Croatia Airlines has seen its net profit and revenues decline over the last three quarters, while its passenger numbers rose. The carrier handled 1.516.197 travellers on board its aircraft during the first nine months of the year, an increase of 3.4% compared to the same period in 2015. Of those, 384.436 passengers were carried on domestic flights, up 4.2%, while 1.075.704 travellers flew on international services, an improvement of 3.9%. The remaining 56.057 passengers were carried on charter flights, down 8% year-on-year. However, charters accounted for just 4% of overall traffic. The airline operated 20.927 flights during the first three quarters, an increase of 2.9% compared to the same period last year. The average cabin load factor stood at 70.3%, up 0.1% on 2015. Loads improved on international flights by 0.1% for an average of 69.9%, while on domestic services they were up 0.9% to 68.0%.
Croatia Airlines handled its millionth traveller of the year on July 15, twelve days ahead of 2015. "This year's passenger record comes as a result of positive trends in our business, as well as the growth of our destination network. In June we launched flights from Zagreb to Lisbon, Milan, Prague and St. Petersburg, which we did not serve beforehand", the airline's CEO, Krešimir Kučko, said recently. He added, "By the end of the year, we expect to see our passenger numbers grow 6%". During the January - September period, Croatia Airlines improved its ticket sales, with bookings at similar levels to 2015 outside of Croatia and up 5% in its home market. At the same time, foreign carriers saw sales decline 5%.
On the financial front, the Croatian carrier’s consolidated net profit fell by 33% to 609.600 euros, down on last year’s 910.260 euros, and well below 2014s 5.6 million euro profit. Croatia Airlines' revenue declined 0.6% to 157.2 million euros. The airline said revenue growth slowed as a result of reduced fares in the face of strong seasonal competition on the Croatian market. Furthermore, last year, the airline sold some of its property - a jet engine - which helped boost revenues in 2015. Proceeds from cargo handling fell 7% this year. The airline reduced its expenditure by 1% to that of last year. It spent most on flight operations, passenger services, maintenance and promotions and sales. In a statement, Croatia Airlines said, "Currently, the greatest internal risk which impacts on the company is maintaining liquidity. Due to significant seasonality, it is regular practice to take out short-term loans in order to cover periods with lower revenues". The carrier has taken out three short-term loans this year.