Difficult times for Croatia Airlines
The Croatian government has begun planning for the possibility of its national carrier declaring bankruptcy as the airline’s pilots and cabin crew enter a sixth consecutive day of industrial action. The airline is bleeding money at an alarming rate as it has been forced to lease foreign aircraft and crew to partially maintain its operations. In addition, a lot of passengers have requested compensation for their cancelled flights and many are now apprehensive of booking tickets with the Croatian carrier.
The Ministry for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure believes bankruptcy is imminent if the strike stretches through next week. It has devised a plan for such a scenario. In case Croatia Airlines does declare bankruptcy the government would create a successor national carrier which would take over Croatia Airlines’ fleet, slots and half of its employees. The government would immediately begin the search for a strategic partner and would maintain a 49% stake in the airline. Dan Simović, from the Ministry, says the government would prefer for the majority partner to be outside of Europe. He believes the entire process of setting up a new airline would last four months. However, he warns that such a scenario could impact on tourism and other businesses which rely on Croatia Airlines.
For today, the Croatian national carrier has cancelled its flights from Zagreb to Skopje, Sarajevo, Zadar, Dubrovnik, Split, Copenhagen, Pula, Frankfurt and Munich. Furthermore, the airline has cancelled its services from Dubrovnik to Athens, Berlin, Venice, Zurich and Dusseldorf, while flights between Pula and Zadar have also been cancelled. Adria Airways, Trade Air, Cello Aviation, SkyWork Airlines, Bingo Airways, Enter Air and WDL Aviation will be operating some of the national carrier’s flights. Yesterday, Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines temporarily suspended all of their codeshare agreements with Croatia Airlines. Currently, there is no end in sight to the ongoing industrial dispute which began on Tuesday.