Adria Airways has confirmed it is considering launching flights from Ljubljana to Ukraine. The carrier’s Chief Commercial Officer, Thomas Hoess, said, “Ukraine has potential. We are now in negotiations with Ukrainian airports and are exchanging ideas. I cannot go into detail at this moment but we are discussing a direct service between Ljubljana and Ukraine”. It is unclear when the flights could commence. There are currently no air links between the two countries. Adria last operated to Kiev in 2011 on a seasonal summer basis, being the only carrier in the former Yugoslavia to serve Ukraine at the time. Flights were suspended as part of the airline’s wide-ranging cost cutting measures.
In 2014 the Slovenian carrier intended to resume the route and applied for permits and slots at Kiev Airport. However, those plans were shelved with the outbreak of violence in Ukraine. More recently, Adria maintained services from Belgrade to Kiev on behalf of Air Serbia using its Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft. After consolidating its operations over the past few months, the Slovenian airline aims to boost its flight offering over the coming years. It will increase frequencies on a number of routes this winter season and its management aims put 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.
The General Manager of Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, Zmago Skobir, recently said that the airport had been presented with Adria’s new strategy. "During recent talks, Adria 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". The carrier’s passenger numbers on flights to and from the Slovenian capital have declined 15% during the first eight months of the year. “If I look at their [Adria’s] plans, now that we meet on a more regular basis and at a more professional level, I would say the company really wants to recover”, Mr Skobir added.