Fleet fallout forces Croatia Airlines to lease additional aircraft
Croatia Airlines has been forced to arrange a short term lease for two jets after technical problems with some of its aircraft over the past two weeks. On Thursday, the airline was operating its schedule with only eight aircraft. The Bombardier Dash 8 Q400, which landed without its nose gear two weeks ago in Zurich, is still grounded and is unlikely to enter service until late December. Another Dash 8, which was scheduled to fly out from Zagreb to Brussels on Thursday experienced technical problems prior to departure and is currently on maintenance. Furthermore, another two of Croatia Airlines’ Airbus aircraft are out of action. One of them is the A319 which was forced to return to Zagreb several days ago on route to Paris after experiencing technical problems. The other Airbus is on regular maintenance which will last at least another two weeks.
As a result, the airline has decided to lease aircraft so its schedule wouldn’t be affected and passengers inconvenienced. As Croatian press reports, the airline has leased one aircraft from Adria Airways and the other from Bulgaria’s BH Air. It is the second time this year the airline has been forced to lease aircraft. During the ten day strike by its staff in May, the Croatian carrier arranged short term crew and aircraft leases in order to operate at least part of its scheduled flights.
Yesterday, Croatia Airlines responded to the media attention its recent safety problems have received. At a press conference, CEO Krešimir Kučko said, “All airlines across the world have small scale incidents on an almost daily basis and they do not put passengers at risk, though chances are never taken. Recently, such incidents at Croatia Airlines have been receiving uncalled for media attention. Croatia Airlines aircraft are safe and safety standards are somewhat above the industry average”. Mr. Kučko reminded the media that even giant Luftahnsa maintains some of its aircraft at Croatia Airlines. At the press conference one of the airline's Dash pilots also spoke, reiterating the aircraft are safe. Other members of Croatia Airlines’ management team also spoke at the press conference, reassuring passengers of the airline’s safety procedures and track record.