Debate over single national carrier for EX-YU continuesThe Centre for Aviation (CAPA), an aviation intelligence, analysis and data services company, is the latest to weigh in on the debate whether national carriers of the former Yugoslavia should unite to form a single airline in the name of economic rationalisation. The debate was originally set off by the Association of European Airlines which urged Adria Airways to play a key role in the unification of Croatia Airlines, Jat Airways and Montenegro Airlines (along with itself). The proposal was followed by Adria’s CEO stating that such plans should be put into motion if the privatisation process of the Slovenian national carrier fails this year.
However, CAPA believes that Croatia Airlines, as the only EX-YU carrier with a domestic network, should be instrumental in the unification of these rival airlines. “Croatia Airlines, if it is part of the merger, could have the muscle to direct the base of the merged operation to Croatia. While Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, is not the central point in the former Yugoslavia, its airport infrastructure is presumably more able to handle a larger operation than the bases of the other involved airlines, considering Croatia Airlines is currently the largest airline in the region”, CAPA believes.
However, the intelligence company notes that any unification will be “politically challenging”, noting that next year both Slovenia and Croatia will be part of the European Union while the other states in question won’t, making a merger more complicated. Furthermore, it notes that issues such as choosing hubs would present a problem. However, CAPA notes that a regional railway company was formed between EX-YU countries and that other multi national airlines, such as SAS Scandinavian Airlines and TACA Airlines, have managed to function.
Could this mixture of fleets, destinations, markets and politics ever really work out?
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