|Ljubljana Airport anticipates new flights to Spain, Germany, Scandinavia and Asia|
Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport and its operator Fraport are looking to link the Slovenian capital with destinations in Spain, Germany and Scandinavia in order to boost passenger numbers. General Manager, Zmago Skobir, believes the airport has to cover these “gray areas” in the coming future. Primarily, the airport is looking at establishing connections to Madrid, Barcelona, Oslo and Hannover. Earlier this year, Adria Airways’ CEO, Mark Anžur, said the carrier is considering 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 said. He added, “Additional routes to Germany, such as Dusseldorf and Hamburg, could be of interest”.
This March, Ljubljana Airport recorded passenger growth of 5%, ending a several month long decline in numbers. Its operator is confident of a busy summer ahead. Recently, Swiss International Air Lines launched flights from Zurich to Ljubljana with some 30.000 passengers expected to use the service this year. Ljubljana Airport’s Commercial Director, Janez Krašnja, believes many passengers will connect from Zurich onwards to North America, Africa and the Middle and Far East. "Our expectations are greatest in the North America segment", Mr. Krašnja said. The head of Swiss for Austria, Central and Eastern Europe, Bernhard Wodl, added that the airline does not see Ljubljana only as a summer destination, with Swiss expected to operate the route throughout the 2015/16 winter season four times per week. Next week, Adria will introduce new flights from Ljubljana to Stockholm and Berlin, which are expected to further boost passenger numbers at the airport.
Despite its close proximity to larger airports such as Graz, Venice and Zagreb, Mr. Skobir says Ljubljana handled roughly the same number of passengers on international flights as Zagreb in 2014. In addition, the airport’s medium-term goal is to further strengthen charter operations, particularly from Asia. Japan’s JAL has been a frequent visitor to the Slovenian capital over the years, bringing hundreds of tourists from the country on charter flights to Ljubljana. Still, the majority of Japanese passengers use scheduled services to travel to Slovenia, primarily Finnair’s flights from Helsinki. Some 70% of all passengers using the route are Japanese tourists.
Meanwhile, Aerodrom Ljubljana, the operator of Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, was transformed into a limited liability company earlier this month. The decision on the transformation and subsequent delisting from the Ljubljana Stock Exchange came two months after German airport operator Fraport completed its acquisition of an outright stake in the company. As part of the transformation, Managing Director Zmago Skobir was given the nod by the owner to take over as General Manager of the limited liability company. From now on, operations will be overseen by a board of investors consisting of Fraport representatives. Fraport purchased operator Aerodrom Ljubljana for 234.4 million euros.