Croatia Airlines to be sold

The search is on for Croatia Airlines’ new owner

The Croatian government has announced plans to sell its national carrier as its future could be jeopardised once the country joins the European Union. The government has been providing subsidies to Croatia Airlines for years, with a final aid package approved in late 2012. However, the airline will run into trouble from July 1 when Croatia joins the European Union, which bans subsidies on individual companies. If no strategic partner is found, Croatia Airlines will have to finance some 50% of the cost of a restructuring plan already in place to sack 200 workers from a total of 1.070 and cancel some flights.

The Minister for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Siniša Hajdaš Dončić says, “We will fight for Croatia Airlines to survive, but if you’re following the regional markets, you have to know that all regional airlines are in bad shape and are struggling to find a strategic partner”. He added that the government was already in preliminary talks with “potential strategic partners”. No names have yet been floated though the daily “Jutranji” believes Etihad Airways could come to Croatia Airlines’ help after purchasing neighbouring Jat Airways. "If the strategic partner is from outside the European Union, the maximum stake we'd sell would be 49%. If it is from the EU, the stake can be up to 100%", Mr. Hajdaš Dončić explains.

The Croatian government has done a major back flip on its decision to sell the airline. Last year it said there was no need to privatise the national carrier in the coming years. Croatia Airlines is in the process of restructuring which is to be completed by 2015. During this summer season the carrier cancelled several high profile routes. Recently, pilots and cabin crew have threatened to strike after failing to reach a deal over new collective agreements with the management. The carrier has now signed a new collective agreement with three out of six unions. The Croatian Prime Minister, Zoran Milanović, believes the national airline will come out of the current crisis. He concludes, “Croatia Airlines has a future”.


  1. Anonymous09:48

    Lufthansa should buy 100 per cent of OU as Germany is it's biggest market!

    1. Anonymous10:07

      Are you stupid? OU's biggest market is the domestic one. Remember that Croatia has 10 airports?

    2. Anonymous10:16

      You will find the domestic routes are operated with huge losses if it wasn't for the state aid given to OU to keep these routes running. The German market is where the money is made and Lufrhansa would be stupid not to buy out the competition! On the other hand if Etihad takes over OU that would give Lufthansa serious competition as O aU would propably cut ties with Lufthansa and co-operate with Air Berlin! And no I am not stupid! Most of OU's customers are on the German routes!

    3. Anonymous10:42

      I has been said on this very blog that OU will suffer huge losses when they join the EU, because they will face competition from other European carriers on "their most lucrative domestic routes". So they obviously DO make money domestically.

      Furthermore, this blog reported that OU was "Instructed by the Government" to lease a new aircraft and run flights to Osijek. Like the other 70% of stories on this page, it never happened. Why? because it is not a profitable route, simple.

      So you would have us believe that OU make no money on domestic flights, but still refuse to run unprofitable lines even after they were "ordered" to by the Govt?

      You may not be stupid, however your comments are those of a stupid person.

  2. Bucko10:09

    Nope, just the fact M'am, just the facts.

  3. Anonymous10:24

    "Etihad Airways could come to Croatia Airlines’ help after purchasing neighboring Jat Airways"

    This is a complete lie. Etihad has not purchased JAT. Are you trying to destroy what little credibility you have as an aviation journalist*? (* I use the term VERY loosely)

    Are you aware that OU is a publicly listed company? Are you also aware that as a publicly listed company they are run by a board of directors and not the government?

    I would suggest you check facts before publishing such complete and utter garbage, but after the fictional report of BerlinAir from a few days ago, I will not hold my breath.

    Admittedly I only visit this page to laugh at the stories, so I suppose I should say keep up the good work!..

    1. Anonymous10:35

      Why don't you start your own blog then?

      Sour grapes....
      P.s. its air berlin not berlinair

    2. First of all if you read carefully enough you will note that the sentence was written by “Jutarnji”. Second of all, Croatia Airlines is a government owned company. Third, Air Berlin held talks with Jat and an agreement has been reached to implement the codeshares by September. Although I always do accept criticism… if you do not like the blog you are more than welcome to make your own or move to another one you find more credible.

    3. Anonymous11:06

      Thank you for your permission to start my own blog, however I have far more important things to do, and I am not blessed with such an expansive imagination as yourself.

      Firstly, the sentence may have been written by “Jutarnji”, however you had no hesitation placing it into your story as fact. Secondly, the Croatian government owns 96.22% of the publicly listed company (Zagreb stock exchange code: CRALRA). So if you knew basic company law you would know that it is not government owned, the government may be the biggest single shareholder, but it doesn't own it or run it. Thirdly According to Wikipedia Air Berlin already has codeshare agreements with JAT, and do you really expect us to believe that Air Berlin executives would fly in on a plane with a bunch of asylum seekers?

      I am glad that you are happy to accept criticism, so I feel that it is my duty to inform you that the constant string of lies and garbage that you publish on your blog is harmful to Serbia, Jat and yourself.

    4. I don’t see what the problem with the sentence is. The article states that Etihad COULD buy into Croatia Airlines AFTER it buys into Jat. If you do have a problem with it take it up with the newspapers. As for the codeshare, Air Berlin does not have one with Jat but it is up to you if you wish to trust Wikipedia. Finally, first you said the Croatian government does not own Croatia Airlines but now you claim it owns 96%. The government does own it, nominates members of the board of directors and nominates the CEO.

    5. Anonymous11:46

      Im sorry but i think EX-YU is right in that croatian government is in full control of OU.
      Also about the "Jutarnji" thing its clear BS no matter who writes it, same with Jat too.

    6. Anonymous12:09

      I have read the article, it does not say the Etihad are buying Jat, it only states that the Serbian govt is talking to them. Why should I take it up with them? They presented their story as pure speculation (I suspect it was a slow news day), they also went on to talk about Adria and YM, but I suppose you are saving that part of the story so you can misconstrue it at a later time.

      I have worked in a number of public and private organisations, and I know that they are very careful to maintain their online profile, (ie. managing their Wikipedia page). I know for a fact that Singapore airways has a whole department that does nothing but maintain their "digital profile" as they call it. So one has to assume that Jat maintains their Wiki page, and much like yourself, they lie.

      You obviously have no understanding of publicly listed companies, or the legal requirements of those directors. I suggest you get onto Wikipedia yourself and look into the responsibilities of a public board of directors.

      Keep the laughs coming..

    7. Anonymous12:21

      You clearly have too much time on your hands..

    8. Anonymous12:27

      The guy below sums it up:

      Yep, plenty of time and a very low bullshit threshold.

    9. Anonymous12:34

      They're not happy when you don't publish news about Croatia, they're not happy when you do... I suggest Croatia simply be excluded from Ex-Yu news in the future to avoid such arguments.

    10. I find it curious that you question the value of information published on Wikipedia, when you are sited as reference on the Jat page 9 times.

    11. Anonymous16:47

      Jat realy did put codeshare with airberlin on wikipedia they should also add 49% owned by Etihad, What a joke of an airline!

  4. Anonymous10:40

    Maybe Lufthansa should buy them. Downsize fleet to Embraers to meet the market needs and feed to Frankfurt and Munich. Cologne, Stuttgart and Berlin will be served by Germanwings. This would be the most cost effective for Lufthansa Group. On the other hand, maybe Croatian market is not big enough for Lufthansa to buy a regional airline there. Lufthansa can easily set up it's own or operate from its hubs.

    1. Anonymous11:08

      You my friend are an Oxygen Thief.

  5. Anonymous12:09

    If i was a Croat i would be ashamed of being in the same airline alliance with Jat, i mean how pathetic it is that Croatia craves for the same partner...

    1. Anonymous12:15

      They don't, this blog just pulls shit out of his ass and publishes it as "fact".

      Croatian Airline is already part of Star Alliance, and has no need to join with Ethihad or anyone else.

      JAT is part of fuck nothing, which is what they will become in a very short time.

      This blog is a classic example of that old serb saying: "A serb is happiest when his neighbors cow dies"

    2. Anonymous19:29

      I for one wish Croatia Airlines all the best -- a happy and prosperous future. By the same token, I think that your commentary here is pompous, arrogant, and full of vitriol. Do yourself (and us) a favor: stop with your hysterics here. Otpepaj.

  6. Anonymous12:10

    20 years later, Croatia is to join a Yugoslavia-like union in a worse version of it and its airline seeks to join the same alliance/partner as pathetic.

    1. Anonymous12:16

      ***As Above***

      They don't, this blog just pulls shit out of his ass and publishes it as "fact".

      Croatian Airline is already part of Star Alliance, and has no need to join with Ethihad or anyone else.

      JAT is part of fuck nothing, which is what they will become in a very short time.

      This blog is a classic example of that old serb saying: "A serb is happiest when his neighbors cow dies"

    2. Anonymous12:23

      This guy literally has way too much time to constantly come back to comment. Wow.

    3. Anonymous12:26

      Yep, plenty of time and a very low bullshit threshold.

  7. Meister12:29

    OU will select partner in 2016 after the restructuring is complete not to say they won't be looking for partner in mean time. OU will first look to Lufthansa the most likely partner and they practically control them already.

    1. Anonymous12:38

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. Anonymous12:47

      Awwww c'mon why delete my comment? Where is your sense of humor?

    3. Please provide some facts to support this idiotically moronic statement.

  8. Anonymous13:11

    Is there some fund I can contribute to that would provide free therapy to angry Balkanians?

    I think this would be a good thing to do in this world

  9. I still think that JAT buy Boeing.

  10. Nothing new, every small fish gets someday eaten by a bigger one, thats life.

  11. Anonymous20:38

    I can not wait till Croatia finally joins EU.
    Maybe then we will get rid of our communist style economy.
    Government run companies which were never profitable and burn money
    that would better spent elsewhere!
    For people in Croatia the EU is the new enemy because they know their
    employers will die off in big scale and they will loose their jobs.
    But to become better it has to become worse first.
    Croatia Airlines is a nationalist crap prestige project that failed miserably.
    Serbia has the same problem.
    Everybody there wants under all circumstances into EU but they do not grasp that this means that their economy which also is
    practically 100% government owned crap will have to die off.
    What i hate most about "our" people is that they can only think about joining a company and earn money no matter if that business makes sense at all .
    It would be better if people start their own businesses of the kind that earn their money by being profitable.
    And instead of subsidizing crap the government should lower the tax for these private businesses and also lower taxes on consume like VAT!

    1. Doot21:04

      It's true.

      I remember walking with a friend in Southern Serbia. He's an engineer and works for a successful-ish company in Belgrade.

      everyone. everyone asked the same question: "Are you on the budget?" (subsidized by the state). He answered, "no" and NOBODY could understand how his company got money for salaries.

      When a society is this much victims of communism that significant amounts of people do not understand the basic mechanisms of the world (a company does work and gets paid by clients for that work, and from that money is paid everything). When so many people can't understand the difference between success and failure, there's a big problem.

      One could talk endlessly about all the problems of the former yugoslavia and why people are in the troubles there are today. This legacy of communism on people's minds - this disconnection from basic mechanisms is as much a cause of the rotten state in the EXYU. The rotten state of the society and the rotten state in a lot of people's minds.

    2. Anonymous00:00

      Imagine that there is a nobel prize winning economist Krugman
      that really has opinion that the Serbian government should even spend more money to save the economy...
      How can someone be so severely retarded to come up with such stupidness!

  12. Purger21:19

    For first time minister announced possibility of selling Croatia Airlines on 23rd April. Here was my reaction to that:

    Do prije dvije godine bila bi Lufthansa - no Luftica danas užurbano prodaje i ništa ne kupuje.

    Turci bi mogli zonu svog interesa pomaknuti još malo na sjever, no oni osim puno najava o kupnjama, baš i ne kupuju. Očito su koncentrirani na svoj vlastitu enormnu ekspanziju koju čine kroz kupnju ogromnog broja aviona, a ne drugih kompanija. Konačno, loše iskustvo sa B&H Airlinesom svakako ne pomaže eventualnoj kupnji u regiji.

    Etihad, kao jedan od rijetkih koji kupuju, se odlučio za Jat (ako će od toga što biti) i u tom slučaju CTN nema ni najmanje šanse.

    Ostala dvojica iz MEB3 (Emirates i Qatar) nisu baš neki kupci, tj. vrlo rijetko uopće pokažu interes za kupnju, a od konkretne kupnje gotovo da nema ništa. Qatar, koji se spominje u snovima naših političara i stručnjaka u CTN-u, do sada nije kupio ni jednu jedinu kompaniju.

    British je upravo tržio Vueling i bmi, uletio sa nekom lovom za JAL, pokriva dugove Iberije, pa se baš i nema neke love za skore kupovine. Konačno ako bi kupovao British svakako ima sebi bitnijih kompanija u koje bi uletio.

    Air France je nakon žestokih borbi za kupnju Alitalije, KLM-a, Austriana, Brusselsa i Olympica prestao pokazivati interes (za vlastitog partnera ČSA nije se ni osvrnuo), a i ne cvjetaju im baš ružice. I njima ovo tržište nije prioritet.

    Aeroflot samo puno priča, doslovce se k*rči, a od kupovina ni k. No, oni su previše vezani uz Jat da bi protegli krakove na naš kraj.

    Amerikanci ne kupuju, Korean je upravo uletio u ČSA, ostali nemaju love i sami grcaju u gubicima.

    Domaći kapital nema love za tako što. U prvom redu Trade airu je to puno prevelik zalogaj, a i veliki igrači (Agrokor, Atlantic, Tvornica duhana Rovinj...) niti imaju dovoljno love, niti interesa jer se prvenstveno bave kornim businessom i regionalnom ekspanzijom. U tom svjetlu spominjao se Todorić, no sve se svelo na par sitnih polu-tračeva.

    Tako da jako, jako, jako teško da će se tu pronaći kupac koji bi uletio u CTN. Osim ako se po "hrvatskom modelu" kompaniji ne otpišu dugovi (a što se učinilo) i ne proda se za 1 kn. Onda će kupaca biti ko pljeve. Eto, i ja bi se javio!

    And than my reaction to article in Jutarnji list by which today exYU article was made:

    Ovaj članak u Jutarnjem je u najmanju ruku diletantski i šarlatantski. Snovi o Etihadu koji će ZAG staviti ispred BEG su ništa drugo nego mokri snovi.

  13. frequentflyer01:07

    The best buyer for OU would in fact be the IAG group.

    Yes, it would mean that OU would have to leave *A (but is that really a bad thing?), and LH would likely increase its competition into Croatia, but they would have far more opportunity to grow and survive not being captive to the German overlords.

    IAG is looking to expand its European influence, is well cashed up, and would be willing to make the tough decisions to turn the airlines profitablity around (just look at what they are in the process of changing at IB). OU would also be sufficiently far away from the UK/Spain/Finland to be allowed to do its own thing!

    Ideally, the fleet should be expanded over coming years to 7 319s (in the high-capacity seating we now see operating, it is plenty of jet capacity), and up to 8 Q400s to truly provide the best opportunity for success.

    Finally, some 20% of the airline's shares should be floated on the ZSE so there is public accountability and liquidity. And it would be quite a high-profile stock for the burza!

    But, leaving *A and the LH-stranglehold may be a little too difficult to stomach for some close to running the airline...

  14. There is a saying in business - When everyone is selling this is when the smart people buy, so who knows maybe OU will find a buyer. But I think that depends on what The Croatian Government wants in return and in what situation they are willing to sell the airline in.

    If I was in a position to but OU, I would as I think there is potential. Its strategy for the past 10 years has failed but no one seems to want to fix this which for some reason annoys me. So brain storm here we come.

    I would as someone mentioned above list the company on either the Zagreb or European stock exchange (part of it at least) to raise capital at a suitable time.

    Keep the airline as a Star member but stop the airlines being a 'region feeder'. The airline lost it status as a 'regional member' long ago and so need not act like one.

    Move towards an all A319 and Q400 fleet. (and consider 20-30 seat class aircraft)

    A320 used for charters only.

    Introduce flights to Moscow and Dubai. These destinations could be a real cash cow for OU offering a better business class product which people will pay for fuss increase revenue.

    Start a separate company dedicated to charters. Dubrovnik Airline carried 400,000 people per year mostly in the summer. These passengers are there for OU to take up but instead they left them to other airlines.

    Work with travel agencies from the entire European continent year round to offer charter services through out Europe. This does not have to originate in Croatia and could be a real solution to the winter fleet problem.

    Move towards a more efficient domestic operation. I don't know why all domestic ops are not done by the Q400. The only time an A319 /320 would be used on a domestic route should be for re-positioning.

    Introduce Smaller regional aircraft. EMB-120 type aircraft would be perfect for use on low yielding domestic routes but could also be used to develop new ones. Such as Zagreb - Belgrade, Zagreb - Venice, Zagreb - Sofia, etc. Also, it this aircraft was of a QC type then even it could even be used as a stepping stone to freight operation.

    Now, these are just some examples I came up with and I admit, they are just my opinions and I could be way off and have no idea. But I also know what they are doing now is not working.


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