The CEO of Croatia Airlines, Krešimir Kučko, has said there are several likely scenarios for the carrier's future, noting that both Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines could be potentially interested in the company. "There are different scenarios that include different business strategies that would influence the size of the company. Personally, I believe we have a future even without a partner. It could be somewhat more difficult and result in slower and smaller-scale growth, but there is certainly a future", Mr Kučko said. He added, "If the decision is made to sell the company, we will be sold. If a decision is made to go through recapitalisation, we will put all our efforts into it. Only recapitalisation can secure quick growth and long-term stability for the company. The Minister [for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure] said there is no quicker way to develop than with a strategic partner, which is true. However, at the same time, expansion without a partner, is possible, albeit slower than anticipated. In our first year after restructuring, we have launched more new routes than ever before, even without a strategic partner".
The airline's CEO said that during his previous talks with the CEOs of both Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines at the Star Alliance Chief Executive Board Meeting in Chicago in December last year, there was no talk of a possible takeover. However, "that does not mean there is no interest now", Mr Kučko added. Last month, Turkish Airlines confirmed interest in its Croatian counterpart following several weeks of speculation. The airline’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Abuldkerim Cay, said his company sees an equity investment in Croatia Airlines as a good business opportunity and noted that a potential deal would benefit both sides. Last December, Lufthansa denied claims it was seeking to acquire the Croatian carrier, labelling the claims as "untrue". On the other hand. recapitalisation, which Mr Kučko is backing, would entail changes to the airline’s capital. This may occur, for instance, when a creditor exchanges a loan for a stake but does not require changes to the company’s management structure.
According to Croatia Airlines' CEO, the company could be of interest to financial institutions, which are not linked to the aviation industry. "We are a regional company that does business globally and a large amount of revenue is made on offline markets. This could make it appealing to investors that are outside of the aviation industry. That would include any financial institution that wants to generate profits on investment", Mr Kučko concluded. Earlier this week, the CEO announced plans to expand the airline in 2017 by opening bases throughout the Balkans, including Sarajevo, Pristina, Skopje and Tirana and purchasing four to six aircraft.