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Croatia Airlines plans to cancel its multi million euro order for four Airbus A319s it made in 2008 as it looks to cut costs and rationalise its network. Although the aircraft were to originally be delivered by the end of this year, they have been delayed several times, with the latest delivery date set for 2015. However, the order has been marred by controversy. It has been suggested that the order was made so then Croatian Prime Minister, Ivo Sanader, currently serving a ten year prison sentence for corruption, could secure a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The Croatian carrier has denied such claims, saying the order was a sound business decision at the time.
Croatia Airlines is now looking at ways to avoid penalties from Airbus for cancelling the order. The carrier’s decision was made known to Airbus in Toulouse on Monday at a meeting attended by officials from the plane manufacturer, as well as the Croatian Minister for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Siniša Hajdaš Dončić, and the President of the Croatia Airlines Supervisory Board, Siniša Petrović. The original order came at a price tag of 175 million euros.
This summer Croatia Airlines is operating a fleet of twelve aircraft. It recently leased out one of its grounded Airbus A320s (registered 9A-CTF) to the Tunisian based Syphax Airlines. However, the airline will be leasing a Trade Air Fokker 100 on a short term basis in the coming peak summer months. Croatia Airlines already has four Airbus A319s in its fleet. The ordered jets were planned as a replacement for the A320s. Croatia Airlines has one of the youngest fleets in the former Yugoslavia, with its average age being ten years.
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