The national carrier for Croatia could be put up for sale soon, if the government cannot find a strong strategic partner to help it expand and modernise Croatia Airlines.
Oleg Butković, the Minister of Maritime Transport and Infrastructure confirmed that the future further development of the carrier could only be achieved with the help of a serious strategic partner, and that seeking such a partner would be the main function of a new inter-agency committee. “The main task of that committee will be to consider possible further steps that will ensure the arrival of a quality strategic partner with significant experience in civilian air transport,” Butković said at a press briefing this week, where he also said the new partner was needed to ensure the airline could expand and increase its market share. The minister also stressed “the importance of regular and year round connection in domestic and air transport, the need for strong support of further development of tourism potentials in the Republic of Croatia”. Part of the function for the new partner will be to modernise the 12 strong aircraft fleet of Croatia Airlines as well as recapitalise it for future developments. The minister didn’t rule out the possibility of Croatia Airlines being sold off completely if no strategic partner could be found.
Croatia is also looking to update and modernise its air force and is looking towards western aircraft technology. Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic confirmed this week that the representatives had held talks with US manufacturer Lockheed Martin and Sweden’s Saab, whilst at a security conference in Munich.
Speaking for Croatian Television, Plenkovic said they “are still interested, and in the weeks and months ahead we will see, based on our experience, how to embark on a new process which would make sure that, within a reasonable period of time, Croatia achieves what we want, which is to modernise our air force.”
Croatia had recently tried to buy a number of F16 fighter jets from Israel, however, the deal fell through at the last minute because according to a source close to the deal, Israel dramatically increased the price. Croatian Defence Minister Damir Krsticevic maintained that Croatia needed multipurpose fighter jets, but further analysis would be conducted after the Israeli deal collapsed.
The Croatian government has a long list of state-owned projects that it is seeking foreign investment for, including hotels, resorts and spas. It has even produced a catalogue