After several weeks of speculation Turkish Airlines has finally confirmed interest in its counterpart in Croatia. According to the words of Mr Abuldkerim Cay the airline's Chief Human Resources Officer Turkish Airline has seen an equity investment in Croatia Airlines as a very good business opportunity and benefit for both sides. This confirmation came just a few days after the Croatian government had removed Croatia Airlines from a list of strategically important companies and made it eligible for a sale. Over the weekend Mr Ahmet Tuta Turkey's Ambassador to Croatia confirmed the words of Mr Cay from Turkish Airlines. He also added that both companies cooperated as Star Alliance members and that there was interest in a list of companies the Croatian government had announced for sale.
Whereas Turkey is not an EU member it could acquire up to 49% of Croatia Airlines.
A few weeks ago Mr Krešimir Kučko CEO of Croatia Airlines denied claims that Turkish Airline showed interest in the state company adding that a strategic partner through recapitalisation would accelerate the carrier's development and fleet expansion. He also said that good business results made the airline more appealing than ever before and hoped to have success in finding a strategic partner.
Mr Tonči Peović, who has managed both Zagreb and Dubrovnik airports and is seen as a possible candidate for Mr Kučko replacement said, ''If the government sells Croatia Airlines without recapitalisation requirements, then the most likely buyer would be Alitalia, owned by Etihad. This would give Air Serbia, through its part-owner, access to Croatia Airlines’ valuable airport slots and a leading position in the Balkans''.
He also added that the only guarantee for survival would be a strategic recapitalisation through a process of programmed bankruptcy, by a non-European company, which would compete against Etihad and Lufthansa and have a strategy to develop the EU market through a hub-and-spoke network. ''Otherwise, the takeover will be hostile, which has been the case with a number of companies in Croatia'', said Mr Peović.