Croatia Airlines turns 25

Croatia Airlines marks 25th anniversary with challenging future ahead

Croatia Airlines is celebrating its 25th birthday, marking two and a half decades since it launched operations as Zagreb Airlines (Zagal) in what was still Yugoslavia. Over its history, the airline has developed into one of the busiest in the former Yugoslavia. In 1990 it changed its name to Croatia Airlines and operated its first domestic flight on May 5 that same year between Zagreb and Split using an MD-82. On April 5, 1992, the newly established national carrier inaugurated its first international service, from Zagreb to Frankfurt. Over the past 25 years, Croatia Airlines has operated 469.000 flights and handled 29 million passengers.

Zagal Zagreb, first aircraft

Commenting on the milestone, the CEO of Croatia Airlines, Krešimir Kučko, said, “25 years ago the founding assembly of the new Croatian airline company, Zagreb Airlines (Zagal), was held at the Esplanade Hotel in Zagreb. Zagal was the first joint stock company in the former state and on August 7, 1990 was entered in the register of the then District Commercial Court as Zagreb Airlines”. Mr Kučko added, “First we leased MD-82 aircraft, then we bought our Boeings and ATRs, and then we replaced them with the most modern Airbuses and Dashes. Today we connect Croatia with Europe and, together with our partners, with the rest of the world. Since we became a member of Star Alliance in 2004, European destinations have been closer to us”. In order to mark the occasion, last Thursday, several select passengers were given gifts on board flight OU416 from Zagreb to Frankfurt.

Arrival of Croatia Airlines' first A319 in 1998 at Zagreb Airport

Croatia Airlines faces a challenging future ahead. The airline is expected to be put up for sale again this autumn following a failed attempt late last year. Furthermore, the recent restructuring of the carrier has taken its toll, with the airline decreasing its network size, fleet, passenger numbers and market share. However, the goal of returning to profitability was achieved in 2013. With the restructuring coming to an end later this year, the airline’s management has said Croatia Airlines will expand both its network and fleet in 2015. Over the past quarter of a century, Croatia Airlines has grown into a medium-sized airline, recognised and valued by its passengers. It is one of the staples of the Croatian economy and has given a significant contribution to the country’s tourism industry.


  1. Anonymous09:04

    Happy birthday, Croatia Airlines, with many years to come (if the privatization process doesn't fail)!

  2. Anonymous09:08

    Happy b-day OU. This is the first time I have seen a Zagal aircraft on a photo. Hopefully they will have a bright future. What I always liked is that Croatia took care of its airline well most of the time anyway

  3. Anonymous09:27

    Happy birthday CTN!

  4. Anonymous10:35

    Nice warm croissants these days on the early flights........congrats

  5. Anonymous10:35

    Happy birthday Croatia Airlines! Thank you for numerous happy flights and excellent service on the ground and in the air :) I am proud of you, not just because of excellent service when everything goes well, I am proud of you because when something goes wrong you always put me in a five star hotel, give me voucher and free call to my home. Something that I miss when flying other companies.

    1. Anonymous16:41

      Wow, you are so funny, what a sarcasm, ask other companies to put you in a 5 star hotel, see what they'll tell you! Happy birthday, Croatia Airlines, hope better days are to come!

  6. Anonymous10:49

    quick trip report on Air Serbia
    I was flying from BEG to TLV and back. On the flight there around 40 pax, and on the way back around 100 pax. Most of the pax where either transfer or Israeli citizens visiting Belgrade. Overall the experience on Air Serbia was good.
    Catering: 7 ( my seatmate on the flight back ordered a veg meal and what they gave him was small fruit plate and rice and carrots mixed together which is disgraceful since the flight lasted 3 hours. My meal was much better so thats why I will give a 7
    Staff: 7 ( the Air Serbia staff was very kind and pleasant but the thing what I heard other pax comment was that the stewardesses put on too much make up and they did not look pretty but instead like lutkas which I fully agree on. Make up is good but not to that level.
    Aircraft: 9 ( no complains here since i find the Airbus 319 an outstanding aircraft with just enough legroom.
    Time performance: 10 ( both of the flights landed on time)
    Overall: I would have to give an 8.

    1. Anonymous13:03

      Pity that CTN isn't flying there.

    2. Anonymous13:19

      I thought OU had at least one weekly flight to Tel Aviv. What about Adria?

    3. Anonymous13:54

      OU flies to Tel Aviv from both ZAG and DBV during the summer season.

    4. Anonymous19:06

      Does El Al still fly during summer?

    5. Anonymous19:11

      Danas je bio El Al u ZAG sa B767-300

    6. Anonymous19:37

      I don't understand why isn't OU flying more often if LY manages to send such a large aircraft. To make things worse, LY is no better than your average ex-Yugoslav airline.

  7. Anonymous11:22


    Air Serbia has started avoiding the Iraqi air space, in addition to avoiding the Ukrainian one.
    I still can't understand the logic behind avoiding the western parts of the country but ok,

  8. Anonymous12:01

    Happy bday ctn. Hope soon there will be logical flights to beg from zag and dbv, yearround. Rgrds from bgd.

  9. I wish OU happy birthday and many years to come....but without Kucko!!
    He destroyed a lot of the service!

  10. Anonymous14:01

    Congratulations Croatia Airlines. You still have a lot of potential to grow, especially eastwards :)

  11. Petar14:24

    Happy Birthday Croatia Airlines!

    Sorry for the OT

    Ex-YU last night I came here and went in to read the article and saw that the comments section looked completely different. There were options like rating comments and stuff. I come today and it’s all gone …… it looked really good actually. Was I imagining things? :-)

    1. No, you weren’t imaging. A new look comments section will be rolled out by the end of August. The idea is to make the comments section more user friendly with the focus being squarely on aviation. Some tests and tweaking was done last night. I am glad you liked it :)

  12. Anonymous14:27

    Sorry for off-topic but I have a question. Tomorrow there will be 18 take-offs from Belgrade between 12.50 and 14.00. How is the airport coping with this flow? That's a lot of traffic for a small airport like Belgrade.

    12.50 Geneva // Swiss, A320
    13.00 Abu Dhabi // Etihad, A319
    13.05 Munich // Lufthansa, E195
    13.10 Moscow // Aeroflot, A320
    13.15 Split // Air Serbia, Atr-72
    13.20 Sofia // Air Serbia, Atr-72
    13.20 Athens // Air Serbia, A320
    13.20 Thessaloniki // Air Serbia, A320
    13.25 Enfidha // Tunisair, A319
    13.25 Bucharest // Air Serbia A319
    13.30 Dubrovnik // Air Serbia, A319
    13.35 Santorini/Kos // Air Serbia, B737-300
    13.35 Frankfurt // Lufthansa, A320
    13.45 Skopje // Air Serbia, A319
    13.45 Tivat // Air Serbia, B737-300
    13.50 Warsaw // LOT, E175
    13.50 Podgorica // Air Serbia, B737-300
    13.55 Banja Luka // Air Serbia, Atr-72
    14.00 Sarajevo // Air Serbia, Atr-72

    I hope that soon enough we see Etihad sending its A320 to Belgrade, especially since their performance has been really good. Was it 95%?

    1. Anonymous15:21

      It will flow normal but can be a delay but there is no point of having a second runday if you know what i mean.. one runway can handle at least 7.5million then start to make a second runway

    2. Anonymous15:24

      I think he referred to the rather small terminal and the fact that almost all parking positions will be used.

    3. Anonymous18:26

      Once Apron B positions are also full then you know there's no more room!

    4. Anonymous18:36

      B positions are already used to a certain degree. B1 is occupied by Aviogenex and then another two by City Line Hungary and RAF Avia. So that leaves you with four free ones which is not a lot.

      A lot of Air Serbia flights (Atr) are being parked there even if the airport is not supposed to do so.

    5. Anonymous22:01

      I know, things are close to the limits at BEG. Another way to make more room is to spread the load around the clock. Basically you start by politely asking other airlines to move their times outside of Air Serbia's "waves" like the one around 13:00-14:00, in this case LH, LX, LO, SU etc.
      Other airlines are likely to tell you to go you know where, so what you do is propose a new law that regulates slots at the airport. Over time, you get more gates at the same time for an airline that needs it for transfers (esp once longhaul flights start) and the others can still use the gates when things are not that busy.

    6. Anonymous22:57

      Well, that's common practice at all big airports. The airport management will always try to please their local customer.
      I believe that airlines like Aeroflot is safe thanks to its code-share agreement with Air Serbia while LOT has an interline agreement.

      As far as Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Swiss go... well, what can we do.

    7. Anonymous01:45

      Well, here's what LH Group can do: partner with trusted airport operator (not necessarily Fraport) and additional investors to make a bid for Belgrade airport concession. They could negotiate some favourable conditions for LH Group while getting reasonable revenue over time. Problem is, LH leadership is too short sighted to realize long term benefits of this type of venture.

  13. Anonymous15:06

    Seems like Belgrade will be getting the slot system!

    1. Anonymous22:40

      Zagreb has a slot system since 2007.

    2. Anonymous06:19

      No offence and not wanting to sound malicious but did Zagreb really need it? I mean the slot system is useful when the airport gets crowded and when its capacities are almost reached. Does ZAG really have such a problem?

  14. SKP Juli 2014 - 132.227 putnici +17,05%
    *Sumarno iz pocetka godine - 667.267 патници +19.61 %

    1. Anonymous20:23

      Beograd 540000 samo u prošlom mesecu...

    2. Anonymous20:40

      Split skoro 400000, pa što?

  15. Anonymous18:25

    Does anyone know why JP operate charters to Sarajevo? According to Sarajevo airport web page there will be flights to Sarajevo on 12 th, 13th, 14th, 25th (two flights) and 26th of August. All accept 25th will be flown with A319.

    Thanks ...

    1. Anonymous06:56

      Adria is transfering turists from Kuwait on special charter flights to Sarajevo via Ljubljana

  16. Anonymous18:39

    First Airbus in CTN fleet was 9A-CTF and she arrived in 1997, first A319 arrived 20.01.1998.!

  17. Ou does 4 weekly rotations in the peak summer season. El al does pne a week , and this year they have been ( although inconsistently) doing a second one. Total of 6 flights to tel aviv...from zag

  18. Anonymous23:21

    sorry for OT,.. but either lies or there are 3 A320's in Air Serbia's fleet or at least being used by Air Serbia..??

    1. Anonymous11:15

      Why don't you ask them or contact Air Serbia to find out why this is happening.

  19. Anonymous00:53

    And El Al is mostly flying to ZAG with B767-300. Today was in ZAG

  20. Anonymous08:45

    Sorry for the OT. Why was EY71 diverted to Timisoara this morning? Also, TK1071 from IST was on hold, and performed several circles before landing in BEG.


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