Adria, Ljubljana and Maribor anticipate busier times ahead
After several years of declining passenger numbers and worsening financial results, Adria Airways and both Ljubljana and Maribor airports expect to see a turnaround during 2013. Adria’s recent run of promotional ticket sales has helped boost passenger numbers. Furthermore, the carrier is considering launching new flights in the coming period, despite singing a letter of intent last week to lease of two of its Airbus A319s to Jat Airways. During this month, the Slovenian national carrier will sign an agreement with fellow Star Alliance member US Airways, allowing for more affordable tickets for its passengers heading to North America. However, Adria has hit a new hurdle recently after an internal investigation revealed that the previous management gave away free or discounted tickets to politicians and celebrities. The company has handed over all documents in connection to the scandal to the Corruption Prevention Commission.
Meanwhile, Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport is also anticipating passenger growth this year, for the first time since 2008. The airport estimates it will record a 2.2% passenger increase by the end of the year. Slovenia’s busiest airport has registered growth in the first quarter although it has not publicised its results in detail. The growth is being fuelled mostly by foreign carriers such as Turkish Airlines, Finnair, easyJet and Wizz Air. According to the airport, talks are underway with low cost airlines for the introduction of flights to Scandinavia, Northern Germany and Spain. Previously, Wizz Air has said it is considering expanding its flight offer from the Slovenian capital. The upcoming European Basketball Championship, to be hosted by Slovenia in September, is further expected to boost passenger numbers.
With a brand new terminal, Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport also has reason to be optimistic in 2013. The airport is expected to see its busiest summer season in years. Adria Airways will operate charter flights from Maribor to Nicosia and Antalya while Aegean Airlines will be operating services out of Kos. The airport intends to handle some 25.000 passengers during the summer season. Edvard Rusjan Airport says they are negotiating with other carriers as well, with their aim being “to attract quality airlines and offer lower prices than the competition”.