Croatia Airlines will launch flights from Zagreb to Lisbon this May, completing its line-up of new routes from the Croatian capital, which will also include Milan, Prague and St. Petersburg. The airline will take over the Lisbon service from its Star Alliance partner TAP Portugal, which will suspend the route from March 27. Croatia Airlines plans to operate three weekly flights between the two cities, each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, starting May 20. The carrier has also announced three weekly services to Milan and four weekly to Prague, both of which are to launch in May. Flight to St Petersburg will operate twice per week from June 2. The network expansion comes after four years of restructuring, which has limited Croatia Airlines' opportunities for growth.
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The Croatian carrier is also poised to reveal details of its upcoming fleet expansion by the start of the 2016 summer season, with the addition of two Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft expected to be announced. According to "Skyliner Magazine", the regional jets, formally operated by the now defunct Estonian Air, are in East Midlands where they are being painted in the Croatia Airlines colour scheme. The two 84-seat aircraft, registered ES-ACB and ES-ACC, are five years old. It should be noted that the carrier itself is yet to confirm the arrival of these aircraft. Last month, Croatia Airlines tentatively scheduled an Embraer E195 jet on several routes from May 20 onwards, however, these changes have now been removed from the system.
Croatia Airlines recorded modest passenger growth in 2015, while its net profit increased 84% compared to the year before, it reported yesterday. The numbers represent Croatia Airlines’ third consecutive year in the black. The Croatian carrier handled 1.850.000 passengers in 2015, an increase of 1% on the year before, while the number of operated flights decreased slightly from 25.879 in 2014 to 25.863 last year. The airline’s average cabin load factor stood at 69.7%, up 0.5% from 69.2%. However, in a preliminary report, Croatia Airlines said that high seasonality continues to have a negative impact on its financial performance. The airline is losing money during the winter season when it holds a commanding 62% share of the Croatian market, while it generates the greatest profit during the summer when it maintains only a 21% – 34% market share. On the financial front, the Croatian carrier reported a net profit of 1.9 million euros, its best result in almost a decade. Its expenses increased from 200.6 million euros in 2014 to 201.2 million euros last year. The airline spent most on flight operations, followed by services, aircraft maintenance and promotions and sales. In addition, its revenue grew 0.5%, totalling 203.4 million euros.[post_ads]