Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Ljubljana Airport seeking Middle East flights


Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport is seeking direct flights to the Middle East in order to better compete against nearby rivals in Zagreb and Venice. The head of Ljubljana Airport's Airline Management, Janez Krašnja, says services to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are currently being considered. Recently, the airport held talks with the leading carriers from the UAE, including Emirates, Etihad Airways, Flydubai and Air Arabia, with the latter two believed to have shown the greatest interest in launching operations. Last November, Slovenia and the UAE signed a Civil Aviation Agreement, which enables flexibility on routes, capacity, number of frequencies and types of aircraft between the two countries, for both passenger and cargo flights. The Slovenian Minister for Economic Development and Technology, Zdravko Počivalšek, will visit the UAE in September where further discussions on the establishment of flights are expected to take place.

Qatar Airways is also considering potential services to the Slovenian capital. The Qatari Minister of Economy and Trade, Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, recently visited the country where he expressed hope for flights between Doha and Ljubljana to be established in the near future. The Slovenian Ministry for Infrastructure said a direct air service to Doha would open up new opportunities for tourism. In addition to launching flights to Sarajevo in November and Skopje early next year, the Qatari carrier carrier has hinted at introducing double daily services to Zagreb in the near future, while possible new routes in the former Yugoslavia could include Dubrovnik and Pristina, besides Ljubljana. It has been confirmed that the airline has undertaken a feasibility study for a number of destinations in the region.

Ljubljana, which is in close proximity to a number of larger airports, is looking to increase its competitiveness by offering more direct flights. Zagreb Airport is served by both Qatar Airways and Flydubai from their respective hubs, while Alitalia, Emirates and Qatar link Venice to the Middle East. Gulf carriers have little presence in Slovenia. Flydubai, which operates services to Zagreb, offers its passengers bus transfers from Ljubljana to the Croatian capital. On the other hand, Etihad Airways codeshares on Air Serbia's double daily flights between Belgrade and Ljubljana. Mr Krašnja said that by attracting new carriers and offering new routes the airport is looking to compensate for the loss in turnover being generated by Adria Airways, which has suspended two routes so far this year and cut back on plans to expand out of the Slovenian capital.

68 comments:

  1. It will either be Fly Dubai or Air Arabia. I don't think Qatar Airways will be coming soon because they have a lot of issues with opening new routes because their aircraft deliveries are late. That's why they delayed Sarajevo and Skopje.

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  2. Logical. Only ex-yu country besides Montenegro with no flights to any Gulf country.

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    1. Speaking of Montenegro, didn't officials in Podgorica announce that FZ would start flying there in July?

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    2. I think they postponed these plans because of the crash in Russia.

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  3. Flydubai offers bus transfers to MBX also.

    Haplek

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    1. That means they do quite well from Slovenia if they would go to that effort.

      Does anyone have any stat on how many passengers from Slovenia use the Zagreb route?

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  4. If Flydubai can operate to Skopje twice per week during the slow season I don't see why it can't to Ljubljana as well. I'm sure there is a big enough market.

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    1. True but it could potentially hurt their loads from Zagreb. Like someone said there are quite a few passengers from Slovenia on these flights.

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    2. Could also have an impact on Air Serbia. They have a lot of passengers from LJU going to Abu Dhabi (mostly transferring through Abu Dhabi to east Asia, Australia... especially since Etihad codeshares on the flights).

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    3. One can be sure that flyDubai and Qatar will come to Ljubljana sooner or later, for sure one of them in next 12 months.

      Of course that will hurt Zagreb but I don't think flyDubai or Qatar will have less flights per week just because of that but they will not increase flights in near future. That will also hurt Air Serbia and their flights to Abu Dhabi.

      Lot of passengers from Ljubljana use those routes that are not served in Ljubljana. But most of Slovenians from Dolenska (Novo Mesto, Krško, Brežice, Metlika, Kočevje, Grosuplje, Trebnje) and Štajerska (Maribor, Celje, Laško, Velenje, Ptuj, Slovenj Gradec) find Zagreb as their airport. I have business friend who has company in Slovania and little factory in Macedonia. He find "Zagreb as his airport". And that will not change even with flights from Ljubljana as Zagreb is closer to them, have more connections and they have habit to fly from Zagreb. With new terminal Zagreb will be even more competitive than Ljubljana.

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    4. People are also forgetting the affect this could have on Turkish Airlines. They now fly to LJU twice per week. I can guarantee you that in total one of those flights is packed with transfers,

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    5. twice daily, not weekly;)

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    6. Haha yes sorry I meant twice daily not weekly.

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    7. Naravno da će utjecati na Turkish, i na Aeroflot, i na Lufthansu, i na Austrian (tj. u svim ovim slučajevima na Adriju koja za njih leti). Sve te kompanije imaju neke konekcije prema Istoku kojih će dio putnika preuzeti bliskoistočna kompanija koja dođe. Ali to je za sve njih zanemarivo. Jer Tukish ima svoju klijantelu, sigurno neće smanjivati broj letova radi 3-4 leta flyDubaia ili Qatara. Nigdje Turkish nije stao sa povečanjem broja letova i/ili kapaciteta (veći avion) nakon što su došli Qatar ili flyDubai, pa neće ni ovdje.

      Dakle, na količinu frekvencija Turkisha to utjecati neće, dok će na ZL Zagreb i Air Serbiju ipak to daleko više utjecati (ne i presudno).

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    8. @ Purger

      EK has alot of Slovene pax fly from VCE and smaller amounts from BUD. JU and EY see only a handful of Slovene pax fly via BEG at most to AUH. To be honest I notice more from ZAG as I frequently fly between BEG and AUH (1-2 times a month).

      I doubt either will start next year. QR are short on ac, and it looks like theyll boost ZAG to 1 x daily widebody next year. FZ will probably transfer alot of flights to DWC to free up slots for EK, and this may hurt feed. However, if any of the 2 do launch LJU my guess is QR...unless EK take over FZ flights to ZAG to compete with QR and FZ uses the ac to LJU.

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    9. FZ it will not operate to ZAG anymore

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  5. Ljubljana has to understand that they've no chance with ME carriers, due to the distance and size of their market. Narrow bodies can hardly reach LJU, and the size of their market is half of Zagreb, while ZAG itself struggles of weak catchment area.

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    1. I think a narrow body can make it from Dubai to Ljubljana. If I'm not mistaken Flydubai flies to Bratislava and Prague without any issues.

      Agree with you about the catchment part.

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    2. Additionally, FZ moves to DWC in 2017 so there will be much much less connectivity with EK beyond DXB. That will be a big blow for all of their their ex YU ops; current and future.

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    3. I think that's when we might finally see EK step up and take over some of their routes with the highest rate of transfers.

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    4. Is there any timetable when the move will happen?

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    5. It is a small market but Slovenes travel a lot. It's just a question of can you fill up the planes during the entire year.

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    6. And also about incoming demand which is in Slovenia way lover than Serbia and especially Croatia.

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    7. @ AnonymousJune 28, 2016 at 10:15 AM

      It will be a very slow process. It isn't expected to to be completed before 2020.

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    8. I cannot quote exactly where I read it, but as far as I remember, FZ move to DWC will happen in 2017 and in one single move, not in phases. EK move to DWC will eventually happen as well, but that is beyond 2020...

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    9. No, FZ has already started moving to DWC. Some flights (mostly in the middle east and India) are already operating from there so it won't be one move).

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    10. But the process then finishes by the end of 2017?

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    11. Opet se pricaju teske gluposti Slovenci puno putuju. Putuju avionima kao i Srbi koji imaju 3-4 puta manje plate. Pljuc.

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    12. Da, putuju vise. Dovoljno je da uporedis nacionalnu statistiku. Ali ti znas najbolje sigurno.

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    13. Beznacajno malo vise. 66% prema 70% sto ce vec ove godine biti promenjeno em Nis em novi letovi sa BEG.

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    14. 200.000 Slovenes travel from VCE every year. Not to mention ZAG, VIE, MUC, BEG ... #justsayin

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  6. I think it's a smart strategy to get more foreign airlines in when your main carrier is cutting routes. Adria could have easily flown to the Middle East.

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  7. The airport has really woken up lately. New flights from LOT and Aegean. Hopefully Qatar to follow and Finnair to go year-long :)

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  8. Like someone said above, I'm sure if FZ can fill Skopje they can do the same with Ljubljana.

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    1. Don't be so sure!!
      SKP fills DXB with huge diaspora in Australia, The Emirates, Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar and other places in the Middle East plus tourists and other transfers.
      I've got doubts Slovenia is in the same position..

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    2. I agree with the comment above. Akso do remember that Skopje does not compete with so many large airports in such short proximity.

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  9. Yep right after they secure those Beijing flights :D

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    1. And AIr India of course

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  10. Any other new airline interested in LJU?

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    1. I think the only airline genuinely interested in flying to LJU besides the ones discussed in today's article is Finnair, which is doing great to LJU during the summer.

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    2. * doing great to LJU on seasonal basis.

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    3. Unfortunately no, Ljubljana is too expensive.

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    4. It would be great if Maribor could take that advantage. Flights to Spain are needed at least during the summer. Vueling would be the perfect airline.

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    5. +1 last comment

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  11. I hope that Qatar starts Ljubljana. I don't understand why Gulf carriers are avoiding LJU (could it be higher costs than neighbouring airports?) I know Ljubljana is close to bigger hubs but it can also attract passengers from smaller cities like Graz and Slovenians would travel from LJU if there were options. From what I've heard Flydubai's flights from Zagreb are filling with Slovenian passengers, especially during winter. Slovenians travel a lot so I really hope it will be considered.

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    1. Why on Earth would passengers from Graz fly from Ljubljana if they have to Ljubljana airport 216 km, and to Vienna airport 198 km. From Vienna they can fly nonstop:

      Air China to Bejing

      Austrian to Amman,
      Bangkok,
      Bejing,
      Isfahan,
      Shanghai,
      Teheran,
      Tokyo,
      Yerevan

      China Airlines to Taipei

      Emirates to Dubai

      Ethiopian to Addis Ababa

      EVA Air to Bangkok and
      Taipei

      Georgian to Tbilisi

      Iran Air to Tehran

      Kuwait to Kuwait

      NIKI to Abu Dhabi,
      Marsa Alam

      Royal Yordanian to Amman

      Qatar to Doha

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    2. Ljubljana, Grac, Sarajevo, Zagreb itd su relativno mali regionalni aerodromi koji su prilicno nezanimljivi velikim operatorima. Sporadicna pojava takvih je samo deo taktickih igara alijansi na globalnom nivou i nista vise. Cak je i Beograd sa znacajno vecim brojem putnika prilicno nebitan u razvojnim planovima velikih igraca.

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  12. Good work Ljubljana.

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  13. It takes time to consolidate with new owners. A year means nothing in such take overs. I do believe that meantime they merged some services, approaches and also made a new strategy for LJU. Hard to believe that Fraport would just like that spet over 230 mios without any agenda. So LJU is going to be in this news mor frequent in the next future.

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  14. It takes time to consolidate with new owners. A year means nothing in such take overs. I do believe that meantime they merged some services, approaches and also made a new strategy for LJU. Hard to believe that Fraport would just like that spet over 230 mios without any agenda. So LJU is going to be in this news mor frequent in the next future.

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    1. You have might frgotten to mention Adria privatisation as well. At the end of the day it is the biggest customer at LJU. But it is looking for new opportunities around an therefore shrinking at LJU hub.

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  15. OT:So this guy on twitter who wrote the trip report on airliners posted that he was the only J pax on the JU500 this morining and that JU need better J pricing policy. (Y was almost full)

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    1. I just checked out his twitter and you are right. Also he was the only J pax on the ATH-BEG flight. For the experts here, would it be more cost effective to lower the price to say $2000 return ticket in J and have pretty good loads or keep the price high and have few pax.

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    2. It was reported on SSC that on 25th June their J loads were 16 seats on both legs. I wonder if those were some state-sponsored VIPs or they really had the J sold out...

      Either way it is still too early to adjust prices. They would need to study a month's load (at least) before they decide to change prices.

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    3. Well he paid 4k USD for his return flight, which is indeed sky high.
      On a similar more, why not offer upgrades at check in, if nothing else? Get some additional revenue, way better than nothing.

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    4. Well, EY-style auctions would be in order, perhaps they are still picking up the pace...

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    5. Air Serbia do have auctions for J upgrade and they do offer last minute upgrades at check in.

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    6. Well, with 1 pax in J, a full fare pax that is, something is obviously not right as regards auctions and last minute upgrades. Also, not once have I received offer to bid for upgrade and I have had dozen of flights on A319 this year.

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    7. Upgrades usually happen when the Y cabin is full. More often theyre sold at check in.

      The pax above paying alot for his ticket could come down to the fact that 3 sectors had decent loads justifying the higher price.

      Do remember it is the start of the flights and we cannot expect 100% loads on all flights in the first week. It is an airline still spreading its brand awareness with somewhat connectivity ex BEG on 5 weekly flights that only had all rights given a couple weeks before departure.

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    8. Sure, that what I thought.

      Still, lack of opportunities to bid for upgrade throughout the year tells me something's off there. And some of those flights had a pretty packed Y. Even if not, why would they miss out on an opportunity to earn extra cash with people upgrading to J?

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    9. Upgrade should only be offered if needed. The last thing any airline wants is to tarnish the premium cabins with upgrades, which could deter premium pax from booking J if the airline will just offer a cheap upgrade at check in.

      JU should of in start offered lower fares to entice pax to try out the JU product before slowly increasing fares like they did when they launched Air Serbia. Their promo fares didn't last as long as they should have.

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    10. But their minimum upgrade prices per leg, plus Y fare, actually amounts to cheap J fares - so there would be no devaluating of the product. Especially if upgrades are not guaranteed, as they should not be. But not to be offered to bid for upgrade once in 12 flights... With EY you get to place the bid anytime, basically from the booking, for vitually every flight. Now, whether you win the upgrade - and you have to wait just prior to flight to find out, that's another thing.

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  16. Ili jednostavno da ASL uvede vise letova posto i onako velika kolicina Slovenaca leti dalje prema Aziji sa EY i ASL.
    INN-NS

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  17. LJU for its size has good enough connections: double daily JU EY
    double daily TK, 5 weekly AY to cover Asia and daily AF and JP to connect Americas

    WIZZ and Easy.
    Vueling tried but failed. JP tried CGN also failed. Gulf Carrier is not really needed. Of course if there is money to waste, go ahead

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  18. Air Arabia was in LJU in 2012 and there was discussion to connect LJU-BEG-SHJ with 5th freedom for BEG-LJU sector but they decided not to go so they will probably not go again especially as major issue was crew layover as LJU is not in low cost catchment area...FZ have different strategy and there was a rumour that they will start LJU especially as ZAG is not going very well but let us wait and see...

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    1. Belgrade should have daily service to Dubai/Sharjah.
      As Flydubai flies there only 3-4 times per week, there is room for Air Arabia.
      UAE-citizen also do not need visa for Serbia.

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