Monday, January 2, 2017

ECA to resume operations this year


Europe's first modern scheduled seaplane service, Croatia’s European Coastal Airlines (ECA), will resume flights in 2017 and expand its network after it was forced to suspend all operations in October of last year as a result of "administrative issues" and an "untrustworthy business environment". Prior to discontinuing services, the carrier was grounded for several weeks by the Croatian Civil Aviation Agency following reports of alleged poor maintenance. The CEO of the German-backed company, Klaus Dieter Martin, said, "The suspension occurred in the middle of the summer season. ECA knew that the move was uncalled for, which is why we hired several independent professionals to analyse the situation. All of them came to the same conclusion, that there was no foundation for the airline's grounding". ECA has filed two cases against the state with the courts for its responsibility over the service suspension.

According to the company's CEO, ECA will resume operations this summer and expand its fleet. "We plan to add three more aircraft for a total of seven operational hydroplanes. All of the destinations previously served will be resumed and we will add new routes from Mali Lošinj to both Trieste and Ancona. In 2018 we will link Mali Lošinj with Venice, as well as Dubrovnik with Bari and Brindisi. Those are just some of our upcoming plans". He added, "Unfortunately, up to this point, we have only implemented 25% of our business and development plans due to difficult and complicated concession talks. It took us between four to five years to strike agreements over the construction of certain seaports (water terminals)".

Following a fourteen-year battle with bureaucracy, ECA launched operations in 2014, connecting major cities and islands along the Croatian coast. In 2016 it commenced international flights. A part of its fleet has the ability to land on both water and paved runways, proving a lifeline for several smaller airports with little or no traffic. The company has invested some 22 million euros in infrastructure development in Croatia, including the construction of eleven seaports. ECA has received strong support from the German government and the German Embassy in Croatia, but has struggled with local policy-makers. The company has allegedly been asked for bribes by local authorities on a number of occasions in return for necessary permits. The airline recently let go of 140 employees as a result of its grounding but is hopeful to hire local staff in the coming months in order to prepare for its service resumption.

91 comments:

  1. It would be great if they managed to reach an agreement with Croatia Airlines or some codeshare agreement, if possible, and then Croatia Airlines could sell tickets to the islands via Zagreb or another city. I think it would a great way to attract tourists to fly with Croatia Airlines instead of the competition.

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    1. That would be a one of a kind service offered by a national airline. Doubt they would ever think outside of a box like that.

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    2. I think offering connections through LH via one of the coastal airports would be wiser.

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    3. During the summer they could offer tickets between Zagreb and some island for a small additional cost for people flying say LHR-ZAG. That way your product becomes more appealing than BA and soon Monarch and you boost tourism as well.

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    4. Do you guys really reckon that dusty OU which is stuck in past will be able to recognise its own benefits in such a deal? Even if they do, I am sure they would ask for some 90% or so of income on the ECA legs so ECA would have to decline cooperation as it will be only loss making for them. I really hope I am wrong - but some knowledge of the industry makes me think otherwise.

      The commercial aspects for both airlines apart, I would love such cooperation to happen!

      Maybe an interlining could be a good start too- though not sure how much sense that would really make.

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    5. Croatia Airlines could have thought of this a decade ago and made a small subsidiary with a couple of hydroplanes.

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  2. I am happy that the first article of the year is a positive one! All the best to ECA.

    By the way, I read yesterday that they are bringing back the ferry from Rijeka to Dubrovnik. How will it impact domestic air travel?


    OT

    Anyone know what's going on with JU 500? It's been sitting on the tarmac for over an hour now.

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    1. It has departed.

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    2. Anyone know the reason why it was delayed? Weather or a slot in JFK?

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    3. Me 2, am also happy for this positive first article on ECA. Thumbs up!

      +1

      That ferry service btw will not have a noticeable impact on any air travel in Croatia in my opinion. Unless they decide to do heavy price dumping I don't know a single person of my friends in Istria nor in Dubrovnik area who would take this ferry for travel. Possibly tourists travelling by car will consider it after a long drive from countries in the North if price is right instead of taking the tolled motorway. As far as I see travel will again take 24 hours by ferry which is crazy and repellent for most people.

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    4. The ferry between Rijeka and Dubrovnik can't be competition to the Trade air and flights on the same route.

      Aprox. time travelling with ferry is 24 hours, flights take around 1:30h with stop in Split and price is almost the same.

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    5. Travelling with a ferry is a great experience for tourists who want to enjoy the view and have plenty of time to spare, there are many beautiful places along the way, so definitely not a competition to ECA flights!

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  3. Hopefully ECA will continue with their work, of course, if they get all the necessary permits.

    OT: Alitalia starts flying to Split on July 23rd, 2pw!

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    1. With two weekly flights I guess they are there just for the tourists, no connecting traffic?

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    2. That's not new. Alitalia has been flying to Split seasonally.

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    3. What plane do they use?

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    4. 320 za DBV, a 319 za SPU.

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    5. From this season A320 for Split as well!

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    6. Interesting. That makes it again at least 3 airlines serving that city pair. Is U2 not flying FCOSPU any longer?

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    7. FCO-SPU starts 1 weekly on July 7th

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  4. Great news. The way they announced they were suspending operations I had serious doubt they would ever return.

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  5. Excellent. Croatia and it's tourists need this kind of airline.

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  6. After the experience I had with them this summer - never again!

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    1. Why what happened?

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    2. Cancelled my flight without informing me, could not get in contact with them for weeks, did not get compensation in months.

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  7. I can imagine what kind of bureaucracy they had to work through in order to set up this airline so I'm glad it's back.

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    1. And how many enveloppes were passed around. Let's hope Index.hr gets off their backs.

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    2. +1 last anon.

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    3. Best of luck for their law suits! Hope they will receive some noticeable compensation!

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    4. I don't think so. Croatian Civil Aviation Agency works in line with all EU regulations. Unlike some other ex-yu countries, shouting and threatening on media do not work in Croatia. I hope Klaus learns from his mistakes.

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    5. Are you implying there is no corruption in HR?

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    6. The point probably is ECA had to battle this long with bureaucracy in HR because they did not pay bribes to every single person and authority they needed sth from.

      For the same reason some say it might have played a role that they did get grounded / in high season - which is maximum possible punishment for an airline equalling to end of business of a small air company usually.

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    7. That is the biggest bullshit I ever read. If that happens to German company in Croatia, EU would shut at least 10 people as exemplar in Jelačić square.

      Well, I know it is strange to you, but there are 12 mayors, 4 generals, president of Trade chamber, 5 ministers, even one prime minister in jail because of bribe. Croatia was never so deep in bribe as other exYu countries (exempt Slovenia) and after entering in EU bribe is almost gone. Get use to that! Know it is difficult for you to understand but that is the fact.

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    8. HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHA I don't think we live in the same country then. :D

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    9. That's for sure!

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    10. Then I suggest you move back to Croatia and see if you will be singing the same song a year after you move back.

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  8. Love the photo. Nice to see a summer photo in the middle of winter. Good luck to ECA, Good to know they are coming back :)

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  9. What happened to their plans to fly from Montenegro to Italy?

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    1. Where did they think of flying? Bari? I think YM also operates those flights.

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    2. It took them 14 years to bribe politicians in Croatia to open seaports. How long do you think it will take in Montenegro?

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    3. @9:36: Ancona
      @9:37: Fair point :D

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    4. They will NEVER get permission from Montenegro to fly seaplanew, as there is no regulation in place. I am sure they have given up on that idea.

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    5. They did not bribe anybody. It was policy of company. And maybe it was reason why it took so long.

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    6. So far, the only place ever to receive a seaplane is Port of Bar in 2015 or 2014 in an ad hoc arrangement. It'll take ages...

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  10. OT: Sukhoi will need one month to repair all SSJ100 that have problems for which they are grounded. So most of planes will be in traffic till end of January.

    Disaster!!!! Thing of companies and their operation while they can not calculate on planes for one month.

    And that is what we were talking about... To risky to have SSJ in operation. And it is just a begging, planes are still young.

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    1. Who cares? Only a couple of airlines use those planes. Why is this important?

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    2. Because of those who have so strong opinion that Air Serbia and Croatia should buy SSJ100 (Nemjee and others).

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    3. Imali su Erbas i Boing veca povlacenje aviona.

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    4. Da imao je i Boeing i Airbus i većih problema. Samo sa njima znaš da će ti kompenzirati troškove, dati alternativne avione, platiti rentanje drugih, da će reagirati odmah, da ti možeš uzeti zamjenski avion na trećem tržištu odmah i da će ti to biti plačeno.

      Sa rusima nemožeš biti siguran ni u šta. I još stvar imagea. Mjesec dana! Bogte, mjesec dana za 96 aviona. Koma!!!

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    5. Ал теби мора да је весело у животу. И шта ћеш радити када прође месец дана и када ти ваздухоплови поново полете?

      Да ли је Сухој рекао да неће сносити трошкове? Питам пошто видим да си опседнут овом темом.

      Као и остале фирме и ова ће пребродити овај проблем и наставити нормално да послује.

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    6. Ništa, čekat ću idući još veći problem. Nemjee, ovo je ozbiljan problem. Nisu to više porođajne muke. Avion leti već 6 godina. A istovremeno je puno premlad da bi imao zamor materijala. Ako je tako onda govorimo o poluproizvodu. No, da neidemo tako daleko.

      Pitam se samo koliko bi netko morao biti, hmmm avanturista (da ne upotrijebim pojam koji sam stvarno htio) da u našim krajevima kupi ovaj avion za europske linije.

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    7. Живи били па видели.

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    8. Meni se cini da su svi zaboravili kad je citava flota B788 bila prizemljena sedmicama bez ikakve naznake kad bi mogli da polete zbog pozara sa baterijama. Ali zato sto se kompanija zove Sukhoi, onda je to problem. Problem jeste, to niko ne negira ali ljudi oladite malo, takve stvari se dešavaju i ti češće nego sto mislite.

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    9. Da, novi avioni imaju probleme, nažalost. I 788, i A320neo, i niz njih prije. Konačno, ovaj skandal sa 788 je ozbiljno naštetio Boeingu, i financijski i kroz image. Daleko više nego što će SSJ problem naštetiti rusima (jer ruske kompanije neće od toga raditi internacionalni problem).

      Ali SSJ nije novi avion, on je 6 godina star. Dakle, nisu porođajne muke, nego ozbiljan problem.

      Uz to support Boeinga i Sukhoia u ovakvom slučaju je nebo i zemlja. Sjetimo se kako ne Norwegian odmah dobio zamjenske avione za početak svojih širokotrupnih linija zbog problema sa 788.

      Osobno mislim da ne treba uletavati u nove proizvode ako si mala firma zbog problema koje novi avioni uvijek imaju, a još manje da treba pokusirati sa proizvodom koji ima loš support.

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    10. Pa dobro, ni Interjet ni Aeroflot nisu male kompanije tako da nije strasno

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    11. ^^^

      Lets not forget the A380 and the crack they found in the wings, also 6 years into operation.

      EK at that time had 19 or 20 ac of the type which all had to be sent to Europe for maintenance. This was a huge issue for the company, who for months had to ground crew, pull the type from destinations, hold crew longer at layovers, crew rostering alterations. EK later had to train thousands of crew for the B777 ac as a result. Due to regulations, and with the fleet of the time, crew were either trained A330/A340 and B777 or only the A380. Converting crew to a A380/B777 is still ongoing, 6 years since the problem.

      http://www.bbc.com/news/business-16942361

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    12. Smo hocu da kazem da se dize velika frka samo zato sto kompanija koja proizvodi ovaj avion je ruska, a ustvari i nije nego je JV izmedju ruske i italijanske firme. Kad se slicne stvari desavaju na zapadnim avionima onda to izgleda kao normalno i Boing nadoknadjuje stetu i sve ostalo isto kao da svi znaju da Suhoj to nece uraditi svojim musterijama

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    13. Once again neither Air Serbia or Croatia airlines have the money to buy anything.PERIOD.

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    14. Uopće se ne diže frka. Ovu vijest jedva da je itko objavio. Prošla je potpuno nezapaženo. Nebitan avion nebitna vijest.

      No, činjenica je da je to još jedan argument protiv kupovine SSJ. Najmanje bitan (daleko bitnij je image i support), ali svakako nije nezamariv.

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    15. Ne zaboravimo da Bombardijer je isto tako imao problem sa stajnim trapom a oni su daleko od Boinga i Erbasa pa firme i dalje kupuje njihove avione.

      Jedina razlika izmedju Bomardiera i Suhoja je ta sto su se razni Q400 rusili po pistama i imali prinudna sletanja dok SSJ nije... dakle ipak njihov support team nije tako los. ;)

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    16. Alen Šćuric PurgerJanuary 3, 2017 at 8:51 AM

      pa i ne baš. Bombardier uz enormne popuste jedva uspjeva pokriti minimalnu godišnu proizvodnju od 36 komada (3 mjesečno). Backlog im nije dostatan niti za godinu dana.

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  11. Refreshing to read some news on this airline. Wish them the best of luck.

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  12. Flew ECA on several occasions from Split to both Hvar and Korcula. An amazing experience and very friendly and attentive crew. Good news they continue :)

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    1. What are ECA's prices like. Are they expensive?

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    2. It was always around 40 Euros one-way in high season.

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    3. Pula Split around 100 euro return

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    4. Well in high season prices were usually higher than that: On the edge of something that made commercially sense for a private customer/tourist (compared to not visiting an island or taking a ferry if someone has to go).
      They should take care that they do not become even more expensive so as to not lose out on more customers.

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  13. They should first take care of their main problem of operation, cancellation, opening, closing and changing routes and frequencies, even bases, connections... If they will not resolve those better not to start again. If so, they will again have empty flights, mad passengers and zillion facebook negative reactions...

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    1. It is likely they will have learned out of their "rookie mistakes". There have been some - yes. But what they offer is needed and wanted and they have already proven that there is a large enough market for it.

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  14. Two year ago they had 221000 which is a lot and apparently tourists did not make up the majority of their passengers which is extremely interesting.

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  15. The good thing about ECA is that they are investing in these floating airports too.

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  16. Nova godina postoji izmedju ostalog, da bi se zatvorene avio kompanije otvarale. Zakljucani aerodromi, poput Kraljevacke Morave odkljucavali... Zbog ljudi nikada dosta letova i
    aerodroma. Srecno uzletanje, miran let sa svih aerodroma. Pa i sa Kraljevacke Morave, Uzickih Ponikvi... Birokratijo. Ti civilna ili u uniformi, wake up! Will you?. Srecno vam novo letacko leto i dolazeci Bozicni praznici.
    Rodney iz Kraljeva i Sydney - a.

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    1. Nisam znao da nova godina postoji da bi se zatvorene avio kompanije otvarale, ja sam mislio da se to može desiti bilo kad u godini.
      Možda ECA krene da leti sa Moravske aerodroma ka jadranu, valjda će dati dragi naš bog, vreme je, probudi te se narode.
      Srećno svima želim 2017. i dolazeći sve moguće praznike i slavlje.

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    2. Dragi anonimni 4:21 PM.
      Iskreno, nije ni meni poznato da se bilo sta u avijaciji, pa i u privredi
      u toku proslave od dva dana nove godine bilo sta otvara... Ipak smatram da je ova, a i svaka, cela godina nova u odnosu na prethodnu godinu.Kao sto je svaki dan nov u odnosu na prethodni. Takva je moja percepcija. Oprrostite za ovoliko objasnjenje. Eto, zalutah na ovu raspravu. Naravno da ste verovatno u pravu?.
      Srecna Vam novodosla 2017 godina. i svi praznici koji dolaze.
      Radovan Marinkovic,
      Kraljevo

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    3. Svako dobro Radovane.

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  17. It would be great if there was a flight between Zagreb and lake Ohrid. The airport is next to the lake so the terminal and probably great part of navigation equipment are already there.

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  18. Congrats! Hope to see the planes also in Portoroz :)

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  19. I can't believe they put up with Balkanian BS for 14 years!!!!

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    1. They had internal problems in the 2000's. As a result they couldn't do anything for many years. Once those issues were resolved ( sometime after 2010) is when they were able to set up shop proper in Croatia. So it was only a few years of red tape.

      The info I got for ECA in 2009 after I had a meeting with them was that the assets of the original founder of the airline was being disputed in Germany after he was killed in a car accident.

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  20. Great way to start 2017!

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  21. OT:Tuzla 2016 310286 pax +20%

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    1. Nice. Any predictions for 2017? Did they announce any new routes or frequencies?

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    2. http://www.exyuaviation.com/2016/09/wizz-air-unveils-tuzla-expansion.html

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    3. 2017 TZL should record 450k-500K PAX

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    4. Congrats, Tuzla!

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    5. Wow, who would have thought a few years ago. But what is the financial situation at TZL?

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    6. Last anon, TZL is edging on bankruptcy.

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    7. So 300,000+ pax in 2016. Next year 400,000+ and still on the edge of bankruptcy???

      What's going on here?

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    8. It's Bosnia... too many employees and the local government is taking all the income for itself.

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    9. Alen Šćuric PurgerJanuary 3, 2017 at 8:44 AM

      There are airports with several million passengers but jut LCC that are on edge of bankruptcy.

      Hahn for example, with almost 3 million passengers try to find new buyer or will declare bankruptcy.

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  22. Svakako bi to dosta znacilo HR i u turizmu a i u jos po necemu tako da bi bilo dobro da se vrati letovi.
    INN-NS

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