Government announces merger talksThe Croatian Minister for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Siniša Hajdaš Dončić has announced that talks with the Slovenian national carrier, Adria Airways, regarding a possible merger will begin soon. Speaking to the Croatian media, Hajdaš Dončić says that Croatia Airlines and Adria should create a holding company with both airlines to maintain their own brands. However, the two carriers would share routes, passengers, code share agreements and slots all in the name of cutting costs. The first such proposal by the Minister included Montenegro Airlines within the holding company, however, it now seems that there wouldn’t be a place for the Montenegrin carrier in this business venture.
According to the Minister, Croatia Airlines will be restructured this year. “The company can expect major changes”, he says. Hajdaš Dončić notes that Croatia needs a national carrier but it shouldn’t function the way it has up until now. Foreign consultancy firms are working on the company’s restructuring program. The Minister avoided answering when the carrier’s new management will be named. The government has proposed for Krešimir Kučko to be appointed as CEO, to the dissatisfaction of many employees. Furthermore, it has been confirmed that Croatia Airlines’ delivery of four new Airbus A319s, which were supposed to arrive next year, has been pushed back into late 2015 and early 2016. The request for the delivery delay was made by Croatia Airlines itself.
The possible merger between Croatia Airlines and Adria Airways would make the most sense out of all the merger plans which have been proposed in the aviation industry in the region recently. Both have similar fleets and both are part of Star Alliance. The two companies already have a fleet exchange agreement, with one of Adria’s Airbus jets operating Croatia Airlines’ weekend flights to Istanbul. Furthermore, Croatia will join Slovenia in the European Union next summer.