Croatian carrier looks to add three 100 seat aircraft
Croatia Airlines plans to expand its fleet in 2015 its CEO, Krešimir Kučko, has said. The national carrier plans to add up to three new aircraft after it completes its restructuring process in two years time. The airline is looking at adding aircraft with up to 100 seats since they would be best suited to operate not only during the summer but also during the winter months. In addition, the airline says the aircraft would not be too small like the Bombardier Dash 8 or too large like the Airbus A319/A320 aircraft it currently features in its fleet. Croatia Airlines has four A319s on order, however, the carrier has delayed their arrival by several years and is looking at completely cancelling the order. Originally, the new Airbus jets were to be delivered from this year onwards. During the year the carrier cut down on its fleet size by leasing out one of its Airbus A320s, leaving it with twelve active aircraft.
The fleet renewal plans come despite the airline’s ongoing privatisation process. However, Mr. Kučko says the airline has a clear development plan regardless of whether it gets a new part owner. Potential investors have only another three days to express their interest in Croatia Airlines. Mr. Kučko says his airline’s advantages include a highly skilled workforce, developed route network and market potential. “Despite some of our neighbours unwilling to admit it, we are still the busiest airline in the region and the seventh largest Croatian exporter since two thirds of our passengers are foreigners”, the CEO says.
The airline’s CEO sees the Croatian carrier as part of Star Alliance in the next two years regardless of whether it is sold or not. “Croatia Airlines will maintain its continuity and EU airline status. This will not change. The only exception would be if we are taken over by an airline belonging to another alliance which might have different plans for us”, Mr. Kučko says. “Currently Etihad’s takeover of Jar Airways has not affected us in the slightest. We only competed with Jat on a few routes. I suppose Air Serbia will have the aim of carrying transfer passengers from the region to Abu Dhabi. However, I don’t expect this will have an impact on us. We have our own plans and will begin our expansion in 2015. If we are taken over by another airline, our restructuring plans will be shortened and we will launch our development earlier”, Mr. Kučko concludes.