Saturday, November 16, 2013

Support for Libertas Air

Dubrovnik based Libertas Air secures backing from local politicians

Dubrovnik city officials are continuing to voice their support for a new start up airline to be based in the city - Libertas Air. The Mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahušić, has been extremely critical of Croatia Airlines and has shown his support for the new start up. “With all due respect to the airport, we need an airline that won’t constantly increase its prices. We don’t need Croatia Airlines. I hope to God it goes bankrupt. Maybe then someone normal would take their place”, Mr Vlahušić said. He added that the city, hoteliers and the tourism sector would be part owners in the new airline which hopes to launch flights from Dubrovnik next summer season.

Local politician Dubarvka Šuica, who is also a member of the European Parliament, also voiced her support for Libertas Air by criticising Croatia Airlines’ high prices. “Despite the fact that Dubrovnik’s citizens have understood the need for subsidies provided to Croatia Airlines as part of the “Air bridge” project financed by the city, the Croatian carrier has constantly increased its prices”, Ms. Šuica said.

Zoran Prpić, a former pilot and owner of tour operator Carpe Diem, hopes to set up Libertas Air with two leased 180 seat Airbus A320s from April next year. The creation of the airline could endanger subsidies which are currently provided to the Croatian national carrier on behalf of the city. This winter Croatia Airlines suspended most of its operations out of Dubrovnik, maintaining only flights to Zagreb and a two weekly service to Rome. Up until November the Croatian carrier has seen a 2% decline in passenger numbers on its flights to and from Dubrovnik, despite the airport handling 1.482.888 passengers, an increase of 3.6% compared to the same period last year. The airport has already surpassed last year’s record end of year result. Only some 4% of passengers using Dubrovnik Airport are locals.

34 comments:

  1. So it started also in Croatia. Jelaousy, competition who is bigger, better, more important, who will get sth....

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  2. Leasing two 180 seats Airbus-es on the beginning is a mistake. They should start first with a 120 seat aircraft and then after few years of good marketing use bigger planes.

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    1. The problem with having one aircraft is that if there is a problem you are in deep trouble. Having two makes things easier to handle in case something happens.

      I think starting with 180 seat aircraft is a better idea. Most charter carriers need quite a lot of seats since their plan is to sell cheaper tickets. Naturally, this guy has his own travel agency so I am sure he has contacts from around Europe and he can make sure all seats are sold out.

      The real question we should be asking ourselves is what will the two A320s be doing during the winter season? Since there is almost no O&D demand to fill an A320, even less two, cold we see them offer some sort of lowcost services out of Zagreb? I could see Libertas become some sort of Belle Air of Croatia.

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  3. A nit harsh from the mayor "We don’t need Croatia Airlines. I hope to God it goes bankrupt".

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    1. Not really. The future of his city is heavily dependent on having decent air links with as many cities as possible in the world. Croatia Airlines has proven to be an unreliable partner for them, especially if we consider all the flights they have cut from Dubrovnik.
      The time is right for the city and the region to find a new airline which will devote itself to the city.

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  4. Before the city of Dubrovnik started to give 250 kuna (35 €) for all citizens of Dubrovnik for return ticket to Zagreb, most expensive one way ticket to Zagreb was 88 € in economy class and 104 € in business class. Now most expensive ticket in economy costs 103 € and 159 € in business. Most of the one way tickets out of Dubrovnik are sold for 85 €, there are just a few tickets for 57 and 70 €. Croatia airlines earned a lot of money this summer on this line cause all flights were full and prices much higher than on Split - Belgrade route.

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  5. LOL the mayor seems a bit angry :D

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  6. So if I am to fly from Zagreb to Rome, two times per week there is a stop in Dubrovnik?! o__O
    That seems pretty horrible, especially on such a high profile route such as Zagreb-Rome.

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    1. Yes, there is no direct flight between Rome and Zagreb. The other 5 days it goes via Split.

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    2. Everything is easier said than done.

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    3. Wow... I thought flights with stops are not that profitable. Plus, one would expect to be enough demand for direct flights from Zagreb to Rome...

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  7. Croatia Airlines made no attempt at securing any of the the 400,000 passengers which were flying with Dubrovnik Airline yearly before the company was shut down.
    Many companies in the world would have seen this as a huge opportunity but OU seemed content with allowing them to fall easily into foreign carrier hands.

    Look forward to the new airline doing what OU should have done years ago in making every chance possible a reality in flying every passenger to Croatia on Croatian aircraft.

    2 A320's, no problem. If all goes well we will see Libertas Air with a fleet of at least 5 aircraft by 2015.

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  8. OT

    Found this rather interesting commercial from Swissair from the 1970s. Did they fly to Belgrade via Ljubljana back in the day?

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/524610_10200536008715911_1520444290_n.jpg

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    1. It flew via Zagreb, not Ljubljana.

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  9. What did Dubrovnik Airlines do with its fleet and staff over the winter season?

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    1. Staff received basic salary and fleet was parked at Dubrovnik airport. It was possible because of high revenue figures during the summer season.

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    2. Actually,

      They did fly a fair bit during the off season on Hajj charter flights from Africa and the Middle East as well as football charters flying supporters around Europe for various competitions.

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  10. Today B&H Airlines also cancelled their Istanbul flight...
    Yesterday all flights were cancelled.
    I guess they have a serious problem with their aircraft?!

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    1. Were all flights cancelled?

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    2. All flights were cancelled yesterday according Sarajevo airport site!

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    3. But does B&H have one or two aircraft? I thought the second one was delivered to the airline.

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    4. Belgrade flights are still not in the system? Flights are expected to start in 2 weeks and it is not possible to book it.. what is the problem?

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    5. It seems there will be no Belgrade flights...
      I really ,really hope that i am wrong but i have a bad feeling.

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  11. The Dubrovnik mayor sounds like a traitor to the Croatian nation...

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    1. No, he is just being realistic.

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  12. When they start to talk about new airline that will start with aircraft like Dash 8 or ATR 72 I will believe this story... But with this A320/737 tales it just hilarious to listen to them, at least from my point of view...

    Dubrovnik Airline had Fokker 100 aircrafts, same one that Trade Air uses, and they are cheap to maintain but have high consumption.

    Only way I see this happening is if Dubrovnik as a city and airport enter in this partnership and start up a new airline, but in this conditions and market I just don't see this happening.

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    1. I can't see how a Dash 8 or ATR 72 could be beneficial to a charter company based in Dubrovnik. It would extremely limit their operations. A320 would allow them to offer charter service from all over Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. This is how flexible they need to be something a turbo prop can't do.

      Dubrovnik Airline had MD-80/82 aircraft not Fokker 100. The aircraft seated from memory 150 passengers and the airline transported over 400,000 passengers per year with 5 aircraft. So when you compare that to other airlines in the region, you can see that the planes were always full and busy.

      Dubrovnik Airline failed because it desperately needed new aircraft. The MD 80s were very unreliable with huge delays experienced in their last year of operation. Atlantska Plovidba were unwilling to finance replacing the fleet for whatever reason so they company was shut down

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    2. If filling their planes is not a problem, why not consider getting two B757-200? They are quite cheap to lease and if you put the high density configuration they could bring in a lot of money. After all, markets such as Germany or the United Kingdom could easily fill them.

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    3. Than you have the same problem but form the other end of the spectrum. 757 might be good size for some routes but would restrict your operations to serving only them.

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    4. Yeah but then they could fly to some smaller cities with less frequencies, maybe once ever ten days or once a week.

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    5. As stated
      DA had MD80/82 planes
      City and airport ARE partners in company, with other tourist subjects from region.

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  13. If mayor really want a deal he will do it with Trade air. They had serious talks, Trade air was very interested and they have F100 which is perfect for 3 daily ritatio. But mayor use them just to force Croatia airlines. Nothing else. And the same thing is this time.

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  14. What about Dubrovnik trying to lure easyJet or Ryanair to open a base at the airport, even if it's for the summer season? What about Wizz Air? They seem to be rather willing to expand anywhere possible.

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