Air Croatia increased its number of flights by 7% during 2008, and carried 9% more passengers than in the previous year. Nevertheless, Croatia Airlines posted a loss of HRK89.2 million (USD17.2 million) for 2008.
The negative bottom line was primarily caused by high fuel prices, but also to a drop in market demand in the 4Q2008. In 2008, Croatia Airlines’ fuel expenditure was HRK357 million (USD69.2 million), some 30% more than in 2007 and accounted for 22% of the airline’s operating costs.
The higher fuel prices had a particularly sharp effect throughout the tourist season when the number of flights was the highest and when, coincidentally, global fuel prices also reached their peak.
The year was also marked by fierce competition, with 32 international carriers, 18 low cost carriers and 60 charter operators servicing routes to/from Croatia.
Croatia Airlines carried a total of 1,868,869 passengers, 9% more than in 2007, and a company record for a single year.
Fleet enhancements and network expansion will continue
The upgrading of the short-haul fleet started in 2008 with the introduction of two new Dash 8-Q400 aircraft, and during the year Croatia Airlines launched four new routes to Düsseldorf, Copenhagen, Podgorica and Pristina.
While fearing its bottom line bottom line will suffer in 2009 as a result of the crisis, Air Croatia has stated this year’s early indicators were encouraging, as 2% more passengers were carried than in the same period last year, despite Croatian airports recording a 4% decrease in passenger traffic.