Croatia Airlines will be leasing an Airbus A319 aircraft from Hi Fly from 29th March. The aircraft will be used to add capacity ahead of the Croatian airline’s planned summer 2020 network expansion, but also to meet the increased demand for charter flights in the region.
Croatia Airlines is expanding
Last month, Simple Flying reported that Croatia Airlines is planning a regional expansion in its summer 2020 schedule. The wider regional network is expected to increase the feeder traffic on its routes to Western Europe, on which the airline is adding additional capacity.
For this purpose, Croatia Airlines has already agreed to dry-lease a Dash 8 Q400 from Austrian Airlines. It will also wet-lease an Air Nostrum CRJ-1000. An easyJet Airbus A319 was also planned as a fleet addition, but this plan has now been scrapped. The A319 will instead be coming from Hi Fly.
Croatia Airlines is hoping to increase its passenger numbers this summer ahead of its privatization deadline. The Croatian government has set a deadline to sell the airline, presently state-owned, this year. Aegean Airlines and Air Nostrum expressed an interest in Croatia Airlines.
Avioradar reports that the aircraft Croatia Airlines will be taking from Hi Fly is part of the subsidiary Hi Fly Malta. It bares the registration 9H-LOL.
This A319 aircraft was first delivered to Germania in 2012. Germania was a German low-cost carrier that filed for bankruptcy last year.
The aircraft was then taken by Hi Fly and given to Hi Fly Malta. It has not operated any flights for a while, and is presently stationed in the Netherlands, in a military base.
When it is taken by Croatia Airlines, the A319 will bear the registration 9A-CTN. It will have the capacity to seat 150 passengers
Where will this A319 fly?
Croatia Airlines will not be using the Airbus A319 just for scheduled flights. The aircraft will also help meet the increase in demand for charter flights.
This demand comes from Slovenia, the country that neighbors Croatia and whose capital Ljubljana is less than two hours’ drive away from Croatia’s capital Zagreb.
Croatia Airlines will join the other Croatian airline, Trade Air, in providing charter services in Ljubljana this summer. This is to replace the charter capacity formerly provided by Adria Airways, which went bankrupt last year.
Some of the routes on which Croatia Airlines can use the dry-leased easyJet A319 aircraft include Frankfurt, Brussels, Split, Barcelona, Copenhagen and Skopje. On all of these routes, Croatia Airlines has scheduled an Airbus A319 from 29th March 2020.
What do you think of the decision by Croatia Airlines to lease additional capacity during a time when coronavirus might have a severe impact on aviation demand? Let us know in the comments below!