|Croatia Airlines to expand fleet with four A320neos|
Croatia Airlines has successfully renegotiated a 2008 order for four Airbus A319 aircraft with the European plane manufacturer. On September 18, the airline's A319 order was converted to four A320neo jets following almost a year of talks. Although the new aircraft were originally to be delivered by the end of 2013, the order was put on hold. The carrier put off the aircrafts' arrival due to its financial situation. The jets are now expected to be delivered to the carrier in 2021. Marie Caujolle from Airbus tells EX-YU Aviation News that four A320neos at list price amount to 424.8 million USD. However, Ms Caojolle adds that Airbus cannot disclose the exact value of its deal with Croatia Airlines, nor the exact delivery dates to the media. The initial order for four A319s was worth 175 million euros.
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. In May, the CEO of Croatia Airlines, Krešimir Kučko, 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 for the A320neo, with entry into commercial service planned by the end of the year. Airbus' test program has been hit by a string of delays. Within the region, Air Serbia currently has ten A320neos on order, for delivery from 2018 onwards.
Croatia Airlines will begin its fleet expansion 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 later this month, 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. 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.