Another Acquisition? Aegean Reaffirms Croatia Airlines Interest

Aegean Airlines has reaffirmed its interest in acquiring Croatia Airlines this week. This comes amidst Aegean showing interest in several airlines in the region. Previous talks of acquisition between Aegean and the Croatian government have occurred but never concluded.

A future acquisition

The Greek airline Aegean recently shared its plans to acquire additional airlines in Southeast Europe. It plans to strengthen its influence over the regional air transit market by acquiring portions of different airlines. The airline mentioned that it desires to strengthen ties between itself and Croatia Airlines, a prominent player in this market.

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Aegean hopes to acquire Croatia Airlines in the near future. Photo: Croatia Airlines

Previous attempts

Since 2015, talks of the acquisition have occurred between Aegean and the Croatian government. In 2015 talks of the privatization of the airline were underway. Aegean Airlines participated in these talks in hopes of acquiring a portion of the airline. The International Finance Corporation was the privatization advisor for the airline. While the talks still had positive momentum, a change in the Croatian government occurred, ending the discussions.

As a member of the European Union, the nation may sell a majority stake of its national air carrier. Before the covid-19 pandemic, Aegean submitted a non-binding bid for the carrier. The next step in the acquisition process was for talks to be held between Aegean upper management and the Croatian government. When the pandemic brought air travel to a halt, the talks were canceled.

The Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, shared that these talks would be rescheduled. Currently, no discussions are scheduled, however, Aegean has shared that it intends to strengthen its ties with Croatia Airlines. Both airlines are Star Alliance members which form a sort of inherent partnership between the two. Regardless, Aegean is still interested in acquiring a majority stake in the airline.

Similar airlines

Croatia Airlines and Aegean Airlines both operate a fleet of Airbus A320 jets and Bombardier Dash-8 turboprop aircraft. The similar aircraft types will help to ensure a smooth transition if the acquisition happens. With the same aircraft, Aegean would be able to easily implement the aircraft into previously existing routes. Parts for repairs would also be interchangeable between the two fleets.


Both Croatia Airlines and Aegean Airlines share a similar fleet. Photo: Croatia Airlines

Staffing requirements would benefit from this similar fleet. Pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics would already be trained on these newly acquired aircraft. Aegean would not need to adjust much analytics other than increasing the number of total aircraft.

However, the two airlines’ market performances have been starkly different. Aegean Airlines reports having fully recovered from the pandemic and anticipates ending 2022 in a profitable state. Where Croatia Airlines has consistently been going downhill. The Croatian Minister for Sea, Transport, and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković, shared that the airline has been struggling for several years. He said,

“Croatia Airlines had issues even before Covid. Prior to the health emergency, the airline was in the final stages of securing a strategic partner. We had two very serious offers, but the pandemic halted all activities. We expect that with the return to normality, Croatia Airlines’ business will stabilize but not in its entirety. The challenge remains finding a strategic partner. If we fail to succeed, the state will be responsible “.

Aegean Airlines has fully recovered financially from the pandemic and has set its sights on the acquisition of Croatia Airlines. With previous talks of acquisition being positive but halted by exterior factors, Aegean remains optimistic about further partnership and eventually acquisition.

What do you think of this acquisition? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Exyu Aviation

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