|Maribor anticipates 70% load factor on new Express Airways flights|
Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport, in Slovenia's north-east, is confident that new scheduled services to Dusseldorf and Split, to be operated by the German-owned Express Airways from April 28 and May 8 respectively, will prove popular with travellers and result in strong passenger growth. The airport estimates that the Boeing 737-300 aircraft operating the two routes will record an average cabin load factor of 70%. Therefore, Maribor Airport's Managing Director, Ladimir Brolih, anticipates that some 10.700 passengers will use the service to and from Dusseldorf by the end of the 2016 summer season. "Dusseldorf was selected based on expert analysis and it being the centre of one of the richest regions in Europe. In addition, there is strong economic cooperation between local businesses and the German state", Mr Brolih said yesterday.
Express Airways' CEO, Sefa Tuncer, noted that the new route from Dusseldorf to Maribor will be primarily used by holidaymakers from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands who gravitate towards the North Rhine-Westphalia region in western Germany and will make up some 60% to 70% of all travellers on the flights. The airline will operate the route for a year and will then determine whether the service is profitable, since significant efforts and resources have been put into the new flights. Mr Tuncer added that Express Airways is also considering charter services from Maribor to Antalya in Turkey and Girona in Spain.
Maribor Airport aims to handle some 27.500 travellers by the end of the year, representing an increase of 10% on 2015. The airport says its numbers could exceed 30.000 if Express Airways follows through with all of its planned services. Furthermore, the airport expects to process 300 tonnes of cargo, up from 183 tonnes last year. Express Airways will be the only airline operating scheduled flights to Maribor this summer. Mr Brolih confirmed that Adria Airways will not resume its seasonal service to London Southend Airport launched last summer. The airport is still in negotiations with budget airline Wizz Air concerning potential new routes.