|Belavia mulls Minsk - Ljubljana route|
Belarus’ national carrier, Belavia, is considering making Ljubljana its third destination in the former Yugoslavia following Belgrade and Tivat. The news comes after the fourth meeting of the Belarusian - Slovenian Intergovernmental Commission on Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation was held in Ljubljana last week, the Belarusian Belta news agency reports. The Slovenian side stated its interest for flights between the two capitals to be launched and called for the drafting of a bilateral air agreement. Belarus’ Deputy Foreign Minister and the Commission’s co-chair, Yelena Kupchina, said the matter was also of great importance to her country. “We need to establish contacts between the two aviation authorities and calculate the economics of such a route”, Ms. Kupchina said. She added that Belavia has recently been expanding into Europe, making Ljubljana a logical choice for its future development.
Belavia boasts a fleet of 26 aircraft, mostly made up of Boeing and Embraer jets. From its base in Minsk, the carrier operates flights to forty destinations within Europe, Asia and Africa. Belavia has recently been expanding and is set to take delivery of three new Boeing 737-800 NextGen aircraft in 2016. In cooperation with the plane manufacturer, the airline will be rebranded next year. In the first three quarters of 2014, Belavia handled 1.6 million passengers, up 22% on 2013. Last year, Belavia inaugurated flights to Belgrade via Budapest. The airline has been doing well on the route and is maintaining two weekly flights this winter. It has fifth freedom rights between Budapest and Belgrade and vice versa, allowing it to sell tickets between the two cities. In addition, Belavia runs seasonal summer flights to Tivat.
Ljubljana Airport has never been linked to Minsk. Nearby, Adria Airways operates flights to both Warsaw and Moscow and was planning on launching flights to Kiev this year prior to the escalation of the Ukraine crisis. Slovenia and Belarus have developed friendly relations, cooperating in economic, cultural, political and other fields. In recent years, a significant progress in bilateral relations has been made. The two sides say the launch of a Minsk - Ljubljana route would greatly enhance cooperation between Belarus and Slovenia. The Belarusian national carrier offers an extensive network to Russia and could attract a sizable number of transit passengers from Ljubljana.