Croatia Airlines has posted improved results for the first quarter after increasing its passenger numbers and reducing its losses. The carrier handled 315.566 travellers on board its aircraft during the first three months of the year, an increase of 4.5% compared to the same period in 2015. Of those, 86.813 passengers were carried on domestic flights, up 5.7%, while 225.521 travellers flew on international services, an improvement of 4.7%. The remaining 3.232 passengers were carried on charter flights, down 29.5% year-on-year. However, charters accounted for only 1% of overall traffic. The airline operated 5.083 flights during the quarter, which is almost unchanged compared to the same period last year. The average cabin load factor stood at 63.6%, up 2.5% on 2015. Loads improved on international flights by 2.5% for an average of 63.0%, while on domestic services they were up 1% to 65.4%.
Last week, the carrier said it anticipates handling some 1.97 million passengers by the end of the year and recording a 6% jump in figures. During the first quarter, it improved its ticket sales by 4%, with bookings up 5% outside of Croatia and up 7% in its home market. "A decline in demand for international air travel by Croatian citizens has been halted during the first two months and has risen by 49% compared last year", Croatia Airlines said in a report. The airline enjoyed a 56% market share in the country during the first three months. This will decrease considerably in the second and third quarters as airlines launch seasonal summer flights to the Croatian coast. Croatia Airlines operated with a fleet of twelve aircraft during the first quarter and has added a wet-leased Fokker 100 jet to its fleet.
Trade Air's F100 jet wet-leased to Croatia Airlines, photo by: Michael von Roth
On the financial front, the Croatian carrier’s consolidated net loss was reduced by 10.2% to 11.5 million euros, down on last year’s 12.8 million euros, but still above 2014s 10.8 million euro loss. Croatia Airlines' revenue grew 7% to 32.3 million euros, generated by greater income from passenger services. On the other hand, proceeds from cargo handling fell 18%. The airline maintained similar expenditure to that of last year. It spent most on flight operations, passenger services and promotions and sales. At the end of Q1, Croatia Airlines had 911 employees, which is up from 890 last year. The carrier took on more staff in its ground handling division as it begins preparing to shift its operations to Zagreb Airport's new passenger terminal. Furthermore, the airline says it hired additional cabin crew.