|Express Airways to launch services from Maribor to Dusseldorf and Split|
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 and Split. Furthermore, the airport is in talks over potential services to Girona in Spain and flights to either Skopje or Pristina. The German-owned Express Airways will run services from Dusseldorf to Maribor twice per week starting April 28. The route was selected in agreement with local tour operators, while the connection is also expected to benefit local businesses which have strong links to the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. In addition, Express Airways will launch a one weekly service to Split from May 5, with the airline anticipating strong demand for holiday packages to neighbouring Croatia this summer in light of security concerns at popular leisure hotspots such as Egypt and Tunisia. Furthermore, the carrier is in talks with Maribor Airport over the introduction of flights to Girona. As a result, Express Airways will become the only airline to operate scheduled services to Slovenia's second largest city this summer season.
The Managing Director of Maribor Airport, Ladimir Brolih, recently said talks with Wizz Air over potential services were ongoing but added that further analysis and discussions with the no frills carrier were required. Both northern Germany and Scandinavia have been identified as underserved markets from Slovenia. Maribor Airport handled 24.886 passengers last year, an increase of 41.7% compared to 2014. Last summer, Adria Airways resumed flights from Maribor following a fifteen year hiatus with a three weekly seasonal service to London Southend Airport. However, the airline has no plans to resume the route this year, despite previous promises to turn Maribor into its low cost base during 2016.
On the other hand, Montenegro Airlines plans to introduce seasonal charter flights from Podgorica to Maribor later this year, the carrier’s Assistant Commercial Director, Dragan Popović, said recently, adding that talks with Maribor Airport are in their final stages. The Montenegrin carrier intends to operate one weekly service between the two cities from mid-June to mid-September. The move is in line with the airline’s new strategy to expand operations within the former Yugoslav region. Slovenia was one of Montenegro Airlines’ fastest growing markets in 2015. Its scheduled Podgorica - Ljubljana service saw passenger numbers grow 53% compared to the year before. Recently, the carrier’s CEO, Daliborka Pejović, said the airline is considering adding frequencies to the Slovenian capital this summer.