|Croatia Airlines CEO rules out swift privatisation|
The CEO of Croatia Airlines, Krešimir Kučko, has said the national carrier will seek a strategic partner “in the next few years”, putting an end to speculation whether the government will resume its search for a potential investor this summer, as announced earlier, following a failed attempt in 2013. Speaking at the Russia & CIS Airfinance Conference in Moscow recently, Mr. Kučko said the national carrier will expand its fleet following the completion of its four year restructuring programme at the end of this year. He noted that Croatia Airlines has managed to save 35 million US dollars as a result of its cost cutting measures and has successfully reprogrammed several of its loans.
The CEO of Croatia’s national carrier echoed earlier statements that his airline is need of new aircraft. “If Croatia Airlines was to buy more aircraft today it would choose an Embraer model, but other manufacturers will be considered when the time comes”, Mr. Kučko said. “What we are missing now is 100-seaters”, he added. In July 2013, the carrier’s CEO said the airline is planning on purchasing Embraer aircraft to replace part of its Airbus fleet. Croatia Airlines has never operated Embraer jets in its 25-year history and would make it the third aircraft type in its fleet, alongside Airbus and Bombardier, if it chooses to select the Brazilian manufacturer.
As EX-YU Aviation News learns, Croatia Airlines is looking at adding three new aircraft to its fleet from next year. A 100-seat jet would be best suited for the airline as it can operate with a profit not only during the summer but also during the slower winter months. Croatia Airlines currently has four A319s on order, however, the carrier has delayed their arrival until further notice and has on several occasions hinted at completely cancelling the order. Originally, the new Airbus jets were to be delivered from 2013 onwards. Last year, Croatia Airlines retired one of its Airbus A320s, leaving it with twelve active aircraft in the fleet.