Air India flights to Ljubljana unlikelyAir India and Ryanair, which intended to launch flights to Ljubljana this year, have postponed such plans until further notice, primarily due to the extremely high fuel prices at the airport. Last year Air India and Adria Airways signed a memorandum of understanding which was to see Air India code share on Adria’s regional flights, while in return the Indian national carrier would operate some of its services to the United States via the Slovenian capital. Plans were set for flights to be launched either during the 2012 summer season or the 2012/2013 winter season, depending on the arrival of the profoundly delayed Boeing 787 Dreamliners. The airline is expected to receive its first Dreamliner in May.
Zmago Skobir, the head of Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, has told the media that Air India has requested lower fuel prices at the airport and an exemption from paying fees in order to launch services to the Slovenian capital. However, Skobir notes that the airport does not control the pricing policy of the petroleum company. “I stress that this project could be beneficial for both the airport and Adria but it must be approached on an intergovernmental level”, Skobir says.
Meanwhile, talks with Ryanair have broken down. Late last year, Ljubljana Airport initiated talks with the no frills airline in order to cover the substantial cut in flights by the debt stricken Adria Airways. The low cost airline offered to open two to three new routes to the city, however, in return, requested minimal handling and operational fees. Skobir says that such terms were unacceptable. He notes that Bratislava Airport, which handled more passengers than Ljubljana last year, is almost exclusively served by low cost airlines but at the same time suffered a loss of over four million euros. Despite sliding passenger numbers, Ljubljana Airport saw record profit last year.