|Ljubljana Airport sees passenger growth as Fraport delays takeover|
Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, which is to be taken over by German operator Fraport in the coming days, has handled 596.572 passengers during the first half of the year, a modest increase of 3.7% compared to the same period in 2013. The growth comes despite a decrease in the number of operated flights, from 15.972 in 2013 to 15.448 this year. According to the airport’s half yearly report, Adria Airways, Turkish Airlines and Air Serbia fuelled Ljubljana’s growth while Air France and Montenegro Airlines recorded a decline in passenger numbers. Adria was the busiest airline operating to and from the Slovenian capital, handling 394.690 travellers, an increase 1.7% on last year. On the other hand, Turkish Airlines recorded passenger growth of 17.9% on its Ljubljana flights, while Air Serbia, which launched services to the city in December last year, handled over 20.000 passengers on the route during the first six months of 2014.
Low cost airlines easyJet and Wizz Air welcomed a combined total of 76.288 travellers on their flights to and from the Slovenian capital, same as last year. easyJet has maintained its position as the second busiest airline in Ljubljana, while Wizz Air took fourth position behind Turkish Airlines. Low cost airlines now account for 13.4% of all passengers using Ljubljana Airport. Air France recorded a 5.5% decrease in passenger numbers while Montenegro Airlines also saw its figures decline slightly, handling just under 10.000 passengers on its flights to and from Podgorica. Frankfurt was the most popular destination followed by London, Istanbul, Zurich and Paris. Flights to and from Belgrade saw the greatest passenger growth, while Tel Aviv recorded the biggest decline. Among destinations in the former Yugoslavia, flights to Pristina saw a slight increase in passengers, while numbers weakened on services to Skopje, Sarajevo and Podgorica. Antalya was the most popular charter destination, followed by Hurghada, Monstir, Rhodes and Tenerife.
Fraport is expected to take its 75.5% stake in Ljubljana Airport next week. Originally, it was planned for the takeover to occur yesterday, however, the process has been slightly delayed as it is believed Fraport is renegotiating to reduce its initial offer. Local media now speculate Fraport has offered 240 million euros for its majority share in Slovenia’s busiest airport. Since yesterday, the country’s centre left publications have run negative coverage of the takeover, speculating Ljubljana will become a peripheral airport in Fraport’s empire. Fraport has expressed interest to turn Ljubljana into a major cargo hub.