|Croatia Airlines marks 25th anniversary with challenging future ahead|
Croatia Airlines is celebrating its 25th birthday, marking two and a half decades since it launched operations as Zagreb Airlines (Zagal) in what was still Yugoslavia. Over its history, the airline has developed into one of the busiest in the former Yugoslavia. In 1990 it changed its name to Croatia Airlines and operated its first domestic flight on May 5 that same year between Zagreb and Split using an MD-82. On April 5, 1992, the newly established national carrier inaugurated its first international service, from Zagreb to Frankfurt. Over the past 25 years, Croatia Airlines has operated 469.000 flights and handled 29 million passengers.
|Zagal Zagreb, first aircraft|
Commenting on the milestone, the CEO of Croatia Airlines, Krešimir Kučko, said, “25 years ago the founding assembly of the new Croatian airline company, Zagreb Airlines (Zagal), was held at the Esplanade Hotel in Zagreb. Zagal was the first joint stock company in the former state and on August 7, 1990 was entered in the register of the then District Commercial Court as Zagreb Airlines”. Mr Kučko added, “First we leased MD-82 aircraft, then we bought our Boeings and ATRs, and then we replaced them with the most modern Airbuses and Dashes. Today we connect Croatia with Europe and, together with our partners, with the rest of the world. Since we became a member of Star Alliance in 2004, European destinations have been closer to us”. In order to mark the occasion, last Thursday, several select passengers were given gifts on board flight OU416 from Zagreb to Frankfurt.
|Arrival of Croatia Airlines' first A319 in 1998 at Zagreb Airport|
Croatia Airlines faces a challenging future ahead. The airline is expected to be put up for sale again this autumn following a failed attempt late last year. Furthermore, the recent restructuring of the carrier has taken its toll, with the airline decreasing its network size, fleet, passenger numbers and market share. However, the goal of returning to profitability was achieved in 2013. With the restructuring coming to an end later this year, the airline’s management has said Croatia Airlines will expand both its network and fleet in 2015. Over the past quarter of a century, Croatia Airlines has grown into a medium-sized airline, recognised and valued by its passengers. It is one of the staples of the Croatian economy and has given a significant contribution to the country’s tourism industry.