No EX-YU airline unity on the horizon
Plans to unify the struggling national carriers of the former Yugoslavia and fend off competition faced in the region seem to have faded. The idea was first proposed by the Association of European Airlines (AEA) which outlined that in order for the national carriers of the former Yugoslavia to survive they would need to unite into a single airline. “The once single Yugoslav market is now fragmented and a regional solution is necessary. The region needs an airline that would cover local needs and connect with global hubs”, the AEA said at the time. Slovenia’s Adria Airways said it would work towards creating a united front if its privatisation process fails and the CEOs of EX-YU carriers met in Montenegro to strengthen cooperation announcing further meetings in the year, setting up task groups and agreeing on “helping each other”.
Since then there has been no progress in improving relations amongst the airlines. Croatia Airlines was the first to rule out any possibility of a merger with other EX-YU airlines. However, soon after, the Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure in the Croatian government, Siniša Hajdaš-Dončić, announced the possibility of merging Croatia Airlines, Adria Airways and Montenegro Airlines into a holding company, taking Adria by surprise at the time.
Since the proposed merger there have been important developments within the national carriers themselves. Adria began its privatisation process but is keeping all details on potential future owners top secret. Croatia Airlines is soon set to formulate its restructuring program and decide whether to take a different approach to its business. On the other hand, Jat and Montenegro Airlines upheld their status quo in 2012. Turkish Airlines gave B&H Airlines the flick and relinquished its shares in the national carrier. The CEO of Montenegro Airlines, Zoran Djurišić, believes that a single airline for the former Yugoslavia is possible but not before 2020, when presumably all of the countries will be part of the European Union.