Friday, June 17, 2016

Ljubljana Airport seeking Beijing flights


Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport is seeking to establish a direct air link to Beijing. Both the Chinese Embassy in Slovenia and the Slovenian government have begun procedures for the flights to be launched. Ljubljana Airport's Head of Airline Management, Janez Krašnja, says the airport is supporting the Embassy's efforts, noting that intercontinental flights would give it a competitive advantage in the region. He expressed hope that a Chinese carrier could be persuaded to launch the service. Last month in Beijing, the Slovenian Minister for Economic Development and Technology, Zdravko Počivalšek, discussed the possibility of introducing flights between the two capital cities, with Ljubljana likely to be used a stopover en route to another European destination.

Mr Počivalšek held talks with the China National Tourism Administration and the Czech Regional Development Minister over the possibility of Ljubljana being used a stopover point on flights between Beijing and Prague. Currently, the only carrier serving the Czech capital out of Beijing is Hainan Airlines. "It is in the interest of the Czech Republic to upgrade its product for Chinese tourists by providing them with connections to Slovenia. We also talked about direct flights to Ljubljana, but I would say that the first step for this to happen would be through a stopover concept", Mr Počivalšek noted. The minister could not say when the flights could be launched, but reiterated Chinese interest in the service. He added that "some discussions have already been held" concerning direct cargo flights between Beijing and Maribor as well.

Last year, Hainan Airlines, China's fourth largest carrier, considered introducing flights from Chongqing, in the country's south-west, to Zadar by using the airport as a stopover on its service to Rome. Ultimately, these plans never materialised. Hainan Airlines introduced three weekly flights to Prague last September with its Airbus A330-200 aircraft. Besides Prague and Rome, the carrier also maintains services to Brussels, Berlin, Manchester, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Paris in Europe. The number of Chinese tourists visiting Slovenia increased 49.7% in 2015 compared to the year before. Under China's new "One Belt, One Road" strategy, the number of flights to European countries is expected to increase significantly over the coming years.

71 comments:

  1. Well with Fraport operating the airport I wouldn't say it's impossible.

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    1. With Fraport operating the airport the only possible scenario is to hit tne pax number of 1991. Look what they did to the airport till now!

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    2. They have done generally ok I think. The brought Swiss, LOT, Aegean... This current decrease (lasting 2 months) is a result of Adria not Fraport. My issue with Fraport is that they abandoned plans to build a new terminal.

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    3. I also don't see how Fraport has done a bad job. It has brought more new airlines in one year then there have been in a total of 5 years. Passenger decline is Adria's problem. Of course the airport should depend less on Adria and they are eradicating that by attracting new airlines.

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    4. Yeah right!!
      The first thing they did was raising airport fees! This is also one of the reasons why JP isn't expanding out of LJU. Not to speak about LCC or other foreign airlines which are discouraged to start or in best case they drop shortly after (LX).
      Second no investment plans.
      Third: they didn't manage to negotiate better cerosins prices with the suppliers..
      What else do you need?

      I'm very happy that Fraport was eliminated in the first round of qualifications for SKP airport concession!

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  2. This will end up just like the Zadar plans.

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  3. This would be great if it happened.

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  4. Maybe if it were seasonal it could work. Remember ANA is flying B747 charters to Ljubljana this summer.

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    1. B747?? My info is B777...

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    2. Sorry typo, yes 777.

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  5. Well it would be great. Does any nearby airport offer flights to China?

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    1. Vienna and from recently Budapest. But Venice does not have flights to China.

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    2. Can't see Italians/surrounding demographics travelling to Ljubljana for their China flights. Similarly, the Chinese would fly to Venice if that was the final destination.

      Just a bit of fluff from the LJU press room. They should be more concerned about those falling pax numbers...

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    3. Logistically speaking we have – apart from the road and railway corridor north-south and east-west – in the 230 km radius from Ljubljana and Zagreb 15 international airports and seven ports. This means that we have the appropriate infrastructure to bring visitors. The majority of Chinese tourists travel to Slovenia and Croatia via the four biggest Chinese airports: Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Macao. The majority of flights between Europe and China come from the first two. The Chinese need a Schengen visa to enter Slovenia, in order to simplify their entrance and allows them to visit the neighboring countries. Before Slovenia entered the Schengen zone, the visit was especially complicated, as the tourists needed a special visa for Slovenia. Entering the country is now easier and this enables easier people and capital movement. On the whole, Slovenia is strengthening its relations with China, mainly with the Slovene government visits to China and vice versa. Both countries have established diplomatic delegations.

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    4. The primary motive for Chinese tourists to visit Slovenia is nature and outdoors that they like (Bled, Postojna caves) but also gambling. Slovene casinos have experience with Chinese players; they come from Italy for the day (from Mestre and Padova) or for the weekend (Prato, Rome, and Milan).

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    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    6. I just have to let you know that Macau is not even in the top 50 busiest airports in China. I don't know where did you come up with that one. Canton/Guangzhou however, is right there with PEK, PVG & HKG.

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    7. guitardemon, with 5,831,459 passengers in 2015, Macau airport should be on the list (38th place) but, just like Hong Kong, is not included.

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  6. How many Chinese visited Slovenia last year?

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    1. 12 including Bruce Lee

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    2. Actually over 20,000.

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  7. LJU management should focus on getting a Middle East airline to fly there. It's much more realistic.

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  8. The Chinese President is in Belgrade today. Maybe we here something about future flights between Beijing and BEG ;)

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    1. Don't think there will have anything to do with air services. They signed an ASA two years ago and JU is codesharing on Air China flights from Vienna. What we will see next year is JU starting Beijing most probably.

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    2. Yep he is arriving with an Air China B747. Currently over Russia.

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    3. I hope Mr Milinkovic takes photos ...

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    4. Here is a film of his arrival:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Tjrn4hIPJc

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  9. Hainan is struggling on most of its European routes including Rome and Prague. They are always looking at linking it with another city. Even when they were talking to Zadar they admitted that their Rome loads were poor. So there is a possibility for this to happen.

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    1. You might have more information than me, but is it true that Hainan is struggling on its PRG route? They recently upgraded the flight from a B767 to an A332, so in fact adding capacity ... i know they went down to 2 flights a week in winter season, but are back to thrice weekly.

      Also, China Easter Airlines will start flying from Shanghai to PRG next week (3 tomes weekly) and Sichuan airlines should start flying regularly from July (twice weekly), so demand from China seems to be there ...

      I am just curious as I'd like to know more about this ...

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  10. If it were charters then fine, I could believe but a scheduled year-round service linked with Prague... I think people at LJU are dreaming.

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    1. Meh I thought Etihad buying Jat was an unachievable dream but it happened. Never say never.

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  11. Some points that should be taken into consideration

    - Chinese tourists represent a large market potential for Slovenian and Croatian tourism
    - When travelling, Chinese tourists usually visit more than three countries
    - Croatia has better conditions for the construction of tourist cooperation.
    - When travelling to Europe, the Chinese usually visit France, Switzerland, UK, Germany, and Italy. They usually see the capitals (London, Vienna, and Paris) or the popular secondary cities (Venice, Salzburg).

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  12. The Chinese tourists wish to see as many capitals, places and sights in as little time as possible. Holiday packages including more than one country are not interesting for other nationalities, but for the Chinese tourists it is something usual. An overview of the Chinese travel agencies websites shows that the usual number of countries is between three and seven. The number depends on the size of the country and the number of sights in it. So flight to Slovenia are not that unrealistic and impossible.

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  13. Priorities should be flights to either Dubai or Doha, better connections to Scandinavia and Russia, not Beijing. When they do that then they can think bigger.

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  14. Talking of Chinese, their president is in Belgrade and he is bringing quite a bit of cash with him. They've openly stated that this cash comes with a lot of strings. I think that BEG-China flights are not so unrealistic.

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    1. Could happen. Vucic said last year that Beijing will be the next destination after New York. Although I would prefer a Chinese carrier to start flights so we can see some new airline at BEG :D

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    2. Hahaha I agree, either Air China or Hainan could do it but I think that if anyone launches it then it will be Air Serbia. These flights could be far more profitable than New York especially with connections to the Balkans, Italy and the Middle East- that is Beirut.

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    3. I flew Belgrade - Beijing 17 years ago on JAT's DC10. Remember it like it was yesterday. LF 20% :D mind you it was a few weeks after NATO bombing. There were more Chinese on the flight than Serbs.

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    4. Do you remember the schedule?

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    5. Departure from Belgrade was just after midnight. Return in the afternoon.

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  15. It would definitely make the airport more competitive. If you attract a major carrier especially operating long haul it attracts other airlines. Look at BEG for example. Flydubai started flights there, soon after it was followed by Qatar Airways and Etihad.

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    1. I think both Qatar and Etihad would have come regardless of flydubai. Each for its own reasons.

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    2. One airline that surprises me they didn't launch Belgrade already that's AZAL. They would have provided connectivity to a key market almost absent from BEG's portfolio of destinations which is Caucasus, Iran, Central Asia/Western China on one end and the Balkan peninsula in cooperation with JU on the other.

      If the rumors are true that ASL is gonna lease two MGX Embraers, then GYD in cooperation with AZAL should be one of the first destinations, alongside keeping current seasonal lines (Hamburg, Kiev, St. Petersbourg...) as year-round.

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    3. MGX Embraer 195 has 116 seats while JU A319 has 128. The difference is minimal. Embraer 170 would be a better option, but I am not too sure how hard they are to find on the market and what their prices are. Lot Embraers have 70 seats which would be ideal for the entire Caucasus region, not just Baku. Destinations such as Kiev or Hamburg would also fit in perfectly. Overall, Embraer 195 is too big of a aircraft for experimenting.

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    4. It's not about number of seats but general weight of the aircraft, the A319 is heavier by a third.

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    5. A319 is capable of carrying more cargo

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    6. Unfortunately enough, there isn't a lot of cargo expected to KBP to warrant a scheduled Airbus. In the case there will be, they can always send the A319/A320 instead. So far the CRJ900 is the perfect aircraft for the route - lighter than both A319 and E195 but with similar pax capacity.

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    7. The A319 isn't to agile when it comes to avoiding Su-25s.

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    8. I was not talking about KBP, but generally on all routes including potential future ones like Baku. You are changing the topic in your favor

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    9. also CRJ-900 is not very fuel friendly.

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  16. It's interesting. 25 years ago 4 ex-yu airports had regular long haul flights including Ljubljana. Today, none. From next week one. Shows just how much we have gone backwards.

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    1. Zagreb has Air Transat, on a seasonal basis but it's still something.

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    2. And KAL and JAL, and the ANA flights to Dubrovnik.

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    3. None of those are regular. They are a handful of flights during the summer.

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    4. It is not only about the exYU region going backwards. The business model has changed - as well as the entire environment in the industry. Even if YU remained in one piece and no wars occurred, it is highly doubtful whether we would still have regular long haul flights on 4 airports. BEG and ZAG maybe, the rest would transfer either via them or major European hubs.

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    5. Actually, Zagreb airport is very close in closing a deal with the Korean Air on year round service starting from April 2017, there are few stumbling mainly administrative issues to be sorted, however as you all know Croatian Government fell today, and new elections have been called for September 4th.

      New Government when elected would need to ratify deal with the Korean Government and the EU on Zagreb flights. It is procedural however it is unlikely to be completed this year purely due to to the fact that Croatia right now has no Government and until new elections not much can be done.

      Talks with another Chinese Carrier are in advance stage for charter flights to Zagreb starting in May 2017, the carrier is very interested for Zagreb flights due to the growing number of tourists that visit Croatia each year, 145000 last year, 180-220 000 projected for 2015, 250-300 000 expected in 2017.

      flights would be operated on twice weekly basis, Monday and Friday with afternoon and evening departures. Chinese carrier in question is a major player in China, one of the largest carriers in China. The flights would be operated between May and late October with 3-5 flights around Xmas as well.

      JAL is also coming back to Zagreb with once weekly flights from May 2017, talks are in advance stage, flight on a return leg would also land at Dubrovnik, however there are EU regulations to follow so it needs a clearance from new Croatian government when elected sometimes in October.

      Qatar Airways is looking at sending A350 to Zagreb on a regular basis twice weekly from next year. Demand for Zagreb is at all time high.

      Air Transat will also must likely increase frequency on Zagreb flights next year and start a month early in May and end in October, with 50 flights to Zagreb, this year Air Transat will have only around 30 flights.

      So in 2017 there might be 5 airlines that will be sending wide body aircraft to Zagreb on a regular basis. Zagreb pax per aircraft is also up, substantially, meaning demand for flights to Zagreb is high.

      Air Transat might be also good move for Zagreb as they're relatively cheap airline, tickets are selling for 3750 kuna return, and since Croatian passport holders don't need a visa to enter Canada, i can see number of Croatians visiting Canada going up, also Canada is negotiating EU-Trade deal that will enable all EU nationals easier access to Canadian job market, and vice versa, deal is still being negotiated, stumbling block is Bulgaria and Roumania who are yet to ratify the agreement, Canada still maintains visa regime with these two countries and won't budge, however eventually when the deal is signed, Croatians would be able to go to Canada and look for a job, and stay up to 6 months without visa requirements, however they'll need to prove they have means to support themselves in Canada and a sponsor offering employment.

      However this might open doors for more traffic at Zagreb airport as Canadians will also have same rights in the EU.


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    6. Dream on, dream on...

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    7. Anonymous 3:03 PM

      Keep dreaming you made that up, Everyone stops reading after that first paragraph but i stopped at when it said 145k last year, than 180-220k 2015 than 2017 250k-300k expected.

      We are in 2016 not 2015 so go turn off your internet ok

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  17. OT: Austrian 767 VIE-DBV today
    https://www.flightradar24.com/AUA731D/a0d1e75

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    1. Same like every Friday...

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  18. They could pair them BJS-LJU/BEG or BJS-LJU/SKP. This is the case with BUD/MSQ and BCN/VIE for instance

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  19. Tomorrow Air Serbia A330 in Skopje !!!

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    1. How come there are no BEG-LJU-BEG flights?

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    2. Skopje was just added because the A330 didn't operate one day to Zagreb in the morning. They need to operate 40 flights with the plane before the US so they just added Skopje because it fit their schedule.

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    3. Oh ok, thank you!

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  20. That is all nice and well, but is it realistic? Is there enough O&D potential in LJU? Because connectivity is probably quite bad.

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  21. It's just talking and pretending to give the impression that they are doing something -so they get paid- but in fact it's just blabla (from the Slovenian side) and PR media blabla.
    If the Chinese see the business they will do something. But the Chinese are not that naive. They can't see nothing in these empty talks. For them is just loosing time in courtesy dinners.
    Just consider the improving of Slovenian railways the Chinese gave a good deal (of course looking at the Chinese interests too but SLovenia would gain more than loose) and have money but stupid politicians in Slovenia refused.

    It's just pretending you do something (so you get paid and you stay "In place" but in fact you don't want to do anything that will make you work more in the future or will bring changes...

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    1. What good deal? They said they would build the 2nd line of Divaca-Koper line, but with Chinese workers. PM of the time Pahor, rejected it because it would mean an influx of 20.000 Chinese people. He said it 'off the record' after some press conference in Maribor (that one, where some journalist recorded it undercover).

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