Fresh delays for Osijek - Zagreb service
Croatia Airlines has once again delayed the launch of its flights from Osijek to Zagreb. Services were originally planned to begin in November last year with a leased Embraer EMB120 from Budapest Aircraft Service. In December, the Croatian government ordered its national carrier to launch flights from Osijek to the Croatian capital by the end of 2012. “We negotiated all the details with Croatia Airlines and the government”, Osijek Airport CEO Domagoj Marinić says, adding that the entire process has been delayed due to “technical issues”. However, the CEO claims that despite attempts to get into contact with Croatia Airlines, there has been no answer from the national carrier.
Flights between Osijek and Zagreb were to operate five times per week while services to Split were to be inaugurated during the upcoming summer months. It is believed Croatia Airlines is intentionally delaying the lease of the thirty-seat Embraer as the service from Osijek would generate losses. However, Mr. Marinić believes this is not the case. “Croatia Airlines has never had to deal with this kind of aircraft leasing procedures. I doubt they are delaying the process on purpose, even though it is known this service would be unprofitable for them”, Mr. Marinić concludes.
The CEO of Osijek Airport still believes Croatia Airlines will launch flights from the city by the end of this month. The Croatian government has the right to order its national carrier to launch flights between cities within the country if the service is deemed vital for socio-economic development. The decision must be respected regardless of whether the route is profitable or not. Osijek Airport is not served by a single airline and has struggled in the past with financial difficulties, making Croatia Airlines’ potential flights essential for the airport’s development.