Croatia Airlines under Lufthansa’s spell

Discontent amongst Croatia Airlines staff
Croatia Airlines pilots have requested for the government to sack the airline’s entire management saying that the Croatian carrier is being mismanaged and controlled by Lufthansa. The Union of Croatia Airlines Pilots sent a letter late last week to the Croatian government, president, parliament, media and judiciary saying that it wants to familiarise the public with the difficult situation the airline is in. It blames the airline’s CEO Srećko Šimunović of mismanagement. The union criticises the management for its inability to lease unutilised Croatia Airlines aircraft during the winter season, suspending charter flights in favour of scheduled services, a bad ticketing pricing structure and poor working conditions. The unhappy union also warns of high level corruption inside the airline and is asking the judiciary to investigate.

No words were spared when it came to Lufthansa either. “All of our services are adjusted to Lufthansa as can be seen with flights to Munich, Frankfurt, Vienna and Zurich. Croatia Airlines serves as a classic feeder airline which, through the abovementioned cities, fills Lufthansa’s flights. Croatia Airlines has only seven code share agreements with Star Alliance member airlines, four of which are owned by Lufthansa and the remaining two are heading in that direction”, the letter reads. Croatia Airlines has long had a strong partnership with Lufthansa. In 2010 it was revealed that the then Croatia Airlines CEO, Ivan Mišetić, was also sitting on Supervisory Board of Lufthansa CityLine and Eurowings (a 100% Lufthansa subsidiary).

Croatia Airlines has not responded to the scathing letter although last week said pilots are manipulating the public ahead of talks regarding their collective agreements. It also notes that the airline has actually cut its losses in 2011.

The growing discontent amongst Croatia Airlines pilots, which became public late last year after their minimum rest periods were cut, raises questions of a possible strike. The union said that sending out its disgruntled letter is the first step in making its feelings known.


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