|Start-up Sea Air pushes back launch date to July 19|
Croatian start-up airline Sea Air has delayed its launch for a second time and modified its planned operations including aircraft type and frequencies. The Osijek-based airline, which was initially to start operations to Germany on May 18, pushed back its launch to June 29 and has now further delayed its start of operations until July 19. “With sincere regret, Sea Air has to announce that we are compelled to delay our flights to Frankfurt, Munich and Stuttgart to July 19, when flights will start according to the published schedule. The reason for the new delay are technical difficulties, precisely, the delay in the delivery of our aircraft. Sea Air operatives are working 24 hours a day in order to solve all difficulties as soon as possible”, the company said in a statement.
Passengers which have booked tickets with the newly established airline will be offered alternative transport. Sea Air initially delayed its May launch after it encountered problems with processing credit card payments. The airline planned to operate daily flights to Frankfurt and Munich and three weekly services to Stuttgart with a Boeing 737-500. However, it has since changed its planned operations. Sea Air now plans to run four weekly flights to Frankfurt and three weekly services to Munich, while its Stuttgart operations remain unchanged. “The carrier carefully selects its aircraft based on demand. For the first two weeks, these flights have a solid load factor but larger aircraft are unnecessary. Therefore, a Saab 340 will be utilised. Later, a Boeing 737 will be used with 132 seats”, the Managing Director of Osijek Airport, Domagoj Marinić, says. The Saab 340 turboprop has the capacity to seat 34 passengers.
Osijek Airport, which handled almost 30.000 passengers last year, anticipates welcoming some 100.000 travellers in 2015 as a result of Sea Air’s new services, if the airline eventually takes off. The carrier plans to appeal to travellers not only from Croatia but also from neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Hungary. “Sea Air will operate as a low cost airline, however, this will not reflect on our service. Our passengers are our guests and will be treated to an experience where safety and efficiency is our priority”, the company previously said. Start-up airlines across the former Yugoslavia have had difficulties in launching operations and almost all have failed. Only this year, Air Croatia, which began services from Zagreb in April, suspended services shortly after. Despite plans to resume operations on June 18, it has not done so. Earlier this year, the Sarajevo-based Bosnian Wand Airlines launched flights to Malmo, Stockholm and Athens with an Airbus A321 aircraft only to suspend all planned operations several days later. Common to all of the start-ups is the use of foreign Air Operators Certificates (AOC).