Thursday, October 29, 2015

Croatia Airlines' London slot sale a possibility

Croatia Airlines does not rule out Heathrow slot sale

Croatia Airlines has not ruled out the possibility of selling some of its lucrative take-off and landing slots at London Heathrow Airport as part of its restructuring process, aimed at boosting profits and preparing the company for long-term sustainable business operations. Addressing growing rumours that the carrier is considering the move, the airline told EX-YU Aviation News, "At this moment we can only confirm that the sale of slots at London Heathrow is one of the possible self-contribution measures, which are an integral part of Croatia Airlines’ restructuring program". The carrier is maintaining nine weekly flights from Zagreb to Europe's busiest airport this winter season, while the route operated eight times per week during the summer months. In addition, it ran a one weekly service to Heathrow from both Split and Rijeka over the summer. In 2013 the carrier suspended flights from Zagreb to London's Gatwick Airport.

Croatia Airlines is in the final stages of its restructuring program, which will be completed at the end of 2015, with two additional years for assessment once the restructuring is finalised (2016 and 2017). The compensation and self-contribution measures are in line with European Union competition, restructuring and state aid rules. In 2013 the airline outlined plans to sell its Heathrow slots, which, at the time, the carrier believed could fetch between 25 and 30 million pounds. That year the airline also revealed its flights to London were struggling to make a profit, after which its Zagreb - Gatwick service was suspended.

Heathrow Airport, as one of the most congested in the world, operates at maximum capacity for most of the day. This has placed a big premium on the value of slots. Recently, SAS Scandinavian Airlines completed a slot transaction with its Star Alliance partner Turkish Airlines for the 2015/16 winter season. SAS sold a pair of its London slots for 22 million USD. Croatia Airlines has departure slots at Heathrow Airport at 10.50 and 16.50 this winter, as well as landing slots at 10.05 and 16.05. It utilises additional afternoon and evening slots over the summer months. During the first half of the year, Croatia Airlines handled some 50.000 passengers to and from the United Kingdom, an improvement of 4% compared to the same period in 2014.


  1. Last year they sold planes and engines to make a profit. This year it seems to be slots.

    1. Exactly what I wanted to write...

    2. Postoje razni nacini da kompanija bude profitabilna, eto npr, Hogan dosta dobro zna to...

    3. Dali bi vi mnogo toga da vam je Hogana...

  2. This time next year, they will be selling the livery.

    1. I'm no Croatia Airlines fan but selling slots is not uncommon. Those are pretty good times they have. They could get a lot of cash for them.

    2. Well, that's exactly why a healthy company in an expansion mode wouldn't get rid of them. Good time slots are a prerequisite for good growth and load factors. Cutting down on lucrative slots is a sign that a company is in financial downturn. And all this 2 months before they were to finalise their restructuring!?! So much for the effects of that.

      Another lame horse on the backs of Croatian taxpayers. What will their excuse for being in the minus be next year? Not enough slots sold? How much more of the family silver will they dispose off, to keep their short term balances positive?

    3. whatever happened to driving sales and growth in order to drive profit ? Once you have sold all your assets, then what is left to sell - especially lucrative slots at LHR that airlines would kill for ? If it has come down to selling slots, then it is a failure of the sales people and nothing else.... Maybe the real answer here is to change the people in order to get a better calibre of individual who can deliver the desired results

  3. Hope they won't sell their slots, they should fire Kucko as soon as possible! The elections are coming so who knows...

    1. So sad when a future of a company relies on the results of every upcoming election. Balkan style, through and through.

  4. "Croatia Airlines is in the final stages of its restructuring program, which will be completed at the end of 2015, with two additional years for assessment once the restructuring is finalised (2016 and 2017)." 2 additional years of assessment?!? lol.

    By the time 2018 arrives, they will probably have a fleet of OU planes at the aviation museum. Maybe they should convert into a hybrid low-cost model. Sell their water, cheese and dry cracker combos for 5 euro.

  5. The champions of creative accounting. Iz supljeg u prazno.

  6. Btw, whatever happened to that elusive OU privatisation attempt? If they want to sell this baby, they need to hurry up. Its getting less and less attractive with every passing day.

    1. Since elections were called earlier then expected I doubt they will sell it before the end of the year unless they are preparing to pull a rabbit out of the hat a few days before the actual elections with a surprise sale (which I doubt).

    2. Well, if Adria gets sold first, OU is as good as dead. Unbelievable how things get prioritised in Croatia. Instead of having a list of potential buyers to begin negotiations on 1 January, we are now talking about elections! Always an excuse for everything. Whatever happened to the whole of 2015. Sitting on our laurels again, while the world moves on.

    3. Oh I’m sure their consultant created the list you are talking about and even had conversations with them. However, I think that the problem here has always been the fact that Croatian government would like to make money of of this transaction. Unfortunately, at this day and age and in the state OU is in (constantly retreating, big market but huge competition, issues with workforce etc.) they probably need to give incentive to somebody to take it over, kind of incentive Serbian government had to give. If you remember in one of the previous tenders for JU, government asked for a minimum of 50,60M and everybody laughed. It was at the time when Aeroflot was reportedly interested. They missed the chance and at the end gave it to Etihad debt free plus $100M investment. I’m afraid the same is happening or already happened with OU.

  7. Wasn't the announced codeshare with Air Canada on flights to/from LHR ?

    Does Croatia Airlines have reciprocal codeshare agreements on any other flights to North America ? I can't book any flights to via their website.

  8. OT: While back in Milonegro, the local airline is unraveling.

    1. This was all reported here weeks ago so it's no surprise

  9. je objavila zanimljive podatke za Hrvatsku:

    Broj putnika u Hrvatskoj je u 11 godina (od 2003. do 2014.) porastao za više od duplo, sa 3 na 6,7 milijuna putnika.

    12 top prijevoznika u Hrvatskoj (broj sjedala u odlascima na tjednoj bazi za međunarodne letove - kolovoz 2015 vs. kolovoz 2014.):
    1. 23.192 Croatia Airlines
    2. 21.960 EasyJet
    3. 12.392 Germanwings
    4. 11.346 Norwegian
    5. 10.584 Ryanair
    6. 8.388 Vueling
    7. 6.282 Luthansa
    8. 5.921 SAS
    9. 3.792 Austrian
    10. 3.559 Thomson
    11. 2.989 Jet2
    12. 2.575 British

    Nevjerovatno je da je EasyJet od Croatie na tek 1.232 tjedna sjedala (što je tek 5% razlike)!!!!!
    Ovo je to ozbiljnije što je godišnji porast easyJeta (+17,5%) bitno veći nego Croatie (+11,7%). Za očekviati je da bi nastavkom ovakvog rasta easyJet trebao prerasti Croatiju u idućoj godini (uz napomenu da easyJet nema letova izvan sezone, dočim cjelogodišnja dominacija Croatie jest i dalje činjenica, za razliku od top sezone za koju su ovi podaci).

    Iznenađen sam i visokim plasmanom Norwegiana koji ima kapaciteta skoro isto kao i sveprisutni Germanwings. Isto tako Luthansina je tek 7. što ipak ubija stereotip da Lufthansa ima totalni primat na prostoru Hrvatske. Pa čak i kada se pribroji Austrian i Germanwings (22.468) to je tek jednako EasyJetu.

    Još više iznenađuje tablica porasta i smanjenja kapaciteta kod 12-torice najvećih (identična usporedba kao i gornja tablica)
    1. +114,3% Thomson
    2. +28,0 Vueling
    3. +25,1% British
    4. +17,5% easyJet
    5. +11,7% Croatia
    6. +7,4% Norwegian
    7. +6,9% Lufthansa
    8. +3,8% Austrian
    9. +2,3% Germanwings
    10. +1,3% Jet2
    11. -11,1% Ryanair
    12. -30,7% SAS

    Enormno iznenađenje je SAS (čak 30,7% manje nego prošlog kolovoza), a djelomice to možemo "zahvaliti" i ekpanziji Norwegiana (+7,4%), ali prvenstveno ogromnom padu kapaciteta iz Skandinavije uopće. U realnim brojkama SAS je izgubio oko 2.500 tjednih sjedala, a Norwegian ih je dobio nešto manje od 1.000.

    I Ryanair je ozbiljno pao, ukupno preko 1.000 sjedala i ovo je vrlo ozbiljan indikator, pošto nakon vrtoglave ekspanzije Ryanair kreće svojom prokušanom metodom ucjene uz prijetnju potpunog povlačenja sa tržišta. U tom kontekstu treba gledati i pad putnika u Zadru, ali još više se treba zabrinuti nad budućim Ryanairovim koracima.

    Pozitivno iznenađenje je Vueling, te ogromna ekspanzija Britisha i Thompsona.

    15 najvećih tržišta Hrvatske (udio u ukupnim kapacitetima kolovoz 2015)

    1. 22,7% Njemačka (+8,5% sprema kolovoza 2014.)
    2. 17,3% Velika Britanija (10,1%)
    3. 7,4% Italija (+20,7%)
    4. 6,9% Francuska (+17,2%)
    5. 5,4% Norveška (-20,1%)
    6. 5,0% Španjolska (+26,8%)
    7. 4,2% Švicarska (+29,2%)
    8. 4,0% Švedska (-6,4%)
    9. 3,5% Austrija (+3,5%)
    10. 2,9% Belgija (+7,5%)
    11. 2,8% Danska (-20,8%)
    12. 2,7% Nizozemska (+32,5%)
    13. 2,1% Rusija (-43,5%)
    14. 2,0% Finska (+25,4%)
    15. 1,7% Srbija (32,5%)

    I tu se mora postaviti nekoliko ozbiljnih pitanja:
    - Velika Britanija ima čak 17,3% udjela u ukupnom kapacitetu i drugo je najveće tržište, a prisutnost Croatie Airlines je u tome više nego skromna (tek dva dnevna leta ili oko 300 sjedala dnevno)!!!

    - Čak i na najvećem tržištu (Njemačka) potpuno dominira Lufthansa (naravno uključujući i Germanwings)

    - Tržište Italije, Francuske, Španjolske, Švicarske, Nizozemske, Finske i Srbije raste 17 do 33%, a Croatia na ovom tržištu gotovo da nije povečala kapacitete uopće

    - Pad ruskih kapaciteta bio je za očekivat (viza zbog EU, rat u Ukrajini, devalvacija rublje), ali ipak 43,5% je enormno mnogo i pokazuje jedan loš efekt ulaska u Europsku uniju (ovo je to gore što je velik pad bio i 2013. po ulasku u EU)

    - Porast udjela Srbije od 32,5% najbolje pokazuje koliko je putnika odvukla Air Serbia obzirom da su dobar dio tih putnika tranzitni putnici preko Beograda

  10. Da li ti mislis da ce Englezi dolaziti sa CA? Ne budi smesan.

  11. OT: Aegean Airlines will start flights to Ljubljana and Split this summer season!
    ATH-LJU begins in 15/6
    ATH-SPU begins at 16/6

    Part of announcements of 12 new destinations from its ATH base for 2016:

    Athens -Saint Petersburg (3/5)
    Athens - Amsterdam (27/5)
    Athens - Lisbon (13/6)
    Athens - Jeddah (2/5)
    Athens - Lille (5/5)
    Athens - Luxembourg (28/5)
    Athens - Naples (29/5)
    Athens - Nice France(19/5)
    Athens - Dublin (20/6)
    Athens - Krakow (21/6)
    Athens - Ljubljana (15/6)
    Athens - Split (16/6)

    Congratulations to SPU and LJU airports who continue to attract new carriers.

    1. Correction: LED is a resumption, the rest are new.
      Source is Amadeus.

    2. Update on the above info: Split is 2/weekly with DH-4 and so is LJU.

      Also it starts flights to Majorca (6/7) and Bari (29/6).

    3. Are they all year round flights to Split or just seasonal?

    4. they could have easily added 2weekly to SKP, bloody politics ...

    5. Zagreb and maybe even Sarajevo would also be logical additions.
      DBV last year was initially announced to be 2/week but before flights starting they made it 4/week and next year it would be 6/week. Clearly demand for Greece - Dalmatia flights is bigger than first thought.

    6. +1
      They are starting VNO too. 14 new destinations from ATH.

    7. JU, JP and OU should use A as an example of how to run a successful airline even in a home market that has an awful economy.
      But first you need to be an airline that no government owns even 1% of the airline and no politician can say anything about how it is run or what flights it chooses to fly.

    8. A3 rastura sigurno se spremaju za Ameriku i to me cudi da konacno ne krenu posto imaju odlicnu mapu destinacija.

    9. A3 pored ostalog ima zadatak da svede JU na malu feeder kompaniju.

    10. Great news for SPU. That new terminal is badly needed.
      The place will be like a sardine can next summer.

    11. Anonymous 4:38
      I don't think Aegean has any animosity with Air Serbia or is trying to do anything to it.
      They have a good codeshare agreement and A3 also has extensive codesharing with EY.
      They are serving different markets and I think both are worried much more about competition from low cost airlines and TK than each other.

    12. Who is the source?

    13. Aegean Airlines vice president gave today a public presentation of the new (14) destinations from ATH for 2016.

  12. Croatian Airlines only thinking of leasing its winter slots not selling them, leasing them during the winter months would net OU 2.5$ million per slot, there are 7 slots on offer, i.e double daily, but only during winter months, problem is finding a partner that would agree to these terms.

    No carrier eve sells London Heathrow slots, like ever, as it is very hard to get them back. Although there are plans to build 3 additional runways at Heathrow airport, it'll take 20-30 years for this project to be realized due to few complications.

    Anyhow, OU plans to lease slots over winter months only, not throughout the year. Austrian, Lufthansa, Swiss and Brussels Air are likely airlines that will buy these slots and deal mentioned is for 3-4 years only, in total OU would get around $20 million per year for leasing these winter slots.

    1. That certainly makes more sense.
      In that case would OU just cancel those winter flights to the London market or fly to LGW instead of LHR?

    2. They suspended LGW because they had no passengers. What makes you think they will come back? Selling or leasing slots is the clearest indication you need that the airline is not liquid and needs cash quickly.

    3. What a bunch of BS! 3 new runways at LHR? They are fighting for 1 additional runway in past 30 years and the case is still open!

    4. @AnonymousOctober 29, 2015 at 4:17 PM

      Yes 3 new runways is a long term plan, 3rd runway is a problem cause of small village Stiipson, two additional runways should be built over a reservoir, so there's less issues there to worry about, however two runways planned will be shorter 2.5km runways.

    5. @ Plane MadOctober 29, 2015 at 2:19 PM

      Only 7 slots are on offer, OU has 17 weekly slots, 14 out of Zagreb, 2 out of Dubrovnik and 1 out of Split.

      So plan is to lease 7 slots out of Zagreb, maintain 10 slots in total to London 3 via Dubrovnik and Split in winters and go full on in summer months. Problem for OU is BA which is more competitive on the route and has hit OU hard, so much so OU need to slash it prices by a lot, I was lucky to get a ticket for only 89 pounds to London earlier this month.

      OU won't maintain these prices for long but they have a tough competition from BA, and up to recently many would choose Austrian, Air Serbia, Brussels Air as they were cheaper than OU on this route, something OU needs to address fast. Air Serbia service is via Belgrade and it is really bad as for passengers as flight transfer is 18 hours, Brussels Air is much better with only 4 hours transfer, and Austrian is best with 2 hours transfer, via Vienna.

      BA's prices are around 127 pounds, OU's up to recently were 170 pounds, but went down to 89, Air Serbia was cheapest for 88 pounds one way but offers warm meals, Croatian Airlines service is crap, Austrian is even worse. Not sure I'd want to fly with either to be honest however Vienna is a great place for transfers, Belgrade airport isn't fit to be called an airport.

    6. Koga su birali da je najbolji za presedanje eh Hogane sta nam pravis. Cccc.

    7. Thank you Anonymous at 4:49 PM.

  13. Znaci nema putnika. He he. Bolje da ih lizujete svo vreme imali bi ste vise para od ASLa.

  14. It can be diversion from management in which, for example, they can say "OK, you don't want us to sell LHR slots, but instead we have to sell and leas back one more plane to make self-contribution".

    Or they make public, employees and media "playing" about LHR slots, and not to deal with real problem inside company.

    1. Kolike su vam sanse da udavite CA i osnujete drugu nacionalnu aviokompaniju?

  15. Ako ce slotove prodati da bi nabavili koji RJ onda bolje to da ne rade posto su to gluposti ako mogu dati nekome na leasing onda bi bilo jos bolje.

  16. It isn't good to be selling assets just to cover ongoing losses, but selling LHR slots might actually be a smart move.

    CTN is facing competition from BA. They might not be making a lot of money on that route. If they can get 15+ million dollars from selling slots, that money could be very useful for investing in a 70-100 seat jet.

    In a sense, retreat in one area so they can attack elsewhere.


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