Croatia Airlines is studying the possibility of leasing an Adria Airways Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft during the upcoming winter season. In a statement to EX-YU Aviation News, the Croatian carrier said, “Croatia Airlines and Adria Airways, both Star Alliance members, are considering this possibility, but so far nothing has been definitely agreed”. It is believed the aircraft would be used on a trial basis for Croatia Airlines during the winter months as the carrier is leaning towards the possibility of acquiring the type for next summer season as part of its regional fleet expansion. There has also been speculation that in return the carrier would lease out its Dash 8 aircraft, which has fewer seats, to Adria Airways for use on some routes, although this has not been confirmed.
Adria’s six CRJ900 aircraft have the capacity to seat 86 passengers. The airline wet-leased one of the jets to Air Serbia between June 15 and October 1. Furthermore, one of the aircraft operated a select number of Austrian Airlines flights during the summer. The Slovenian carrier has, on a number of occasions, also wet-leased its aircraft to Croatia Airlines, when one of the latter’s jets were either due for maintenance or experiencing mechanical problems. Most recently, this Wednesday, an Adria Airbus A319 operated flights from Zagreb to both London and Munich on Croatia Airlines’ behalf. Through a wet-lease arrangement, the lessor provides an aircraft, crew and maintenance to the lessee.
Croatia Airlines currently has a fleet of thirteen aircraft, with one Fokker 100 wet-leased from Trade Air for the summer and due to be returned by the end of the month. The airline plans to add regional jets to its fleet next year with the ability to seat between 70 and 100 passengers, therefore bridging the capacity gap between its Dash 8 turboprops and larger A319/A320 aircraft. On the other hand, Adria plans to add a CRJ700 to its fleet this winter. It has already taken delivery of two aircraft this year, including a CRJ700 and a CRJ900 jet.