Ljublja Jože Pučnik Airport ended 2016 as the only major airport in the former Yugoslavia to see its passenger numbers decrease compared to the year before. However, with figures improving in the last quarter of 2016 and Adria's plans to expand its operations in the near future, the airport expects a busier 2017. Over the last year it welcomed a total of 1.404.831 travellers, a decrease of 2.3%. The number of aircraft movements declined by 0.6% to 32.701. Ljubljana Airport was hit by Adria's consolidation measures, which saw the carrier suspend several routes. Furthermore, Swiss International Air Lines ended its short-lived service from Zurich. However, at the start of the 2016/17 winter season, figures began to improve with Slovenia's national carrier introducing additional frequencies on popular routes, while easyJet launched flights from London Gatwick Airport. As a result, Ljubljana's passenger numbers grew 18.7% in December alone.
The General Manager of Ljubljana Airport, Zmago Skobir, is upbeat on future prospects. "I have no reason to be sceptical. Currently, all signs point to a positive trend. Adria's management is attempting to improve the business and we are seeing a change. The number of Adria's transfer passengers (from the Balkans) are growing again. In addition, we see an increasing number of tourists, presenting another opportunity for the airport", Mr Skobir told the "Delo" daily. He added, "In 2015 we were the leaders, but now we have our biggest competitors, Zagreb and Venice, with sharp growth. However, the Slovenian market is strengthening and Ljubljana is becoming a popular tourist destination. If the product is there, then the market is too".
This year, Transavia will launch flights from Amsterdam to the Slovenian capital, while Adria, which holds an over 60% share at Ljubljana Airport, plans to expand its operations, with Ukraine and the Middle East being considered as potential new markets. The carrier is also working on positioning itself as a link between Western and Eastern Europe by shuttling passengers through Ljubljana to their final destination. Slovenian media recently reported that Ljubljana Airport is in the early stages of talks with carriers such as Iberia Express, Vueling and even Ryanair, while Norwegian Air Shuttle told EX-YU Aviation News of its interest in the Slovenian market.
TOP FIVE BUSIEST YEARS AT LJUBLJANA AIRPORT