Croatia Airlines faces loss of aircraftZagreb Airport has said it will ground and take possession of one of Croatia Airlines’ Airbus jets if it does not pay off it outstanding debt to the airport for the year 2009 immediately. The move would be lawful as the two agreed that such action could be taken if no payments were made by the end of 2010. In 2009, Croatia Airlines did not pay its hub any handling fees nor did it divide the passenger tax. As a result, the Croatian national airline owes Zagreb Airport 9.2 million Euros. The airline says that it has been paying its fees to the airport for the years 2010 and 2011 on time.
Despite an agreement for the debt to be paid off by the end of December 2010, Croatia Airlines has not done so and the airport is not amused. It says it will exercise its right to take possession of one of Croatia Airlines Airbus jets. In the first 3 months of 2011, Croatia Airlines recorded a loss of 13.1 million Euros. The two are also feuding over food catering prices. Croatia Airlines has refused to pay for catering under new prices set in 2006 and still continues to pay in accordance to prices set in 1999. As a result, Zagreb Airport has sued its main customer.
Bad relations between national carriers in the former Yugoslavia and their hubs is not uncommon. Last week, the operator of Podgorica and Tivat airports said that Montenegro Airlines owes 6.5 million Euros to the Airports of Montenegro company and urged the government to pressure the national carrier into paying off its debt. Earlier in the year, Ljubljana Airport wrote off 2.4 million Euros in debt owed by the Slovenian carrier. Last week, Adria Airways accused Ljubljana Airport of favouritism towards other airlines.