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Carpatair - from ecstasy to agony and vice versa?
Carpatair was born in 1999 and operated its first flight on March 26, 1999, on the route Cluj-Napoca - Venice. Since 2000, the hub has been moved to Timisoara. The first plane was a Yakovlev Yak-40 rented from Moldavian Airlines. This is how one of the largest regional airlines in Southeast Europe began its story.
During the glory days, the company operated, through the hub at "Traian Vuia" Airport, over 350 weekly flights to 28 destinations, from six countries in Eastern and Western Europe. At one time, the Carpatair fleet consisted of 15 aircraft: 6 - SAAB 2000, 1 - Boeing 737-300, 3 - Fokker 100, 3 - Fokker 70, 2 - ATR 72-500.
At first it was good. Being one of the first airlines in Banat, Carpatair has enjoyed great success, benefiting from low competition from other competitors. In 2012, Carpatair still transports about 40% of the passengers passing through Timisoara airport.
But the years have passed and the situation has changed, and Carpatair has failed to adapt. Wizz Air entered Banat strongly, opening new routes departing from Timisoara and Arad. Carpatair lost ground in front of its competitors and accused the management of Timisoara airport of providing state aid to competing companies and practicing discriminatory rates. The accusations turned into a series of lawsuits, involving both Timisoara International Airport and the low-cost operator Wizz Air. On 14 November, an irrevocable sentence gives Carpatair operator a win in the battle with Timisoara airport, but already the situation had changed.
Year 2013 started with some problems for Carpatair. There have been several incidents involving KPR aircraft, the most important being in Rome. An aircraft ATR 72 KRP exited the runway of Fiumiciuno airport.
In the last year, Carpatair has announced all kinds of changes in the operational program. He gave up the Timisoara hub and turned his attention more and more to Bacau airport. From 28 October to 2012, Carpatair gave up the Timisoara - Bucharest route. However, it continued to open new routes from Craiova, Bacău and Chisinau.
And when everything seemed ok, Carpatair announced that it had restructured its fleet. On 31 May 2013, the last Saab 2000 aircraft left the Carpatair fleet, after 10 years of service under the company logo, thus marking an important change in Carpatair's strategy: switching to point-to-point flights, without stops in Timisoara.
But he didn't stop here. On 31 May, Carpatair gave up most of the aircraft. In addition to the Saabs, he returned Boeing 737-300 received on 21 May 2012 and who arrived in the Belavia Fleet Belarusian Airlines, gave up the 3 Fokker 70 and a Fokker 100. Related to the two ATRs, one was seriously damaged in the Rome incident, and the second one flies in the Jat Airways fleet. Currently, the Carpatair fleet consists of 4 aircraft: 3 Fokker 100 and a Boeing 737-300 (SP-LLC) borrowed from LOT Polish Airlines.
With the reduction of the fleet, Carpatair also reduced the number of flights. From June 21, 2013, Carpatair gave up the routes: Timişoara-Bacău, Timişoara-Cernăuţi, Timişoara-Iaşi, Timişoara-Chişinău, Timişoara-Craiova, Timişoara-Dusseldorf, Timişoara-Munich. Carpatair currently has a network of 9 destinations: Germany - Stuttgart; Italy - Bergamo, Rome, Venice; Romania - Bacău, Craiova, Timişoara; Republic of Moldova - Chisinau; Ukraine - Chernivtsi.
I could say that the measures were taken to ensure the profitability of the airline. But we cannot anticipate the direction in which this carrier is heading. As long as the Carpatair management is satisfied with the current activity and is in profit, it will probably continue to do so. From sources close to Travel Travel, we learned that a new Boeing 737 will join the KRP fleet. The Boeing 737-36M (MSN 28332) aircraft is powered by two 2x CFMI CFM56-3C1 engines, has 148 seating capacity and 17 years of operation. Through 1998, this aircraft was also in the TAROM fleet.
I flew with Carpatair and liked it. I appreciated this carrier for its work and I tend to think it will fly a long way from now. I expect a rebranding, a repositioning in the market. Carpatair is a full-service carrier and I am convinced that it will remain so. And between July and August, Carpatair will supplement flights to Italy.
It remains to be seen what will happen to Carpatair starting with the winter season 2013 / 2014!