|Adria rules out year-long flights from Maribor Airport|
Adria Airways has decided against extending its seasonal service from Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport to London Southend due to high costs. The Slovenian carrier resumed scheduled operations from the country's second largest city in June, following a fifteen year hiatus, maintaining three weekly flights to London. Adria confirmed its decision to suspend the service yesterday after lengthy talks with Maribor Airport's management team. The company said that maintaining the route would expose it to excessive risks due to high costs associated with ferrying one of its aircraft from its hub in Ljubljana and thus performing an empty leg. Furthermore, revenue on the service was limited as tickets were mostly sold at low cost prices, in line with the airline's plans to develop Maribor into a low cost hub. "The total revenue generated by these flights could have been greater, but given they operated on a seasonal basis, they met our expectations", Adria said in a statement.
The average cabin load factor on the route amounted to some 70%, however, it failed to attract a significant number of foreigners, which the service was primarily aimed at in an attempt to boost the tourism industry in Slovenia's north-east. Slovenian passport holders made up 85% of all passengers on the route. Adria says it hopes to resume the service next summer season. Previously, the airline said it would consider opening a low cost hub in Maribor by basing a single aircraft in the city, which would lead to the launch of new routes in Spain and, in the long term, Russia. "Adria Airways had good cooperation with Maribor Airport, which has emerged as a reliable business partner. We both hope to upgrade the service to London next year and add additional new routes", the airline noted. Adria's last service from Slovenia's second largest city to Southend Airport will operate on Tuesday, September 29.
Maribor Airport handled some 18.000 passengers last year, the majority of which were flown on charter flights. It estimates handling 35.000 travellers in 2015. According to the "Večer" daily, the airport is in talks with Express Airways over new routes. The small airline has a flight school at the airport and offers panoramic flights over Slovenia, as well as seasonal commercial services from Brač and Split in Croatia to Germany and Sweden. It currently operates its flights with a leased ATR72-500 aircraft. Reports suggest the airline could launch one destination in western Europe and the other in the south of the continent next summer. More information on the new routes should be known in the coming days.