|Ljubljana Airport expects new airlines and destinations next year|
Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, which was recently acquired by Fraport, is anticipating further passenger growth in 2015 with the arrival of new airlines and the launch of additional flights. In a statement, the airport said it expects its busiest customer, Adria Airways, to launch flights from Slovenia's capital to Stockholm and either Madrid or Barcelona next year. Furthermore, the airport stressed the importance for the establishment of direct flights between Ljubljana and northern Germany. “In its endeavours to launch new routes and attract new airlines, Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport sees the greatest potential in the north German market”, it said. Earlier in 2014 the airport reported it was negotiating with Wizz Air and easyJet on launching routes to northern Germany, as well as Scandinavia, towards the end of the year. In 2015, Ljubljana Airport will also see the arrival of Swiss International Air Lines, which will launch daily flights from Zurich starting March 29. Furthermore, next summer, Turkish Airlines will boost flights from Istanbul to the Slovenian capital from its existing daily service to ten flights per week. In addition, Air Serbia is also considering increasing its flights from Belgrade.
During the first nine months of the year, Ljubljana Airport handled 1.051.475 passengers, an increase of 1.7% compared to the same period last year. The modest growth is attributed to both Adria and foreign airlines. The result comes despite a dip in the number of operated flights. Jože Pučnik Airport recorded 24.425 arrivals and departures in the first three quarters, down 5.6% on 2013. Cargo tonnage improved 7.3% to 14.049 tonnes. In a statement, the airport said Adria, Turkish Airlines and Air Serbia attributed most to the passenger growth. On the other hand, Air France reduced its number of flights, however, this did not impact on passenger numbers since it increased capacity and recorded a solid load factor. Low cost airlines Wizz Air and easyJet also saw good loads while Finnair’s passenger numbers decreased slightly. The situation in the Middle East had a negative impact on traffic at the airport, as there was a significant fall in the number of passengers from Israel during the summer. Furthermore, Iran Air ceased refuelling at the airport in June 2014. “The forecast network expansion by airlines from Ljubljana give encouragement that the trend of rising passenger numbers will continue”, the airport said.
Meanwhile, Fraport, which recently acquired a 75.5% stake in operator Aerodrom Ljubljana, which manages Slovenia’s busiest airport, has announced the acquisition of the remaining 24.5% share. The German operator will pay 61.75 euros per share. Fraport has already forked out 177.1 million euros for its initial bid. With a complete buyout, the entire deal is set to be worth 234 million euros. The takeover is expected to be completed by the end of November. Fraport has previously said it intends on developing both passenger and cargo traffic at the airport and will act as a long term investor who is not looking for short term benefits.