Croatia Airlines to seek new strategic partner

Croatia Airlines' CEO, Krešimir Kučko, has said the airline is in contact with financial institutions and investment funds concerning its future and could draft a proposal to the carrier's majority owner, the Croatian government, over plans to seek a new strategic partner by year's end. Mr Kučko noted that following the company's successful restructuring, Croatia Airlines is now a "stable and prospective company with a clear direction for future development". He added that the carrier will likely handle over two million passengers this year, which would mark its busiest on record. The Croatian airline is set to launch four new seasonal routes out of Zagreb this year - Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki and Bucharest - and will resume all four of its summer routes launched out of the Croatian capital last year.

The privatisation of Croatia Airlines is back on the agenda after the government adopted plans to raise over 200 million euros from the sale of state-owned companies over the next three years. Businesses which have not been classified of strategic importance to Croatia are all in contention for sale. The state's former administration removed the Croatian carrier from the list in order to pave way for its privatisation. Croatia Airlines was put up for sale in 2014, however, no interest was expressed during an international tender. The former Minister for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure in the Croatian government, Siniša Hajdaš Dončić, said that a total of six companies had previously expressed interest in buying a stake in the national carrier and has urged the country's Prime Minister to resume Croatia Airlines' privatisation process.

Croatia Airlines anticipates ending 2017 with a profit and thus continue its trend of profitable operations. This year, the airline will wet-lease two Bombardier CRJ1000 aircraft from Iberia Regional. Mr Kučko noted that the aircraft have been contracted on a trial basis and will be considered for the carrier's planned fleet expansion next year. Commenting on Zagreb Airport's new passenger terminal, which will officially be opened this evening and put into operation next Tuesday, Mr Kučko said, "Testing is more or less going according to schedule. We still have concerns over some aspects, primarily passenger flow. The new terminal has fewer gates and parking positions than the old one. As the volume of flights and travellers increase, parking positions at both the old and new terminal will have to be used. This could cause problems in meeting the expected passenger transfer times. However, the airport is working hard so we hope to jointly resolve any issues".

Croatia Airlines CEO commenting on the airline's new routes and Zagreb Airport's new passanger terminal (Croatian only)


  1. Anonymous09:02

    So regional fleet expansion has been moved to 2018?

    1. Anonymous09:07

      They are leasing 2 CRJ 1000s.

    2. Anonymous09:10

      This is a 4 mo th wet lease. I meant something more permanent.

  2. Anonymous09:04

    Just not an investment fund. They don't have the best of track records.

    1. Anonymous09:09

      This is old news. It was published several weeks ago. I don't see the point of recompiling old news over and over.
      Could be a smart way of moving focus from JU bad news to something else.
      @Admin - can you please specify the source of the news and when the statement was issued. Thanks.

    2. On Friday March 17 by the airline's CEO which is the first time the company has said progress is being made on this matter. Try to avoid conspiricy theories. I fail to see how this is bad news. Please read the entire article.

    3. Anonymous09:16

      "Could be a smart way of moving focus from JU bad news to something else".


    4. Anonymous09:16

      Anon 9:09,

      This is an exYU aviation blog. Not a JU bad news blog.

      Consequently, you will have to satisfy your daily need for JU bad news elsewhere.

    5. Anonymous19:44

      Get over it... it's a blog. You don't like the comments, then voice your own or go elsewhere

  3. Anonymous09:05

    I think OU will have a good summer. 2 million passagers will passed for sure.

  4. Anonymous09:06

    They are in a much better position to be sold now then 3 years ago.

    1. Anonymous09:24

      Agree. Network wise they are but in the end it's all about the finances which we don't have a lot of insight into.

  5. Anonymous09:11

    Croatia Airlines to seek new strategic partner, we have that in news every 3 months aprox. now! This is a joke! If someone would be interested in Croatia, they would buy it by now

    1. Anonymous09:19

      There is a term that nicely describes this recycling of the same stuff every 3 months or so.

      I believe the word is JATOVANJE. And OU is so full of it.

    2. Anonymous09:37

      Good move OU. Better getting a strategic partner come on board when there are blue skies ahead. All looking positive and very exciting. Wishing OU all the best for a successful 2017. OU rocks

    3. Anonymous09:45

      Blue skies? Ha ha! The only blue sky they will be seeing is from the ground, when they sell their last set of engines to creatively account for a profit in their books. Joke of a company.

    4. Anonymous09:52

      Eurowings is starting to expand in ZAG, it's a sign that LH is slowly reducing its reliance on OU as its partner.

    5. Alen Šćuric Purger11:13

      Eurowings did not have new route of more frequencies for years. Those 2 flights per week to DUS is not anything important, especially one can not call that expansion. Concerning ZAG under-capacity in LCC Eurowings should do much better, should put here one based plane and open huge number of new routes.

    6. Anonymous11:18

      The fact that they are adding more destinations says a lot. Don't forget that they are still a relatively new airline and the fact that they are expanding this early in Zagreb is a good indication of their future moves.

    7. Alen Šćuric Purger12:11

      They are not new Airline. Eurowings is very old airline, even as LCC (Germanwings) they are far away to call them young.

      But even with this new Eurowings model they made huge expansion (Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Salzburg). Even in Croatia, and in region expansion is huge
      - 2 new routes to Pula,
      - 2 new routes to Zadar
      - 2 new routes to Split
      - 2 new routes to Dubrovnik
      - 1 new route to Skopje
      - 1 new route to Priština
      - 1 new route to Tivat

      Compare to that Zagreb expansion is modest.

    8. Anonymous22:47

      Dude... new in this current setup

    9. Alen Šćuric Purger01:08

      As I said, huge expansion (Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Salzburg). Even in Croatia, and in region expansion is huge 12 new routes just this year (I forgot Osijek route).

      Current setup does not mean nothing. Air Serbia is not 3 years old, or is it?

      Eurowings has long tradition (practice in air traffic). Germanwings (basically same company) is very experience in LCC. Just different name.

  6. Anonymous09:13

    Would be great to see the CRJ1000 in Croatia colours from next year on..:)

    1. Anonymous09:19

      It's a good fit for their fleet.

    2. Anonymous17:57

      How is it possible for it to be a "good fit for their fleet" ? This means yet another aircraft type for such a small airline, adding huge costs to their base, just to accommodate a new aircraft type on top of their existing airbus and Q400s ?

      It makes no sense unless they get rid of one of their existing aircraft type - so stop talking nonsense.

  7. Anonymous09:20

    Croatia is going up with 24 new flight + 5 new routes this year. 9 new routes in 2 years.

    In same time Air Serbia going down. -46 flights and 4 routes less than last year. Together it is 5 routes less in 2 years (including BUD that was terminate last year)

    That is 70 weekly flights and 14 routes difference in favor of Croatia.

    We have very interesting time ahead.

    1. Anonymous09:26

      You may wish to use some of that time to improve your math and logic skills.

    2. Anonymous09:34

      No matter how high and mighty Kroejsa Aeropromet is, in your head, JU will still have higher cabin occupancy, higher number of passengers and higher profit. So keep your hysterical comparisons, because by your writing style it's easy to pinpoint your repetitive nonsensical nationals outbursts, over and over again.

    3. Anonymous09:46

      Anon 9.34am. That's a harsh response regarding Anon 9.20am commentary.
      Are you able to confirm JUs recent profits. I'm guessing given the huge reduction in flights vs last year that the books must have a lot of red ink?
      Given OUs expansion this year they will most likely supersede JUs pax numbers this year. Suggest you should have a reality check? Just saying

    4. Anonymous09:47

      What's interesting and what few talk about is OU's slow withdrawal from the coast. I guess they can't compete with easyJet.

    5. Anonymous09:49

      1. JU suspended loss making routes so their financial performance should actually improve.

      2. JU has actually recorded modest passenger growth so far. Given that HR airports stagnated so far, or have recorded mediocre growth (like ZAG) shows that OU has not performed as well as some would have wanted it to.

    6. Anonymous09:56

      OU and JU fanboys, are you actually getting payed to trash each other or you simply have nothing better to do and contribute to this blog?

    7. Anonymous09:59

      JU will post its results next month and the profit will be greater than OU's. OU has once again posted a profit of under €1 million, which is frankly pathetic, considering all the hoo haa over their restructuring. Actually, their profit fell after the restructuring, and is being plugged by things like leasebacks and selling of assets (e.g. Engine parts). So please don't place OU up there like some celestial object illuminating over the ex-YU region. It is far from that. It's a company without vision and reckless management, that cannot capitalize on reasonable amount of tourist traffic going to and from its parent country. End of story.

    8. Anonymous10:00

      Anon 9.49
      1/2 I do hope JUs financials improve. Insiders confirm that they recorded a very large loss.
      2/2 Good to learn that JU recorded modest growth. OU and Croatian airports are about to head into a record breaking summer season in terms of pax/airline numbers. SPU alone - 85 airlines this summer

    9. Anonymous10:05

      The coast will keep on growing as long as there is instability in MENA. Zagreb on the other hand should expect growth of around 5%

    10. Anonymous10:08

      Anon 10:00,

      I would advise that you trust the financial statements (that will be released soon) rather than insiders.

    11. Anonymous10:13

      Croatian coast will grow regardless of MENA. More and more people go on holidays (population increase, travel culture increase, holidaymaking increase, etc). From that side, Croatia has a bright future for as long as she can develop a sustainability model for its natural beauties and resources.

      What amazes me on the other side is the complete incapability OU demonstrated in earning money from all those millions of tourists. I see no excuse for that. They should have established a lowcost subsidiary, or a charter subsidiary, or some model that would have maximized their share of the tourist cake. They did not, and now it is difficult to find an investor who would be willing to battle against the all-dominant LCC airlines.

    12. Anonymous10:25

      Odakle ti ideja o rastu populacije u Evropi? Takvi sjajni planeri. Genijalno. Imate momentalno raspad bliskoistocnog trzista za brckanje.

    13. JU profit is with a lot of Government subsidies, OU profit, however small, is w/o it.

    14. Anonymous10:47

      You are right, OU might not have the luxury of getting a profit thanks to government subsidies but it gets it by selling its property. Slots today, engines tomorrow... and so on.

    15. Anonymous11:12

      JUs radical reduction in flights as the busy season approaches are a direct result in a change in business objectives, a directive from EY and not dissimilar to recent changes at AB. A crisis looms at AZ with predictions that they will run out of cash next week. Meanwhile EYs other loss making venture Virgin Australia is bleeding $1m a week. The outlook is somewhat bleak although I think that JUs reduced footprint is a good move for the longer term. Perplexed as to why JFK wasn't ditched given that it is a massive loss maker

    16. it is impossible to ditch JFK. it's a political project, serbian prime minister is practically project sponsor and ditching it so soon would show the mistake. not to mention how hard would it be to roll back- cancel the lease, fire the staff... it will be around for the next couple of years..

      in 2016 they didn't sell neither engines nor slots. slots will show in 2017 report.

    17. Anonymous11:21

      Anon 10:25,

      There is plenty of literature available to learn about the organic growth of tourist demand among the resident not only of Europe but the entire world.

      Sorry that it does not fit your nationalist agenda but it is what it is. Have a bearable day.

    18. Anonymous11:21

      JU will publish huge profit

      but in same time cut 46 flights per week -12%????

      No logic at all!

      If system if profitable JU should build it with new routes, more connections. Not huge increase, small steps, 2-3 new routes per year. But instead it decrease 12%. That is not successful system than! Something is very wrong.

      No one cuts if system is profitable. Especially not such a huge cuts.

    19. Anonymous11:42

      The system had clearly defined financing up until 31 December 2016. After that day, the financing became uncertain and it is yet to be decided on. Meanwhile the company needs stable cash flow so that they can maintain their core operations.

      It is as simple as that. No deep conspiracies and CIA-like scenarios. Etihad still does not know what to do with its entire business (let alone Air Serbia). This will probably depend a lot on the fate of AB, AZ and VA. Maybe they decide to carry on investing in JU, maybe they don't. But until they decide, the airline is on its own. Hence the summer reductions.

    20. Anonymous11:56

      @ Petar Celik:

      In the 2013-2015 period OU sold one aircraft, three engines and Pleso Prijevoz. Even if none of those appeared in the 2016 financial statements it does not change the fact that those assets are now gone. And in the meantime LHR slots are also gone. Soon there will be nothing left to go. In such situation, insisting on some minimum profitability is pretty naive, to say the least.

      And please do not take JU and its finances out of your sleeve because today's topic is OU. Everyone had their chance yesterday to dig a grave for JU. Many posters indeed have done so, so if you missed a chance then be patient and wait for the next round.

    21. Anonymous12:00

      Luckily there is something to be sold.

      They still have 5 planes to sold
      Buildings and other property

      Something Jat sold long time ago.

      So, in this moment Croatia is in much better position.

    22. Anonymous12:01

      to sell*

    23. Anonymous13:18

      I never doubted that your nationalist ego is happy as long as OU can still do better than Jat. However, the question here is not about being better than a carrier that does no longer exist but about surviving on a longer run. And on a longer run, OU steadily goes where Jat already is.

    24. Alen Šćuric Purger15:36

      That is nonsense, isn't it?

      When CTN reduced flights because of restructuring there were here individuals who were "happy", those who predicted that is the end, and those who were critical.

      Now, we also have those sick individuals that are happy, those who see "end" (I am sure those are same one that saw "end" in Croatia also as they are dark in any situation), and those that are critical to Air Serbia steps. That does not make them nationalist or hatters. First one are nationalists (bat also haters from Serbia), second are dark state of mined which has no nationalist coloured, and third are not nationalists at all.

      If you don't agree with them, it is OK, but if you call them nationalists just because they have different opinion, than you are nationalist not them.

    25. Alen Šćuric Purger15:39


    26. Anonymous15:45

      Save your fingers Purger. It is very easy to differentiate a constructive and civilized critical post from a fake-patriotism-driven need to defend a nation's "holy ground" at any cost and twist the topic so that the neighbor's cow gets hit if possible. Yesterday and today the blog is flooded with the latter and it stinks miles.

    27. Anonymous15:50

      Slabo ti ide kao i pisanje. Naravno da su nacionalisti. To se itekako dobro vidi kad pisu o "svojoj" kompaniji. Naravno da je lose kad se pise o smanjenju, ali kao sto rece neko radi se samo o par procenata smanjenja izvan pune sezoni jul avgust. I konektivnost nije toliko vazna kao popunjeni avioni. Bolje je da lete puni 4-5 puta nedeljno nego polupuni svaki dan.

    28. Anonymous18:08

      So often we have heard of the growth of tourists into Croatia - and for this we must say that the tourism authorities have done an amazing job - well done. They show the rest of the ex-yu countries how it should be done.

      Sadly, on the back of this incredible growth over the past 10 years, what has OU done ? Nothing, it has stagnated and gone backwards. They should be the absolute kings of not only the ex-yu region, but in central and south east europe. They are an embarrassment to Croatia and a great example of how mismanagement, lack of vision and strategy and govt ownership has left them in the position they are in.

      They had a clean sheet to begin with, a monopoly position locally and arguably one of the best inbound markets anywhere in the world - so many natural advantages in its favour that few could possibly have.

      Yet, with no inbound tourism industry, a terrible legacy to manage and only 3 years behind it, JU has done what OU couldn't do in 25 years.

      Judge Air Serbia after the same 25 years that OU has had and then I think a reasonable debate can be had around how well / bad it has performed.

    29. Anonymous18:56


    30. Anonymous18:59

      -1000, Anonymous 6:56

    31. Anonymous19:39

      That Air Serbia can carry significantly more passengers than does OU from a standing start 3 years ago, says everything about how poorly OU has not only performed, but also been managed

  8. Anonymous09:26

    Croatovanje, again.

    1. Anonymous09:42

      It is called jatovanje, it is the original word, everybody knows exactly what does it mean. :)

    2. Anonymous11:09

      Znas kako, bilo nekad, novo vreme, novi izrazi.

    3. Anonymous11:26

      Slažem se sa Croatovanjem.

      No, Jatovanje nije izumrlo. Eto nekoliko primjera iz skore prošlosti:

      Do zime će doći još jedan A330
      - realnost: postojeći se ne koristi više od 50%, a smanjuje se i postojeća flota

      Uvodimo nove linije prema Rusiji, Iranu, Kazahstanu...
      - realnost: smanujemo 12% letova, tj. 46 tjednih letova i ukidamo 4 linije

      Air Serbija posluje profitabilno i uz velika povećanja
      - rezultat: režemo na svim poljima

      Air Serbija je butik kompanija
      - rezultat: ukidamo business klasu i radimo hibridni model kompanije, a uzalud smo potrošili pare na butik kompaniju koja nije imala rezultata (ups... kako, pa profitabilni smo).

    4. Anonymous11:29

      'Uvodimo nove linije prema Rusiji, Iranu, Kazahstanu...'

      Ruku na srce uveli su LED tako da ti ova stavka otpada. A sto se tice ove o profitabilnosti, bez adekvatnih dokaza to je klevetanje, ne argumentovanje.

    5. Anonymous11:53

      Naravno govorim o Krasnodaru, ne o LED.

      Ne sporim ja profitabilnost (nije na meni da sumnjam u makinacije u računovodstvu), nego govirim da je nelogično da je netko profitabilan, a onda reže uspješan (profitabilan) sustav za ogromnih 12%.

    6. Anonymous12:00

      Sustav je bio profitabilan dvije godine no sada su privremeno obustavljeni izvori financiranja. Dok ne stigne konačna odluka, prijevoznik mora raditi sa minimumom izloženosti riziku.

    7. Anonymous12:03

      Izvori financiranja? Pa ti izvori financiranja pokazuju da kompanija realno nije bila profitabilna. I sada kada država više ne može (nema se, MMF pritišče, pritisak EU) onda sustav pokazuje svoje pravo stanje.

    8. Anonymous13:20

      Država nije jedini financijer. Etihad također financira i taj je isti Etihad trenutačno u problemu. Da ponovim još jedan puta, nema zavjere.

    9. Anonymous13:28

      Etihad je financirao prvu investiciju od 40 milijuna EUR + 60 milijuna EUR dugoročne pozajmice. Ništa nakon toga Etihad financirao nije.

      Dva kredita koji su realiziani preko Etihada nisu ništa drugo nego krediti, koje je Air Serbija mogla dobiti i sama na tržištu novca, vjerojatno pod nepovoljnijim uvjetima.

      Dakle nakon 2013. Etihad, za razliku od Srbije, više ni najmanje nije investirao u Air Serbiju. Niti je bilo planirano da investira.

    10. Anonymous13:39

      Pogledaj još jednom investicijski plan i prestani širiti teorije zavjere.

    11. Anonymous16:35

      Znam ja dobro investicijski plan.

      I tu Etihad nema nikakvog financiranja nakon 2014.

    12. Anonymous17:26

      Očito ga ne znaš dobro.

    13. Anonymous18:07

      Hope OU will recover, without Kucko as their CEO, if possible!

  9. Anonymous09:31

    Will the seasonal routes from last year be kept this winter?

    1. Anonymous09:34

      Apparently yes.

    2. Danijel11:57

      Where did you get that information?

    3. Anonymous13:33

      Info is from OU

  10. Anonymous09:42

    Smart move.

    1. Anonymous09:53

      No move. Just same old tired wish list. Nothing will come of this, as usual.

  11. Anonymous10:27

    In the long run I do think OU needs a partner. The managment is pushing for inbestment companies because they just want capital while the decision making will stay as is.

    1. Anonymous10:34

      That's difficult to find.

    2. Anonymous10:42

      Qatar Airways was interested in something simmilar. They went for Meridiana in Italy.

    3. Anonymous12:05

      bas su se usrecili with Meridiana ...

  12. Anonymous10:42

    Is that Brač Airport in the photo?

  13. Anonymous10:54

    Do sad sam znao za "unajmili" i "iznajmili" a sad sam naučio novu riječ od gosp Kučka, "uznajmili".

  14. Anonymous11:11

    Btw seems like Russians will be taking over Agrokor, could we see more demand to SVO from ZAG?

    1. Anonymous11:18

      That would definitely be the case but the existing capacity may still be enough to cover for it.

    2. Anonymous11:19

      True... one can hope, no? :)

    3. Anonymous13:54

      Russians will take it over only temporarily until they sell it to somebody else, already announced that they have no plans to run it longer term.

  15. Anonymous14:19

    Kucko should be happy that their main base is getting new terminal. But he is complaining about gate and apron positions.
    First, number of gates has increased on new terminal. Old terminal had 9 international and 5 domestic gates and what is crucial, every one of them was SINGLE, while the new terminal has gates on which two agents can board simultanously. During morning rush hour on old terminal, you could effectively board at the same time max 4 airbuses and 1 dash, since airbuses needed double amount of gates for +100 pax. And new terminal has 8 airbridge double gates and 6 bus operated double gates. Tells you how much he studied new terminal.
    Second, every bigger airport in the world has distant positions, for which you use buses. In ZAG, positions are still relatively close, with estimate 5 min drive between aprons. From what i've heard, there will be more strict gate operations and airport will be operated as "silent" airport which means there will be less headless chicken pax and no one will be calling for pax through announcements and waiting for them to buy stuff at duty free shop. You are either at the gate where the gate agents announce boarding and fly or you kiss the gates later. And timetable office could add more redundancy time if they are afraid since fleet utilization is at max and you could squeeze more time. But, apart from few seasonal lines last year and this year, their core timetable has been almost the same for years now.

  16. Anonymous14:35

    OT: You cannot have laptop, camera or similar if you travel with Turkish, Emirates or Etihad to USA. Not allowed in hand luggage, forbidden in the checked luggage.
    Hopefully some passengers for USA will be rerouted to Rome, Berline or Belgrade.

    1. Anonymous14:43

      haha, so US3 actually managed to get an upper hand commercially via security issue; so many US bound passengers will drop Arabic airlines and switch to US3 and their EU partners. If they cannot change the bilateral, they can lobby this via security :)

    2. Anonymous15:26

      In Egypt there have been repeated attempts to board TK flights with a laptop bomb. One of them even succeeded - except that the dumb***k terrorist somehow ended up with another carrier and detonated the device on board the flight that was commanded by that exYU pilot who managed to land the plane with a serious hole in the fuselage.

      If detonated on proper altitude, a laptop bomb can disintegrate a widebody aircraft. It is quite possible that the intelligence services have some information on an upcoming attack attempt. I would not necessarily take this a US3 conspiracy.

    3. Anonymous15:30

      Could be, but really heavily resolves the other issue as well

    4. Anonymous15:39

      OK, I have read in the NYT article that the US authorities are saying this is not due to an imminent threat but a "general airport security concern". In other words, a load of crap. I can testify first-hand that the security screening before boarding a flight to US or UK in IST is VERY strict - and pretty much ahead of any security procedure in the US airports. This is turning fishy.

      Also the article says electronic devices larger than mobile phone can be checked in with the luggage. So there is a theoretical possibility to carry a laptop to the US but I doubt more than 1% of passengers would date to try this. Baggage handlers in the US probably feel very happy as they read this.

    5. Anonymous15:59

      Ti nisi skoro leteo preko Atlantika. Vecina putnika ima neki elektronski uredjaj sa sobom u koga bulji. Retko ko gleda inflight zabavni sistem. Konkretno poslednji let sa AS bilo Arapi, Izraelci, Ameri, Srbi ili Bugari. Mislim izdrzace oni i ovo, ali ce neki leteti sa drugim kompanijama. Prvi ce spakovati svoje gadzete u prtljag. To je manija koja se ne da zaustaviti.

    6. Anonymous16:24

      Leteo sam ja skoro preko Atlantika ali ti skoro nisi išao na časove engleskog jezika.

    7. Anonymous17:28


  17. Anonymous17:52

    Whatever happened to the plan to open bases across ex-yu and Albania ?

    1. Anonymous18:14

      Jatovanje - same as this story

  18. Anonymous18:23

    Yet another flip flop from the man who invented it...

    Previously, he was steadfast in his position that OU didn't need an investor - that they could go it alone - and now he has done a 360 turn saying they need one.

    Me thinks he is running out of options of what there is left to sell and realises that his only hope of carrying on is to find someone who can inject funds in a business that is not operationally profitable

  19. Anonymous19:42

    I don't understand what makes this guy think that he can find a strategic investor, if ILFC, with all its might and global reach, was unable to so much as muster up even one single bid.

    Good luck with that one.

  20. Anonymous19:49

    OT - does anyone have photos from the opening function of the new ZAG terminal this evening ?

    1. Anonymous19:51

      Yeah this blog

    2. Let's hope it succeeds this time around. A right investor with a vision could do wonders with the company. They've got all they need to run a successful operation. I mean even a guy like Kucko couldn't mess it up. That's how favorable the conditions are in Croatia for any airline company.


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