Croatia Airlines plans fleet, network expansion in 2020


Croatia Airlines has confirmed to EX-YU Aviation News it intends on expanding both its fleet and route network during the year. The carrier said it is currently in the process of drafting such plans after which it will make a definitive decision. As EX-YU Aviation News learns, the carrier is currently in talks with Montenegro Airlines over future operations between Zagreb and Podgorica. The two carriers plan on cooperating on the route, which is expected to run three times per week. It is unclear whether both or just one of the two airlines would maintain flights between the two cities. Late last year, the President of the airline’s Supervisory Board, Zlatko Mateša, said the carrier was focused on launching services to Sofia and the Montenegrin capital.

The airline is also expected to increase capacity on a number of routes this coming summer. It has already scheduled larger Airbus A319 aircraft on selected days to several destinations which were previously served by wet-leased Air Nostrum Bombardier CRJ1000 equipment. In addition, the carrier is again expected to utilise the 100-seat CRJ1000 jets on some of its routes. The future structure of the country’s Public Service Obligation (PSO) flights will also have an impact on Croatia Airlines’ network. A new four-year contract for the upkeep of subsidised domestic flights will come into force this year, with the Croatian government looking to increase funding in order to include more services.

The developments come in the lead up to the final stage of Croatia Airlines privatisation process, which is expected by June 2020. Aegean Airlines and Air Nostrum have so far expressed interest in the carrier by submitting non-binding bids. Last Thursday, the Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, spoke with the Executive Vice President of the European Commission, Margrethe Vestager, about the government’s efforts to privatise Croatia Airlines and its current status. Last year, the government granted the company 33.7 million euros, 20.2 million of which will be made available this year, under the condition it successfully sells or recapitalises the airline by the middle of the year. At the time, the European Commission said it was in close contact with Croatian authorities over the state aid package and was monitoring developments.




Comments

  1. I've noticed that they have already put the A319 on some routes operated by CRJ1000. For example Skopje.

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    1. Nice. Any other routes where they have the A319 instead of CRJ?

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    2. im sure theyre seeing a lot of pax from LJU at the moment on this route.

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    3. From what I notice Copenhagen too gets A319 instead of CRJ1000 on some days.

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    4. CPH already saw the A319 on some flights this winter.

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    5. Flew last year with a319 instead of crj1000, they informed me of the equipment change few hours before the flight

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  2. Good to see some development after their long sleep.

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    1. While they haven't done too many exciting things, they have actually added new routes each summer for the past few years.

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    2. ^ True. People seem to forget this quite often.

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  3. Good luck, OU, with both privatization and this season!

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  4. oh this might be still too early...

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    1. Parrot? Can you actually say anything except repeating the same sentence ever and ever again?

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    2. Why? It's funny since it perfectly portrays the mindset at OU.

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    3. I think it's actually quite apt. Pretty much sums up the intransigence and total lack of vision this airline's leadership possesses. And, it goes pretty well with pretty much any story about OU. Today's news is no exception. Too little (or nothing at all), too late.

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    4. IMHO, expecting an airline to base one or two of its 12 aircrafts into another country 100 km. away from its home base (when its home base has twice the volume as the neighbor city subject to the discussion) was the main thing to laugh. But as the song says, "Živim na Balkanu!"

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    5. Way too little. Croatia Airlines should at least be what Aegan or Wizzair is today. But with their mindset not gonna happen. ZAG should have at least 12 million Pax today. But with their mindset...

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    6. Wizz air, thanks but no thanks, I think LCC and only LCC as flag carrier is not what HR needs. About Aegean : Taking into account size, relevance and potential of HR, I would be happy if OU would be, or would have been, the half of Aegean, talking about the size. With similar or equal product and efficiency and profitability.

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  5. So basically there will be some upgrades left and right and possible two new routes launched where one will be operated by YM? To be this all seems messy. They can't grow normally until they get another A319 or Q400, until then they are just rearranging chairs on the Titanic.

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    1. How do you know it will be operated by YM? It might just be codeshare.

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    2. It actually says they plan to add aircraft to their fleet.

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    3. Their statements are extremely vague, nothing seems to be confirmed so far. They probably can't afford to add planes since they used state subsidies to fix their planes.

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    4. The fact that they have A319 scheduled instead of CRJ1000 on some routes would indicate to me they might lease A320-family equipment.

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  6. At 3 times per week to Podgorica I don't see two airlines operating the route. It will either be YM or OU with codeshare.

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    1. That's why it won't work especially since they will need two morning departures and one evening. OU's European network is extremely weak so I don't see what they can realistically offer that OS doesn't already via Vienna or JU via Belgrade.

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    2. I hope at least it will be year round.

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  7. What do they expect from TGD?

    It is JU's playground and they surely can't compete with Air Serbia and Ryanair in Montenegro especially with 3 tiny weekly flights.

    Just to remind you OU was flying this route before and stopped due to bad results.

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    1. I think OU doesn't know how to respond to a rapidly growing JU. Air Serbia has already expanded in Croatia, cemented a strong position in LJU, has boosted SKP and TIA and they are actually expanding in other places as well.
      OU on the other hand doesn't have a realistic support of the government they way JU or LO have. They are stuck without an idea what to do at an expensive airport, in a relatively small market with an ageing fleet.
      At the moment they need to be decisive, strong and not this mellow. Look at their statements regarding TGD. They obviously want to launch it but they know they don't have enough aircraft for it so they want YM to do it. It would be hilarious if it wasn't tragic.

      These desperate moves remind of Adria shortly before their end.

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    2. OU has been outperforming JU in Skopje for years.

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    3. @anon 09:17

      Perfectly said. Agree 100%

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    4. Anon 09.20
      But for how long? If you we take out SKP from the equation JU still has a lot going on for it, OU not so much.

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  8. they will run Ohrid-Sofia charters in September (with more to come apparently but not form SOF) so this is a further sign that at least one of these destinations is coming. cant see them flying ferry

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    1. Nice. There flights to Macedonia seem to be performing well so Ohrid would make sense.

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    2. Not surprised:

      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2019/12/ex-yu-airports-seek-zagreb-connecitivty.html

      The head of the Agency for the Promotion and Support of Tourism in Macedonia, Ljupčo Janevski, recently held talks with the Croatian Minister for Tourism, Gari Capelli, as well as representatives from Croatia Airlines over the potential launch of flights between Zagreb and Ohrid.

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    3. Good to see them realize the importance of charters... finally.

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    4. Judging by the percentage of charter flights in their schedules, I seriously doubt they came to any such realisation.

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    5. I've heard there are plans for them to fly from Slovenia to some Greek islands this summer as charters.

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    6. The easy-money potential of charter flights has been there all along. Whether from Croatia, Slovenia or wherever. The true question is why it hasn't been tapped into. It really is a no brainer. It's more a reflection of mismanagement.

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    7. They want to fly charters from SLovenia and they did not allow JU to fly charters from OSI?

      :-))

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    8. Yes, it is called being part of the common aviation market - the EU, where you are allowed to fly between two different countries that are part of the EU as it is treated as a domestic flight. Same way any EU airline can start domestic flights from Osijek or any other city in Croatia to a other EU country.

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    9. They will also fly Brac-Graz charters this year.

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  9. Lacklustre. If this can be classified as fleet and network expansions, then there's not much to discuss. Such mediocre effort even after being promised millions upon millions of state euros to veer them away from bankruptcy. I suspect this sad bureaucratic ball known as OU will be descending towards a rapid and dramatic conclusion after June.

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    1. Keep dreaming.

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    2. i think you need to open your eyes.

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    3. I think you should too. If you think the Croatian government is going to let Croatia Airlines go bankrupt then you have no idea.

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    4. Only Aegean maybe can save them, but I personally doubt it will happen.

      We already see certain so called experts making fairytales of the fact that Aegean just showed non binding interest in OU (or better to say showed interest to see their books) and threat Air Serbia that will be "ukljestena" between Croatia Airlines and Aegean.

      Let's not forget that Air Baltic also many years ago showed the same level of interest in buying Jat Airways. We know the result.

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    5. What exactly did Aegean and Air Nostrum have to gain from "looking at OU's books"?

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    6. The only thing that's prolonging this death march at the moment is the fact that it's an election year.

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    7. The idea how bad the situation in OU is.

      1. Bad, but maybe fixable
      2. Bad - don't touch it (we regret that we even asked)

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    8. Yes, I'm sure you know.

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    9. Just like in Adria's case, there are people who want for OU to get privatized, and people who want them to go bust!

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    10. And the final result will be like in Adria's case

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    11. ^ Quite sad you cheer for something like that and that it would make you happy.

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    12. Where did you see cheering?

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    13. Because you mention and repeat it over and over again

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  10. Good luck Croatia Airlines. Good to see some development for the summer.

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    1. Oh they'll need plenty of luck and some miracles too.

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  11. By far the least palpable summer expansion when compared to either of the remaining ex-YU flag carriers. Even YM's plans seem groundbreaking when compared to OU. 3 weekly flights to Sofia and maybe Podgorica will certainly not generate enough money to overturn their financial downslide, let alone generate fresh funds for them to use to commence repayment of ridiculously high state subsidies which will not be looked upon lightly by Brussels. Lack of vision, mismanagement and surrendered domestic market shows the overwhelming incompetence of local apparatchiks in running this airline.

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  12. Bravo Hrvatska!

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  13. Finally! about time

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  14. This is great news. Looking forward to their expansion in 2020.

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  15. It's good to see that they are not decreasing frequencies on any other destinations to make way for new ones which indicates to me they will lease a third plane this summer.

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    1. Maybe they lease a third CRJ1000, introduce these two routes and increase feequencies to others?

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    2. 1 A319 + 2 CRJ1000 would make more sense.

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  16. Step in the right direction.

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    1. Good move but long overdue.

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    2. 15 years too late and with 300% slower path then potential

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  17. In my opinion OU should try these regional destinations from Zagreb: Ohrid, Tirana, Pristina, Sofia, Budapest

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    1. they really should

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    2. Thessaloniki as well. Maybe even Craiova or Timisoara and Nis. And why not even Belgrade, despite JU flying twice daily, if they would manage to change after privatisation, if it happens, create new philosophy, new timetable, more transfer possibilities with waves (Aegean might be helpful here) and decent pricing, I am sure BEG could work. But lot of ifs, of course :)

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    3. It seems to me they were somehow afraid to open BEG

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    4. They already fly to Belgrade, from Split.

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    5. Not from ZAG

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    6. @An.10.34
      Those are seasonal P2P flights and only twice weekly. I was referring to ZAG flights in case of successful potential privatisation and ZAG becoming kind of hub as the result

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  18. Why aren't they starting flights to North America?

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    1. Maybe because it is extremely costly to venture into something like this.

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    2. Not profitable for such a small airline.

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    3. Croatia has 4 million inhabitants. ZAG can easily have long haul flights to anywhere. Look at SOF, OTP and BUD they are connected to almost all big Metropolises on all continents. Ss why not ZAG? EK, AC, TS, QR and KE are way too low a number of Long Haul carriers for such a metropolis as ZAG is.

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    4. Sofia connected to all big metropolises on all continents? Mate, SOF has ZERO long-haul connections. Bucharest has couple, similar to ZAG, and only BUD has few more, but also far away from being some relevant long-haul hub or even destination. Because of its peculiarities, tourism and expats, I do think ZAG has some long-haul potential, and I also blame OU for doing nothing so far about it, and I hope in near future ZAG could get some more long-haul flights, primarily to the US, and /or China and Japan, but giving SOF as an example, OMG

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    5. Pozdrav iz Rijeke, tip trola.

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  19. Aegean ce ih kupiti jedino ako im dozvole minimum 51%. Da li je vlada spremna na to? Da li su spremni da izbace svoje ljude sa rukovodecih funkcija?

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    1. Spremni su na 70%

      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2019/11/state-to-sell-up-to-70-stake-in-croatia.html

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  20. Good luck, think these flights will prove to be successful, at least during summer. Hope they will keep them throughout the year.

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  21. The CRJ1000 is wet leased for the high season but in all honesty I think that's all they need at the moment. Taking more aircraft in at the moment would be expensive. Potentially they could expand or make a more radical change to the fleet if they get privatized.

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    1. Maybe this expansion is aimed to make their more appealing for privatization.

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    2. I really don't think flights to Podgorica, Sofia and potentially Ohrid will break or make the airline's sale.

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    3. This expansion has nothing to do with the sale. The management is behaving as if no sale will happen, which is normal in these circumstances. They recently received quite a lot of money from the government for "investments" and that involves new routes and potentially an aircraft lease.

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  22. The inertia of OU management is best captured in the following statement - that they are only now in the process of drafting fleet and network expansion for 2020 .....

    Where have they been these past 6 / 12 / 18 mths ?????

    What have they been doing all this time ?

    No wonder the world has passed them by ...

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  23. Say they had the aircraft, where else could they expand?

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    1. I remember reading that Kiev is one of the unserved destinations from Zagreb. This would be a good destination for them

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    2. Some years ago UIA said they would introduce Zagreb in 2020.

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    3. Italy, Spain, Eastern Europe

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    4. Adding Budapest, Warsaw, Madrid, is a must.

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    5. WAW served by LO, MAD served by IB. Budapest too close and I they can't offer much to Hungarian transfer passengers.

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    6. FCO nonstop from ZAG.

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    7. It's a surprise they don't fly to Sofia or Tirana.

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  24. "it has already scheduled largest Airbus 319 aircraft on selected days to several destinations which were previously served by wet-leased Air Nostrum Bombardier CRJ-1000 equipment". I really don't get it where it says that they will lease another a319 for the summer season? Can anyone explain? Personally I understand that they will wet-lease the CRJ-1000 and use the existing a319 of their fleet to some destinations with more traffic. So where is the fleet expansion?!! Same old like last year and the year before that.

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    1. The airline itself said they will exapnd the fleet. The statement you are quoting is related to capacity increase on some routes, unrelated to eet expansion.

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  25. It seems like they did things wrong on purpose! Why don't they make proper waves like Air Serbia did (or any other airline relying on connections). OU could fly from Zagreb to wherever with added connecting traffic from the coast. In Sofia, they will fight Austrian and Wizzair and even AirSerbia and Turkish to certain extent. With three weekly flights, they could kill the Sofia route immediately.

    OU kept stopover in Split and Dubrovnik on Zagreb-Rome route far too long. It really is strange that they did not move a finger to gain something from Adria's demise (may it rest in peace). Everyone gained something there. Zagreb and Ljubljana are close, only one hour by car. Free shuttle service with priority on their border crossings...

    It feels like they don't care. Which is hard to believe in an region where our national airlines is a source of pride, same as our sports teams.

    Rgds, Eight

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  26. croatia jako dugo ceka da pusti letove za brac u prodaju..
    ne bi me iznenadilo da airsebia uskoro pusti u prodaju letove za brac i ukrade croaciji veci dio konekcijskih putnika...

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  27. This year, probably around May one Q400, one CRJ-1000 and one A319.
    Next year another A32F with +1 possible.
    I work for the airline, this is current info that we all have.

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  28. Air Baltic just took delivery of its 22nd C Series...( Airbus A220 300 series )/
    Lufthansa wet leased such a plane with crew very succesfuly in 2019.
    Honestly Croatia Airlines speak with Air Baltic and do the same in 2020 !!
    I fly to Tallinn tomorrow, from Budapest on a brand new C Series..sorry I am from Montreal,
    so the Bombardier name remains close to my heart!!

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