Tirana base on the cards for Adria
The CEO of Adria Airways, Mark Anžur, has said the Slovenian national carrier is likely to open a base in the Albanian capital Tirana. The airline’s first destination from its new base would be Frankfurt. Adria has boosted the number of weekly flights from Ljubljana to the Albanian capital from seven to ten weekly this summer season. Mr. Anžur says Tirana is a promising market and a growing business and tourism hub in the Balkans. Tirana is currently served by twelve airlines, with Belle Air being the largest operator. Adria is the only EX-YU airline serving Tirana. Notably, Lufthansa, Adria’s star alliance partner, will discontinue its Tirana service at the end of the 2013 summer season.
Adria Airways already has a hub outside of Slovenia, in Priština. However, the carrier’s CEO notes that passenger numbers are in decline on its Priština flights. This is primarily due to increased low cost competition but also because of demographic changes. Prior to the financial crisis, which hit Adria hard, the airline planned to base an aircraft in Skopje following the demise of MAT Macedonian Airlines. However, circumstances have changed with Wizz Air now becoming the dominant carrier in Macedonia’s capital. Nevertheless, Mr. Anžur notes that Skopje remains a solid performer for the Slovenian airline with eleven weekly flights from Ljubljana (down from double daily last summer season).
Recently, Adria resumed flights from Ljubljana to Paris following a yearlong break. The carrier is said to have recorded good sales on the route. The airline is considering resuming scheduled services to London in the coming period and launching flights to the German capital Berlin. This comes only a week after it was reported that Intro Aviation, in cooperation with Air Berlin, is close to buying a majority stake in Adria. Adria is on course to finish 2013 break even following severe cost cutting measures implemented in the past two years.