|Croatia Airlines looks to adjust 2008 aircraft order|
Croatia Airlines is renegotiating a 2008 order for four Airbus A319 aircraft with the European plane manufacturer in a deal worth 175 million euros. Although the new jets were originally to be delivered by the end of 2013, the order has been put on hold. The carrier has put off the aircrafts' arrival due to its financial situation. Although some have suggested the order was politically motivated at the time, Croatia Airlines has denied such claims, saying the acquisition was a sound business decision. According to reports, Croatia Airlines is considering modifying the deal to four jets from the A320neo family of aircraft, for delivery in 2021. The final price of the modified acquisition is being discussed with Airbus.
The A320neo aircraft are designed to operate quieter with lower operating costs. The single-aisle jet is fitted with engines which Airbus estimates will offer 15% fuel savings and emit 3.600 tonnes less carbon dioxide per aircraft each year. The CEO of Croatia Airlines, Krešimir Kučko, recently said, “We are in discussions with Airbus regarding our order and I am very pleased that they have recognised the situation our company is in, as well as our demands. We are counting on and want to continue our cooperation with them. However, the delivery of these aircraft currently depends on a range of factors”. Qatar Airways will become the launch customer of the A320neo, with entry into commercial service planned for the last quarter of this year. Within the region, Air Serbia currently has ten A320neos on order, for delivery from 2018 onwards.
In the short-term Croatia Airlines is looking at leasing four to six jets, according to statements made by the carrier’s CEO last week. Its fleet expansion will begin next year when it plans to lease two Embraer E190 jets. Croatia Airlines is also expected to enter talks with Mitsubishi over the possible purchase of the Japanese manufacturer’s new twin-engine regional jet, the MRJ90, which has the capacity to seat ninety passengers. The cost-efficient aircraft will perform its maiden flight this year, with deliveries to follow in 2017. “Our aim is to renew our fleet as soon as possible. We have given this serious consideration and could begin renewing our fleet this winter, with the addition of 100-seat jets”, Mr. Kučko said last month. He added, “It is part our medium-term strategy and its realization does not depend on a strategic partner. However, it will impact on the pace of the acquisitions”. Croatia Airlines currently has a fleet of twelve aircraft – two Airbus A320s, four A319s and six Bombardier Dash 8 Q400s. It often arranges short-term wetleases for additional aircraft during the summer months as a result of increased demand.