Osijek flights and Embraer lease back on the agenda at Croatia Airlines
Early last month it was revealed Croatia Airlines would be leasing an Embraer EMB120 Brasilia aircraft to be exclusively used on flights from Osijek. However, neither the domestic flights from the city nor the lease materialised. Now, the new service is back on the agenda. This time around, flights from Osijek to Zagreb are set to launch next month five times per week, down from the daily service initially planned. At the start of the 2013 summer season, flights to Split and Dubrovnik will also be introduced and will run three times per week, according to Osijek Airport CEO Domagoj Marinić.
The thirty seat turboprop commuter Embraer 120 will be taken on lease from Budapest Aircraft Service. The aircraft features a 2+1 seat configuration and has low operating costs. The lease of the aircraft was first announced in August when Osijek Airport held talks with Croatia Airlines for flights to operate between Osijek, Zagreb and Split over the 2012/2013 winter season. The possible addition of the Brasilia would bring Croatia Airlines’ fleet number to a total of fourteen. The airline has a further four Airbus A319s on order, though their delivery has been delayed by the carrier until 2015 and the fate of the order itself is uncertain.
Osijek Airport has struggled with financial problems throughout the year but is determined to get back on track. The airport is adamant it will not be renewing cooperation with the no frills Ryanair since it still owes the airline 106.000 euros in unpaid advertising. However, the airport is negotiating with Germanwings over possible flights. Osijek Airport handled only 2.171 passengers in the first ten months of the year, down 91% on the same period in 2011. Croatia Airlines has not commented on the potential new aircraft lease and network additions.