|Adria tipped to launch up to three new routes from Maribor Airport|
Adria Airways will resume scheduled flights from Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport, in Slovenia’s north-east, this summer season for the first time in fifteen years with the launch of three new routes. The Managing Director of Maribor Airport, Marko Gros, says Adria wants to develop a “low cost base” in the city. “Adria is a very serious partner in this project”, Mr. Gros says, adding that the airport is estimated to handled 36.000 passengers in 2015, double on last year’s 17.568 travellers. The exact destinations which will be served from Maribor will be revealed at a press conference in the city tomorrow morning, which will be attended by Adria Airways’ CEO, Mark Anžur. However, a three weekly service to London is expected to be announced among the three planned routes.
The decision to launch flights out of Slovenia’s second largest city marks a major turnaround for the national carrier. Last year, CEO Anžur said, “Adria attempted to fly from Maribor but it is difficult to operate flights out of secondary airports in Slovenia because it is a small country with well developed road infrastructure”. He added, “You can drive from Maribor to Ljubljana within an hour and a half”. Over the past few years the airline has only operated summer charters out of Maribor. However, Adria is shifting its focus from its home in Ljubljana to other markets. This summer it will have aircraft based in Pristina, Tirana and Lodz in Poland. Over the past few years, the airline has considered opening bases in cities which are relatively close to Slovenia, such as Klagenfurt in Austria and Verona in Italy. However, these plans did not materialise. You can review the airline’s planned 2015 summer network here.
|Adria at Maribor Airport in the early 1980s|
Edvard Rusjan Airport opened a new, fifteen million euro, terminal in 2012, with the capacity to handle 600.000 passengers per year. Further investments are planned with the expansion of the existing runway scheduled in two years time. However, the airport has struggled to attract customers for years. It is served by a handful of charters during the high season, with services to Greece and Turkey to be maintained this summer as well. Furthermore, the airport hopes to see charters from Egypt and Azerbaijan too. “There is a possibility for charters to Egypt to operate during the second half of the summer season. In addition, there is demand from Azerbaijan”, Mr. Gros says. Maribor Airport opened for commercial use in 1976. It was served by low cost Ryanair for several months, between 2007 and 2008, but the service was suspended due to poor loads. In 2010, Adria and several other airlines relocated to Maribor during Ljubljana Airport’s runway overhaul. Late last year, the country’s union-owned bank, Delavska hranilica, acquired a 57% stake in the airport, admitting that one of the reasons for its investment was to show that the sale of Slovenia's largest airport operator, Aerodrom Ljubljana, which manages Ljubljana Airport, to Germany’s Fraport was a mistake.