Croatia Airlines is considering introducing several new destinations to its network next summer season. The carrier's CEO, Krešimir Kučko, said, "Feasibility studies have been completed for the launch of new services, most probably to Scandinavia. In addition to Stockholm, this would likely include Oslo as well. We have also completed studies for Moscow and Dublin, and we would boost frequencies on several existing routes during the summer". Mr Kučko made no mention of previously announced plans to open bases in several cities in south-eastern Europe next year, including Sarajevo, Pristina, Skopje and Tirana, nor the purchase of regional aircraft. This summer, Croatia Airlines introduced new seasonal flights from Zagreb to Prague, Milan, Lisbon and St Petersburg.
The Croatian carrier initially planned to launch services to the Russian capital in 2011, however, the implementation of the restructuring program put an east-bound expansion on hold. The airline has recorded mixed results on its new seasonal St Petersburg service, which recorded an average cabin load factor of 60% this summer, according to Pulkovo Airport. On the other hand, Croatia Airlines will operate two charter flights from Osijek to Dublin over the upcoming Christmas and New Year holiday period to evaluate interest for the route. There is a growing Croatian diaspora in Ireland. It is unclear whether the planned new destinations would operate on a seasonal or year-round basis. While no mention was made of the acquisition of new aircraft, Mr Kučko previously said the airline would have a "clear picture" on its fleet expansion by the end of the year, noting that the carrier has been in talks with plane manufacturers for two years now.
Croatia Airlines is reporting a stronger winter season to that of last year, however, the carrier expects to continue to be effected by high seasonality over the next few years, where it handles the bulk of its passenger during the summer. The carrier is considering alleviating the effects of the slow winter months, during which it accumulates its losses, through ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance) leases to other airlines. However, Mr Kučko warns that this type of arrangement is made difficult by large-scale maintenance of its aircraft, which are usually scheduled during the winter period. During the first three quarters of the year, Croatia Airlines handled 1.516.197 passengers on board its aircraft, an increase of 3.4% compared to the same period in 2015. Its consolidated net profit fell by 33% to 609.600 euros.