Croatia Airlines in domestic expansion

Croatia Airlines will launch new flights within Croatia in cooperation with charter airline Trade Air. Next summer the Croatian carrier will operate flights from Zagreb to Rijeka, Rijeka to Split, Split to Dubrovnik and Dubrovnik to Rijeka. In addition, the airline will maintain flights between Osijek and Zagreb launched this winter season. The new domestic services will operate on behalf of charter airline Trade Air which has leased an Embraer 120 aircraft for the flights from Budapest Air Service with the capacity to seat thirty passengers. The new services will operate under Croatia Airlines’ flight numbers and sales will be carried out by the national carrier. Furthermore, the airline will have a share in part of the revenue.
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Commenting on the new flights, Trade Air CEO, Marko Cvijin, recently said, “Initially we will use an Embraer 120 but we will consider introducing our own aircraft on the route as well. This certainly represents a new segment and strategic turnaround for our company. We are extremely happy that these routes will emphasise a new level of cooperation with Croatia Airlines, considering ticket sales will take place through their distribution system, therefore, making tickets available for sale in all countries and enabling passengers connections through Croatia Airlines’ hub”. The new domestic flights will be launched on April 4. All of them will operate once per week, every Friday, while the Rijeka – Zagreb and Zagreb – Osijek flights, launching on April 6, will operate every Sunday.
Meanwhile, a codeshare agreement signed between Croatia Airlines and United Airlines during the summer, came into effect last week. United has placed its flight numbers on eight of Croatia Airlines’ services within Europe. They include flights from Zagreb to Amsterdam, Brussels, Zurich, Frankfurt, Munich, Paris and London Heathrow as well as the Split – Munich service.

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Sabotaging Croatia Airlines?

Croatian parliamentary speakers from different ends of the political spectrum voiced their concern yesterday that the recent scrutiny of Croatia Airlines’ safety record following last Friday’s emergency landing at Zurich Airport is an orchestrated attack on the airline prior to its privatisation. Croatian media is still rife with speculation whether the airline’s Dash fleet is safe after Friday’s incident was followed by another two safety concerns, one occurring on Saturday and the other this Monday. Small scale safety incidents are common and widespread across the aviation industry and rarely get much media coverage as has been the case with Croatia Airlines in the past. However, several members of parliament (none of which belong to the governing coalition) say the media spotlight, with the support of the government, is an attempt to devalue the airline. “It seems all of this is supposed to justify the future results of the privatisation so it can be presented to us that we should be happy with what we get”, Ivan Šuker, Croatia’s former Finance Minister and member of the largest opposition party, the Croatian Democratic Union, says.

Croatia airlines Bombardier Dash 8 Q400

Members of both the HDSSB and Labour Party also suggested foul play is at hand and criticised the government for appointing party members as part of Croatia Airlines’ management team. Later this month the first of two tender rounds for the privatisation of the Croatian national carrier is expected to take place. The first, where potential buyers will express their interest, and the second, expected in February 2014, where specific takeover offers will be made. Recently, the Croatian Minister for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure said, “The price offered by a potential partner will not be paramount, rather, the focus will be on the quality of the strategic partner which could generate more traffic for Croatian airports”.

Meanwhile, Croatia Airlines has launched an investigation into last Friday’s emergency. The airline has been trying to save face after another one of its Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft, on route from Dubrovnik to Rome last Saturday, landed in Split due to an indication that one of its engines was experiencing problems. On Monday, passengers on board another Croatia Airlines Dash, which was to operate its return flight from Belgrade to Split, were asked to disembark the aircraft after problems with one of the engines was identified. Passengers were bussed to Zagreb, after which they were flown to Split.

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No turnaround for Zagreb Airport

Zagreb Airport has recorded its third consecutive month of passenger decline. Croatia’s busiest airport welcomed 243.954 passengers in August, a decrease of 6.5% compared to last year’s 260.809 passengers. The number of operated flights to and from the airport decreased mildly, by 24 operations, from 1.884 last year to 1.860 in 2013. The decrease is being driven by several factors, primarily due to Croatia Airlines’ network reductions. However, following the country’s entry into the European Union, passenger numbers from Russia and Turkey have also been affected due to new European Union visa regulations. As a result, Aeroflot will reduce its daily flights from Moscow to Zagreb to four weekly this winter season.
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So far this year, Zagreb Airport has welcomed 1.555.200 passengers, only a slight 1% decline compared to the same period last year. On the other hand, Croatia’s coastal airports outperformed Zagreb in August. Split Airport welcomed a record breaking 344.358 passengers, and thus secured its position as the second busiest airport in the former Yugoslavia in August. The numbers represent an 18.7% increase compared to the same month last year. So far in 2013 Split has handled 1.198.080 passengers, up 12.5%.

Other airports along the coast also did well. Dubrovnik Airport handled 293.983 passengers, an increase of 5.1%. So far this year Dubrovnik Airport has welcomed 1.117.759 passengers through its doors, an increase of 4.9% compared to the same period last year. Dubrovnik Airport has been the most vocal about Croatia Airlines’ planned network reductions which will hit the airport hard this winter. The national carrier plans to suspend flights from Dubrovnik to Frankfurt and Paris and reduce the number of frequencies between the coastal airport and Zagreb. However, the airport is on the verge of securing long haul flights.

Posted in Zračna Luka Zagreb0 Comments

Turkish denies Croatia Airlines interest

Turkish Airlines has denied claims made by the Croatian Minister for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Siniša Hajdaš Dončić, that it is interested in purchasing a stake in Croatia Airlines. “The management has made no decision relating to the takeover of Croatia Airlines”, a statement from Turkish Airlines reads. A former manager at Croatia Airlines, who wished to remain anonymous, is not surprised by the carrier’s decision. “Turkish Airlines has a grand plan to become the largest airline in the world by destination network size by 2038, on the centenary of the death of the father of the Turks Kemal Ataturk. However, Turkish Airlines does not base its growth on equity purchases, rather on organic growth”.

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So far, Garuda Indonesia is the only carrier to officially confirm its interest in Croatia Airlines, seeing it as a “logical choice” for its future expansion. The other two airlines believed to be interested in a stake in the Croatian national airline are both from China – Hainan Airlines and China Southern Airlines. Yesterday, Mr. Hajdaš Dončić announced that the tender for the takeover of Croatia Airlines will be launched in two to three weeks time, earlier than originally planned.

Meanwhile, Croatia Airlines’ hub, Zagreb Airport, received good news yesterday after it was revealed that necessary permits have been approved for the construction of the airport’s new terminal. Christophe Petit, who heads the French consortium that will build and manage the new terminal, says there are no longer any obstacles for the construction of the new building to commence. The airport is to officially be handed over to its new owners early next month after which construction is expected to begin. “I can’t say whether it will be the first, fifth or fifteenth of October because every detail has to be in order in the takeover documents”, Mr. Petit commented. The French consortium has exactly three years to build the new terminal from the moment it officially takes over the airport.

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Trade Air launching scheduled flights

Croatian charter airline Trade Air has delivered on its promise and will launch its first scheduled service next week with five weekly Osijek – Zagreb flights. Trade Air put tickets on sale for the new service yesterday and they are available for purchase on the Croatia Airlines website. The charter airline was awarded a contract by the Croatian Ministry for Sea Transport and Infrastructure to operate the domestic route over the next three years. In the coming period the airline will also launch Rijeka – Split – Dubrovnik – Rijeka flights. Croatia Airlines has previously refused to operate the service from Osijek stating it was unprofitable to do so.

The flights from Osijek will operate with a leased Embraer 120 aircraft from Budapest Air Service with the capacity to seat thirty passengers. “Initially we will use an Embraer 120 but we will consider introducing our own aircraft on the route as well. This certainly represents a new segment and strategic turnaround for our company. We are extremely happy that these routes will emphasise a new level of cooperatiotrade air croatian with Croatia Airlines, considering that the ticket sale will take place through their distribution system, therefore, making tickets available for sale in all countries and enabling passengers connections through Croatia Airlines’ hub”, Trade Air CEO, Marko Cvijin said.

The long awaited service from Osijek gives hope to the airport which will no longer be deserted during the winter months. Flights from Osijek to the Croatian capital have been in the works for over a year now. “This is a really big challenge for Trade Air and Osijek Airport. It opens many business opportunities and we will give our best to meet expected targets. I’m glad we’re in this together with Trade Air with whom we have a long and successful cooperation”, Osijek Airport CEO, Domagoj Marinić noted.

The Osijek – Zagreb service will be inaugurated on Monday, September 30. Tickets are on sale on the Croatia Airlines website at 49.5 euros. Soon tickets will also be available for purchase via the Trade Air website. Trade Air, launched in 1994, has two Fokker F100 jets in its fleet. Flights details for the Osijek – Zagreb

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Croatia Airlines preparing for privatisation

Croatia Airlines is carrying out final preparations for the upcoming tender to sell 49% of the company. The Croatian Minister for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Siniša Hajdaš Dončić, says that “everything is on course” for tender procedures to begin in a few weeks. The minister outlined that a final evaluation of Croatia Airlines must be completed before the carrier is put up for sale so the airline’s approximate value is known. However, the minister also added, “The price offered by a potential partner will not be paramount, rather, the focus will be on the quality of the strategic partner which could generate more traffic for Croatian airports”.croatia-arilines-1

Mr. Hajdaš Dončić did not mention any potential bidders but said, “Due to the current situation in the European aviation industry we shouldn’t expect any interest from European investors. We are more likely to find them outside of Europe”. Garuda Indonesia, China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines have all been named as potential partners. The Indonesian national carrier is the only one to have publicly voiced their interest to purchase a stake in Croatia Airlines. Recently, Mr. Hajdaš Dončić said, “Garuda is likely to answer the tender call because they are interested in our strong connections to the rest of the European Union”. The statement was echoed by Garuda CEO Emirsyah Satar who said that, “Croatia and Croatia Airlines would be a logical choice for us”.

The Croatian government is also preparing to sell off Osijek Airport. The airport has experienced financial hardship over the past few years and has struggled to attract customers. Recently, the Croatian President, Ivo Josipović, met with representatives from Indonesia’s Global Putra International Group which has expressed interest to purchase Osijek Airport and turn it into a cargo hub. Global Putra, established in 1981, is an integrated transport and logistics provider in Indonesia.

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Dash 8 to remain part of Croatia Airlines fleet

Croatia Airlines says its fleet of six Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft are safe and they will remain an essential part of the carrier’s fleet. It comes after one of its aircraft landed without its nose gear in Zurich on Friday night. “A total of 600 aircraft of this type fly around the world for various renowned airlines and no one has claimed the aircraft is less safe than others or has more mechanical problems”, Zlatko Širac, member of the Managing Board and Chief Operating Officer at Croatia Airlines says. The Croatian carrier is due to pay off the aircraft in 2018.
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On Saturday afternoon another Croatia Airlines Dash 8 aircraft travelling to Rome from Dubrovnik landed in Split after an emergency light indicated problems with one of its engines. After the aircraft was inspected and cleared in Split it continued its journey with all seventy passengers onboard to the Italian capital, with a delay of several hours. Croatia Airlines’ spokesperson, Davor Janušić, says the incident cannot be related to the one which occurred on Friday evening in Switzerland. Croatia Airlines has seen a total of sixteen incidents on the Dash 8 in connection to their landing near, though none have been serious. According to sources within the airline, most landing gear related problems on their Dash 8s included gear blockage though these have usually lasted only a few seconds.

Meanwhile, the crew of Croatia Airlines flight OU464 from Zagreb to Zurich, headed by captain Zvonko Šitum and co-pilot Ivan Ivanković, have received a heroes’ welcome back home for their professionalism and handling of the emergency. Mr. Šitum says the Dash aircraft are safe and passengers have no need to worry, “There have been minor incidents but it happens to every aircraft and airline around the world”. He added that at no point was there panic inside the passenger cabin or on the flight deck during the emergency landing and that crew followed regular procedure in such events.

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Croatia Airlines Dash in nose gear emergency

Croatia Airlines Dash in nose gear emergency

Last night Croatia Airlines saw its most serious safety incident since it launched operations over twenty years ago. A Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 (registered 9A-CQC) landed at Zurich Airport without its nose gear. The flight, which was operating out of Zagreb, experienced problems upon its approach at Zurich Airport after an emergency light indicated unsafe nose gear. The crew aborted their first landing attempt and made a second one some forty minutes later. Onboard crew declared mayday before landing in Zurich without the nose gear. Zurich Airport halted all traffic in preparation for the emergency. Thanks to the hard work of all crew onboard, the Dash 8 landed safely with all sixty passengers onboard disembarking the aircraft without any reports of injury. Air traffic control at Zurich Airport congratulated the crew by noting, “Excellent job, well done”.

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Quickly afterwards, traffic at Switzerland’s busiest airport was resumed. In a statement, Croatia Airlines said, “Croatia Airlines’ crew is well trained a prepared for such incidents and they followed appropriate procedure ensuring the safety of all onboard”. Croatia Airlines introduced its first Dash 8 aircraft in May 2008. The airline operates a total of six aircraft from the Canadian manufacturer, which has a capacity to seat 76 passengers. The aircraft has been praised by the airline’s management several times as it burns less fuel and has lower operational costs.

however, the incident raises questions over the safety of the Bombardier aircraft. Croatia Airlines has seen a string of safety problems with the aircraft with crew publicly speaking out against the type. “The Dash constantly breaks down. Some of the aircraft have micro cracks on the fuselage and corrosion on instillations”, one pilot told the “Večernji list” daily recently. Technicians have also spoken out against the aircraft saying that regular annual maintenance for the type takes up to 25 days while maintenance for the larger Airbus jets take only a week. Exactly a year ago, a Croatia Airlines pilot revealed crew used butter in order to lubricate the forward door on the Dash which refused to close. In May this year, Croatia Airlines crew requested “stress and danger” benefits for all employees working on the Dash 8.

Croatia Airlines has a spotless safety record and has been commended for its safety procedures.

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Zračna luka Dubrovnik Kolovoz bolji za 5,07% od lanjskoga

August 5,07% better than last year

Dubrovnik Airport continues to achieve excellent results as compared to last year which was a record year.
August has brought an increase in passenger traffic to 5,07% with 293.983 passengers.

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Kolovoz bolji za 5,07% od lanjskoga

Zračna luka Dubrovnik nastavlja ostvarivati odlične rezultate u odnosu na lanjsku godinu koja je bila rekordna.
Kolovoz je donio povećanje putničkog prometa za 5,07% s 293.983 putnika.

Nove poticajne mjere Zračne luke Dubrovnik d.o.o.

Kako bi se dala potpora porastu putničkog prometa, kao i poboljšala povezanost Dubrovnika tijekom cijele godine, Zračna luka Dubrovnik d.o.o. nudi besplatno slijetanje i polijetanje tijekom zimskog reda letenja za sve međunarodne redovite letove, počevši od 27. listopada, 2013.

Dubrovnik Airport Ltd. new incentives

In order to support the growth of passengers traffic and improve Dubrovnik’s all-year-round connectivity, Dubrovnik Airport Ltd. will be offering landings and take offs – free of charge for all scheduled international flights during the winter timetable period, effective as of 27th October, 2013

Stigla milijunta putnica – 5 dana ranije nego rekordne 2012.

U nedjelju ujutro dočekali smo milijuntu putnicu Alexandru Sandimirovu koja je stigla letom iz Moskve ruskog avioprijevoznika Aeroflot.
Putnicu su dočekali predstavnici Zračne luke Dubrovnik d.o.o., Dubrovačko-neretvanske županije, Grada Dubrovnika, kao i predstavnici turističkih zajednica Dubrovačko-neretvanske županije, Grada Dubrovnika i općine Konavle, te joj uručili prigodne darove.

Millionth passenger arrived – 5 days earlier than in the record 2012

On Sunday morning, Ms Alexandra Sandimirova, the millionth passenger arrived from Moscow by a plane of the Russian flag carrier Aeroflot.
Ms Sandimirova was met by the representatives of Dubrovnik Airport, Dubrovačko-neretvanska County, City of Dubrovnik, together with the representatives of the tourist associations in Dubrovačko-neretvanska County, City of Dubrovnik, and Konavle Municipality. Ms Sandimirova was given commemorative gifts.

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Dubrovnik cries foul over Croatia frequency cuts

A new feud between Croatia Airlines and Dubrovnik Airport has erupted after it was revealed the airline will cut down on its frequencies between Zagreb and Dubrovnik during the coming 2013/14 winter season. The Croatian carrier recently announced it would discontinue its year long flights from Dubrovnik to Frankfurt and Paris but said it would add more services between the city and the Croatian capital in order to offer better connections to passengers and compensate for the suspensions. However, in its preliminary schedule, the airline will be cutting down on its frequencies compared to last year with local media claiming the Croatian carrier is in breach of its agreement with the Croatian government.

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According to the agreement, Croatia Airlines has a set number of flights it must operate on domestic services until 2016 in order to receive state subsidies. During the winter, Croatia Airlines is obliged to carry out at least 22 weekly flights. The airline plans to operate eighteen this winter. If it goes through with the planned frequency cuts it would be in violation of the agreement. However Croatia Airlines says, “In our agreement with the Ministry for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, a total number of flights needed to be operated is set on a yearlong basis not on a seasonal basis”. Local press has rejected the airline’s claims as false.

Croatia Airlines, which is set to begin its privatisation process later this year, has held several meetings with local authorities in Dubrovnik recently in order to ease the tension caused by the recent announcements of flight suspensions. The CEO of Dubrovnik Airport, Roko Tolić says, “Dubrovnik is becoming more distant during the winter after years of hard work making the airport busy during the slow months. We have a great challenge ahead of us as we can no longer rely on our partner. We understand that Croatia Airlines must undergo restructuring but we will not sit with our hands crossed. We will look for partners elsewhere”. Croatia Airlines says it is still in the process finalising its winter timetable and all frequency changes are still preliminary.

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