Embraer lease and Osijek flights unlikely
Croatia Airlines has confirmed that it has no plans to operate flights to Osijek although a final decision will be made on Friday. It comes after the head of Osijek Airport told the media last week that the Croatian carrier would lease an Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia turboprop for daily flights from Zagreb to Osijek and a two weekly service from Split this winter season. Tickets were to go on sale on October 1. “At this moment we have made no decision regarding the flights”, Davor Janušić, a Croatia Airlines spokesperson said yesterday. However, local media from Osijek state , “Although it looked as if all of the details had been worked out, such as ticketing, aircraft type and frequencies, it is now more than certain that there will be no flights from Osijek”.
On the other hand, Osijek Airport’s management says that the Croatian national carrier will finalise its 2012/2013 winter schedule by the end of the week, when it will be finally known whether it will head to Osijek this winter or not. The airport notes that under state law, the government can force Croatia Airlines to operate flights to Osijek if the service is considered vital for socio-economic development. The decision must be respected regardless of whether the route is profitable or not.
If Croatia Airlines chooses not to operate flights to Osijek, the airport will have no commercial services during the winter, which will prove as a setback for the airport looking to recover after a turbulent year. Earlier in 2012, the airport endured managerial and financial problems with staff left without their wages. Furthermore, a pilot academy, the airport’s source of revenue, moved from Osijek to Ljubljana and the government injected over one million euros in financial aid. The airport is looking to attract new airlines and hoping for a full recovery next year.