Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport has seen its passenger numbers decline for a fifth consecutive month on the back of a poorer performance by its main customer Adria Airways. Slovenia’s main airport handled 165.137 travellers in August, down 8.1% compared to the same month last year. This comes despite an increase in the number of aircraft movements, which grew 5.6% to 3.496. Overall this year, Ljubljana Airport handled 926.675 passengers, down 5.3%. At the same time, the number of flight operations stood at 21.816, a decrease of 1.9% during the same period in 2015. Ljubljana Airport will handle its one-millionth passenger for the year this September. In 2015 it managed this feat on September 2, while in 2014 it achieved the figure on September 25.
Adria Airways has proved as the main culprit for Ljubljana Airport’s poorer performance this year, with the carrier’s passenger figures declining over 12% on its flights to and from the Slovenian capital. It comes as a result of the airline’s network cuts, which have seen it discontinue several routes from Ljubljana since the start of the year. The airport's General Manager, Zmago Skobir, recently said, “Personally, I am worried about their [Adria’s] development. The figures are showing that it is not good. We understand that that some routes are not profitable and that they can't be maintained just because it is nice to have them in the network or because it benefits a third party. We will see how things develop. We hope that the story will end successfully although it does not look good at first glance".
The Slovenian carrier recently outlined plans to return to growth by putting a greater focus on Ljubljana as a transfer hub for passengers from the Balkans and eastern Europe towards the continent's main airports in the west. “Adria has assured us that they have an entirely new concept through which they plan to strengthen the network in a different way and now we are waiting to see whether this will come to fruition", Mr Skobir said. Adria plans to boost frequencies on several routes out of Ljubljana this coming winter season, including Amsterdam, Paris, Sarajevo, Warsaw and Zurich, but will not launch any new destinations by year's end. On the other hand, it will discontinue services to Berlin which will become a seasonal summer route. Coupled with a stronger performance by foreign carriers, Ljubljana Airport could return to growth this winter. Earlier, the airport estimated it would handle some 1.5 million passengers by the end of 2016.