Croatian start-up targets 2020 launch


Croatian start-up Smile Air anticipates launching operations in 2020 with two Embraer E190 jets for year-round operations, which would be followed by the lease of an Airbus A321 for seasonal purposes. Eventually, the carrier plans to acquire a wide-body A330 for long haul services. The company is being established by a three-member team comprised of aviation professionals. One of the carrier's co-founders and its Accountable Manager, Nino Borić, said, "We would like to start operations at the end of this year, but it will be difficult to do so, as we need to secure the right aircraft for the market. Prices are currently too high. We are in no real hurry but we want to make this a sustainable and long-term project void of any mistakes. In addition, obtaining flight permits also takes some time, so we hope to launch in 2020".

The Zagreb-based start-up said it is in the process of obtaining an Air Operator's Certificate (AOC), enabling it to launch commercial operations. "The airline will initially operate in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, while worldwide operations are also planed", the company said. Smile Air, which was registered in 2017, plans to initially lease two E190 aircraft. "The E-jet family of aircraft is the most popular line of regional jets. E190 is especially appealing due to its range, capacity, airport performance and CASM (Available Seat Miles)", Mr Borić noted. Later on, Smile Air will lease an A321 on a seasonal summer basis, he added.

The team behind Smile Air comprises of Mr Borić, who also owns US aircraft leasing company AvioNova and is a member of the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT), captain Bernard Lukač, a former Croatia Airlines A320 pilot, and Krunoslav Djumlija, a former Flight Operations Inspector at the Croatian Civil Aviation Agency. Over the past years, Croatia has been flooded by a string of start-up airlines, all of which have so far proved unsuccessful. They include Air Croatia, Sea Air, Dalmatian, Libertas Air, AWEX and Splitair.




Comments

  1. I'm surprised Croatia doesn't have a second scheduled airline (not invluding Trade Air PSO flights here). The market seems to exist especially during summer and I don't think Croatia Airlines is fully capitalizing on it.

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    1. I also think no airline is capitalizing on the long haul potential. I think OU could lease an A330 during summer and operate seasonal flights to the US and Asia. These guys want to lease an A330. We will see if it works.

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    2. US, Japan, South Korea and China could all work on seasonal basis.

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    3. There used to be Dubrovnik Air. They went bust the year they planned to expand quite significantly.

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    4. Dubrovnik Airline did not go bust.

      They were left without possibility to operate after the owner decided to leave the airline business in general. Hence they had to close as no cash for operating was available as they never had money on their own, the owner who set up the airline did. But that does not equal "going bust" in its proper sense.

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    5. Anic Airways operated succesfully in Croatia with ATR42 as well as Air Adriatic with up to 6 units MD82, for several years, in addition to Dubrovnik Airline and Trade Air. European Coastal Airlines as well. The market definitely exists. Croatian companies transport 20 % of all passengers in Croatia, foreign companies 80 %, domestic flights included, which is insane and means that foreigners have 90% of international traffic and 100% of long-haul which is growing at unbelievable rates. Croatia Airlines is totally incompetent and inert and with this structure and this number of employees seating in offices on invented nowhere existing positions will never be able to do anything better. Croatia Airlines is story of total failure on the prosperous market with good potential. I hope these people with Smile Air will succeed with their plans and I wish them all the best. At least someone in Croatia who see what we miss and need.

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    6. A joke called Anic Airways was just a PR stunt by a retail businessman. On the other hand ECA was a foreign investment experiencing typical Croatian support for entrepreneurs, which can be expressed by another acronym, ABC - Anything But Croatia.

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    7. Anic Airways got all paperwork needed, got all money needed for investment and operations start, brought plane to Croatia, hired the crew, and flew from several domestic and international airports with decent prices, decent load factor and decent service, for almost two years, in the most difficult war period. I would hardly call it a joke. ECA was a nice attempt, looking from the passenger side, but if I remember well, they operated as well some two years, which mean that the state did not block them, on the contrary, even legislation was changed so they could use sea ports for air operations, and provide commercial service on "pomorsko dobro". The reason why they don't fly anymore is not "typical Croatian support for entrepreneurs" but endangering of safety by lack of maintenance of their planes, so CCAA banned them from flying. But some people just need to spit on everything and complain about ABC. So glad people from Smile Air are not of that type and have courage to actually do in what they believe.

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    8. ECA spent over 50 million euros setting up their seaplane service in Croatia. Was always going to struggle to get ahead.

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  2. This will never get off the ground.

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    1. Why. It seems that people in the know are behind this project.

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    2. To many variables to mention .

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    3. Because it is an expensive business. I don't know have you noticed that Germania just went bankrupt and many for it.

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    4. Air Berlin, Monarch, Primera, Germania went bust, while TUI and Thomas Cook's futures are far from certain. On top of that Norwegian is facing difficulties as well.
      All of these have or had a major focus on the holiday market, so it seems it's become saturated and is no longer making big money it used to. It's definitely a risky move trying to start up a new airline in such environment

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    5. @An.10.53
      And what about Croatia Airlines? Do you think their future, if they remain like this, is certain? If no privatization happens and very soon, if they remain with 300 more administration employees than actually needed, lacking engineers and pilots, you think they will be around much longer? With their prices and if French decide to let LCC's to ZAG? Smile Air, in my opinion offer exactly what Croatia Airlines misses : regional 100-seaters, the best on the market,, long-haul option, again the type which is "working horse" and 'money maker", and bigger short-haul Airbus for summer season. What if they just want to be ready and complement OU what it misses in case some kind of privatization happens, maybe even take over? I wouldn't reject this project in the beginning just because there were few start-up failures in Croatia before.

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  3. Bravo Hrvatska!

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  4. Great, another overly ambitious project that is bound to fail. They will make it in summer without a problem, I think that's why they are getting the A321, but once winter comes it will be bye bye.

    OU is barely finding where to fly in winter but these guys think they can do otherwise? Ok.

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    1. in winter they would fly for other companies as ACMI., just as air trade does.

      wish them best luck!

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    2. 3 planes is not ‘over ambitious’ what the Chinese wanted to to in Maribor is what you call ‘over ambitious’

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  5. Unlike before at least these guys are from the aviation industry.

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    1. And it's not one of those virtual carriers like previous Croatian "start ups"

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    2. If I remember correctly, the only one of those that launched was Air Croatia. They lasted for a week but interestingly all of their destinations were launched by Croatia Airlines within 2-3 years.

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    3. ECA also operated for a year.

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    4. How long did they end up lasting? One season, a few months? And they had the best chance so far.

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    5. One and a half seasons. But they were destroyed on purpose by the ministry. They didn't fold because of financial problems. They were literally blocked from flying.

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    6. By the ministry for transport? Why?

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    7. Hidden OU protectionism

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    8. Croatia Airlines could have bought them out and offered seaplane operations. They could have based two of ECA’s aircraft that can land on paved runways at ZAG and offered a special service for passengers heading to the islands. I think it could have worked.

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    9. Me too, as a premium product based in Split.

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    10. ECA and OU offered something completeley different. Protecting Jadrolinija on the other hand.... yes maybe.

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  6. Embraer E190 is the ideal aircraft for year round operations for every airline in our region.

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  7. They could have went with a better name, something more local, or even regional. But smile air is just stupid.

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  8. Another scam Airline set up. The fact is most of the smaller airlines will disappear over the next few years, if not sooner. There are far too many airlines operating in Europe at the moment, and not enough customers. The low fares available at the moment are not sustainable!

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  9. There is no need for projects like this. This will never take off. The only way forward is for the state to get rid of OU and announce a tender for PSO which would be awarded to some EU-based company. This PSO would be for year-round operations between ZAG and other airports within Croatia. Everything else should be left to the market to regulate.

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    1. Why should the state get rid of OU?

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    2. No need to be so draconian.

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    3. We need to stop wasting the taxpayer money. OU is money hog. If we want true capitalism let's start from somewhere.

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    4. JU and YM are also money hogs. And JP was to the taxpayers until it was privatized.
      I think we should get rid all of them.

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    5. My interest is in Croatia and how to have more money in my pocket. What will governments in Serbia and Montenegro do will depend on the political will of their peoples.

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    6. In none of the countries you mentioned the politicians behave according to the will of their peoples, especially on issues concerning aviation.

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    7. I am quite sure smile air is private project,
      nonetheless won't be money hog for taxpayers.

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  10. Replies
    1. They will need a lot more than luck.

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  11. I think potential customers are becoming very wary of new airlines. There failure rate is astronomical. I would never book with an airline younger than 3 years.

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    1. +1000
      Especially when you see respectable carriers with decades of history shutting down overnight like Germania.

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  12. I hope that these ideas will become a reality.

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  13. Very brave people! (incl.all behind all those failed airlines...)

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  14. Croatia needs an airline with aircraft based on the coast.

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  15. Where do they come up with these names?

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    Replies
    1. Their proposed livery is better than Flybosnia lol.

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  16. Živi bili pa vidjeli. Već to da nude EMB a ne CRJ je dobar znak

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  17. Iskreno ocekujem da ce taj tim profesionalnih, poslovnih ljudi uspeti. Prvo poznaju sustinu komercijalne avijacije. Zatim poznaju sve poslovne i politicke okolnosti i uticaje koji mogu biti prepreke za uspeh i razvoj privatnog biznisa u avio saobracaju. I pored svih potencijalnih prepreka, verujem da ce buduca avio kompanija ''Smile Air'', uspeti u zemlji Hrvatskoj, gde je turizam nacin zivota. Opstati uspesna kao sto joj je nazin Smile. Jednostavno uvek cenim ljude koji zele da menjaju svet. U komercijalnoj avijaciji posebno. Nasuprot protekcionizmu i ostalom sto se pod time podrazumeva. Neka ove malie reci budu i najmanja podrska. Big Smile kompanijo, ostajte pozdravljeni i uspesni na putu SMILE!...

    Rodney & Assoc. Kraljevo // Sydney

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    1. Bravo cika Rade! Tako govore pravi zaljubljenici u avijaciju ! Jos jedan pozdrav iz Rijeke!

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    2. U obliznjoj Italiji i drzavni i privatni projekti propadaju a velesila su turisticka na kvadrat. Broj ljudi koji dolaze nema veze sa profitabilnoscu rute i aviokompanije.

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  18. I don't know, will they make enough money in summer in order to make it through the winter? Even major airlines with so many connecting opportunities can't fly daily to ZAG (Aegean, British Airways, KLM...). Where will they fly? How will they fill their seats?

    The A321 is smart but they can employ it only in summer on the coast. Maybe they should do what Dubrovnik Airline did and fly minimal flights in winter.

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    1. Another idea I had is to maybe make a deal with JU for Balkan and Middle Eastern flights and with Qatar for Asia, Africa and Australia.

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  19. Croatia needs at least 2 more major airlines to cope with the increasing air traffic. OU, W6 and now Smile Airways.
    Domestic Croatian routes are needed.
    DBV long-haul Asia is also important.
    Singapore, Bangkok, etc

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    1. Domestic flights are barely needed, the market isn't there at least not in such large amounts. Slavonija is getting empty so there are less and less people who need to go to the coast. Zagreb is not far and people love the bus.

      There is more demand for the coast but only on a seasonal basis.

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  20. They call the airline Smile Air, but their livery definitely expresses the "unsure about that" feeling rather than smiling:
    http://simpleicon.com/unsure_emotion_1.html

    Particularly the tail, looking down with the corner of the eyes and wavy lips tells me "are you sure you want to fly with this airline?" Hmm...

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    1. What an ugly livery. Croatia Airlines firmly goes the same way now without the blue belly.

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    2. So OU is going to remove the blue from all of its planes?

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    3. Sadly yes, a Dash 8 has already been painted in the ''new livery''

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  21. OK a few comments!!!
    I need 5 anonymous partners, all of you
    know who you are you keep writing comments
    on these threads!!Then the 6 of us will start a new airline, serving Croatia to replace Croatian, Slovenia to replace Adria and the dead Marlbor airport operator and airline , and Hungary to rreplace Malev which died years ago!!! Let's not forget Italy to replace Alitalia, and Montenegro too with poor old Montenegro airlines. So for 6 of us that's one country each, wow we will be kings, big heroes, etc,etc,,,oh heck I just woke up from a hilarious dream!!!! Guys and girls on this exyuaviation thread...can you please get real ��

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  22. I hope this succeeds and support any kind of enthusiastic idea, especially in aviation industry... But this smile emoji in logo is really creepy and looks cheap. I hope they change it.

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  23. Not sure about this; serious aviation professionals with zero airplanes announcing 3 E-jets, 1 A321 and A330 without 1 hour of flight time of Smile Air...I think one need to work 10 years in regional/medium distance aviation to even imagine taking widebody into play. Just because they mentioned A330 without even flying one jet I think those guys are not serious! Good luck anyways!

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