Strong Asian interest for Croatia Airlines
The Croatian Ministry for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure has confirmed that a further two airlines have expressed interest in purchasing a stake in Croatia Airlines. Joining Garuda Indonesia and China Southern Airlines as potential partners is Star Alliance member Turkish Airlines as well as Hainan Airlines from China. Minister Siniša Hajdaš Dončić, who recently visited Indonesia to drum up support for the purchase of Croatia Airlines, said he used the opportunity to talk to representatives from Hainan Airlines who are interested in expanding into Europe.
Hainan Airlines is China’s largest privately owned company and the fourth busiest in the country. It boasts a fleet of 139 aircraft including the 787 Dreamliner. With the exception to Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the airline does not operate flights into Europe as its only other European destination, Zurich, will be discontinued from the start of October. On the other hand, Turkish Airlines is also said to have expressed interest in the Croatian carrier. Turkish has already ventured into the EX-YU airline market as it previously owned a 49% stake in B&H Airlines before it relinquished its shares, unhappy with the relationship it had with the Bosnian government.
The tender for the sale of Croatia Airlines is now expected to be launched in two weeks. Two tender rounds are expected to take place. The first, where potential buyers will express their interest, and the second, where specific takeover offers will be made. “Garuda is likely to answer the tender call because they are interested in our strong connections to the rest of the European Union”, Mr. Hajdaš Dončić says. The Minister also announced that by the end of the year the government will sell off Osijek Airport, which has struggled to attract passengers of late.