Croatia Airlines is preparing for the arrival of its first A220 aircraft during the second quarter of next year with the carrier also planning to make adjustments to its network, with an emphasis to be put on winter operations from secondary cities in Croatia. “Our new strategy will bring adjustments to our network which will further highlight that Croatia Airlines is an important part of Croatia’s transport and tourism infrastructure. During the coronavirus pandemic, we linked Osijek with an international destination for the first time – Munich – with the support of the city, county and tourism boards. It has now developed into a year-round route. During the previous winter, we connected Pula with Zurich and maintained flights between Split and Zurich in cooperation with local tourism boards. Our goal now is to link both Zadar and Dubrovnik with international destinations during the winter period. The whole of Croatia is important to us because that way we will succeed in our mission”, the company’s CEO, Jasmin Bajić, said recently.
Commenting on competition the airline faces at its main hub in Zagreb, Mr Bajić noted he welcomed any challenge but only under the same conditions. “Ryanair has been a competitor of ours in the past in Split and Dubrovnik. However, over there we had the same commercial terms. In Zagreb they have been given privileges, so instead of eighteen euros they pay two euros tax per passenger. Competition is not the problem if you have the same conditions”, the CEO said. He added, “There is another important factor to consider. Take the example of Sarajevo where the low cost Wizz Air had a base. They decided to shut it down over night and discontinue all their flights. That is how it works with low cost airlines, they just suddenly discontinue routes and launch new ones when they think it will be profitable. We have a different mission – to ensure our country’s connectivity with Europe’s main hubs and in turn with the rest of the world”.
Mr Bajić expects for Croatia Airlines to become profitable in 2025. This would mean the airline would post its first full-year profit eight years after it was last in the black. “We drafted our post-Covid strategy together with the Boston Consulting Group and one of the most important things that will enable us to have a sustainable business in the future is the fleet renewal, which is why we opted for a unified single type fleet. This will bring us various benefits in terms of pilots, mechanics and especially maintenance, considering the age of the existing fleet”, Mr Bajić said. He added, “Currently, we have pilots and mechanics for the Airbuses and the Dashes, while with a single type fleet we will achieve significant savings, especially since these aircraft utilise 25% less fuel than the previous generation of aircraft. That is one of the main benefits of the new fleet. According to our post-Covid strategy, we plan to return to full profitability in 2025”.