Archive | Croatian Airlines

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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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.
croatia-arilines-dash-8-zurich
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”.

croatia-airlines-accident

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.

dubrovnik-airport

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.

dubrovnik airport

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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Etihad denies Croatia Airlines interest

Etihad Airways has denied recent claims it is interested in purchasing a stake in Croatia Airlines. It comes after the Croatian government revealed it plans to put the airline on sale before October 15. Speaking to “Arabian Business” an Etihad Airways spokesperson said, “We are not in talks to purchase a stake in Croatia Airlines”. Earlier in month it was also reported that Etihad was in “advanced talks” with Poland’s treasury for a potential equity investment in LOT Polish Airlines. Etihad has neither confirmed nor denied any negotiations. The news comes less than a month after Etihad purchased a 49% stake in Jat Airways.

Zracna Luka Zagreb

While both Garuda Indonesia and China Southern Airlines have been named as potential partners for Croatia Airlines, the Indonesian national carrier has shown the most interest. This week the Minister for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Siniša Hajdaš Dončić, and the President of the Croatia Airlines Supervisory Board, Siniša Petrović, are due to fly out to Jakarta in order to drum up interest in a deal. “If the strategic partner is from outside the European Union, the maximum stake we’d sell would be 49%. If it is from the EU, the stake can be up to 100%”, Mr. Hajdaš Dončić explained recently.. The Independent Croatian Trade Union has written to the country’s Prime Minister, Zoran Milavonić, to voice its anger at the prospect of privatising Croatia Airlines. They have requested for a referendum to be called on whether Croatia Airlines and several other state owned companies should be sold.

Montenegro Airlines is currently the only national carrier in the former Yugoslavia not searching for a strategic partner. However, it was precisely Montenegro Airlines which caught Etihad Airways’ interest first. When in 2010 the Montenegrin government put 30% of its national carrier up for sale, Etihad Airways purchased the tender documentation, however, did not put in an offer later on. Adria Airways is believed to be in talks with China Southern Airlines while B&H Airlines is also on the lookout for a new partner following Turkish Airlines’ exit last year.

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Croatia crew request “stress and danger” benefits

Croatia crew request “stress and danger” benefits

Croatia Airlines cabin crew are asking for additional payments for all staff working on the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 aircraft due to “added stress and danger”. The cabin crew have requested an additional 130 euros per day for all crew working on the aircraft after talks with the airline’s management over a new collective agreement collapsed last week. Both pilots and cabin crew have expressed their anger for having to work on the Bombardier which has experienced several minor safety incidents over the past few years. Technicians have complained that maintaining the aircraft takes much longer than the larger Airbus jets while in 2012 there were a series of problems relating to the aircraft’s forward exit. Last year a Croatia Airlines pilot explained how he bizarrely had to use butter to lubricate the door in order for it to close.

The cabin crew union is also asking to be allocated two passenger seats on each Bombardier for rest time. Croatia Airlines introduced its first Dash 8 aircraft in May 2008. The airline operates a total of six turboprops 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.

Meanwhile, the Union of Croatia Airlines Pilots said yesterday a strike was imminent after the airline’s management refused to back away from plans to cut pay by 20%. In a statement the carrier said, “We simply cannot accept the new conditions set out by pilots and cabin crew as it would harm the airline’s restructuring process which could lead to bankruptcy”. Last night Croatia Airlines managed to sign new collective agreements with its Maintenance and Engineering Union. The airline’s pilots and cabin crew held a 24 hour strike last March.

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Croatia Airlines pilots threaten with strike

Croatia Airlines pilots have issued a strike threat after they refused to sign the latest collective agreement which foresees a 20% pay cut. The airline’s pilots union unanimously rejected the proposed collective agreement on Thursday. Talks between the airline’s management and pilots broke down on March 28 after which a process of reconciliation began. “Since the reconciliation has failed we plan to go on strike”, Zoran Bilić, the President of the Croatia Airlines Pilots Union said. Bilić notes that a strike date still hasn’t been set in order to give the management the opportunity to either revise the planned collective agreement or extend the previous one which expired on April 1.

The average wage of a Croatia Airlines pilot amounts to 3.000 euros, which, according to the union, is amongst the lowest in Europe. The new collective agreement would reduce pay by 20%, cut down on non working days and holidays. “Each year we are asked to work more for less”, Bilić notes. He adds that the management is constantly threatening its 137 pilots with redundancies. “We are aware of the difficult situation our airline finds itself in. It is in all of our interests for Croatia Airlines to prosper, however, in the management’s offer we see no way out of this crisis, only the continuation of this agony”, the head of the union says.

Croatia Airlines has said it has not received any official word from the head of the pilots union regarding the strike. “The new collective agreement would secure financial stability for the company and all of its employees”, the airline said in a statement. Furthermore, it adds that due to the company’s restructuring program, it cannot extend the terms of the previous collective agreement which expired at the start of April. Croatian pilots last staged a strike in March 2012.

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Croatia Airlines to shed its fleet

Croatia Airlines to shed its fleet

The Croatian Minister for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Siniša Hajdaš Dončić, announced yesterday that Croatia Airline will have to shed its fleet in order to return to profitability and avoid bankruptcy. The news comes just over a month before the carrier’s busy summer season begins. “We have two possibilities. Either sell one or two aircraft, as well as property owned by the company, or find a strategic partner willing to buy a 25% to 30% stake in the carrier. If we fail to do so the airline will go into bankruptcy. That is something we would certainly want to avoid as it would have unforeseeable consequences on the Croatian economy”, Mr. Hajdaš Dončić said.

It is believed Croatia Airlines has already earmarked the sale of one of its Airbus A320s this summer, leaving the carrier with twelve aircraft. The exit of the jet is also expected to have an impact on the carrier’s summer season network with some routes to be cut. Croatia Airlines is yet to finalise its 2013 summer timetable. Furthermore, the carrier plans to further delay the arrival of four Airbus A319s. Media reports suggest the airline was pressured into ordering the aircraft so the then president of the country, Ivo Sanader, now serving a ten year jail sentence for corruption, could meet then French president Nicholas Sarkozy, who himself is being investigated for several corruption scandals.

Last summer, three consultancy firms advised the airline to retire one of its A320s in order to return to profitability. In contrast to the advised, Croatia Airlines went on to lease a Fokker F100 from Trade Air during the summer months and even used one of Adria’s Airbus jets for some of its weekend flights. At the time, the advisers also shortlisted flights to London Gatwick, Paris, Istanbul, Podgorica, Priština and Copenhagen for suspension unless the routes do not start making money in the foreseeable future.

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