Turkish confirms Croatia Airlines interest

Turkish Airlines has confirmed interest in its Croatian counterpart following several weeks of speculation. The airline’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Abuldkerim Cay, says his company sees an equity investment in Croatia Airlines as a good business opportunity, adding that a potential deal would benefit both sides. It comes just days after the government removed Croatia Airlines from a list of companies of strategic importance, with the aim of making it eligible for a possible sale. Turkey’s Ambassador to Croatia, Ahmet Tuta, echoed Mr Cay’s words over the weekend. “Both companies cooperate as Star Alliance members. There is interest and the Croatian government has just announced a number of companies which are to be listed for sale. However, it is important to know all the conditions”, Mr Tuta said. Since Turkey is not a member of the European Union, it could potentially acquire up to 49% in its Croatian counterpart.

Several weeks ago Croatia Airlines’ CEO, Krešimir Kučko, rebuffed claims that Turkey’s national carrier was eying a stake in the company, adding that a strategic partner through recapitalisation would accelerate the carrier's development and fleet expansion. “Our good business results make us more appealing now then we were before, so I hope we will have more success in finding a strategic partner", Mr Kučko said. Tonči Peović, who has managed both Zagreb and Dubrovnik airports and is seen as a possible replacement for Mr Kučko notes, “If the government sells Croatia Airlines without recapitalisation requirements, then the most likely buyer would be Alitalia, owned by Etihad. This would give Air Serbia, through its part-owner, access to Croatia Airlines’ valuable airport slots and a leading position in the Balkans”. Mr Peović, who is currently the General Manager of Brač Airport, adds, "The only guarantee for survival is a strategic recapitalisation through a process of programmed bankruptcy, by a non-European company, which competes against both Etihad and Lufthansa and has a strategy to develop the EU market through a hub-and-spoke network. Otherwise, the takeover will be hostile, which has been the case with a number of companies in Croatia".

Turkish Airlines has been linked to a possible equity investment in Croatia Airlines on several occasions, most recently last year. The carrier's CEO, Temel Kotil, previously noted that the company is looking at acquiring other airlines in either 2016 or 2017. Earlier this month, Turkish launched flights from Istanbul to Dubrovnik and expanded its codeshare partnership with Croatia Airlines. The carrier has also expressed interest in seeking out models with the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina over the establishment of a new national carrier in the country. Croatia Airlines' privatisation process has been ongoing for almost three years.


  1. Anonymous09:03

    Any airline eastwards of Croatia would be a good option so it doesn't become a feeder on flights to western Europe.

  2. Anonymous09:05

    Interesting. Mothership will probably try to block this.

    1. Anonymous09:06

      +1 Somehow I doubt Lufthansa will let this happen.

    2. Anonymous10:13

      It could be a deal between Lufthansa and Turkish. Turkish got the permission from Lufthansa.

    3. Anonymous10:15

      My thoughts too. Remember Lufthansa and Turkish already have a joint venture.

    4. Anonymous12:06

      SunExpress Deutschland? It's a model that could actually work for OU.

    5. Anonymous13:08

      Airline isn't for sale guys, what Turkish wants are totally irrelevant. Airline is looking for a strategic partner, and there's no rush, As I've said airline won't be sold before late 2017 and even than it'll be 45% steak for at least $150 million or more, this includes re-capitalization and commitment to expand the airline.

      Right now only few airlines in Europe can do that, Alitalia isn't one of them. Air France/KLM Group, Lufthansa Group, Korean Air might be a safe bet, one of the major Japanese Airlines, or Chinese one, perhaps even Singapore Airlines.

      We'll see how things develop, however it won't be the Turkish.

    6. Anonymous13:46

      What makes you think it will happen exactly at the end of 2017?? Why then??

    7. Anonymous14:37

      @AnonymousMay 17, 2016 at 1:46 PM

      What I am saying that it won't be sold, if it is sold it'll be after 2017 at the earliest.

  3. Anonymous09:05

    Would be really interesting if this happened. Then the game would really be on in ex-yu.

    1. Anonymous09:10

      Agree, it would make things more interesting with Air Serbia and Croatia Airlines as the only 2 carriers left in Ex-Yu region. Hope Tonci Peovic will replace Kucko as a CEO!

    2. Anonymous09:35

      Well, the only two legacies. I am sure the race for ex-YU between Ryanair and Wizz Air is about to start.

    3. Anonymous09:43

      That is still on a much smaller scale than legacy carriers (in ex-yu) ;)

    4. Anonymous10:05

      Wizz Air in Skopje has more destinations than OU does in ZAG. Lol

    5. Anonymous10:07

      W6 also carries more passengers in ex-YU than OU does. LOL

    6. Anonymous11:02

      Zagreb has more carriers than Skopje, Croatia has more airports than Macedonia, Croatia has a national carrier, etc.


    7. Anonymous11:18

      What about proportionality? ;)

    8. Anonymous11:30

      What about subsidies that Wizz gets in Skopje?

    9. Anonymous11:40

      It's nothing when compared to two decades of subsidies OU got at ZAG.

    10. Anonymous13:04

      you mean from the state Croatia

    11. Anonymous13:21

      Macedonia has been subsidizing all its airlines from a word go, however corruption in Macedonia and utter incompetence and corruption of the local politicians ensured money is channelled in to pockets and private bank accounts in Switzerland or some other place where tax man can't touch it.

    12. Purger13:58

      You are talking total non-sens:

      1. Wizza does not have more passengers in exYu then Croatia Airlines (Wizz with some 1,4 million compare to Croatia with 1,9 million)

      2. Wizz has more destinations from SKP than OU from ZAG. Not true. Wizz has 22 destinations from SKP, Croatia 31 from ZAG.

      3. But one should compare number of flights not routes, as LCC business model is to open routes with just few weekly frequencies. Legacy carriers opens less routes but with several daily frequencies, and because of that OU has in code-share
      - with LH: 5 daily to FRA
      - wirh LH: 4 daily to MUC
      - with OS: 5 daily to VIE
      - with LX: 3 daily to ZRH
      - with SN: 3 daily to BRU
      - with AF: 2 daily to CDG
      - with KL: 2 daily to AMS
      + number of destinations with daily or few times per day flights (CPH, LHR, FCO, SKP, SJJ, SPU, DBV, ZAD, PUY)
      + lot of daily flights from SPU, DBV, ZAD, PUY, RJK to airports from where OU flights several times per day from ZAG.

      So, one can not compare Croatia and Wizz, and for sure can not say that Wizz contribution to SKP is bigger or better than OU contribution to ZAG.

    13. Anonymous14:31

      Of course it's better, what are you going on about? W6 subsidies ended and the airline is still operating profitably in SKP and is actually growing. OU on the other hand no longer enjoys protection and subsidies and is falling apart.

      So I would rather have in Zagreb an airline that is financially stable than the joke called OU.
      With all these new flights and destinations, Wizz Air will carry more passengers than OU by the end of 2016!

      That is if OU is still around by then.

    14. Anonymous14:33

      Also, how earth did you get to 31 destinations out of ZAG? I got to 22 including the sesaonal ones.

    15. Anonymous14:35

      They have 23 destinations, including the seasonal ones and the ones that are operated with one stop like ATH.


    16. Anonymous14:36

      Purger, please you've got to stop this!It's getting annoying.

    17. Purger15:12

      1. Amsterdam,
      2. Brussels,
      3. Copenhagen,
      4. Dubrovnik,
      5. Frankfurt,
      6. Lisbon (begins 20 May 2016)
      7. London-Gatwick
      8. London-Heathrow,
      9. Milan-Malpensa (begins 20 May 2016)
      10. Munich,
      11. Osijek
      12. Paris-Charles de Gaulle,
      13. Prague (begins 21 May 2016),
      14. Pristina,
      15. Pula,
      16. Rome-Fiumicino,
      17. St Petersburg (begins 2 June 2016)
      18. Sarajevo,
      19. Skopje,
      20. Split,
      21. Vienna,
      22. Zadar,
      23. Zürich

      24. Antalya,
      25. Athens,
      26. Barcelona,
      27. Bol,
      28. Rijeka
      29. Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion

      Code-share non-stop:
      30. Istanbul
      31. Warsaw

      Croatia airlines does not get any subventions from 2010 (as far as I understand Wizz gets subventions till last year for all routes, and now for some of routes), so your argument is not right.

    18. Anonymous15:19

      Is Antalya even a schedule route or just a charter? Also code-shares don't count. It has to be on their own metal.

      Ok and how many years before 2010 did it get subsidies?

    19. Purger15:40

      Well, as I said it is total different concept. In legacy carriers code-share is part of strategy especially with partners in alliance. Code-share in IST and WAW routes are like OU has their own metal as they put their passengers in, it is in their system, they make connections to those flights as their own. Code-share is one of last fields where they have advantage against LCC. Antalya is regular charter but for sure brings money and passengers to Zagreb.

      What is your point about subventions? And what does this argument about long-ago subventions has to do with present comparison of Wizz and Croatia? What is next? What argument would be if I put Macedonian subventions to Palair of Mat? Non, of course, doesn't meter that that opens some market for future Wizz passengers after bankrupt of MAT.

      As far as I know there was 3 big investments in Croatia Arlinse (one in 1991, 2nd in 1999 and 3rd in 2010). Was it more than last 5-6 years of Wizz subventions in SKP (especially by number of passengers in that time, so subvention per passenger) I can not tell, especially that investments means you have some property you can sell (on privatization or liquidation) unlike with subventions to Wizz (where you give money to company and you don't have any property from it), and of course one should split that money in Croatia to other airports as Croatia does not fly just from Zagreb if you want to compare "benefits" of SKP by Wizz and ZAG by Croatia. But as I said it is not to compare those two models and for sure you can not compare benefits of connectivity legacy carrier give to community unlike LCC with only P2P passengers and by that way modest connectivity.

    20. Anonymous16:05

      Purger, what are you talking about ? ofcourse they get subsidies. What do you call PSO routes ? They get state aid for these routes and then charge Croatian taxpayers an arm and a leg to travel on these domestic routes.

      Call it what you will, but this is a legitimate form of subsidy.

      if they were serious about not topping up OU's coffers, the govt would cap the fares that OU charge on these routes so that Croatian taxpayers don't pay any more than they subsidise OU for flying these routes. Only then would it be a genuine PSO route and subsidy.

      As it is, it is simply a way of pouring money into OU behind a legitimate mechanism. Remember, no other airline - other than a Croatian company - can apply for this.

      So much for "no subsidies since 2010". Stop with the B.S.

      They started with a clean slate; had 20 years of doing something with an airline in a country that has an amazing inbound tourist industry and in the end, did nothing with it and gambled it all away through mismanagement - especially in the past 2 years, when even broken JAT has now passed it by.

      They should have built a fortress and regional powerhouse, which could and should have swallowed up every ex-yu airline before it.

      Opportunity both missed and lost....

    21. Purger22:09

      So true that opportunity missed and lost. So true! Totally agree with you.

      PSO is not same think as subsidy. We discuss about that so many times

      1. PSO is defined in EU. It is the same think as ferry routes to islands or subventions for bus tickets for students.

      2. PSO is for just few inside Croatia routes.

      3. Every EU company can run for those PSO (some of those are not operated by OU)

      I do agree that some flights (DBV-ZAG all year, or even SPU-ZAG in top season should not be subsidized, but ZAD-ZAG, PUY-ZAG for sure should). In case of SKP that would be the same as Republic of Macedonia decide to subsidize OHD-SKP route.

    22. While PSO routes are legit,the amount of money involved oin OU case is not insegnificant. If I temember well it's $4-5 millìon annually. To me it always sounded like a really good deal for OU. If somebody has exact figures it would be interesting to see and compare with what Wizz gets in Skopje

    23. While PSO routes are legit,the amount of money involved oin OU case is not insegnificant. If I temember well it's $4-5 millìon annually. To me it always sounded like a really good deal for OU. If somebody has exact figures it would be interesting to see and compare with what Wizz gets in Skopje

  4. Anonymous09:14

    Could it be part of their strategy to invest in Croatia Airlines and somehow position it as Bosnia main airline too?

  5. Anonymous09:29

    Good news. Hope this privatization saga finally comes to and end.

    1. Anonymous12:03

      I agree it is turning into the same one Jat had.

    2. Anonymous12:05

      Is there any timeframe when this privatization could actually be completed? Any deadlines? I'm sure the EU is pressuring Croatia to sell everything off like they did in Slovenia these last couple of years.

    3. Anonymous15:21

      Aha... so W6 gets subsidies for two years and once they are gone nothing changes. OU stops receiving subsidies and what happens? They have to start selling engines. LOL

  6. Anonymous09:29

    Judging by how unstable the government is at the moment, I think any sales will have to wait until next year.

    1. I think the Most or Bridge party is against the selling of any Croatian company so you could be right here.

    2. Anonymous14:27

      With the reshuffling happening Sabor who knows what might happen.

    3. Anonymous14:40

      Current government won't last long, I predict early elections either in September or November this year, at the latest early in March/April 2017.

      So much corruption in current coalition and they haven't even been in power more than 200 days.

  7. Anonymous09:51

    This will bear some weight when it comes from Temel Kotil or Ilker Ayci, not the head of HR department.

  8. Anonymous09:59

    What happened with IFC? Weren't they supposed to find a partner within a year? It's been two already.

    1. Anonymous10:02

      They didn't find anyone, someone reported it

    2. Anonymous10:07

      Well that was a waste of money.

  9. Anonymous10:27

    One thing is for sure if Turkish Airlines takes a stake in Croatia Airlines it will be the end of the current Ceo Kucko and his Management Team

  10. Anonymous12:04

    From what I know Alitalia is interested in Air Malta not in Croatia Airlines like Tonci Peovic says, although it is an interesting proposition.

    1. Anonymous12:28

      I doubt it will happen. I think Air Serbia could potentially go for Adria when 4K decides to sell it, if Lufthansa allows it.

    2. Anonymous16:19

      Why would Air Serbia invest in an airline with such a small home market ? It would be better to look for a way into BiH if it can.

      That said, Air Serbia has itself many issues to sort out before thinking of embarking on a risky M&A misadventure into other ex-yu airlines

  11. Anonymous12:28

    Garuda would have been the best solution for OU. It would have allowed OU to develop in Europe and we might have even seen flights from Jakarta. Too bad they didn't follow up on their words of interest.

  12. Anonymous12:40

    OT: SKP April: 135 013, up 23.3%

    1. Anonymous13:00

      Jan-Apr : 446.956 +19,73%

    2. Anonymous21:35

      Wow! Great job SKP!
      Belgrade take note.

  13. Purger14:09

    Possible scenario:
    - TK buy 49% in Croatia
    - Croatia (in name of TK) buy 100% of "new" Air Bosna
    - Croatia (in name of TK) buy 100% of "new" Macedonian carrier

    Why Lufthansa would allow that:
    - they are concentrate on fighting against Air Berlin/Darwin/Niki + MEB3 + other LCC in Germany (easyJet and Ryanari) with Eurowings project

    - they have huge problem with workers and union to spend more than minimum funds for shopping (and their priority is rest of shares in Brussels, Condor and SAS)

    - with war in 4 fronts
    # MEB3,
    # Air Berlin/Darwin/Niki-Etihad,
    # LCC in Germany (huge expansion of eaysJet and Ryanair + base of Transavia in MUC),
    # biggest competition are other two alliances (Air France-SkyTeam and British-oneWorld)
    they don't need one more front and to fight against most powerful player from same alliance

    1. Anonymous14:26

      Purger, don't forget that TK would be allowed to fund only 49% of all this meaning that 51% would have to come from OU. Do you really think they have the financial means for it?

    2. Purger14:45

      Everything is in deal! Etihad-Jat deal can show you how you can "invest" with no funds at all.

      Basically what do you need for financing new airline:

      - know-how
      - tinny funds for leasing aircraft (it is even smaller amount if you are Turkish and that is part of huge deal of order several hundreds of planes like Etihad/Air Serbia)
      - initial funds for salaries, marketing, logistics, basic equipment

    3. Anonymous14:58

      Purger I think that the only problem would be that the Croatian government couldn't invest as it hasn't been 10 years since their last cash injection.

      Then again, I don't think OU has any liquidity issues. The real thing is how well they would be able to compete. It's not like EY has done a phenomenal job with JU.

    4. Purger15:20


      But as I said it is all about deal you make. For example in contract you can put that part of "TK investment" are new planes out of which 2 must be placed in BiH company, and 2 in Macedonian company, or that TK will pay 50 million EUR but 20 million must be invested in OU BiH company, and 20 million in OU Macedonian company. Of course it is not that simple but there is the way how big companies invest throw other companies in third companies to make "indirect" control, and in same time to protect their investment. Usually that is the reason why noneuropean companies invest in European companies.

    5. Anonymous16:11

      Purger, not sure where you got information that Etihad made no investment in JAT. On the contrary, they invested USD40m in hard cash and provided shareholder loan facility of USD60m - same as govt of Serbia were required to do.

      Over and above this, govt of Serbia took responsibility of debt write-off, 85% of which was to other govt owned entities anyway.

    6. Purger22:14

      I was speaking about Republic of Serbia who did not invest money but do it throw Belgrade Airport. I just said you can do it without real money as simple example.

    7. Purger22:16

      throw = trough* :-)

  14. Anonymous15:03

    Why wasn't there a JU flight to IST today? I thought it was daily in summer.

    1. Anonymous15:27

      Something is messed up with IST and Air Serbia. I had a flight for June 11. Got an e-mail exactly a month in advance telling me that I was now on the June 12 flight because the June 11 was cancelled. I wanted to be in BEG on June 11, so I asked for my money back and bought a ticket on Turkish the same day, which was only $10 more.

      I suspect load factors are terrible, and they are cancelling flights because it's not worth operating them, so they give people their money back or move to another day. They would not reroute me via another carrier however so that I can arrive on the same day.

      For an airline that wants to be a transfer airline this is terrible. It's clear that Air Serbia's schedule is unreliable. If they can't sustain daily flights on a route, then shouldn't market that they have daily flights.

    2. Something really seems weird with IST. I also know somebody who was supposed to travel during this period and was rescheduled.
      I remember people were saying how IST pax numbers were great after JU moved from SAW to IST. Now it seems things changed drastically.

    3. Anonymous15:39

      Could it be that they are experiencing fleet shortage in stead of bad loads?

      Such a shame, seems like many carriers can't compete with both TK and Pegasus in Istanbul. :(

    4. Anonymous15:43

      They should just cut the crap and move their flights to a 00.30 departure from BEG. It's not like they can capture any of the O&D market to Istanbul. Time to become realistic.

    5. Anonymous16:14

      No fleet shortage at all ... loads to IST are terrible for ALL carriers.

      Have you not been watching the news to see what's happening in Turkey ?

    6. Anonymous16:24

      Wrong, Pegasus has an average of 136 passengers per flight. That doesn't seem that bad to me.

    7. Anonymous17:06

      I tried to be one of these O&D passengers but it just wouldn't work out. When I bought the ticket, it was the cheapest though.

      I told the call centre agent that I was very open to transferring somewhere just as long as I can get to BEG on the same day. She found a great connection: Istanbul-Athens-Belgrade, very quick connection total travel time around 4 hours. The Istanbul-Athens leg would have been on Turkish. I said I was more than happy to take that. She said she would have to "get permission" and get back to me. She e-mailed me the next day saying it was refused, and I would have to fly on another day or take my money back. So I took my money back and gave it to Turkish Airlines. It wasn't just me either, this was a booking for three people, so they lost three "guests".

      In my opinion, from a business perspective what they are doing is terrible. Instead of accommodating us, having us fly with them and experience their service, and being satisfied customers because they "went out of their way" to get us where we wanted to be, their agents don't have "permission" to do that. All the great inflight meals and service mean nothing if your clients can't rely on your schedule and you won't help them out when they are in a bind. Instead of us thinking "oh Air Serbia was great when we had a problem!", we are leaving this experience thinking "whatever, next time I'll just by the Turkish (or whatever other airline) ticket and won't even bother with this BS".

    8. Anonymous17:19

      There are just way many flights between BEG and IST - 3 carriers . Sadly, JU is not code-sharing with TK but rather competing with a giant carrier, useless move. I mean 25+ flights per week is a lot!

    9. Anonymous17:54

      I experienced IRROPS twice with Air Serbia and they were great and very flexible on both occasions, precisely in order to leave a good impression on a frequent traveller. It seems a lot depends on the occasion.

    10. "No fleet shortage at all ... loads to IST are terrible for ALL carriers."

      That is not true from what I read on other sites. While there are noticeable decreases on many (not all as you say) carriers, the loads on plenty of flights are just fine.
      Of course TK is still killing with the transfer pax.
      Lastly, TK has always been doing well in BEG regardless of political situation due to transfer pax and in the last week there were plenty of A321 to BEG. Also not a single A319 flight.

    11. Anonymous22:28

      IST has 8% passengers increases. That was 4,5 million more passengers last year than 2014 (just to compare that is as many as BEG has all together).

      So what is a problem with IST?

    12. Anonymous23:10

      And TK widened their Q1 losses ! Great result !

    13. Purger00:12

      TK had:
      892 million EUR profit in 2015
      542 million EUR profit in 2014
      204 million EUR profit in 2013
      338 million EUR profit in 2012

      or cumulative of 2.968.000.000,00 (almost 3 billion EUR) in last 13 years
      + in that period they bought 234 planes (in 2003 they had 65, at end of 2015 they had 299 planes)
      + they increase number of passengers 6 times (from 10 to 61 million).

      Now, really you can say anything against TK results????? You can say anything exempt impressed and respect?

    14. Purger01:14

      Mod was there some problem with my comment?

    15. Anonymous07:37

      As an insider I can tell you what's the problem with JU and IST- sales team.

      They don't care or they just don't know how to sell the product. Let's take the third most powerful person in the company (Mr Nikitovic). His way of dealing with reduced passenger numbers is to immediately reduce flights- just like Jat used to do.
      It never crosses his mind that once pax numbers lower that you need to become more aggressive and improve your sales, no.

      That's Air Serbia's main problem, that's why they are ignoring the proposal of night flights and the falling passenger numbers.

      Don't forget that even with the mess in Turkey, TK recorded over 8% more passengers in BEG.

    16. Anonymous10:23

      The real problem is, there is no one to correct and challenge their behavior.

  15. Anonymous15:25

    OT: Ryanair will start operating the SOF base 2 months in advance - just like INI, flights will begin on 6th September instead of 30th October! 20% off. Flights to BCN for example are so cheap!

    1. Anonymous17:00

      Just went over their prices. The tickets are so cheap...

    2. Anonymous17:24

      Yes! BCN - RT ticket - 54€, NYO - 55€, ATH - Scotland 48€! Crazy! Wizz will be doomed LOL

    3. Anonymous17:54

      Finally we (the people of southern Serbia) will have cheap flights :)

    4. Anonymous18:15

      is the 20% off promotion only for today?

    5. Anonymous18:46

      Until tomorrow midnight...Southern Serbs can now enjoy 2 low cost airports - INI and SOF. Interesting times ahead.

    6. Anonymous01:05

      I really hope for some regular shuttles from Nis to SOF. It will be make the people of southern Serbia to fly more and more with the FR fares from SOF.

  16. Anonymous17:11

    Ako dodje do kupovine najbolje bi bilo napraviti nesto slicno kao XQ sto bi donelo turizmu najvise.
    Ali to znaci isto da ce tesko doci i jedan wide-body avion u flotu sto je steta.

  17. Anonymous17:16

    Still not sure why TK would be interested in OU. They already have the most extensive network in Europe - they fly to almost every European capital. Maybe they are interested in Heathrow slots and Croatian domestic market or use ZAG in case they need extra slots.

  18. Anonymous18:52

    OT: El Al and Korean Air in Zagreb! Great pics!


    1. Anonymous20:06

      Ipak je putnicki! Super! :)

    2. Arrived from Tel Aviv with pax, free freight on the way to JFK to pick up some Israeli tourists...

  19. Anonymous22:17

    OT: Wizz tomorrow in Skp send A321

  20. That's true. TK doesn't only fly to capitals, also to each european village. That's why OU wouldn't has the position as a feeder for TK


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