Croatia Airlines under Lufthansa’s spell

Discontent amongst Croatia Airlines staff
Croatia Airlines pilots have requested for the government to sack the airline’s entire management saying that the Croatian carrier is being mismanaged and controlled by Lufthansa. The Union of Croatia Airlines Pilots sent a letter late last week to the Croatian government, president, parliament, media and judiciary saying that it wants to familiarise the public with the difficult situation the airline is in. It blames the airline’s CEO Srećko Šimunović of mismanagement. The union criticises the management for its inability to lease unutilised Croatia Airlines aircraft during the winter season, suspending charter flights in favour of scheduled services, a bad ticketing pricing structure and poor working conditions. The unhappy union also warns of high level corruption inside the airline and is asking the judiciary to investigate.

No words were spared when it came to Lufthansa either. “All of our services are adjusted to Lufthansa as can be seen with flights to Munich, Frankfurt, Vienna and Zurich. Croatia Airlines serves as a classic feeder airline which, through the abovementioned cities, fills Lufthansa’s flights. Croatia Airlines has only seven code share agreements with Star Alliance member airlines, four of which are owned by Lufthansa and the remaining two are heading in that direction”, the letter reads. Croatia Airlines has long had a strong partnership with Lufthansa. In 2010 it was revealed that the then Croatia Airlines CEO, Ivan Mišetić, was also sitting on Supervisory Board of Lufthansa CityLine and Eurowings (a 100% Lufthansa subsidiary).

Croatia Airlines has not responded to the scathing letter although last week said pilots are manipulating the public ahead of talks regarding their collective agreements. It also notes that the airline has actually cut its losses in 2011.

The growing discontent amongst Croatia Airlines pilots, which became public late last year after their minimum rest periods were cut, raises questions of a possible strike. The union said that sending out its disgruntled letter is the first step in making its feelings known.


  1. Anonymous09:06

    well NOT JUST OU also JP in the same shitty policy :)

  2. minipigpoop09:09

    Good that the word is getting out. OU employees know what's going on, wish them all the best

  3. Anonymous09:15

    Oh come on, it's not only Lufthansa group, now they can have the chance to do it to Turkish Airlines as well!

  4. Anonymous10:03

    Good morning dear Croatians! This is something I knew since 1992, when OU received their first a/c from LH. Nothing you get from Germans is for free or like we say "za lepe oci". LH does not care how much losses for OU the croatian taxpayers have to pay as long as the feeders to MUC / FRA / ZRH are full. There are plenty of underdeveloped markets where OU could fly much more profitably instead of sending A320s to FRA with 40 % L/F around.

  5. Anonymous10:25

    croatia, serbia and slovenia should have their own unique airline company, and only that way we can fight for the place in aviation worldwide. ok? so, lets talk, move, fight and why not being friends. at least we wont have difficulties in comunication :)

  6. Anonymous10:29

    Better with LH than with JAT!

  7. Anonymous10:39

    I fail to see how being a feeder airline for LH is bad in itself. On the contrary, it increases the load factor. It's not like OU would be doing its own intercontinental flights if not for LH. It's also not like any destinations other than FRA/MUC/VIE/ZRH are forbidden from access to OU.

  8. Anonymous11:17

    Danke Deutschland!

  9. Purger11:52

    Vladimir, it is not true.

    1. It is stupid to be feeder for price of ticket that is much under economic price (unofficial information from workers in CTN is that LH gives CTN on ZAG-FRA just some 15 EUR). LH in Croatia Airlines plane have cheaper price for ticket than CTN on their own plane. And that is not exemption but rule. I am author of the Analysis, but research was done by some workers from CTN. For instance we made several hundreds reservations on CTN planes where LH ticket was much cheaper than OU one.
    2. You have lot of examples where LH influences CTN not just in some possible code-share agreement which was not good for CTN.
    3. And not even LH. I promised in meeting with CEO and mangers of CTN not to share information which company is that (and I will not do it), but one company specifically blackmail CTN for signing code-share agreement if CTN will not do same thing with other Star Alliance company (when you know name of company you start to worried a lot).
    4. How comes that Germanwings was the only LCC that was allowed to open flights to ZAG. How comes that Croatia is biggest Germanwings market. I find Gemanwings as tool for LH which successfully removes Croatia Airlines from Germany market. Is it normal that CTN fly to Germany, biggest Croatian market because of Diaspora, just to two destinations? And Germanwings/Lufthansa has up to 20 lines from Germany to Croatia with up to 100 flights per week.
    5. How comes that LH did not have code-share on CTN flights to Duesseldorf? In same time they had one with Jat.

  10. Anonymous11:54

    For Germans u will always be knick-knacks.

  11. Anonymous11:58

    I fully support Croatian pilots. It’s time to stop this robbery of Croatia Airlines. Such an airline has so much more potential. Good luck.

  12. I have never taken the Lufthansa option to Croatia. I do fly to Croatia with OU but have always used either Singapore Airlines or Qantas via Frankfurt. It’s not like Lufthansa is the only airline flying in/out or Germany so why is it automatically assumed that every OU passenger continues their journey with Lufthansa?
    This is the way OU has been set up by its management. It’s based I suppose more on a strategy (not one I like) but a business strategy which unfortunately would be very difficult for OU to change.

    I'm just curious, do you know how many OU passengers continue there journey to either North America or Asia/Pacific with Lufthansa compared to other airlines out of Germany?


    Why is OU doing absolutely nothing in regard to supplying an air service to European ski fields when I read 200,000 Croatian heading this winter for the alps, Could this be a solution if at all a temporary one for putting the 'parked' planes to some winter use?

  13. Anonymous13:32

    I red that Analysis that Purger posted few days ago here. I can tell that 90% of complains are true. Some 10% are also true, but too much idealistic, not so real. As a frequent passenger I have to say that I also find same things problematic with schedule and prices. OU just has to copy their proposed schedule and would have at least 10% more passengers.

    Also, OU again raised the prices on domestic flights. It is nonsense that I fly Zagreb-London cheaper than Zagreb-Dubrovnik.

    Zagreb-Dubrovnik 2007. Fly promo 213 kn
    Zagreb-Dubrovnik 2010. Fly promo 270 kn
    Zagreb-Dubrovnik 2011. Fly promo 320 kn
    Zagreb-Dubrovnik 2012. fly promo
    338 kn

  14. Purger13:53

    I have data for LF on each OU flights but I don't have date on connection flights via FRA. I have some data from Airport Strategy And Marketing from Manchester, tool that is used by Zagreb airport and there is 255.000 pax to finish flights in USA from ZAG per year (they trail every passenger that start flights in ZAG). Unfortunately I can not answer your question.

    Please copy link where you have all documents from Union (my Analysis also) and read about it:

    One of chapters in Analysis was to use planes in niche market. Ski resorts, especially those in Switzerland and France which are very popular for skier from ZAG, and also Austria and Italy for those from Split (and you will be very surprised how many skier are in Dalmatia), for sure some of those 200.000 have money for luxury to travel with plane to skiing. It is question of time especially on Saturdays when you have to wait for hours on border and roads because everybody goes to ski-resorts.

    “I red that Analysis that Purger posted few days ago here. I can tell that 90% of complains are true. Some 10% are also true, but too much idealistic, not so real. As a frequent passenger I have to say that I also find same things problematic with schedule and prices. OU just has to copy their proposed schedule and would have at least 10% more passengers.”

    Of course, not just 10%, but more than 25% is idealistic, and not real. We know that. First thing that we mentioned on presentation of Analysis is that we know that lot of proposals will not be possible to execute but it has to be goal! For sure we don’t have enough information (slots, obligations in Star Alliance membership contract, relations with Lufthansa...), for sure there are so many obstacles... but for sure you mast have goal and try to make most of it!

  15. Anonymous14:04

    Croatian pilots did not mind the German control while the going was good. It's a classic union mentality and an attempt to manipulate the public opinion. They would not mind the German control at all if they got their demands. The days of Worker councils meeting to decide the next business move are gone. The unions should talk about their commie demands and leave airline management to the owners and managers. If they want to manage OU they are free to raise enough money and buy their stake first. This would also include the possibility of a loss of investment.

  16. Purger14:16

    Pilots try to buy shares in Croatia Airlines, they have funds for that!

    Also you have to know that this action is not new. It is now more than 3 years that pilots ask some questions. For sure "story" with Lufthansa is not just 3 years old, but much more!

  17. Anonymous16:00

    Danke Deutschland!

    hahaha I remember that. Well now they see their Deutschland. May this have something to do with why Air Plus operated by Swift Air flights Chicago - ZAG - BEG were cancelled?

    And Lufthansa is having higher load factors now in BEG as they have stopped code sharing with JAT where they would give JAT some transfer pax.

  18. Anonymous16:01

    JAT still flies daily to Frankfurt, I don't believe that will change as I believe it is a growing market..?

  19. Anonymous17:36

    Lufthasa stopped code sharing with Jat and cancelled their flight to Koln (Germanwings that is) cuz the flights from Fra to Beg in the evening were virtually empty, while as Jats were full.

  20. Purger do you know some similar analysis for Adria?
    Your link regarding Croatian Airlines -and information included- was very much appreciated.

  21. Anonymous18:04

    @ last anonymous: that's not true, LH cancelled their codeshare with JAT because they were getting numerous complaints from customers, mainly those flying in C, that JAT's level of service was vastly under what you'd expect from LH. I flew LH's evening flight from FRA to BEG twice last year (spring & autumn), both were at least 80% full.

  22. FlyingJack20:56

    @ Vladimir

    LH is posting huge decline on their BEG flights both from FRA and MUC due to loss of connecting passengers to long haul destinations. LH's tickets went up due to increase of the gvt tax for departing and transit passengers, as imposed by the German authorities while on the other side JU has signed good interline agreements for transiting through LHR and AMS and is having excellent loads on these flights.

    LH has also downgraded operating ac from B737 to CRJ700 and the largest ac operating today is Embraer 195. And take a look at one more thing: at least twice a week they are cancelling their either morning or the afternoon flight! These facts tell enough about their loads.

    Speaking of C class passengers complaints as the reason to cease code share I wouldn't bet on that.
    Believe it or not but I prefer JU's C lass rather than LH's on the European flights. It costs twice or three times less than in LH and you get a lot more for the money you pay. While in LH or AZ or AF seat pitch in C class is the same as in Economy, having only middle seat covered with a plastic cover to make more room for the arms, (or not even that on a tiny CRJ) in JU's C class you have 2 by 2 leather seats in C class. Welcome drink, towels to refresh, nice meal plate served on board are very much similar.

    And from personal experience, business class passengers are those who least complain. Most complaints always come from passengers flying once a year, pay the cheapest fare and expect royal service.

  23. Anonymous21:51

    As a passenger, I do not see anything wrong here. OU is doing great job by feeding LH, and I prefer to fly LH long-haul whenever possible.

  24. Anonymous23:45

    LH is using CRJ 700 only because it is retiring its B737 fleet. In Summer 2012 they will fly with Airbus A319/320 twice daily. For MUC E195 is actually a great aircraft 3 times daily. It has capacity like DC9. It is great and very good aircraft with lots of space in Y. I wish JAT replaces all of its fleet with E195. I hope many people will agree with me. I think also LH is for a ling run here and it is not going to decrease their flying to BEG, quite opposite I think.

  25. Anonymous23:51

    last anonymous, i agree about he embraer 195, althought i dont think Lufthansa will use airbus 319 during the summer for FRA.

  26. frequentflyer23:54

    There is something more fundamental with this pilot's demands: the dominance by the big 3 airlines AF/KL, LH & BA/IB) and their respective alliances. Aviation in Europe is not in good shape financially, big fish are eating small fish when the price is right: LH was gifted LX, OS is proving more of a problem so LH offers to cut their n/b fleet in half and run everything through MUC & FRA.

    Purger's comments re Germanwings is actually the elephant in the room. OU in fact ran for one (or two?) summers ZAG-DUS and loads seemed decent (of course, what the yield was like - which is far more important, we don't know), but the line was never re-opened. How many other German cities could be opened by OU, could the airline match the new LH service to BER on the 3 days a week that does not run?

    Another thought: despite LHs 'dominance' over OU, they've had one of their best years in terms of pax and $$ during 2011. That shouldn't be the case if the pilots are right, surely?

  27. Anonymous 07823:55

    To last Anonymous,
    i agree with you Embraer 175 or 195
    all the way,what a beauty this is !

    But Jat will never fly them because they have no money .

    You say LH flies three times daily with E195... no it is twice daily !

    From where you know that LH will use A319/320 in summer ?
    Sounds good but is maybe only a rumour ?!

  28. Anonymous00:16

    People complain about Lufthansa although nobody urges them to fly them !

    You even can fly FRA -New York daily nonstop with Singapore Airlines
    which is best airline ever or Munich to Bangkok daily nonstop with Thai airways ..also good !
    Not forget Munich to Tokio daily nonstop with ANA !

    All those airlines are Star Alliance OU which flies to FRA and MUC !

  29. Purger00:37

    @Fly: "Purger do you know some similar analysis for Adria?
    Your link regarding Croatian Airlines -and information included- was very much appreciated."

    You are welcome!

    No, I don't know that anyone made similar analysis for Adria. You must know that I spend several thousands hours in research and at lease 200 hours writing Analysis. That is not something you write in 2-3 nights.

    Analysis was present to President of Republic of Croatia, Minister of transportation and General manager + management of Croatia Airlines (3 days by 8 hours). Some parts of Analysis were involved in “changes” of Croatia Airlines during 2011. Most of it, unfortunately, not.

  30. Anonymous01:10

    Just go and try booking flights in April and it comes out as Airbus 319.
    Actually I m flying form BWI-EWR-FRA-BEG on LH and it shows me Airbus319 in both directions.
    They will increase capacity for summer a lot.

  31. Anonymous02:01

    well thats sound encouraging!
    Will Lufthansa send airbus 319 from Munich or will it be Embraer 195?

  32. Thank you Purger for the link. This might be a big ask but is it available in English?

  33. Purger03:08

    Unfortunately not! Material is for Croatia Airlines and Croatian Government. Sorry.

  34. Anonymous03:17

    @ FlyingJack

    No, LH have sent their 737-300's to BEG a few times in the past couple of weeks... and during the summer, they are flying A320 from FRA - BEG and ERJ195 MUC- BEG....... FRA should remain 3 daily and MUC 2, which are receiving good bookings, go see yourself ....

  35. Anonymous03:26

    and to everyone else as well....

    I have reserved my tickets already for good price, Cleveland - Toronto - Frankfurt with Air Canada and then FRA -BEG with Lufthansa A320 aircraft... flights to Beograd are filling up if you look into it... I don't know where these rumors are starting.

    and my bad, well for now FRA goes 2x daily and MUC goes 3x daily ... SUMMER TIME A320 Frankfurt, CRJ900 MUC .... :)

    3xd CRJ900 MUC
    2xd A320 FRA
    - BEG:)

  36. Anonymous03:28

    some flights from MUC will be CRJ900 and some ERJ195.... but FRA - BEG should all be A320 which is good ! !!

    and flights are getting from 1/4 - 1/2 full already for summer, not to mention how many people in coming months will be booking flights! just this week i am reserving tickets for lot of friends and family, will be connecting FRA - BEG through different days in summer...

    also some last minute bookings i know about

  37. Anonymous03:34

    look like OU and LH have similar cabin load factors for now during the summer FRA- ZAG as OU will use A320 and LH will use A319, i am not sure how many frequencies they will use? From MUC - ZAG is using AVRO RJ85 jet...

  38. Anonymous03:39

    thanks for info aleks!
    Its dissapointment that Luthansa is going to use crj-900 during summer time, i think. I remeber a 1 year ago they used airbus 319 three times per day

  39. Anonymous03:40

    MUC - SJJ flights will be operated by LH A319 and for now for summer have decent load, but they are PACKED .... MUC - SJJ about 50 per flight and SJJ - MUC about 70! !! i believe FRA / MUC - BEG are about same in and out..

  40. Anonymous03:41

    no problem anonymous!

    I remember that! oh well, lets just be thankful the flights are there:)

  41. Anonymous03:43

    JFK - Budapest... I see why they Delta is not coming back this coming summer, flights on AA are not really good even though AA is using 767 on route... they could pull this and maybe better with BEG!!!

  42. Anonymous03:45

    FRA - LJU and LJU - SKP are practically empty with Adria...

  43. Anonymous04:01

    hmmm, could we see Aeroflot increasing BEG and ZAG frequencies during summer?
    Aeroflot has been sending airbus 321 almost everday!

  44. Anonymous04:05

    this is why the aviation industry in croatia is going to have many more problems. i have said this before, and i will say it again, lufthansa controls croatia and slovenia. serbia is at the moment a free market, but that might change. hopefully it remains as it is

  45. Anonymous04:40

    Actually BEG-MUC will be E195 2X daily and CRJ900 1X daily. That can change to 3XE195, but I think it is pretty good. As I said I like their E195 product and I would chose it over CRJ 900.

  46. Anonymous17:47

    Today we have FlyNiki in BEG
    twice the day with E195 !

    I also love the Air Berlin Dash8,
    but E195 in such a beautiful silver livery is even more special !

    I prefer Air Berlin/FlyNiki before
    Austrian or JAT !
    To go twice daily in between the week was a good move ,much appreciated !

  47. Anonymous20:04

    @ 4th last anonymous

    for next summer JAT is increasing BEG - Moscow from 7 weekly to 9 weekly. Rumors went around that there would be new flights and airlines from Saint Petersburg and Moscow to Beograd and Nis...... I guess we have to wait and see :)

  48. I can't understand this policy.
    They make joke from people of Slovenia.
    Adria id public and must do interests of Slvenia taxpayers.
    1. Adria is offering cheapest roundtrip
    Priština - Munich for only 108.99eu.
    Cheapest Ljubljana - Munich is 199,80 eu.
    (look end February - mid March 2012 at
    2. Adria cheapest ticket for roundtrip
    2a. Ljubljana - Brussels (274,75 eu) is much more
    expensive then cheapest roundtrip 2b. Priština - Ljubljana - Brussels (199.81 eu)
    Agai many days endFebruary orin March)

    2a. 2b. are both operated by Adria, ticket are of the same category with same rebooking conditions and in fact Ljubljan - Brussels it' in both case on the same airplane on the same schedule day all same.
    But how is it that Priština is cheaper?

    Sloveni tax payers money is overpaying tickets and buying loads of them in advance for more years ... this is done to carry to Brussels politicians and delegations from Slovenia.
    So Adria can't give cheaper tickets when is selling many of them at higher price (it' a multi milion euro deal!!!! x 1 year).
    But how gosh can come that same is still cheaper from Priština.

    Adria is public airline CHEATING their own passengers from Slovenia that are paying 50 milions euro last year to help Adria ... because is vital, important ... for Slovenians ...

    How can this bullshit still par of Star Alliance.
    They are a bad joke.

  49. Anonymous22:41

    The analsys of the Union for OU is just unrealistic and it doesn't include any economic aspects. The whole document is wrote maybe for a virtual airline, not a real life one. There are some very strange things written there which don't have nothing in commonn with the real life situation of OU. This is all based on assumptions rather than economic possibilities. Pilots should concentrate on flying the aircraft instead of telling the management how to manage the company!

  50. Anonymous08:19

    Croatia is just a whore of Germany.


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