|Adria eyes 20% passenger growth in 2015 after “disappointing” year|
The CEO of Adria Airways, Mark Anžur, says the airline’s chances for expansion out of Slovenia are limited due to the small size of its market. As a result, it has been opening bases outside of the country. The carrier will introduce new flights from Ljubljana to Stockholm and Berlin this summer season but the CEO adds, “The question is, what are the chances for further expansion out of Ljubljana”. Mr Anžur notes that in 2016 Adria will consider launching flights to London, despite fierce competition from low cost airlines. In the long-term, the carrier is looking at introducing flights from the Slovenian capital to either Madrid or Barcelona. “We could offer connecting flights to South America through Spain and, at the same time, lure visitors to Slovenia as well. Personally, I think Madrid would be more interesting than Barcelona because it is bigger but this will be decided in 2016”, Mr. Anžur says. He adds, “Additional routes to Germany, such as Dusseldorf and Hamburg, could be of interest. Perhaps we could fly to St. Petersburg and Milan as well. These are under consideration. We should not rush from Ljubljana, I think Lodz has much greater potential at the moment”.
Adria’s CEO admits that 2014 was somewhat disappointing for the airline, despite an improvement on 2013. “The results will be a little bit better than last year, but this is somewhat disappointing. We planned for better results”, the CEO says. He continues, “In Europe, revenue per passenger fell by 7% in 2014, which is huge”. By December 2014, Adria recorded a 7% increase in passenger numbers and is expected to have ended the year with similar growth. However, revenue per passenger is said to have decreased by 10%. The airline estimates to have ended 2014 break even. “Next year we expect to grow with a 20% increase in passenger numbers and a 15% jump in revenue”, Mr. Anžur explains.
The Slovenian carrier took out a bridging loan this winter in order to stay afloat and concluded a sale and leaseback arrangement of two of its Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft in order to boost liquidity. “As a result, we have secured cash flow throughout the winter season. We will use part of the money to repay our debts and the other part will stay with us for winter operations”, Mr Anžur says. He adds that the airline is still negotiating with Ljubljana Airport’s new owner, Fraport, over a planned fee hike. Mr. Anžur has previously warned that the introduction of new routes from the Slovenian capital is under threat due to a planned increase in fees.