Croatia Airlines has rejected a call from Serbia for ‘regional’ airlines to unite. According to the Croatian Times, Serbian Secretary of State for Infrastructure Miodrag Miljkovic apparently suggested this, believing this will cut costs. Unsurprisingly, Croatia Airlines has rejected this offer, pointing out it is already part of the STAR alliance, and will base cooperation with its partners in that grouping.
This is hardly surprising; why would Croatia Airlines snub members of the world’s largest airline alliance for the Serbian national carrier? The actual region Croatia is integrated with is central Europe and it may be no coincidence that the German Lufthansa and Austria’s Austrian Airlines are STAR Alliance members – they are major economic and political partners for Zagreb, unlike Serbia.
From a Serbian perspective, an ex-Yugoslav airline alliance would be beneficial. Croatia, and indeed Slovenia are wealthier countries than Serbia. Serbia could well benefit from those countries greater resources – no doubt a factor in various ‘regional’ proposals. What would be in it for Croatia and Slovenia is altogether less clear.
Croatia Airlines have made a fairly straightforward decision here. It is one that those who mistakenly think ex-Yugoslav countries are reforming back into a new form – a ‘Yugosphere’ – may be puzzled by, but whose rationale is fairly obvious.