|Swiss International Air Lines terminating Ljubljana flights in January|
Swiss International Air Lines will suspend flights between Zurich and Ljubljana, just nine months following the route's initial launch. Swiss spokeswoman, Karin Muller, confirmed to EX-YU Aviation News that flights will be terminated from January 4, 2016. However, Ms Muller added, "Our codeshare with Adria Airways will remain in place". The news will be welcomed by the Slovenian carrier, which will retain its monopoly on the route. This winter season, Adria is maintaining twelve weekly flights between the two cities. Despite initial optimism, Swiss failed to attract sufficient passengers numbers, launching the route on a daily basis before reducing flights to four per week.
Swiss International inaugurated services from Zurich to Ljubljana on March 29 this year with a 97-seat Avrojet RJ100 aircraft. Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport anticipated for the flights to generate an additional 30.000 passengers per year. Services were timed so passengers could connect on to Swiss' North American network. This year, Swiss expanded aggressively into the former Yugoslavia, introducing flights from Zurich to Ljubljana, Zagreb and Sarajevo, while its subsidiary Edelweiss Air launched seasonal services to Podgorica. Summer flights to Banja Luka were also planned but did not go ahead following disagreements with the airport's management. From Geneva, the airline began year-round flights to Sarajevo and Skopje. In addition to the suspension of its Zurich - Ljubljana service, this winter, Swiss also terminated its Geneva - Belgrade flights and will now operate the route on a seasonal summer basis.
Despite the setback, Ljubljana Airport has secured two new customers for next year, with LOT Polish Airlines to launch services from Warsaw on March 1 and Aegean Airlines from Athens starting June 15. Furthermore, earlier this year, Adria Airways' CEO, Mark Anžur, revealed the carrier would expand its operations out of the Slovenian capital in 2016. “We are already planning new flights for the 2016 summer season from Ljubljana. For us, these are interesting destinations as they are important business hubs and offer the possibility of connecting flights. The Iberian Peninsula will certainly be among them. Even Italy would be of interest”, Mr. Anžur said. Over the past ten months, Ljubljana Airport handled 1.264.056 passengers, an increase of 10.6% compared to the same period last year.