|Adria Airways to expand Tirana operations in 2016|
Adria Airways will launch flights from Tirana to Munich from March 28, 2016, bringing the total number of destinations it serves from the Albanian capital to five. Flights will operate four times per week, each Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and will replace Lufthansa's existing service, which will cease on March 26. The news comes after Adria's CEO, Mark Anžur, said the airline would scale back its network growth in 2016, although plans to expand operations from Tirana have been on the cards for some time. The Slovenian carrier is maintaining seventeen weekly flights from Tirana this winter season, which includes services to Ljubljana, Frankfurt, Brussels and Paris (operating via the Belgian capital during winter and nonstop during the summer).
Earlier this year, CEO Anžur emphasised Tirana's importance to Adria's network, as well as the carrier's plans for the city. "We have a 5% market share in Tirana and we are the third busiest carrier. Albania is fast growing and traffic is mainly focused on Italy. On the other hand, there is also strong growth in traffic between Albania and Germany", Mr Anžur said. He added, “Next year we plan to base an aircraft in Tirana and have three daily flights to a number of destinations. We are considering at least two new routes. Italy is a very real possibility". The Albanian capital would become Adria's fourth base outside of Ljubljana, complementing Pristina, Lodz and Tallinn (where Adria is operating flights on behalf of Nordic Aviation). Tickets for Adria's new Tirana - Munich service are already on sale through the airline's website. The flights will operate with an Airbus A319 aircraft with further details available here.
Adria plans to add two aircraft to its fleet in 2016 and rationalise its operations in a bid to boost its load factor. "2016 will be a year of consolidation. We will work to maximize the efficiency of existing routes, rather than opening new ones. We have had flight operation problems because of a lack of crew, so we have to fix that and work on our load factor. In 2017, we are planning on growing again significantly", Mr Anžur said. Furthermore, Adria intends on adding a Bombardier CRJ700 aircraft to its fleet next year and an additional, high density, Airbus A319 or A320. At the same time, it will retire its aging CRJ200 jet.