Photo Credit: Ex-Yu Aviation

Six new Airbus A220 aircraft for Croatia Airlines

Croatia Airlines’ decision to acquire six new Airbus A220 aircraft and transition to a single-type fleet by 2026 is aimed at transforming the loss-making carrier into a more efficient and competitive business, which will also impact its network development and enable the company to reduce seasonality.

“This aircraft is right-sized for smaller single-aisle markets. It will enable Croatia Airlines to replace older generation aircraft and to operate on thin routes while opening new destinations,” Airbus said. “If you compare the A220 to older generation aircraft, Croatia Airlines will be able to operate with 25% lower fuel burn. That is what counts – being able to operate efficiently at a lower cost. This 25% lower fuel burn also means 25% lower CO2 emissions.”


Croatia Airlines plans to undertake a similar strategy to that of airBaltic, which also transitioned into an all-A220 operator. The Latvian carrier’s CEO, Martin Gauss, said, “Our shortest sector is similar to what they have in Croatia too. We use this aircraft on thirty-minute sectors and very long flights as well. airBaltic was in difficulties when I joined in 2011. One of the first things we had to do is select an aircraft for the future and at that time we decided to go for the Airbus A220. In 2018 we made a strategic decision to operate only one aircraft type. At the start of the pandemic in 2020, we accelerated this decision. We had a Q400 operation – twelve of them. We decided to no longer use them because, for us, the business case to fly the A220 instead of the turboprop was positive.” He added, “People ask us, how can you use a 76-seat turboprop and replace it with a 150-seat jet, but we are proof that it can be done. We had a positive business case on all the routes we fly.”

Details of Croatia Airlines’ planned order have not been revealed, however, the carrier is expected to operate both the -100 and -300 variants of the A220. The airline said the two will have the capacity to seat 127 and 148 passengers respectively. Despite Croatia Airlines currently boasting thirteen planes in its fleet, while only six new jets will be ordered, it is believed the deal will include options for additional aircraft. Similarly, airBaltic reduced its initial fleet size when it retired its Dash and Boeing fleets in favour of the A220. Currently, Airbus is producing six A220 frames per month with plans to ramp up production to fifteen per month by the middle of the decade. Croatia Airlines has said renewing its fleet is part of its “strategy for success” where it plans to radically turn around its business in just a few years.

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