|Croatia Airlines’ passenger numbers and finances improve|
Croatia Airlines has recorded modest passenger growth in 2014, while its net profit soared almost ten times compared to the year before. The numbers represent Croatia Airlines’ second consecutive year in the black as it enters the final stages of its restructuring program and prepares for privatisation. The Croatian carrier handled 1.825.063 passengers last year, an increase of 1.6% on 2013, while the number of operated flights grew by 3%. The airline’s average cabin load factor stood at 69.2%, up 0.4% from 68.8%. Furthermore, the airline’s punctuality rate was above the industry average, with 84.7% of its flights on time (within fifteen minutes of the scheduled arrival or departure time). However, in a preliminary report, Croatia Airlines says that high seasonality, coupled with the state of the country’s economy, had a negative impact on the carrier’s results. It ended the year as the former Yugoslavia's second busiest airline for the first time in years, behind Air Serbia which handled over two million passengers in 2014.
On the financial front, the Croatian carrier reported a net profit of 921.000 euros, which is almost ten times greater than the year before. Despite a 2% decline in operating profit, the airline managed to conclude a sale and leaseback agreement for one of its Airbus A320 aircraft and three engines. Furthermore, the carrier sold property at Zagreb Airport and managed to decrease costs by 2%. A fall in international oil prices in the fourth quarter also helped the carrier. The airline spent most on flight operations, followed by services, promotions and sales, and aircraft maintenance. The carrier is losing money during the winter season when it holds 68% of the Croatian market, while it generates the greatest profit during the summer when it maintains only a 22% – 38% market share. “In 2014 we continued to implement cost saving measures, which is a persistent task that is systematically implemented in all areas of the business and corporate governance”, the airline says in its report.
The Croatian State Management Office (DUUDI) has published its outlook for Croatia Airlines for 2015, during which it believes the carrier will see a significant increase in its net profit and passenger numbers. According to DUUDI, the Croatian carrier will record a net profit of 12.4 million euros this year. This will be achieved through an increase in revenue as well as sale and leaseback agreements of its aircraft and engines. Furthermore, the airline is expected to handle 1.987.231 passengers this year, of which 1.908.644 should come from scheduled services, and the other 78.587 travellers on charter flights. In addition, the State Management Office forecasts an average cabin load factor of 72.4% in 2015.