Sunday, September 7, 2014

Croatia Airlines aims for long haul flights

Croatia Airlines looks to expand following restructuring program

Croatia Airline’s CEO, Krešimir Kučko, has announced the carrier is planning to launch long haul flights sometime in the future. The CEO admits they are still a long way off but adds they are the airline’s ultimate goal with the current restructuring program setting a basis for future long haul operations. “There are new challenges out there and there is potential for commercial cooperation. It is important that an airline considers the other side of the equation too and continues to innovate and find new revenue streams. A sustainable future won’t happen if you concentrate on cost reduction alone. The dream is to one day add long haul flights to our network. That’s a long way off at the moment but it’s good to have something to aim for and we are building our airline to make it possible”, Mr Kučko says. He adds that Star Alliance is “vital” to Croatia Airlines’ long term plans.

Croatia Airlines’ five year restructuring program, which has seen the carrier cut down on its network, fleet and employees, is almost over, according to its CEO. “It finishes next year. We have executed about 80% of the program so far and there is no reason to think that we won’t achieve everything we have planned. The program cuts across every part of the airline. It’s about efficiency - making sure the airline is set up to achieve its mission in an optimal fashion. The proof that the restructuring program is the right thing to do is in the figures. Last year, we had a profitable twelve months for the first time in many years. Of course, you always wonder how it will work out but it’s going very well so far”, Mr. Kučko says.

Next year is set to see the Croatian carrier expand with new routes and the possible lease of new aircraft. Recently, the airline announced the launch of new flights from Dubrovnik to Nice on the French Riviera, next summer season. “Once we finish the restructuring, we will have far more flexibility to pursue our plans. One item on the agenda is new aircraft. In particular, we are interested in obtaining something in the 100-seat market as a means of bridging the gap between our turboprop fleet and the Airbus fleet. This would rally help us consolidate our position in the market and achieve the full potential of our new network strategy”, the CEO says.

The Croatian government will try to sell a minority stake in its carrier this autumn, following a failed attempt late last year. However, Mr. Kučko has opposed the privatisation and is in favour of the airline remaining Croatian-owned. In the era of mergers and acquisitions, the CEO believes there is still space for smaller airlines. “There is definitely room for the small airline. There is a need for connectivity that won’t be satisfied by the bigger carriers. In summer, we have about 20% of the market but in the winter we have a 70% share. And yet, it is the summer that is profitable! So, there is an interesting dynamic at play for smaller airlines and the way they serve the market. In any case, the industry needs us to keep the bigger carriers on their toes”, Mr. Kučko concludes.

27 comments:

  1. Well, Kucko is right.... it's a dream.

    By the way, what's wrong with Croatia Airlines' flight from Split to Belgrade? It's chronically delayed by 5 to 7 hours!

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  2. It's not a dream, at least during summer season, regarding huge number of American and Australian tourists, but, yes, Kucko is an idiot, hope he'll be gone soon!

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    1. And what will they do during winter months? Will they have the aircraft sitting around, collecting dust until tourist numbers start picking up in late spring?

      Realistically, the first scheduled long-haul flights should happen in Split or Dubrovnik. People in Zagreb have to understand that they are no longer the crown of Croatia's aviation market. They have peaked. The future is on the coast, primarily in the two aforementioned cities.

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    2. Zagreb should be center point of Croatia airlines longhaul network. If you choose Split or Dubrovnik as longhaul destination, than you will have problems to transfer this passengers to Pula, Osijek, Split/Dubrovnik, Zadar.. In this case potential passengers to other destinations will choose other carriers. If you choose Zagreb as longhaul destination, than you can have connections with all this cities without problems, because you have flights to this destinations. But you can allways do flight New York - Dubrovnik - Zagreb or simmilar combinations..

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    3. Once again, the problem is the winter season. There is no market to sustain these flights throughout the year even with domestic feed. Croatia Airlines would need an extensive network throughout the Balkans as well as to some destinations such as Tel Aviv or Beirut. Since the airlines has neither one of these it won't have any future long-haul flights.

      I don't know why doesn't Zagreb strike a deal with Azal for them to have their flights to New York via ZAG?
      Look at Riga, they have Uzbekistan to New York and now Turkmenistan is considering launching their own flights to Toronto via Riga.

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    4. Croatia Airlines has to do some other things, including new routes when the restructuring process is done, they should fire Kucko and hire someone capable to run the company!

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    5. ^ Oh my god Turkmenistan now wants to fly Toronto ?
      Those NA flights from the Stans are totally unprofitable and only for showing off.
      At least those countries sit on large oiil reserves.

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    6. Croatian air market is still much bigger than Serbian even with more connection. Croatia is tiurist country. Croatian diadpora is much bigger than Serbian by USA cenzus. So Croatia have much more chanse for long houl than Serbia.

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    7. I'm a Croat but I have to say that Croatia missed its chance for long haul flights, we don't have flights to Scandinavian countries, Moscow, Middle East, how can we expect long haul flights despite diaspora and huge tourist potential. One more question: how come that American or European carriers didn't see that there are many American and Australian tourists coming to Croatia every year and introduce seasonal flights from USA or Australia? I hope Croatia Airlines will be fine once the restructuring process is completed!

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    8. Serbia has Air Serbia and that's what increases our chances of having long-haul before Croatia has them through OU. Nothing to do with the size of the O&D market.

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    9. The problem with Croatia and longhaul flights is the lack of centralization. If the flights are ZAG-JFK, potential passengers from Split and Dubrovnik would probably still fly with Lufthansa Group because Croatia airlines would most likely not be able to offer the same prices, flexibility, and convenience as Lufthansa.

      The Croatian market is larger than the Serbian one, but it suffers from extreme seasonality and a lack of centralization. Belgrade is very good in this regard, because it can adequately serve a very large portion of Serbia.

      Croatia airlines should focus on trying to convince United Airlines to fly to Croatia with their 767s or 787s.

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    10. Purger said some weeks ago that Kucko would be leaving OU in september......but we heard nothing further????
      Is it a hoax??? I hope not because OU is on the edge of bankruptcy!

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  3. This Ceo must be a rocket scientist .Do people really believe in this guy. It's time that Croatia Airlines Management starts take the airline business serious. It look like Government has know idea about the airline business otherwise they would have replaced this Ceo for a professional

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  4. If it was only announcements, renders and 1:100,000 scale models, Balkans would be the richest and most advanced region on the planet. The wealth of announced projects over there would be the power turbine of the entire humanity - if there wasn't for that small unfortunate detail called the REALIZATION of announcements. Turning them into reality.

    So, the Balkans will have plenty of long haul flights. In announcement, at least. Such a good thing for passengers over there.

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  5. I can't wait to hear the similar announcement from BH Airlines. Greetings from Frankfurt am Main.

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    1. Sarajevo-New York via Amsterdam, Faroe Islands, Reykjavik, Narsarsuaq, St. Lewis (Canada) and Quebec.

      Easy in 23 hours.

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  6. Is this Ceo serious or is he on something from Amsterdam .Come on stop inventing news

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  7. Izvinite sa cim da iznajme Avion kad nesme drzava Hrvatska da da garancije.
    INN-NS

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    1. Uhh, mozda je bolje da probas na engleskom. Kao da si preskocio osnovnu skolu.

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    2. Hvala na savetu ;)
      INN-NS

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  8. CA with long haul flights is scient fiction.

    I am wondering why almost all Croatian sport teams are flying charter flights with Adria Airways and not with Croatia Airlines?

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    1. What? Seriously?!

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    2. That's not true!
      They usually fly with Sun Adria, which is Trade Air Fokker 100...

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    3. No, that's not true. They usually USED TO fly witth Trade Air - Sun Adria before "mladi gazda" managed to turn it into big shit. Now they usually fly Adria.

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    4. Since Medvescak is in KHL league, Adria is taking them to Russian Federation. Dinamo is flying for 4 seasons allready in European League and Champions League qualifacations with Adria.
      I don't understand why CA don't offer charter flights to sport teams like Adria?

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  9. Croatia Airlines Long Haul Fail

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