History: On 7 August 1989, the first Croatian air carrier, called Zagal - actually Zagreb Airlines - was registered. The Zagal company began operating with an aircraft of the Cessna 402 C type.Following the first democratic elections in Croatia, on 23 July 1990, Zagal changes its name to Croatia Airlines.
In 1991,it signed an agreement with Adria Airways and started flying in the domestic traffic with a leased aircraft MD-82.
In 1992, it acquires three aircraft of the Boeing 737 type form Lufthansa. With an increased fleet we enter the international air traffic and become a member of the International Association of Air Transport (IATA).
We acquire yet another aircraft of the ATR-42 type, thereby increasing the number of aircraft in our fleet to eight aircraft.
In 1995 the Frequent Flyer Programme was created which offers special advantages to passengers who frequently fly with Croatia Airlines aircraft. Also new offices open in Skopje, Zurich, Munchen, Berlin, Dusseldorf and London.
In 1997 the airline takes the first aircraft Airbus A320 type called Rijeka, and open a joint representation of Croatia Airlines and the Croatian Tourist Association in Amsterdam. One year later the first aircraft Airbus A319 type, called Zadar lands at Zagreb Airport.
In 2000 the fleet standarisies over the the Airbus aircraft A319 and A320. Thus concluding the first phase of the renovation of the fleet.On 18 November 2004, Croatia Airlines signed a contract in Frankfurt to become a regional member of Star Alliance. On 23 November, it marked the fifteenth anniversary of the Croatian national air carrier. This event was attended by Croatian Prime Minister, Dr. Ivo Sanader, representatives of the Croatian Government, the President of the Management Board of Germany’s Lufthansa, Wolfgang Mayrhuber, the Director of the Star Alliance air transport association, Jaan Albrecht, and many other distinguished business partners from Croatia and abroad.
On 4 May 2005 Croatia Airlines blessed and baptised another leased Airbus A320 with the name of Šibenik in the Split Airport. This aircraft has a Star Alliance livery. The end of May 2007 was marked by another important event when a contract with the Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Aerospace to supply aircraft Dash 8-Q400 was signed. The first aircraft Dash 8-Q400, named Slavonia (9A-CQA) flew into the Zagreb Airport on 19th May 2008. Thus began a short-haul fleet renewal and replacement of aircraft type ATR-42.
In June 2009, Croatia Airlines reinstated flights to Barcelona and Gothenburg. On 09 June, an airplane with Croatian airline insignia headed to Barcelona, for the first time after several years, and on 12 June to Gothenburg. In April 2010, two more Dash 8-Q400 airplanes joined the fleet – Zagorje and Primorje.
The twentieth anniversary of the first Croatia Airlines international flight from Zagreb to Frankfurt was celebrated on the 5th April 2012.
A new look of the Airbus 319’s cabin was presented in Zagreb on the 12th April. New, high-quality leather Recaro seats were placed in the aircraft type Airbus 319. On the 1st June 2012, for the first time in the history of the company, direct international flights between Belgrade and Split was introduced.
Starting at the 27th June 2012, Croatia Airlines and US Airways start using a code share agreement on the transport of passengers between Croatia and the USA. According to the Skytrax's World Airline Awards, Croatia Airlines was the fourth best Europe's airline in June that year.
On 17 December 2013, Croatia Airlines initiated commercial cooperation with United Airlines in the transport of passengers between Croatia and the USA.
In early May 2014, seasonal flights on the Split – Athens route were introduced for the first time in the company’s history.
In 2015, the third Croatia Airlines’ hangar at the company’s technical center at the Zagreb International Airport was put in operation in February.Code share cooperation in passenger transport with Singapore Airlines was started in May, and in late October, also with Air Canada. An order for new planes was also placed with Airbus for four latest Airbus 320 neo models. The first two Airbus A320 neo aircraft will be delivered in 2021.