Great expectations for 2014
As an eventful year for the aviation industry in the former Yugoslavia comes to a close, attention now turns to 2014 with major developments set to take place over the coming months amongst the region’s airlines.
Adria Airways enters 2014 with the aim to expand its business after years of stagnation and cost cutting. However, the airline will have to be cautious if it is to post a profit. Despite plans to do so this year, Adria is now expected to end 2013 with a loss of one million euros. In 2014 the Slovenian carrier plans to expand its route network out of Ljubljana, station an aircraft in Verona, consolidate its position in Pristina and exercise seventh freedom rights out of Tirana. At the same time, the airline’s privatisation process is expected to be launched as it awaits for the European Commission to rule on whether it accepted state aid contrary to European Union competition laws. A decision by the Commission is expected to be made soon.
Croatia Airlines enters 2014 in the midst of a restructuring program and a privatisation process. Despite receiving no offers for a 49% stake in the Croatian carrier late last month, the government insists with carrying on with the sale. "Early next year, when we announce the second round for initial offers after publishing the airline’s 2013 financial results, there will be interest in Croatia Airlines", the Minister for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Siniša Hajdaš Dončić, said recently. Regardless of the privatisation drive, 2014 marks Croatia Airlines’ final year of restructuring. Next year the Croatian carrier might face some local competition on the market with a new airline, under the working title Libertas Air, hoping to set up flights from Dubrovnik.
Earlier this week B&H Airline said it plans to expand regionally following the launch of its new Belgrade flights. The Bosnian national carrier intends to launch flights to Skopje and Podgorica. In early 2014 the airline is also expected to launch a new website while its search for a strategic partner continues. The Federation government has said it plans to boost the 3.5 million euros currently allocated to B&H from the federal budget in 2014.
In 2014 Air Serbia plans to expand its route network and introduce a further four aircraft to its fleet, including the Airbus A320. The airline is expected to begin with the sale of its new summer season flights by the end of the week. On January 1, Etihad Airways will officially take over its stake in Air Serbia. However, the airline will also have to address delay problems it has had in recent days relating to its fuel supplier at Belgrade Airport. A broken supply pump has led to the delay of many flights over the past two days. In 2014, Air Serbia will also have to face increased competition with several airlines already announcing new flights to the Serbian capital.
Finally, Montenegro Airlines is expected to take delivery of an Embraer E190 jet in April. The Montenegrin government has said it will cover the cost of the ordered aircraft. Currently, the airline has eight jets in its fleet. In 2014, the carrier intends to continue with its restructuring and cost cutting program. Montenegro Airlines has announced it will launch flights to Dusseldorf at the start of the 2014 summer season but will also face increased competition from Ryanair.
What is your forecast for airlines in the former Yugoslavia in 2014?