|Croatia Airlines sees sharp decline in profit as passenger numbers imporve|
Croatia Airlines recorded a sharp decline in its net profit for the first three quarters of the year when compared to the same period in 2014, while its passenger numbers slightly improved. The Croatian carrier recorded a net profit of 518.230 euros, down from its 5.6 million euro profit during the same period in 2014. The airline says its financial performance was affected by a drop in income from asset sales, cargo operations, maintenance and lower state subsidies (PSO) for its domestic flights. Its expenses increased by 3%, while revenue declined 1%. The carrier spent most on maintenance (up 39% on 2014), as it now leases four CFM56-5B engines for its Airbus fleet after it arranged a sale and leaseback agreement for three of them in 2014 and one this year. Furthermore, the airline says its maintenance costs are increasing as its fleet ages. In addition, expenditure on flight operations and passenger services also grew due to higher airport and overlflight fees, while fuel prices declined.
On the passenger front, Croatia Airlines handled 1.456.997 travellers during the nine-month period, an increase of 1.1% on 2014. Of those, 369.066 travelled on domestic flights, representing a decrease of 1.9%, while 1.035.741 passengers boarded scheduled international services, up 2.6% on 2014. The remaining 61.190 passengers flew on charter flights, an increase of 5.8%. Charters accounted for 4% of all operations. The average cabin load factor stood at 70.2%, up 0.6% on the same period last year. The airline upped its capacity by 2.3% while it registered an 11% decline in the amount of handled cargo. Croatia Airlines welcomed it millionth passenger of the year on July 27, one day ahead of 2014. The carrier anticipates its end-of-year passenger growth will amount to 3%.
The Croatian carrier has twelve aircraft in operation, five of which it owns (one A320 and 4 A319s) and the other seven which are on financial lease (one A320 and six Bombardier Dash 8s). Together, the fleet operated 29.266 block hours of flying time, up 1% on Q1 - Q3 2014. The Dash8s continue to be more utilised than the Airbus fleet. The carrier operated a total of 20.342 flights, which is the same as last year. Croatia Airlines has 943 employees on its payroll (316 of which are non-operative), which is slightly down from the 964 staff members it had at the end of the third quarter in 2014.