Thursday, December 1, 2016

Croatia Airlines committed to regional expansion


Croatia Airlines has confirmed it still plans to open regional bases across south-eastern Europe and acquire 100-seat aircraft for next year. It comes after the carrier made no mention of the plans at a news conference last week during which it revealed it is considering introducing several new routes out of Zagreb in 2017, including Moscow, Dublin, Oslo and Stockholm. In a statement to EX-YU Aviation News, Croatia Airlines said, "The company is still working on a plan that includes setting up bases in some south-east European cities and still has plans for acquiring regional jets". Croatia Airlines' CEO, Krešimir Kučko, previously noted that the company has calculated 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.

The Croatian carrier has previously unveiled Sarajevo, Skopje, Pristina and Tirana as its planned new bases from which it would maintain flights to several European cities. However, these are not set to open all at once. "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 handled 59.497 passengers on its flights between Zagreb and Sarajevo in 2015, 46.809 travellers between the Croatian capital and Skopje, and 7.126 passengers to and from Pristina. The carrier suspended operations to Kosovo's main airport this winter but will operate several charters from the city and resume scheduled operations next summer. On the other hand, the airline does not serve Tirana.

Croatia Airlines initially planned to introduce new 100-seat jets this year, however, this did not materialise. Instead, it wetleased an ageing Fokker 100 aircraft from Trade Air. Last week, the carrier defended the move, stating, "Due to technical reasons and a change in government in Croatia, it was impossible to follow through with the operational lease of a 100-seat aircraft and the company instead wetleased a Fokker 100". This winter season, the airline looked into the possibility of leasing an Adria Airways Bombardier CRJ900. Croatia Airlines intends to bridge the gap in capacity between its Dash 8 turboprops and larger Airbus jets with the lease.

74 comments:

  1. What I find interesting is that none of the airports have made any mention of this and we know what the airports are like, as soon as they secure an airline they call a press conference to announce it. A few days ago Sarajevo airport manager said how Wizz would start the subsidized Budapest flight and Qatar will start Doha next year but he did not mention Croatia Airlines at all, which is interesting.

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  2. If they change the CEO I don't think any of this will happen.

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    1. Not necessarily, the board has the main say.

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    2. While I'm not a fan of the current CEO, I think it is better to have him then the former one Misetic (who seems to be a candidate for the job again) who did everything purely to align OU with Lufthansa. At least with Kucko we see some new routes and plans that are not entirely dictated by mumma Lufthansa.

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    3. Mietic served on the Lufthansa CityLine board so it's no surprise he wanted to put OU under greater LH influence.

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    4. Talk about conflict of interest...

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  3. They should open base in Niš… ^_^

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    1. haha it would probably be the least expensive option :D

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    2. OU wont serve INI for the political reasons.

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    3. Haha that's what i was thinking :)

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    4. What political reasons?
      Croatian companies in general are not very shy on Serbian market. Their retail dominate there.

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    5. They have a large presence, but they don't "dominate" anything. Maxi is bigger than Idea, local water brands are bigger than Croatian ones etc.

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  4. Whatever happens with this base plan, what they need is more aircraft especially if they plan to resume the seasonal flights they started this year plus introduce the new ones like Moscow, Oslo and so on. That would be 8 new routes in total in 2 years and they won't be able to do that with the current fleet.

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  5. Why regional bases? Seems like a crazy idea. Focus on improving service and destinaitons out of ZAG, DBV and SPU. don't spread yourself too thin!!!

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    1. I agree. They have no need to "an Adria" and open bases around the region when they have their own country which has several established airports.

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  6. Sarajevo is definitely the best choice, although I also think there is a market for them in Skopje.

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    1. Possible routes could be London, Frankfurt, Zurich, Paris, Stockholm... there are quite a few choices.

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  7. Meanwhile OU got busted this week for hiring Serbian mechanics without foreign work permits.

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    1. Osim očiglednog problema, gdje se Hrvatima daju otkazi, a zapošljava se strani kadar, važno je istaknuti da Srbija nije dio EASE (European Aviation Safety Agency). Ni jedna država koja nije članica Europske unije, a Srbija to još nije, nije u EASA-i. Kao takvi, aviomehaničari iz Srbije nemaju pravo na zaposlenje unutar članica EASA-e, što podrazumijeva da nemaju pravo ni zaposlenja u Croatia Airlinesu. Aviomehaničari iz Srbije imaju samo dozvole iz Air Srbije, njihove avio industrije, koje ne vrijede unutar članica EASA-e.

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    2. Alen Šćuric PurgerDecember 1, 2016 at 10:11 AM

      Nisu se davali otkazi nego je nekoliko desetaka mehaničara odlučilo da neće raditi za kikiriki, dalo otkaz i otišlo diljem svijeta trbuhom za kruhom. Kompanije nije na vrijeme zapošljavala dovoljno mladih, novih mehaničara (srednja zrakoplovna i fakulteti) koji bi danas bili iskustni majstori i inžinjeri.

      Najgore je što sada plačaju mehaničare iz raznih zemalja (pa i Srbije) po nekoliko puta višim iznosima, a čak je i nešto mehaničara koji su radili u OU i otišli došlo nazad pod ugovor za neusporedivo više novaca. Koji vrag onda kompanija odmah nije odlučila dati pristojne plače koje bi demotivirale mehaničare na odlazak?

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    3. Naravno da imaju pravo na zaposlenje unutar drugih zemalja. Do komapanije koja ih angazuje je da resi papirologiju. Kao i kod svih drugih zanimanja glavna stvar je da se pokaze da slobodnih domacih kadrova nema i da moraju da se angazuju stranci koji su van EU. To u ovom slucaju nije tesko. Srpski aviomehanicari rade sirom EU.
      Hrvatske kompanije uglavnom stavljaju biznis ispred politike. I dobro im ide. Osim izgleda u avioindustriji. Ekstremno glupo. Zato JU sije OU poslednjih par godina.

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    4. Alen Šćuric PurgerDecember 1, 2016 at 3:03 PM

      Ma ne radi se ovdje o politici, nego o nesposobnosti uprave.

      1. Zašto su im otišli toliki mehaničari, pa moraju angažirati strance?

      2. Ako im se to već desilo zašto nisu pronšali kvalietnu alternativu?

      3. Ako i to nisu uspjeli zašto nisu sredili sve papire nego su nelegalno držali srpske mehaničare?

      Nelagalno postupanje ne može se opravdati nikakvim razlozima. Ako postoji propis on se mora poštovati. I to nema veze niti sa nacionalizmom, niti sa politkom! Jednako bi postupli i Austrijski, Engleski, Švicarski ili bilo koji inspektorski organi da se to kod njih desilo.

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  8. One word this management including. Ceo Kucko is a joke .What surprises me is that anybody takes them serious.
    Money talks shit walks.

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  9. I also think Sarajevo would be an ideal choice for OU!

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    1. Sarajevo and Tirana are the only ones that make sense. There is no point of Skopje with a strong Wizz Air. Much stronger airlines like Swiss and Alitalia failed in SKP.

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  10. Ending flights to Pristina 6 months before opening a base there is ludicrous.

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    1. They cut an unprofitable route.

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    2. Ok I get that but how are you going to make a base out of an airport where you could not make the route between ZAG-PRN work.

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  11. This whole plan seems a bit odd. And opening so many bases at the same time is also odd and risky in my opinion.

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    1. Actually the text explicitly says "However, these are not set to open all at once."

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  12. Alen Šćuric PurgerDecember 1, 2016 at 10:06 AM

    This idea is unreal. To open base you need:

    1. Huge amount of money for marketing, staff, planes, logistics, few years of non-profitability... Croatia does not have money even for basic maintenance and because of that they want to sell LHR slots.

    2. Organization resources what OU does not have.

    3. System that is totally different and in which much bigger and much better organized companies get bankrupt.

    Where will they get money for 4-6 planes (leasing cost money)?

    Where will they get money for staff, logistics, marketing...?

    How can they afford new non-profitable routes and bases when they are in existential financial problems?

    Where and how will they find staff for that adventure?

    This is just way Kučko want to show to owners (Government) that he have vision and he should stay in present position. Unreal as always.

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    1. Alen Šćuric PurgerDecember 1, 2016 at 10:12 AM

      has*

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    2. I am sorry Alan, but you have been very negative lately about OU, ok? Think of the positive things OU has:

      1) Star alliance member
      2) Doing primary cities
      3) Connecting all the HR islands
      4) Brand and unique logo
      5) Not bought by a bigger, incompetent airline
      6) ZAG will soon have a new terminal that needs to be filled.

      Yes, I agree that we do not need yet another "transfer hub" as we already have so many in Europe.
      Also, OU´s fleet is efficient and modern.

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    3. Efficient and modern fleet - ok.
      Doing primary cities - ok.
      Connecting all HR islands - fine, if true.
      Brand and unique logo - almost every airline has this.
      SA member - this may help, but OU probably contributes more to LH than LH helps OU. TK is eating into OU market.

      ZAG new terminal - very nice. I don't understand why you then undermine your argument by claiming that "we don't need another transfer hub". Maybe you are too preoccupied with some petty Balkan rivalries? Sad.

      Not being bought by a bigger, incompetent airline - you mean like always striking Lufthansa or what?
      Because I know for a fact that OU longs for years to be bought by LH, but LH is not interested. Or again undermining yourself by Balkan nationalist obsessions?

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    4. Alen Šćuric PurgerDecember 1, 2016 at 3:11 PM

      Absolutely sign last anonymous comment.

      Efficient and modern fleet - but still miss 100-seater and A319/A320 are not young any more and should be replace in anther 3-4 years (you think they have enough money for A320neo?)

      Doing primary cities - ok, but not enough of them

      Connecting all HR islands - really? Don't think so. Frequencies not enough, not enough routes, migration is not important for OU, huge prices on PSO route to DBV, no flights to LSZ and almost non to BWK, RJK almost does not exist for them...

      Yes I am negative because I can no stand a fact that they destroy company with so many potentials in market which grow every year so much.

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    5. Purger,
      Can you confirm or deny rumour currently present on social networks which assume K. Kucko from OU and D. Bilac from CCL will be resigned by gov. in package by the end of this year.

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    6. Alen Šćuric PurgerDecember 1, 2016 at 11:47 PM

      I don't know. Kucko's contract is till March. I don't think they will do something before that. But in same time one important candidate for CEO ask me for meeting. So...

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  13. Well, in my BRU-ZAG booking for May/2017 it still says operated by TradeAir (Fokker100). Any chance they replace it with something else by spring? Apparently Fokker stays on this route only on Fridays, all other days there's our dearly beloved "kosilica". :D Seriously, it blows my mind they still fly to BRU (and apparently CPH) on Dash planes. Very annoying and the reason I avoid them whenever I can when flying home.

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    1. I also don't get that they schedule turboprops to BRU. I am sure its part of the reason why Brussels Airlines is doing so much better on this route.

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  14. Why have they never considered creating a charter division that could bring them easy cash during the summer? They could wetlease these planes during the winter.

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    1. It's expensive.

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    2. There is no easy money, especially in aviation industry in Europe.

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    3. @ 11.09 And opening bases in the region isn't?

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  15. This morning on the OU450 ZAG - AMS flight 148 pax

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  16. Who knows if they will be around by April next year. I would not commit to any long term plans.

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  17. OU451 AMS-ZAG economy completely full without any free seats for as far as I can see, business is completely empty. So I guess about 155-158/176

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    1. Great to hear, AMS was always a good performer. Nice to see them staying the dominant player on the market despite KL launching flights.

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    2. Do you have some annual figures for this route? It would be quite interesting to see how Croatia Airlines is performing against KLM to Amsterdam and Brussels Airlines to Brussels.

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  18. I would be surprised if Sarajevo didn't happen. It such a great opportunity. Untapped goldmine in my opinion.

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    1. They should hurry before Wizz Air comes in and takes the cake.

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  19. Just buy YM, base 1 a/c in TGD - launch 2 daily ZAG, code share with JU on ZAG-BEG ZAG-TGD and voilà!

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    1. Alen Šćuric PurgerDecember 1, 2016 at 3:15 PM

      code-share on JU BEG-ZAG-TGD???? Why on earth would JU do that when they have 3 nonstop flights per day on BEG-TGD route????

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  20. Sarajevo is ripe for the picking, those other places, I'm not familiar with. The only thing I don't understand, and I may have misunderstood that, but isn't it true that the delivery of new Airbus neos has been postponed for a few years?

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    1. Yes, the neos start arriving in 2021.

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    2. So what planes are they talking about? I understand they won't be opening these bases all at once,but in my opinion 12 planes aren't enough for this kind of expansion, especially since only six of them are Airbus jets.

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  21. OT

    Cyprus Airways powered by S7 landed at LCA today.

    https://scontent.fbeg1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/t31.0-8/15288644_10154573014636068_4894539306973722635_o.jpg?attachment_canonical_url=https%3A%2F%2Fscontent.fbeg1-1.fna.fbcdn.net%2Ft31.0-8%2F15288644_10154573014636068_4894539306973722635_o.jpg

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    1. Here is a closeup where you can see the old logo featuring the mouflon:

      http://cyprus-mail.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Cyprus_A319_2.jpg

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  22. OT

    JU flight BEG VIE this morning, 64/66 ATR72, out of the remaining two seats one was used by a guy who works at JAT tehnika, so overall LF 65/66.

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  23. U redu Dublin i Stockholm - pozdravljam.
    Za Oslo nisam bas najsigurniji ali okej, mada je netko na facebooku napisao da su neke norveske novine objavile kako ce OU upostaviti liniju Zagreb-Oslo i to samo 2 puta tjedno..zbilja ne znam kako moze biti profitabilno otvarati vise destinacija odjednom s nekakvom oskudnom frekvencijom. Sve ispod 3 pw je bezvrijedno...
    A Moskva - koji im je vrag? Bolje da otvore Zagreb-Sofia jer je ionako prosle godine oko 25000 Bugara posjetilo Zagreb, sto bi bilo sigurno dovoljno za jedno 4-5 rotacija tjedno s DH4 cak i year round!

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    1. Alen Šćuric PurgerDecember 1, 2016 at 3:18 PM

      100% right!!!!!

      No economic reasons to make 2pw route. So, logic is not ground on economic bases but other reason. To say we open 4 new routes sound very successful, right?

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    2. Hmm even though I am no fan of launching two weekly flights, it seems to be working just fine for airlines like Aegean or even Wizz Air.
      Most of Aegean's new destinations get two weekly frequencies but are soon after increased, just look at their network in France or to places like BHX or MAN in the UK.

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  24. Ti Avioni su se mogli znatno pametnije da iskoriste nego da se otvaraju razne baze po EX YU .
    Mogli su ih letiti koristiti kao odgovor na LCC letove za SPU i DBV na primer ali svakako bi najprece bilo da ih iskorite u ZAG za dodatne letove.
    INN-NS

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  25. OT: Beg Novembar 331.242 +11%

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    1. Nice. So far we are at around 4.580.739. Seems like we will miss those 5 million this year. With new arrivals and additions in 2017 we will easily make it to 5.3 million.

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    2. What about Zagreb?

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    3. If true, really nice surprise ! Reliable source ?

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    4. By the way, does anyone know what's fueling all this growth in November? I am sure JFK flights helped but I doubt they were the only factor.

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    5. In November JU passenger market-share in Belgrade Airport fell below 50%.

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    6. Zagreb Airport is always the last to post official numbers...the info probably won't be up for another couple of days. Otherwise, I'd say the pax number for November will be between 190-200,000. Overall this year around 2,58 million thus far, meaning that ZAG will end 2016. with at least 2,75 million, which has been the estimate all along.

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    7. ZAG november +7%

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  26. I am very uphappy with Croatia Airlines when they sold me several return trips to Heathrow over winter 2016/17 for me only then to learn of the plan to suspend the route AFTER they had taken my money. Further, OU Zagreb would not comment on the validity of my tickets nor on contingency arrangements for anyone who had bought tickets for the already advertised services. Result is that I have been forced to buy additional tickets with another carrier to be (almost) sure that I can carry out my travel plans for which car parks, accommodations etc have been booked. I used to regard myself as a supporter of OU however it cannot expect me to trust it with my money any more if it treats its loyal customers in such an uncaring way. I am very sad.

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  27. Re my above comment about OU threatening withdrawal of services for which they have sold tickets, does anyone have any (helpful) comments please?

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