Big plans for Adria until 2020
Adria Airways has planned out the next six years of its development which will include increasing passenger numbers and a complete renewal of its fleet. The CEO of Slovenia’s national carrier, Mark Anžur, says, “As part of the Adria Airways Business Strategy until 2020, which we have already prepared and which we intend to implement over the next six years, we plan to, above all, grow and expand”. He adds, “We aim to increase passenger numbers to two million per year, purchase new aircraft and, in this way, continue with the optimisation of our fleet. We will also introduce new routes, increase cost effectiveness and adapt to the needs of the market in terms of pricing”. The airline will downsize on the number of its Bombardier CRJ200 aircraft and replace them with the larger CRJ900 version in the coming years. Adria currently has eleven aircraft in its fleet – four CRJ200s, four CRJ900s, two A319s and a single A320. The six year development plan also outlines that Adria will become a hybrid full fare - low cost airline, similar to Flybe, Vueling Airlines and, increasingly, easyJet where passengers can choose basic low fares but can then add a range of other services with extra charges.
The year ahead is shaping up to be a decisive one for Adria. The government plans to sell a majority stake in the carrier this year but is holding off the process until the European Commission rules whether state aid given to the company was in line with European Union competition laws. If the Commission orders Adria to pay back the government 85 million euros, it will have to find a partner immediately otherwise it faces the fate of Malév Hungarian Airlines or Spanair. A ruling is expected soon. The airline’s last privatisation process, in 2012, failed. Despite the ongoing court case, Adria is planning to expand its business in 2014. “Preparations are underway for the introduction of new routes next summer season. At the moment I can confirm future services between Ljubljana, Warsaw and Prague, as well as between Tirana and Frankfurt. We are also planning to resume flights to London”, Mr Anžur said.
Last year proved to be relatively successful for the Slovenian carrier. It managed to see its passenger numbers grow for the first time in years. In the first three quarters of 2013, the airline handled 808.370 passengers with its average cabin load factor at 73.5%. However, it is believed Adria has just missed its financial target of breaking even, although this is yet to be verified. Latest data shows the airline turned a profit of 700.000 euros in the first nine months of 2013 compared to the 6.8 million euro loss on the year before. During last year, Adria sold a large amount of its assets, mostly to Ljubljana Airport.