Croatia Airlines says 2013 profit is justified
The CEO of Croatia Airlines, Krešimir Kučko, has said the airline’s first profit in five years is not a result of creative accounting. Two weeks ago the national carrier posted a profit of 87.450 euros in 2013 after five years of continual losses and a record loss the year before. Some have suggested the results have been fixed so the national carrier could be made more attractive to potential buyers in the year the Croatian government is looking to sell a stake in the airline. “There are no tricks. We are a company that abides by the law, especially when it comes to finances. The restructuring has proven successful, especially if you consider that we had to deal with industrial action at the airline, strike action at the airport and had to operate without one aircraft for two and a half months”, Mr. Kučko says.
According to the CEO, the airline reduced its expenditure by 11% in 2013, while the retirement of one of its Airbus A320s lowered operational costs. Mr. Kučko adds Croatia Airlines has also made cost cuts when it comes to airport services, handling agents and on board service. A reduction in fuel prices compared to 2012 also aided the Croatian carrier in achieving a positive result last year. Mr. Kučko criticised the airline’s previous management teams for not doing enough to reduce costs. “My predecessor did not care for the future of Croatia Airlines. That’s 100%. I can guarantee it”, he says.
The Croatian national carrier handled 1.796.885 passengers in 2013, a decrease of 8% on the year before. Its average cabin load factor stood at 68.8%, just down from 69.1% in 2012. In 2014 the airline anticipates passenger growth of 4.6% and an average load factor of 70%. Commenting on Zagreb Airport’s recent ultimatum to Croatia Airlines to get its business in order in the next six months otherwise it will start brining low cost carriers to the Croatian capital, Mr. Kučko responded that if no frills airlines operate on the same routes as Croatia Airlines does “everyone loses except for the low costers”.