Maribor gets London and Vienna flightsThe newly established airline Golden Air, based at Maribor’s Edvard Rusjan Airport, inaugurated services last week from its hub to London Stansted Airport, with little success so far. Behind the new airline is a British businessman of Indian descent, Harjinder Singh Sidhu, as well as the Slovenian company Avio Fun. The first week of service saw only three passengers with the airline, which originally planned to operate a Boeing 737-300 on the route, using a Cessna 510 Citation instead. The service operates via Vienna. Although a return ticket from Maribor to London will set passengers back only 150 Euros, the airline has seen little advertising or publicity. Questions are being raised whether the route will survive for long.
Urban Simčič from Golden Air says the carrier will not throw in the towel and will continue to operate the three weekly service. He adds that it will take up to six months for the airline to reach a 70% cabin load factor which is needed for the Golden Air flights to make a profit. “We want to take advantage of Slovenia’s great tourism potential. The next six months will be crucial for us as we need to make a profit”, Simčič said.
Singh Sidhu from India, one of the key investors in the Golden Air project, purchased Air Slovakia in 2006. Four years later the airline ceased operations. If Golden Air’s flights to London and Vienna prove successful, the newly formed airline plans to expand next year with flights to Birmingham, Bergamo in Italy and Amritsar in northern India. There is hope that the new airline will revive Maribor Airport which hasn’t seen scheduled flights taking off for the past three years.