DALLAS — Croatia Airlines (OU) is upping its game plan to place itself as a competitive European airline. As part of its post-pandemic strategy, the carrier has firmed its order for six Airbus A220-300s and will lease an additional nine of the type, taking its total commitment to fifteen.
The order means that by 2026, the airline’s fleet will be a unified single-type, allowing for an improved in-flight experience and better economic operations. A similar strategy was used by Air Baltic (BT), the effect of which has vastly improved the carrier’s performance.
Croatia Air CEO Comments
During the signing of the agreement between OU and Airbus, the airline’s CEO, Jasmin Bajić said, “Taking into account the demands of our passengers, trends in the highly competitive Croatian and global aviation market, fuel prices and CO2 emissions, as well as the goals of the EU’s “green” policies and the no less important fact of the “year of production” of the existing fleet, the decision to replace the Croatia Airlines fleet at this moment is imperative and fully compliant with the adopted Post-Covid strategy.
“I am happy that we are entering a new business development cycle with a partner whom we know well and who, based on long-term cooperation, really offered us conditions that we are currently able to accept. Using the areas of existing contracts, the renewal of the fleet represents the continuation of our cooperation with Airbus, that is, the existing contract by which we will completely replace Croatia Airlines’ old aircraft with new ones by 2026.
“With new and higher-quality aircraft in the market segment of 100 to 150 seats, we will ensure a better response to the specific needs of our passengers, which, I am convinced, will ensure an even more efficient business model, thanks to which we will also open additional spaces in our business, ensuring our passengers as well as our benefits needed by employees.”
An “Ideal” Aircraft for Croatian Aviation
Meanwhile, Ville Arhippainen, Airbus’ Vice President of Sales for Western and Southern Europe said, “We are very glad that Croatia Airlines is the new user of the A220. The A220 is ideal for Croatian aviation needs due to its operational flexibility and efficiency, which will help the company achieve its ambitions of regional and international connectivity and providing superior services in any aspect, be it passenger comfort or travel economy and flight occupancy.
“The replacement of the fleet for Croatia Airlines represents a long-term process of transition of the entire business, so all employees of the national airline are facing a period in which it will be necessary to adapt all business processes to the new aircraft, which will further optimize the operations of the national airline, ensure better occupancy of the passenger cabin, better crew utilization, while Croatia Airlines will become an even more environmentally friendly airline and will significantly reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, which, in accordance with the latest events on the oil and oil derivatives market, today represent an increasingly large item in airline expenses.”
Better Days Ahead for Croatia Airlines
The A220 is a lean, clean, state-of-the-art flying machine designed for the 100 to 150-seat passenger market. With its impressive fuel burn and noise reduction, these traits are no longer facts from the factsheet, as the type proves its capabilities with the 16 airlines across four continents currently flying the type.
Taking a look at Croatia Airlines’ fleet today, it’s a mix of the Airbus A319, A320, and the De Havilland Dash-8 Q400, all adding up to 12. Having such a small fleet number with three types isn’t the most efficient and economical, especially for a carrier with somewhat of a regional European network.
The all-A220 fleet will open a new door, allowing a better passenger experience, lower operating costs, and the adaptability to be network efficient.
Featured Image: The Airbus A220 will be used to replace the airline’s current fleet of A319s, A320s, and Dash-8 Q400s. Photo: Airbus.