Croatia Airlines plans to expand its destination network next year with the introduction of flights from Zagreb to Sofia and Podgorica. The President of the airline’s Supervisory Board, Zlatko Mateša, said, “Croatia Airlines is a decent and high quality Central European company, whose strategic goals are, first and foremost, quality and passenger safety. In the words of our owner, the government of the Republic of Croatia, the expansion of our destination network, as well as fleet renewal, is our strategic focus in the upcoming period. We’ve already started expanding our network by introducing flights, for example to Dublin, and we will continue to do so. Cities we are focusing on now are Sofia and Podgorica. This is our short-term goal”.
Zagreb Airport identified Sofia several years ago, along with Basel, Geneva, Kiev and Riga, as having sufficient critical mass to sustain nonstop flights. Croatia Airlines planned to introduce services to the Bulgarian capital back in 2014, however, those were shelved as the company embarked on a restructuring process, barring it from introducing new routes at the time. On the other hand, the carrier discontinued its three weekly flights between Zagreb and the Montenegrin capital in February 2012. “The resumption of flights between Podgorica and Zagreb would be of great importance to the Montenegrin diaspora in Croatia, but also for Croatian nationals in Montenegro. Furthermore, it would serve as an added benefit for the tourism sector which is vital for both countries”, the Ambassador of Montenegro to Croatia, Boro Vu?ini?, said recently. The resumption of flights between the two has also received support from the mayors of Zagreb and Podgorica, as well as the Croatian Ambassador to Montenegro.
Croatia Airlines is expected to be recapitalised or fully privatised mid-way through next year, in order to secure necessary funds to renew its fleet and expand its network. Mr Mateša is a member of the inter-agency committee, set up by the state, whose main task is to seek out potential investors for Croatia Airlines. The company’s CEO, Jamin Baji?, said yesterday, “We have a dynamic period ahead of us. In the first half of 2020, Croatia is presiding over the Council of the European Union and Croatia Airlines will play an important role in connecting our country with Europe and the world. We look forward to this responsible role and will do our best to fulfil everyone’s expectations”.