|Adria to end flights with its last owned aircraft|
Adria Airways will end operations with its Bombardier CRJ200 jet within the next six months, seventeen years after initially introducing the aircraft type to its fleet. The airline began phasing out its four CRJ200s in late 2013. Some of the aircraft have been sold, while some have been scrapped. Its sole remaining 48-seat jet is the only aircraft Adria actually owns. All other members of its fleet are on lease. The last CRJ200 flight is set to operate during the first quarter of 2016. "The CRJ200s are only suitable for the development of new routes. Our strategy is to operate larger aircraft and fewer frequencies. This way we can offer cheaper prices”, Adria Airways' CEO, Mark Anžur, said recently.
Adria has replaced its gas guzzling CRJ200s with the larger and more efficient -700 and -900 series. CRJ200s cost 10% more per available seat kilometre than seventy-seat jets in comparable age profiles. Volatile fuel prices add to the economic challenge because the 50-seater has higher relative fuel consumption compared to larger jets. Furthermore, fixed operating costs for the -200 series, such as dispatch, flight planning, navigation, and pilot costs must be distributed over fewer seats, making these smaller jets more expensive to fly. Furthermore, analysis has found that the operating costs for the CRJ200 rise disproportionately as the aircraft ages. Adria plans to boast a fleet of sixteen Bombardiers and Airbuses by 2020. However, the carrier's CEO says the exact type of aircraft to be operated will depend on the carrier's destination network. The airline has been a long time Bombardier customer, ordering its first aircraft from the Canadian plane manufacturer back in 1997. Adria Tehnika, which was once a subsidiary of the Slovenian carrier but is now an independent company, serves as the regional Bombardier maintenance centre. A unified fleet structure is one of the key components of the carrier’s new full fare – low cost hybrid business model.
Adria opted for the CRJ200s in 1997 in order to replace its ageing DC-9s and Dash 7s. The last remaining CRJ200 in Adria's fleet, registered S5-AAG, was initially planned to operate special charters during its remaining months with the airline. However, the aircraft has been utilised on scheduled routes from Ljubljana to Berlin, Zurich, Stockholm, Podgorica, Prague and others over the past few weeks. The aircraft, which features the Star Alliance livery, will turn sixteen next year. It was delivered new to Adria and entered into service in March 2000. Last winter, the airline phased out its last Airbus A320 as well, although the jet made a short comeback during this year's summer season as the carrier wet-leased the jet. It has since been returned to its owner.