Croatia Airlines (OU, Zagreb) is in talks with Boeing (BOE, Washington National) concerning a potential B737 MAX order to replace its A320ceo jets, local aviation news site has reported.

The manufacturer has since confirmed the talks are ongoing.

Croatia Airlines currently operates five A319-100s, which are 20.4 years old on average, and two A320-200s with an average age of 22.2 years. The carrier has four A320-200Ns on order from Airbus but has repeatedly stressed that it would not take these aircraft and has been in talks to cancellation them since pre-COVID times. Nonetheless, it does plan to add other new aircraft - according to a recent business plan drafted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the state-owned carrier would need 12-15 new aircraft over the next five years.

Considering the carrier's existing A320neo order, speculation is rife about the A220 being the favoured choice for its future needs, although Embraer E2 jets are also in contention.

Croatia Airlines operated five B737-200s between 1992 and 1999 as its only Boeing aircraft. It currently operates six DHC-8-Q400s alongside the A319s and A320s.

The planned fleet renewal forms part of efforts to rejuvenate the struggling airline. Facing growing competition from Ryanair (FR, Dublin Int'l), which now has a 17% market share by capacity at Zagreb (compared to Croatia Airlines' 51%), the Croatian carrier has been looking at other opportunities to expand from other cities in the region. These tentative plans include growth at Ljubljana, which remains without a base carrier following the collapse of Adria Airways (Ljubljana). However, no firm plans have been announced yet.