|Adria mulls Maribor extension|
Adria Airways will soon make a decision on whether to continue operating services from Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport during the upcoming winter season. The Slovenian carrier resumed scheduled operations from Maribor in June, following a fifteen year hiatus, maintaining three weekly seasonal flights to London Southend Airport. “As planned, the service for now remains in operation until the end of September. A decision on a possible extension will be made in the coming days”, Adria said in a statement. Flights from Maribor operate with a mix of Airbus A319 and Bombardier CRJ900 jets, although the latter is more commonly used. The airline is flexible with its equipment and deploys aircraft based on demand. According to early booking figures, the average cabin load factor on each flight stood at around 60%. Adria is said to be satisfied with the figure.
The Municipality of Maribor says the continuation of the Maribor – Lodnon service will depend on whether the operator of Maribor Airport and Adria reach an agreement over future flights. “Of course the Municipality of Maribor wants to see these flights continue into the future. Its extension would have a positive impact on the development of tourism and the economy”, local authorities say. However, they add that the route needs the support from local communities, with the Maribor Municipality planning to set up a shared fund which would be used to develop tourism, with a particular emphasis on Maribor Airport. The service from Maribor to London has generated the greatest interest among Slovenians, however, the flights have also been selling well in Croatia, Austria and the United Kingdom.
The CEO of Adria Airways, Mark Anžur, says there is still a real possibility for Maribor to become the airline’s low cost hub, with a single aircraft to be based in the city. This would lead to the launch of new routes. “Flights to Germany are being considered and we see great potential there due to Graz’s close proximity. Even Spanish holiday destinations would be of interest. In the long-term, Maribor would be very appealing to eastern markets because of its short distance from many tourist destinations that would be of interest to Russians”, Mr Anžur said. Unconfirmed reports suggest that Berlin and Barcelona are being considered for next year. Maribor Airport handled some 18.000 passengers last year, the majority of which were flown on charter flights. It estimates handling 35.000 passengers in 2015.