I won't be investing in the business" as they say in Dragons' Den.

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  4. This guy was in the press many times before saying he had similar plans - I think 3 years ago or so - and nothing happened.

    Low-cost on long-haul - with an A340!?! Good luck!

    As for the Centavia comment, the problem there was protecionism and Jat as well as Minister Ilic, not the airline or lack of passengers.

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  5. @ anonymous

    wasn't just that, first destinations were supposed to be ZAG and TGD, and both applications by respective authorities for flights were rejected. problems were also bilaterals, there wasnt open skies, 2 aircraft were based in BEG and had no flights after the summer season, and plans for BTS, Germany, never realised.

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  6. Well I do not see what is wrong if he lives in Australia? Does it mean that just because he lives there he never comes back to the Balkans and never reads up on the developpments in the region?
    Anyway if this does see a light, it would be a smart move if Jat actually arranges with them to open Zagreb-Belgrade and feed Jat's flights where as they could cooperate with Jat on their domestic flight to the Croatian coast.
    I can see this happening only if they drop the idea of flying to the US with 340s...and maybe stick to only one kind of plane. I am sure they can find a couple of 737-300 at a very low price.

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  7. Very good move, offering something completely different from LH and those partners. I am surprised that no one came before with such idea. My personal opinion, it should work just a matter of the strategy, finance and of course support of Croatian Ministry of Transport.

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  8. Setting-up a LCC is not a bad idea in Croatia:
    strong investment, skilled management! Never mind if the project comes from Australia or other countries.
    There are several capital ventures for airlines, which count on real experts of aviation.
    Short and middle haul flights are a good target for the croatian coastal towns, but long haul flights?
    From U.S., Canada and Australia? Only if these flights feed Belgrade, Ljubljana, Podgorica, Sarajevo and Skoplje a long haul flight from/to ZAG could be a reasonable plan, but I don't foresee this in a short term.
    Airbuses 330 could be fit but does it come true?

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  9. New Wizz Air fights from BEG starting in December: BEG-FCO (3x weekly) and BEG-NYO (2x weekly).
    From April 2011: BEG-EIN, BEG-DTM and BEG-FMM (each of those 2x weekly).

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  10. Nice idea, sadly won't see the light of day that it should.

    OU should see local competition that might force its hand to operate a more lean, sensible operation (just look at what's happened to MH with AirAsia and its subsidiaries).

    Naming a fleet at this early stage shows they're not that serious...

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  11. I think I know of this guy. He worked for Qantas in management for many years and was also instrumental in the start up of Jet Star.

    He has tried to start an airline in Croatia for many years but from what has been said before, was prevented from the authorities.

    I wouldn't take too much notice from the naming of the fleet at this time, that could just be the newspaper speculating or miss quoting.

    Also, @ Visit Kosovo, I'm in Australia and know a lot about the 'inner workings' of the aviation industry in Croatia. I also know I could do a better job running an airline then most CEO's in the region!

    Anyway, I think it will be very difficult for an airline to be established as a low cost carrier in Croatia, unless the operator leased the aircraft of 6 months of the year only and were prepared to spend a lot of cash in advertising in Croatia and around Europe.

    The best option for Croatia would be for OU to become a semi low cost carrier them selves!

    One more thing, Remember Dubrovnik airline? They announced the beginning of Croatia Domestic scheduled operations about 4 years ago now. Has this happened????????

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  12. The report in the press is just a copy of what was written several years ago. In the old article it stated A330 OR A340, at the time A3309s were hard to come by so I bet that in this day of age it will only be A330. Also, the B737 was a replacement for A319, so I would bet that the planned fleet would be A320 series and A330. It could work!!

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  13. From 15th of December Wizz Air iz launching two new destinations from BEG airport:
    WZZ893 0950BEG 1125FCO 135
    WZZ894 0745FCO 0920BEG 135
    WZZ897 2000BEG 2215MMX 37
    WZZ898 1720MMX 1930BEG 37

    As of 1st of April 3 more, with FL No changes:
    Dortmund
    WZZ4091 0600BEG 0815DTM 246
    WZZ4092 1405DTM 1610BEG 246
    Eindhoven
    WZZ4071 1240BEG 1455EIN 15
    WZZ4072 1525EIN 1735BEG 15
    Luton
    WZZ4001 0530BEG 0930LTN 1357
    WZZ4002 0815LTN 1155BEG 1357
    Malmo
    WZZ4209 1805BEG 2020MMX 15
    WZZ4210 2050MMX 2300BEG 15
    Munich/Memmingen
    WZZ4105 1240BEG 1425FMM 37
    WZZ4106 1455FMM 1630BEG 37
    Rome
    WZZ4141 1655BEG 1830FCO 246
    WZZ4142 1905FCO 2040BEG 246
    Stockholm Skavsta
    WZZ4201 1700BEG 1935NYO 37
    WZZ4202 200NYO 2230BEG 37

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  14. I think that the Croatian government will never allow such a competitor to be created. Croatia Airlines is struggling so much already that it would be even worse if a new airline was created.
    If it does get created, it should focus on entering markets not taken by Croatia Airlines. Greece, Romania, Russia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, and Serbia are all landlocked or do not have an effecient water source to be a major tourist hub. Especially Serbia since Serbs are willing to go to Croatia, and it appears that the hatred of the two has gone down dramatically in recent years.
    But operating long-haul flights will make them lose so much money that they will be bankrupt in 6 months. No one except Croats in USA will want to go to Croatia. I am from the USA, and people here go to the Caribbean, domestic beaches (Miami, California, etc.), Mexico, South America, and Western Europe. They barely eve know where Croatia is. So that plan is useless. But operating on emerging air markets will be a very good and profitable idea.

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  15. i agree with you above. in addition, it's long-haul flights will be blown away from the competition once emirates airline starts usa, canada, and australia flights from belgrade. belgrade is a much more known place in the usa and canada, and will thus attract more people. from there, it will be a hub for the entire region. this new low-cost carrier should think about starting routes from belgrade to coastal cities and zagreb.

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  16. I wish The Balkans get LCC :-) Would be great to see destinations such BEG-ZAG, ZAG-TIV, BEG-DBV, BEG-SPU, BEG -ZAD, BEG-OMO, ZAG-OMO, TZL-DBV or SPU or PUY, OSI-DBV, SPU, ZAD, RJK, PUY, ZAG all year around, ZAG-INI maybe? , TIV -LJU, TZL, BNX seasonal? etc............. BTW, great for Belgrade and Wizzair :-) I assume they will make BEG as a small base? Does this mean they will have one plane there? Would be interesting to see other destinations from BEG, maybe Spain(Barcelona, Madrid, Palma,Valencia....), Turkey, Ireland(to finally link these two countries!!), Ukraine, Bulgaria, etc... Anyway great news for BEG, and I hope that this LCC in Croatia will become true.

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  17. What equipment they wish to operate on croatian domestic flights? An Airbus? A Boeing?

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  18. Serbia - Wizz Air flies from Belgrade to five new European destinations

    State Secretary for Tourism of the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development Goran Petkovic announced today that the Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air will expand its operations in Serbia by opening five new routes from Belgrade.

    At a press conference at Belgrade Nikola Tesla airport, Petkovic specified that about 60% of air passengers visiting Belgrade come from abroad, which reflects positively on Serbian tourism.

    He expressed his hope that the introduction of new Wizz Air flights will increase the number of tourists and added that the citizens of Serbia will now have the opportunity to travel at affordable prices to five new destinations in Europe.

    Wizz Air CEO Jozsef Varadi announced that the first two new routes, to Rome and Malmö, will open in December, while in April next year the company plans to open routes to Stockholm, Eindhoven and Munich.

    Flying to Rome and Malmö will begin on 15 December, three times and twice a week respectively, he said.

    Flights to Eindhoven will be introduced from 1 April and will operate twice a week, while the route for Munich and Stockholm will open as of 3 April, also twice a week, outlined Varadi.

    He confirmed that Wizz Air plans to open its operational base in Serbia in April next year.

    With flights already running to Dortmund and London, a total of seven Wizz Air routes from Serbia will serve approximately 300,000 passengers annually, Varadi predicted.

    Varadi highlighted that Wizz Air will employ between 30 and 40 workers from Serbia and added that the goal of this low-cost airline is to become a leader in the Serbian market.

    Tickets for Wizz Air can be purchased through the company’s website, he explained and announced a version of the website in Serbian soon.

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  19. As of better hub for the region Zagreb V Belgrade, well that’s still not decided. If we go on Diaspora alone there are more Croatians living abroad then Serbians. If you don't believe me then just check the official census of countries such as Australia USA and Canada.

    If there is a real attempt to create a larger hub in either Zagreb or Belgrade then it will depend on many factors such as the business plan and the way the plan is implemented.

    What is true here is healthy completion between two cities can only positive for both sides. Hopefully it will force better business practices and create more jobs in both Zagreb and Belgrade.

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  20. BTW,

    Look at what I found....,

    http://www.dalmatian.hr/en/default.asp

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  21. Man i wish they cound start some type of domestic servie throughout Croatia ... Split-Dubrovnik that would be great

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  22. ok guys, let's just imagine following :

    step 1:
    new airline opens up, starts LC domestic services (zag-dbv, zag-spu, puy/rjk-dbv) on leased 737-400

    step 2:
    new airline takes over OU, leases-back 737's, fires totally incompetent management, especcially CEO, reduces number of administration employees by 50%

    step 3:
    new airline changes business strategy, quits feeder services and redirects majority of FRA, MUC, VIE, CDG, AMS flights to ex-YU destinations

    step 4:
    (simultaneously with step 3):
    new airline aquires 330's, opens up USA, Canada, China, Japan, Australia), and feeds them with own Q400 and/or 319/320 flights from/to adriatic coast and ex-yu capitals.

    Maybie only in my dreams... if only they could come true...

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  23. After doing a little digging and asking around, apparently they have already presented the project to the Ministry and received full approval and support. It looks as though they are going for a low cost strategy and hub and spoke system which pretty much goes along with the recent article in Serbia that said they intend to serve Belgrade to feed their long haul operations. In my opinion, this could work.

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  24. @Anonymous 6

    Two days ago, I flew FRA-ZAG on OU A320. It is on of 5 daily flights between the 2 cities. departure from FRA was at 6 pm, which is absolutely not the time when majority of northamerican transit passengers travel-it's morning and early afternoon. There were more then 30 northamerican transit passengers on that flight. If you multiply the numbers, 5 flights daily x 30 passengers x 7 days a week, you'll come to number of more than 1000 passengers weekly, which are 3 weekly flights on A330. And it's only FRA, and what about MUC, VIE, ZRH, FCO, CDG, AMS, LHR, LGW, PRG... Plus there are daily flights FRA-DBV and FRA-SPU, where almost 50% of passengers are transit passengers from long-range flights.
    That's why I think you are not right.

    @ Anonymous 7

    Do you know the logic of business of Emirates company? Do you know how many hubs they have except DXB? Could you name one single town from/to they operate single flight to other destination but Dubai. Yes, it's true that Serbia and Emirates signed bilateral agreement on air transport, but it doesn't mean necesarilly that any flight will be operated, and if, I could agree it would be to the USA and/or Canada, but Australia from Belgrade, what, overflying Dubai? Are you aware of what you wrote?

    However, best regards to both of you, and all participants on this site.

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