Croatia Airlines will add two aircraft to its fleet next year and plans to further expand its destination network, the carrier's CEO, Krešimir Kučko, announced yesterday. He did not go into further detail on the aircraft type or whether the jets will be bought or leased. Last year, Mr Kučko noted, "Our aim is to renew our fleet as soon as possible. If Croatia Airlines were to buy more aircraft today it would choose an Embraer model, but other manufacturers will be considered when the time comes. What we are missing now are 100-seater jets”. The Croatian carrier has been approached by both the Japanese plane manufacturer Mitsubishi and Canada's Bombardier in regards to its future regional fleet operations. Croatia Airlines has an order for four Airbus A320neo aircraft, for delivery from 2021.
The Croatian carrier plans to expand its network next year and is considering introducing flights to Moscow. Later this month, it will launch services from Zagreb to Lisbon (May 20), Milan (May 20), Prague (May 21) and St. Petersburg (June 2). "This is one of the biggest and most important developments in Croatia Airlines' history and is a natural progression following the successful completion of the restructuring process, which has enabled us to expand our network", Mr Kučko said. All of the new routes will be operated on a seasonal summer basis. The CEO added that there are currently not enough aircraft in the carrier's fleet to maintain the services throughout the year, however, this could change in 2017 with the arrival of additional jets. Croatia Airlines has wet-leased a Trade Air Fokker 100 to accommodate its network growth this year.
Commenting on the airline's ongoing privatisation process, Mr Kučko said, "A strategic partner through recapitalisation would accelerate our development and fleet expansion. Our good business results make us more appealing then we were in the past, so I hope we will have more success now in finding a strategic partner". The CEO rebuffed recent reports that Turkish Airlines is eyeing a stake in its Croatian counterpart. Croatia Airlines welcomed 1.85 million passengers last year and recorded a 1.9 million euro net profit, up 84% on 2015. It anticipates handling 1.97 million travellers by the end of 2016 and recording a 6% jump in figures.
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