Doubts grow over Croatia Airlines' A319 order

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Croatia Airlines has confirmed that its order for four Airbus A319s is under review as part of the carrier's wider restructuring programme, amid reports that it lacks sufficient funding to honour the deal.

The flag carrier placed the order in 2008 but has repeatedly postponed delivery of the first unit - now due to arrive in 2015, according to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database.

"Croatia Airlines is currently in a process of restructuring, which includes the contract with Airbus as one of the most important strategic points within the strategic plan," the airline tells Flightglobal.

It adds that a meeting between Croatia Airlines chief executive Krešimir Kučko and representatives from Airbus has been scheduled for "the near future", with a final decision over the A319 order due to coincide with the announcement of a formal restructuring plan.

"One of the most important goals of the restructuring process is to increase capital and create a climate for new investments," the airline states.

Local media reports had indicated that Croatia Airlines was on the brink of cancelling the order, following repeated deferrals that cost the carrier an estimated €9.1 million ($11.8 million) in contractual penalties.

In September 2011, the Croatian Competition Agency approved €42.4 million in state aid for the flag carrier under the pre-condition that it either repay the loan within six months or commit to a new restructuring plan.