Croatian regional Trade Air plans ATR 42 purchase

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Croatian freight and passenger carrier Trade Air is to add an ATR 42 freighter and is looking to roll out its SunAdria charter brand across its whole operation.

Zagreb-based Trade Air operates two Let L-410 quick-change turboprops and a pair of Fokker 100s, using the latter to launch charter operations early last year.

But the profitable regional carrier is seeking to add a new type to its fleet and is negotiating a short-term ATR 42 lease with Danish Air Transport (DAT).

Trade Air flight operations manager Marko Cvijin tells ATI: “We are working on the acquisition of an ATR 42 cargo aircraft, which will enter the fleet in one month’s time. The aircraft will be on lease until we can source an aircraft to purchase in a couple of months’ time.

“As we are trying to buy the ATR, not just lease it, that shows that we have strong financial backing.”

The Croatian carrier, which is fully-owned by managing director Michael Cvijin, will deploy the ATR on freight services for DHL. Relations between the firms started when Trade Air began operations in 1995. The two firms have a long-term contract in place.

Both L-410s operate for DHL between Zagreb and Bergamo in Italy. The ATR would free one of the L-410s to operate a new DHL route. The other will “most likely be sold”, says Cvijin.

Trade Air has no plans to add to its two Fokker 100s, despite securing work with over 30 companies including Windjet in Italy, Central European carrier SkyEurope Airlines and the UK’s Excel Airways. “It’s not good to grow too fast,” says Cvijin.

The whole company is also preparing to adopt the branding of charter subsidiary SunAdria. “Trade Air is not quite appropriate for passenger operations,” says Cvijin. “This is why we are changing our name.”