Sunday, July 10, 2016

Croatia Airlines prepares for regional expansion


Croatia Airlines is in the process of "extensive preparations" ahead of the planned opening of several bases in south-eastern Europe, primarily in the former Yugoslavia. The carrier has previously announced its intention to commence flights from Sarajevo, Pristina, Skopje and Tirana to several European destinations in 2017. "Market research data has shown that there is a potential for the successful opening of additional bases in the south-eastern European region and Croatia Airlines, as a European Union community carrier, has recognised its business interest in this", the airline told EX-YU Aviation News. It added, "The prerequisite for this is to purchase four to six new aircraft and extensive preparations are underway. Only after would it be possible to define all the details and possibly open additional bases".

Croatia Airlines' CEO, Krešimir Kučko, previously said that the company had crunched the numbers for its planned regional expansion and decided on its route network. "Everything should be defined by the end of the year and implemented from April 1, 2017", Mr Kučko said. "The pace at which each base will be launched will depend on the arrival of new aircraft", he added. Concerning the purchase of new jets, the CEO noted the airline would have a "clear picture" by the end of the year. During the first half of 2016, Croatia Airlines saw its passenger numbers improve 2%, while its average cabin load factor increased 1.2%. "When it comes to financial indicators, they are definitely better than initially projected", the airline says.

In late May and early June, Croatia Airlines launched four new routes out of Zagreb, marking its first major expansion following several years of restructuring, which had limited its opportunities for growth. The carrier says it is satisfied with the development of its new services to Milan, Prague, Lisbon and St. Petersburg, which have contributed to an increase in the number of passengers. "Since the Croatian market is highly seasonal, and the leisure market is usually in decline as early as the second half of October, it is likely that flights to Milan, Prague, Lisbon and St. Petersburg will operate until the end of the 2016 summer season. Afterwards, analysis and evaluation of each route will be conducted. According to current indicators, it is expected that Croatia Airlines’ aircraft will again fly on these routes in 2017", the airline says.

80 comments:

  1. I'm probably in the minority here but I think this is a good idea. They have a really seasonal market so opening bases in countries where there are no national carriers could be a smart move.

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    1. Sarajevo and Skopje sure is.

      But Priština and Tirana is more than stupid. It is already Adria base who is LH feeder. Only real routes Croatia can have are those for LH hubs (MUC, FRA, VIE, ZRH, BRU), maybe CDG and AMS. Adria has almost all of them. So, that move would be at least stupid and I think Kučko is just telling fairytale to cement his position, not really think so. If he really plan to open Priština and Tirana that would be the most stupid move in all exYU air surrounding and there competition of stupidity is huge.

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    2. Purger - what is going on with OU fleet renewal.

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    3. No, new information. Last was LoI with Bombardier. It should go to Supervisory board now.

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  2. I'm interested to to see how Adria will respond in PRN and TIA and how OU's decision to open a base in Sarajevo will be affected when Wizz Air launches flights to a few cities.

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  3. Stinks like Lufthansa. They are pushing this onto OU without sharing any risk. Goal is to attack Air Serbia transfer passengers. If plan doesn't work OU will go back into red.

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    1. It's always about AS, no mention of Adria, why?

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    2. Adria is already under LH influence

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    3. And OU is not?

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    4. Of course it is. OU is told to expand on the similar modell JP did from TIA, PRN etc all while Serbia is not yet allowed into EU.

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    5. Even if JU was 'allowed into EU' I doubt they would expand by opening random bases around the continent. It's a very challenging business model and few airlines managed to make it work.

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    6. So how is it in Lufthansas interest to have OU & JP directly compete from the same secondary markets?

      Why not just set up Eurowings at those airports?

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    7. Eurowings would be logical choice for German, Austrian, Swiss and one day even other airports which are not LH hubs. But FRA, MUC, ZRH, VIE and BRU can not be connected by Eurowings and should be feeded by legacy carrier. That is why Lufthansa has CityLine nonprofitable but necessary regional feeder. Adria and Croatia are much cheaper than CityLine (mostly because of operational costs) but also LH does not have any risk there. If Adria or Croatia go bankrupt LH can always put Cityline instead. But till then they can have feeding routes for peanuts.

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    8. Why cannot Eurowings fly to LH hubs?

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    9. LH? Interesting. Is OU cheaper then OS? All this would make sense then

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    10. When I am not sure what LH would do to OU, JU etc I remember this. It's oldie (from JAT days) but goldie:

      http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpost.php?p=9924338&postcount=20

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    11. LCC is possible but not good for feeding legacy carrier. Models and service is too different.

      Of courser Croatia is much cheaper then Austrian. Even Cityline is cheaper than Austrian.

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    12. not true

      OS is the cheapest unit in LHs group at the moment

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    13. Not true. CityLine for sure is cheaper concerning task they have. Austrian is legacy carrier which combine long-haul, short-haul and regional jet. They can not be cheaper than specialized regional feeder for feeding LH hub. And they are not.

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  4. So we can say Air Serbia is under Etihad influence as well

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    1. EY owns equity and shares risk. LH doesnt.
      This is just another layer in LH monstruous plan to.control aviation in Europe.

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  5. So they are starting to think of the regional market at a time when they are facing increased competition on the coast? How about they first concentrate on ensuring that they don't lose this market before embarking on this adventure.

    They risk being completely pushed out of DBV. We've already seen that in summer easyJet offers as many seats as they do.

    It's pretty obvious that JP failed in TIA. What makes them think they won't as well? (Not only in Tirana but in general)

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    1. Agree, only one little, but very important detail. Croatia already lost Adriatic market. To take it back needs much more money, planning, working (and that heavier thing) and risk than to open feeding routes for Lufthansa in Sarajevo and Skopje.

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    2. But if we take SKP as an example then what kind of passengers are we looking at? My guess is only those who are flying to the Americas. Even here they will have to compete with Air Serbia to New York and Turkish Airlines to pretty much anywhere else.

      I doubt they can rely on any European passengers given how strong Wizz Air is there. Even if they launch a SKP hub things won't be easy.

      If I were OU I would concentrate on Zagreb and to build some sort of a hub there before it's absolutely too late.

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    3. OU vs OS in that case. the number of "European passengers" on Wizz flights to SKP is quite low (less then 10%)

      SKP-FRA, SKP-MUC SKP-AMS

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    4. Yeah but how big is the European market that would fly on OU via one of the Star hubs? It can't be that big. Maybe they could pull off a daily FRA or to take over one of the OS rotations to VIE but that's pretty much it. Passengers heading to SKP are usually price sensitive. Those that aren't are already well taken care of.

      There is also something else we need to consider. What aircraft would OU use? A Q400 might be ok to VIE but it's pushing it a bit if they end up using it to MUC of God forbid to FRA. I just think their operations would be too modest to justify the opening of a whole new base.

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    5. with a pricing similar to Czech at the moment they could be VERY competitive in the gastarbeiter market and take over pax from Wizz (MUC/FMM, AMS/EIN or even Sweden or London as the WIZZ biggest markets from SKP) plus transfer pax

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    6. Ok, I understand that but I suppose OK offers cheap fares because they still have access to discounted prices at SKP given to all new airlines.

      Also, if OU launches both AMS and MUC, what aircraft will they use? Could they fill an A319? Are there enough destinations out of SKP that could handle the A319? If they are opening a base somewhere then we are looking at at least three daily rotations or a minimum of 18 to 20 weekly ones.

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    7. A319: the classic gastarbeiter routes ZRH and DUS (both from SKP and OHD) are a given though competition is getting fierce especially for ZRH as Edelweiss and Germania Flug are increasing frequencies next winter

      then beside ZAG one of ARN/MMX/CPH, LON and AMS

      third group is the LH hubs (FRA/VIE/MUC) which im not too sure about capacity and internal LH competition

      and thats more or less everything (i will leave BRU and CDG for better times)

      wishfull thinking: to open regional routes such as ATH, TIA and SJJ which are actually needed

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    8. So basically it would be a base with a single A319?

      If they really wanted to test the waters, they could launch the following route:

      ZAG-SJJ-SKP-SJJ-ZAG

      If I remember correctly JA flew this route so there must be some sort of a market.

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    9. As far as I understand they plan CRJ 900 to base there. And it would be same model as Adria from Priština and Tirana. Low risk routes for Lufthansa group. That is MUC, FRA, ZRH, VIE, BRU. Nothing else. Maybe in second phase CDG and AMS. The end. Adria and Croatia will be Balkan Cityline for LH group. Cheapear Cityline, something like Dolomiti.

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    10. Thank you Purger. A CRJ-900 is an interesting choice but I don't know how efficient it is. I still think that an Embraer would have been a better choice.

      Do you know if they plan on eventually replacing the Q400s with them?

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    11. Its interesting how a few months back talk was that OU may sell LHR slots to cover losses and now they're talking of a few Balkan bases and introducing another aircraft type to the fleet.

      If they're replacing the Dash fleet for the CRJ or ERJ, sure why not, having say 10 would work well. Then the problem is cross qualifying the current crew, plus training additional crew. From where will the aircraft come from? Where will the crew be based? Will it be Croats and pay them hotels, or Croatian passport holders who are residing in these cities? Is it not more effective just bringing pax via ZAG where they could boost capacity in ZAG considering the increase in competition?

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    12. Personally I think they have lot of space for increase in Zagreb and Adriatic coast instead of opening bases in Skopje or Sarajevo. But it big mummy said they must do that, who is little "yes-sir" CTN CEO to say I can or I don't want to.

      ERJ is much much better plane than CRJ. You can not compare those two planes. But again, is it important which plane is better if you have some instruction or "motivation" in dark side to take one plane.

      For now those CRJ will not replace Q400 but not sure in near future. One gossip is that 4 CRJ will change 2 A319. As far as I understand plan is to have 4 A320neo, 6 CRJ-900 and 6 Q400. But one can not be sure with Kučko. He change planes every day.

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    13. Absolutely agree with Purger. Focus should be Xagreb as a hub, especially with the new terminal and forcing expansion along the coast, maybe even Montenegro. Also those plane deals are all over the place and according to Kucko's words this all depends on plane deliveries, so...meh. Until relatively recently, there were 4 A319s and 2 A320s on order. Then 4 A320 neos and 2 whatevers, it changes every month.

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  6. This is wishful thinking of this Ceo.Insider informed me that the current Ceo is on his way out before the end of the year

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  7. Bravo Hrvatska!

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    1. I thought Euro championship already finished ...

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  8. Ako ce vec otvoriti bazu, najizglednija opcija bi bila Sarajevo. Jer su i to vec davno spominjali da bi od tamo letjeli za par destinacija, medu kojima je Frankfurt, i nema neke prevelike konkurencije u Sarajevu.

    Skopje je prakticki baza lowcostera, i ne vjerujem da bi itko putovao OU koja za svoje mizerne usluge naplacuje za jednu obicnu kartu pravno bogatstvo.
    Tirana ili Pristina? Evo prethodni komentari su sve rekli o toj opciji. Ionako Pristina ima zilijun letova prema Njemackoj i Svicarskoj sto je njima najbitnije i vise od toga im ne treba, jer su u Pristini barem 90% putnika - auslanderi, jos uz to tamosnje kompanije u Pristini vrlo povoljno prodaju karte, tako da nitko iole normalan ne bi dao 200€ da se drnda u bombardieru, kad lijepo sa Edelwise Airlinesom moze doci u Zurich za 80€.

    I opet naglasavam premalo su zastupljeni u Zagrebu. Sve ostale kompanije uvode nove linije ili povecavaju kapacitete na postojecim, jedino OU nista. Pa barem sam mislio da ce Milano ostati year round. Jer ako OU ovako nastavi tretirati Zagreb, izgubit ce svoju poziciju tamo, pogotovo kad se otvori novi terminal kada bi trebale doci nove kompanije, bilo komercijalne kao i lowcost.


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    1. Mislim da si u pravo ZA SSJ, tu ima dobru šansu za uspijeh, jer sa SSJa ti nema mnogo opcija. SKU već mnogo teško bi išlo, lowkosteri tamo razbijaju.

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    2. SJJ (ne SSJ) je definitivno logičan izbor.

      SKP (ne SKU) svakako ne riskiraju ako će im LH uzeti kapacitete prema MUC, FRA, ZRH, BRU i eventualno dodatnu frekvenciju za VIE. Ne vidim ni velikog rizika za CDG i AMS posebno u kontekstu code-share koji OU ima sa AF i KL, a koji bi se sigurno proširio i na SKP (i SJJ). Tri leta prema tamo + konekcije ostalim danima via ZAG svakako nisu glupa stvar.

      Konačno na ovaj način moguća je sinergija via ZAG. Ako imate određenu količinu non stop letova + konekcije via ZAG to može biti dobitna kombinacija koja je prednost spram konkurencije koja ima samo konektirane letove. Posebno ako bi cijena bila prihvatljiva, a to nonstop let svakako mora moći napraviti.

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  9. Znaci oni bi se strateski koncentrirali na regiju, dok Francuzi u Zagrebu traze od njih da razvijaju Zagreb. Zanimljivo. I jos nesto, predstavljaju to kao senzaciju, a JP to vec radi godinama. Ajme.

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  10. dead man walking !

    ATCO

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  11. IMHO, Sarajevo would make sense, and is more or less, risk-free. The competition is, almost, non-existent.

    Pristina and Tirana, shouldn't be included at all. This would be the final nail in the coffin for OU.

    Skopje on the other hand, might be the dark horse. Sure, OU would have to heavily rely on transfer pax, since W6 dominates the O&D market. However, I think OU can find its niche there. We all know LCC are flying to secondary and regional airports, which might be far away from the desired destination (and adds to the total price of the journey as well). So if OU can offer good prices (20-30% higher than LCC), I believe they can get some part of the O&D market.

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  12. Good move for Croatia Airlines.
    Much better move then transatlantic flights!

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    1. *than transatlantic flights ;)

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    2. Out of all the ex-YU airlines, OU should be the one with widebodies. A330 fits perfectly into the fleet. They after all have the market for them. ICN could easily have OU where it can partner with OZ, YYZ where it partners with AC, EWR and ORD and partner with UA, SIN with SQ. Demand is there and they have more frequencies in the region to which they could increase easily with the Dash 8. Slovenia is close by, as well as northern Italy.

      Croatia invests a lot in tourism, I see more Croatian exports around the world than from any other former YU republic. ZAG will have a fantastic new terminal complete next year improving the travel experience greatly as well as adding additional capacity.

      The rebranding and expansion of JU shows that it can be done and relatively quickly. OU was the largest ex-YU carrier a few years back, and still has smaller losses. Less effort would be needed to boost OU that that needed for JU.

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    3. Right...one of the stupid comments from you JATBEGMEL. And what they do with them in the winter?

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    4. What will JU do with A330 in the winter?

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    5. Fly it to New York.

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    6. And JU can fly it to JFK, and OU can not. How cams?

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    7. Because BEG and its catchment area (all of Serbia basically) is a much bigger market than ZAG in winter.

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  13. OU should consider Zurich from BNX, either as a separate flight or SJJ via BNX instead of b&H Airlines. That route wasn't doing too bad, but OU would do even better because of the code-share therefore there would be additional tranost passangers reaching SJJ /BNX . It wouldn't have to be Zurich, but maybe FRA. Just a thought.

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    1. Offering a feeder bus between ZAG and BNX would be better. OU wouldn't be the first airline to offer such service. A daily service to connect to a potential wave would be popular as OU could offer a whole range of flights ex ZAG without backtracking.

      Currently travelling via BEG involves a small backtrack, transit plus another flight and that only a couple times per week.

      This way, OU could offer the main Euro destinations with a schedule such as:

      ZAG BNX 2345 0200+1
      BNX ZAG 0240 0500

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  14. Mnogo bolja opcija bi bila da se ti Avione iskoriste za ZAG, DBV i SPU posto ce sve vise da gube.
    A u SJJ ce doci do sukoba sa OS i u SKP sa W6, OS i ASL .
    INN-NS

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    1. ASL je premala u SKP tako da tu nema nekog sukoba. Pre je OS i W6.

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    2. Ako uđu u SKP i SJJ budite sigurno da je to po LH direktivi. A onda nema sukoba sa OS. Kao što nema sukoba u PRN i TIA između OS i JP.

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  15. Just a thought:
    If Purger continues to write articles for TangoSix, this topic might be interesting to cover. Should OU open bases in foreign countries and are would such bases be profitable. I sure am interested in that kind of analysis.

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    1. Why should he when his comments on here do far more good. I am saying that because here we are having an exchange while that's impossible on T6.

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    2. @anon 2:11

      Well, you can comment and exchange thoughts/ideas on T6 as well. Plus I guess he gets paid for his articles (I sincerely hope this is the case, since he invests lots of his time even for a single article).

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    3. Yeah but there is far more moderation there and it's difficult to have a constructive discussion. Also, any criticism of JU is not allowed.

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    4. One of planed articles in Tango 6 is about those CTN bases and influence in region.

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  16. Please open base in Balgrade as well! :) Stop AS monopoly!

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    1. What monopoly? They have only a 50% share of traffic and are the only airline in ex-yu that has a low cost carrier based at their hub. Google what monopoly means.

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    2. Croatia's market share at ZAG is higher than Air Serbia's at BEG.

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  17. OT: Does anyone here know when Belgrade airport is scheduled to publish figures for Q2? Admin? Is it true what I hear that JU had a decline in passengers numbers in H1?

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    1. Q2 results are published in late August, early September. It would be unlikely that JU had passenger growth since their network cuts were in effect for most of that period.

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    2. AnonymousJuly 8, 2016 at 3:38 PM
      OT JU stats for H1 2016 :

      1,092 mill. passengers (down 3% in comparison with H1 2015)

      14.900 commercial flights (down 2,3% yoy)

      66,8% passenger load factor (up 0,9% yoy)

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    3. JU is hanging on. Figures are not bad. Should increase during H2.

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    4. LF is still too low... Hopefully, summer season will be better

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  18. Just 2% growth in numbers for OU is dissapointing considering they introduced 4 new routes from ZAG, new routes from the coast and the tourist season is going well.

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    1. I think we're witnessing an over-saturation. New services but same number of pax, just getting more divided between different airlines. Thing is who'll give up next.

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  19. Good to see something positive from OU but I feel they will need to improve the onboard product to be competitive with this.

    At least iPads in every seat for example with a selection of games movies etc.

    Pozdrav from sunny Dubrovnik!

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  20. On Monday June 20, 2016 Bombardier announced a customer who asked to remain nameless made a firm purchase of 10 CRJ 900 aircraft..deliveries to start in 2017..just wondring could it be???

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    1. Either Bosnian Wand Airlines or Golden Air :-)

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    2. Hm, hm, hm....

      Little too much. But who knows...

      To base 8 of those in ZAG and one in SKP and in SJJ... Possible.

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