Croatia Airlines has ruled out the potential introduction of long-haul operations, noting that both its current and future network planning will be focused on Europe. The carrier’s CEO, Jasmin Bajić, told the “Regional International” magazine, “Croatia Airlines’ fleet, both current and future, is adapted for regional intra-European traffic. Our primary role is to ensure connectivity within Croatia and maintain year-round links with international destinations. Additionally, given Croatia’s tourism-driven economy, we allocate capacity for strategic leisure routes, even during the winter months when other carriers may not operate”. Mr Bajić added, “Throughout the summer season, we prioritise connectivity while celebrating our two decades of membership in Star Alliance. This alliance enables us to provide substantial capacity to Star Alliance hubs, offering access to a wider array of destinations than our standalone operations could do. While overseas markets play a significant role in Croatia Airlines’ overall traffic, we prioritise efficient connections through our Star Alliance and codeshare partners”.

The Croatian carrier had transatlantic aspiration in the past. In the summer of 1994, the airline planned to lease a Lufthansa DC-10 aircraft to commence services between Zagreb and New York JFK. The airline had even gone as far as scheduling the flights, subject to government approval, however, the plans were dropped overnight. In 2013, the carrier’s management expressed renewed interest in introducing long-haul flights. Its CEO at the time, Krešimir Kučko, said, “In the future, it is my desire to include intercontinental flights in our network. I would like to see the long-haul model move from the dream phase to the planning phase, and then to the implementation phase”.
Mr Bajić noted the airline remains committed to shaping its network to reduce the highly seasonal nature of the Croatian market. “Our vision is to create sustainable year-round tourism over the next five to ten years. This goal will require a collaborative effort with the different stakeholders in the tourism sector, with Croatia Airlines playing a significant role”. The CEO added, “Croatia Airlines has meticulously tracked market trends and passenger demand to plan its routes accordingly. The focus remains primarily on destinations in Europe and the Mediterranean”. Croatia Airlines’ first new Airbus A220-300 aircraft of a total of fifteen A220 jets, is currently undergoing painting, which is expected to be completed this Friday. Its delivery is scheduled for late June, marking the start of the carrier’s transition into an all-A220 fleet.

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