|Air Croatia temporarily grounded|
Start-up Air Croatia has temporarily suspended all services, just weeks in from its launch. In a statement to the “Ch-Aviation” portal, the company said the firm responsible for processing their credit card transactions had failed to forward funds to the airline, leading to Air Croatia’s inability to pay for the wet-lease of Denim Air’s ATR 42, which it uses to maintain flights. As EX-YU Aviation News learns, passengers who have booked tickets with the company have been informed of the issue and will be given further instructions in due course. Air Croatia says all of its flights have been suspended until June 2 by which time it hopes to resolve outstanding issues with its payments.
Air Croatia launched flights on April 2 with a 48-seat ATR turboprop leased from Dutch-based Denim Air, operating from Zagreb to Budapest, Prague, Rome and Milan. Services to Budapest were suspended until June shortly after they were inaugurated, although the company continued to maintain flights to the latter three destinations. Recently, Air Croatia announced it would also launch services to Mostar and Nuremberg, however, these plans have now been shelved. The company does not hold an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC), using the one held by Denim Air instead. Spanish airline Aeronova provided the crew on all services. The company faced no direct competition on any of its routes.
Originally, Air Croatia was to inaugurate flights last summer, but they were delayed until December before being pushed back to March and then again to April this year. At first, the company planned to wet-lease a ČSA Czech Airlines Airbus A319 and then an Estonian Air Embraer E170 jet, but only recently decided to switch to Denim Air’s ATR. According to its current schedule, services to Budapest and Prague are set to resume on June 2, while flights to Rome and Milan are expected to follow suit on June 3. Just last week the company said it had sold 300 tickets in a special five day promotional sale campaign.