|Airport admits to jeopardising other projects for Sea Air start-up|
Osijek Airport has cancelled several projects with other carriers in favour of Sea Air, a Croatian start-up which was to open a base in the city back in May. Three months on, the carrier has delayed its launch for a fifth time. Despite selling over 2.000 tickets on planned flights to Munich, Stuttgart and Frankfurt, “operational reasons” have forced the airline to cancel its inaugural service time and again, with the latest launch date now set for August 23. In a statement, Osijek Airport conceded, “Sea Air’s actions have created big problems for us, as we were unable to fulfil projects with other companies in order to allow the airline to base an aircraft and hire at least ten staff”.
Following the latest cancellation on August 9, Osijek Airport has apologised to all passengers for the Sea Air fiasco, which it has endorsed over the past six months. “Becoming a hub airport is our utmost priority and that is the only reason we have tolerated some of Sea Air’s mistakes. However, it is now evident that despite the support from Osijek Airport, the City of Osijek, and select government ministries, this project will not come to life and has damaged our reputation”, the airport said. It added, “As a result, we no longer support this project”. Osijek Airport, which welcomed almost 30.000 passengers last year, anticipated handling some 100.000 travellers in 2015 as a result of Sea Air’s flights. Furthermore, the airport believed the services would appeal to travellers not only from Croatia but also from neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Hungary.
Prior to Sea Air’s launch three days ago, the airline wrote the following to Osijek Airport (in English), “Dear Osijek Airport ladies and gentlemen, Sea Air, the youngest part of your family of airlines, learns how to walk. But due to the fact that we are not prepared enough we are delaying our first flight until August 23, 2015. By then we do hope we can walk and run and fly. For any inconvenience we would like to apologise. Yours, Sea Air Team”. It remains to be seen whether Osijek Airport itself will be held accountable for going into business, and jeopardising other projects in the process, with a start-up airline which has proven itself as unprofessional on several occasions. Furthermore, the airline’s cancellations have disrupted plans for thousands of passengers which have been hoping to travel from Osijek to Germany since May. Osijek Airport is served by Croatia Airlines (from Dubrovnik and Split) and Ryanair (from London Stansted) on a seasonal summer basis. Furthermore, Trade Air runs year-long commuter flights from Zagreb.