|Maribor plans links to Germany, Skopje and Pristina|
Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport, in Slovenia's north-east, has negotiated new scheduled flights for the 2016 summer season, which will see it linked to Dusseldorf. The airport's Managing Director, Ladimir Brolih, says the service has been initiated by tour operators in the region and will cater for all travellers heading to northern Germany. Mr Brolih notes that preparations for the flights are in their final stages and further details will be revealed soon. While the operator is yet to be announced, it is believed the German-owned Express Airways will run the service. 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. Adria Airways has also expressed interest to cooperate and is still mulling the possibility of setting up a base in Slovenia's second largest city next year.
Express Airways' owner and CEO, Sefa Tuncer, visited Maribor recently where he expressed interest for the airline to link the city with Pristina, Skopje and Munich as well. "Talks are under way regarding these destinations, but there are no concrete plans yet", Mr Brolih said. The Managing Director recently revealed the airport was also in talks with Wizz Air but added that further analysis and discussions with the no frills carrier are required. Both northern Germany and Scandinavia have been identified as underserved markets from Slovenia. Maribor Airport handled some 18.000 passengers last year, the majority of which were flown on charter flights. It plans to welcome 35.000 travellers in 2015. During the first three quarters, Maribor saw 23.500 passengers use its services, up 51% compared to the same period last year.
This summer, Adria resumed flights from Maribor after fifteen years with a three weekly seasonal service to London Southend Airport. It is considering basing a single aircraft in the city next year, which would lead to the launch of new routes in Spain and, in the long run, 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 said recently. Its CEO, Mark Anžur, added, "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 attractive to Russians”.