|Adria looks to the future following EC ruling|
The CEO of Adria Airways, Mark Anžur, has said his airline can pursue its strategy independently without strategic partners in words echoed by the Slovenian Ministry for Infrastructure and Spatial Planning. Speaking after the European Commission cleared 79.6 million euros in state aid for the national carrier, Mr. Anžur said, “It is hard to find a buyer for the airline. I see their [European Commission’s] decision as confirmation that the company is on the right track as a modern and profitable airline with a clear vision and mission". He added that the carrier’s new hybrid full fare - low cost model of business is proving successful. The ministry said Adria already has strategic partners since it is a member of Star Alliance and added that Adria can operate successfully independently. The Slovenian national carrier has been earmarked for sale this year following a failed attempt in late 2012.
“Adria welcomes the decision of the European Commission and believes that the company's operations and successful restructuring with a new business model represents one of the main reasons for the Commission's decision”, Adria said in a statement. It went on, “Adria believes that the Commission's decision is proof that through consistent implementation of the restructuring programme, the company is capable of successfully adapting both to the demands of the market and to Community requirements”. Mr. Anžur said the airline has reduced its ticket prices by 8% and expanded its network. It recently introduced “last minute” fares and has added additional seats to its Airbus A319s as it continues to adopt a low cost business strategy. Furthermore, earlier this year, Adria began charging economy class passengers for food and beverages. ”Adria will retain all services that are important to travellers such as good scheduling and operations to primary airports”, the CEO said. He stressed that Adria could capture some of the 200.000 passengers from Slovenia who choose to fly from airports in surrounding countries rather than Ljubljana due to high costs.
The Slovenian carrier plans to add flights from Ljubljana to Madrid, Barcelona and Stockholm next summer season and will focus on its new base in Tirana from which it will likely launch services to Brussels and Paris next year. “We want to grow because it is easier to manage expenses that way. We need to increase the number of destinations and we are planning new direct flights to new destinations”, Mr. Anžur said and noted the airline will also focus on expanding operations in Poland.
Over the weekend, the newly formed SMC party won Slovenia’s snap parliamentary elections in which centre-right parties suffered a heavy defeat. SMC leader, Miro Cerar, has previously said he opposes the outgoing government’s privatisation push, a part of which Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, Adria Airways and Adria Airways Tehnika were to be sold. All privatisation processes have been temporarily halted in the country until a new government is formed. Outgoing Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek won just over 5% of the vote in Sunday's poll.