|Croatia CEO in favour of recapitalisation as airline opens new hangar|
The CEO of Croatia Airlines, Krešimir Kučko, has said that a strategic partner is not vital for the national carrier’s survival. The remarks were made yesterday at a press conference in Zagreb as the airline officially presented its new hangar at the airport, which is expected to generate almost six million euros in additional revenue each year. Commenting on the government’s search for a new owner, Mr. Kučko said that Croatia Airlines can survive without it but added that a partner would enable the carrier to expand more swiftly and with greater ease. “Investors are following trends and will recognise that Croatia Airlines is a good opportunity to invest in”, Mr. Kučko said.
The CEO reiterated his stance that the airline should be recapitalised, rather than taken over by another carrier. Recapitalisation would entail changes to the airline’s capital. This may occur, for instance, when a creditor exchanges a loan for a stake in the company. It is believed that Qatar Airways, which last week said it would seek stakes in foreign carriers that do not require the airline’s expertise or management, could be in favour of such a model. In previous comments made, Mr. Kučko said that Croatia Airlines should steer clear of “predators” which could destroy the company and cautioned the government to avoid adopting similar privatisation models to those used by the Czech Republic and Serbia for the sale of their respective national carriers. The Croatian government is in the process of finding a strategic partner for its airline and hopes to complete the process before the next parliamentary elections which must be held before February 20, 2016.
Meanwhile, the airline’s newly built third hangar has begun maintenance work on its first aircraft from Croatia Airlines. The carrier’s maintenance division is one of its most lucrative with a significant number of foreign customers using its services, most notably Lufthansa. The airline has employed 43 additional maintenance staff and will launch a cadet program for thirteen engineers. Furthermore, the new hangar will boost capacity by 30%. The facility will allow the airline to offer D checks, which is the most demanding a comprehensive check for any aircraft. It is also the most expensive. “Our airline is the first in the region to offer D-checks. This is a new revenue stream for us”, Mr. Kučko said.