Thursday, July 27, 2017

VLM Airlines Slovenia to launch next month


VLM Airlines will commence scheduled operations from its base at Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport next month, Belgian media report. The carrier will utilise three fifty-seat Fokker 50 aircraft, which have all received necessary clearance from the Slovenian Civil Aviation Agency. The trio carry the registrations OO-VLN, OO-VLS and OO-VLI. The airline will initially launch scheduled flights from Maribor to Split and Tivat in August. At the same time, a part of its fleet will operate charter flights on behalf of an Italian tour operator from Ancona, Bari and Salerno in Italy to Brač, Split and Zadar in Croatia, Tivat and Podgorica in Montenegro, and several holiday hotspots in Greece.

VLM Airlines, owned by SHS Aviation, which also runs Maribor Airport, recently advertised for a number of job openings in the company, primarily for the position of captains and first officers for the Fokker 50, Fokker 70 and the Airbus A320 and A330 aircraft, which the airline plans to add to its fleet in the near future. VLM Airlines secured a Slovenian Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) in May. However, the company is also pursuing a Belgian permit for its subsidiary SHS Antwerp Aviation, which local media report could be granted by mid-August. Together with Slovenia's VLM Airlines, the two will commence joint scheduled flights under the common trading name "VLM Airlines". The carrier currently counts 55 employees, 45 of which are based in Belgium. SHS previously outlined that in addition to Split and Tivat, VLM Airlines will eventually operate flights from Maribor to Belgrade, Berlin, Hamburg, London, Podgorica, Zurich, Xi'an, Chongqing and Nanchang.

Meanwhile, SHS Aviation has announced the appointment of Carl Runge as the new General Manager of Maribor Airport, replacing Ladimir Brolih. Mr Runge will be responsible for airport administration and operations including safety, security, facility management, marketing and business development, passenger services, quality assurance and all regulatory compliance tasks. He previously held management positions at airlines and tour operators such as Martinair, TUI Fly, Sunair and TUI Travel. In a statement, the airport operator said, “SHS Aviation would like to thank Mr Ladimir Brolih for his significant contribution and past activities at Maribor Airport and his support for the smooth transfer of ownership. Ladimir Brolih will continue to support the future development of Maribor Airport within SHS Aviation”. The company added, “The new appointment and adjustments illustrate the dedication of SHS Aviation towards Maribor Airport, which is providing quality airport operations. The focus will remain on further infrastructure investment and market development securing a proper and challenging future for the airport”.

VLM Airlines permit issued by Slovenian air regulator

137 comments:

  1. And people were saying it would never happen.

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    1. Yes people had a very negative attitude towards it and calling it a scam but things are moving forward and they are delivering on their plans.

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    2. The people's reaction was completely normal. There have been so many failed airline projects in this region, which turned out to be scams.

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    3. Also you have to admit that the plans they originally announced were extremely ambitious and unrealistic.

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    4. It's a shame that any start-up airline in ex-Yu is met with contempt.

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    5. Look at the track record!

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    6. First jump then say "hop".

      There were airlines, especially in these areas that were announcing operations, keep postponing them and eventually either start and stop in a week or so or never started in the first place.

      So, let's wait till they actually take off.

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  2. And they are hiring A320 and A330 pilots. So they will get these planes after all.

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    1. The A320/A330 will probably be based in Belgium and not in Slovenia.

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    2. The runway of Antwerp Airport is only 1510m long. So if those aicraft come they cannot be simply based there.

      Haplek

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    3. Can Maribor's runway handle the A330?

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    4. The runway in Maribor is 2500m long. I saw a photo of AN128 and TriStar on the apron so I assume A330 can land and take off.

      Haplek

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    5. According to their original presentation both the A320 and A330-200 will be registered in Slovenia, not Belgium.

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    6. Last anon is correct and according to some info I have 2 A320s will come soon.

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    7. Of course A330 can land at MBX, but subject to payload/range restrictions.

      Don't expect full load at max range.

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    8. That is why they plan to extend the runway.

      "the new operators of Maribor Airport will invest at least 300 million euros into the city, which will include the construction of a new passenger terminal at the airport and the lengthening of the runway"

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  3. When will we be able to book flights?

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    1. Apparently they will be bookable from today.

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  4. Replies
    1. Don't get why people are so against this airline. Seems more realistic and serious then the numerous start up airlines we've had across ex-Yu and that people were actually excited about.

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    2. +1 last anon. And none of the other airlines even managed to get an AOC. This is far more serious.

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    3. Didn't Air Croatia have it? I mean they actually started flying

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    4. Nope, they used a foreign AOC. They did fly for a week.

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    5. Bosnian Wand Airlines also started flying but also with foreign AOC. I think also only lasted a week.

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    6. Did Limitless Airways have a Croatian or foreign AOC?

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    7. They have their own AOC, their own planes and they already fly regularly for weeks between Italy and Croatia/Greece. It is much further ahead to what all those Limitless wand airlines of Croatia were doing. They have clients - tour and charter operators, which all those start-ups didn´t have.

      LVO approval is expected to be issued later, when they successfuly prove they can land in CAT I conditions. When you are rushing to get an AOC, you will normally try to get it asap, just so you have it without many extras. Extras, like LVO, DGR and area of operation can all be added later and much easier than at the first stage.

      To all those who are booing about "no A320/A330s in MBX".. The company has a long term plan to introduce those types and these things can´t be done overnight. Just ask yourslelf, did AirSerbia get the A330 from day one?

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  5. How many passengers did MXB have last year?

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    1. Somewhere between 9 000 and 10 000.

      Haplek

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    2. So we could see Maribor surpass that number this year with these flights?

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    3. I think so. But according to concession contract the Aerodrom Maribor d.d. as a concessionare of the airport should assure at least 13 000 or 14 000 pax per year otherwise they will have to pay a penalty.

      Haplek

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    4. So far this year Maribor handled 2,000 passengers. All are from charters, primarily sport charters.

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    5. You can find exactly how many each ex-Yu airport handled in this pretty good and useful article
      http://www.exyuaviation.com/2017/01/ex-yu-airport-race-2016.html

      In 2016 Maribor had only 8,890 passengers.

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    6. Sorry, my mistake. Should have checked it before to be sure...

      Haplek

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  6. Good luck. I hope this works out for Maribor.

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  7. Koja zajebancija

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  8. I doubt they will keep the same list of destinations during winter. There would be no demand for passengers to Split, Belgrade or Podgorica outside of summer. Zurich, Hamburg, Berlin and London on could work year round.

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    1. INI would work year round too ;)

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  9. Go Maribor! The airport deserves so much better and I hope the Chinese will actually develop it.

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  10. I'm surprised. Wasn't expecting that anything would come of this.

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  11. Is there that much demand for for MBX-TIV?

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    1. It's obviously for Slovenians going on holiday. The other destinations is SPU. It makes sense. Plus the plane has only 50 seats. It will be easy to fill.

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  12. On their website you can not book any flight... so those scheduled flights to the Adria which are not sold thru tour operators, wondering how they expect this should work
    To succesfully establishing flights, u usually need to promote and sell them 4 to 6 months ahead
    Anyway i m not excited at all. Their show doesnt convince me yet

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    1. Tickets will be on sale later today with tour operators. Flights will be on Tuesday. 78 euros return to Split and 98 euros to Tivat.

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    2. Also to add, flights will be sold until the end of August but if there are good sales they will be extended for all of September.

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    3. Those prices are quite good actually.

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    4. Affordable. Will they only be available for purchase through touristic agencies?

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  13. Smart decision to start ad hoc charters from Italy and some summer flights from Maribor. I think this will turn out to be great for Maribor.

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  14. The sad thing in all of this is that with them buying the airport, the chances of them trying to attract a serious airline are gone. Their only objective will be to launch VLM.

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    1. How is owning the airport and airline in Maribor not a conflict of interest. Why hasn't the EU done something about it?

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    2. I agree with the original poster. Unfortunately this year even summer charters will not operate from Maribor.

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    3. @ 9.31 there are examples of the same company owning an airport and the main airline at that airport. As long as they don't turn away other airlines.

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    4. Get real people. What airlines? Maribor has been around for decades and has had no scheduled flights for more than a few months every 5 years.

      If this works it will be a blessing from the skies not only the airport but for the city too.

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    5. Ovo je toliko toksicno za Sloveniju i njihovo mesto u EU da ne mozes da opises lako to recima. Ovo nema u US.

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    6. Zato sto tamo drzava sve kontrolise. Ovakivi ispadi slobodnog trzista ce dovesti do stezanja kontrole u aviosaobracaju u Evropi. Jedno su price o slobodi drugo je sta zapravo drzave rade.

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    7. Kažeš u US država sve kontroliše ili EU?

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    8. Why is a conflict of interest when a private company owns both airport and the airline, but not when the government does so?

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  15. Good to hear they are moving forward with the project. Feel sorry for all the naysayers.

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    1. Naysayers were laughing about the impossible plans for dozens of jets flying up and down between Maribor and China.

      The distant possibility of operating 3 prop aircraft bought from a museum on regional flights in a month is just nothing, zero, nada compared to all the stupid things they plan.

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  16. Whatever you may think of them, the Chinese paid for everything. The airport, getting a Slovenian AOC and plan to pay for Maribor Airport's expansion. The state and the city did not have to invest a dime for the Chinese to come. So I don't get all this fuss.

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    1. Probaj to da uradis u US i videces koliko je tamo drzava upletena u aviosaobracaj.

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    2. Exactly anonymous 9.45. SHS company already paid 7 million € for the airport. They will do everything for their project to succeed.

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    3. @anon 9:46 What's your deal with the US?

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    4. The Chinese are also paying 95 000 € rent per month for the airport.

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  17. Note on the permit they got, they can only fly these planes in good visibility.

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    1. Indded Low Visibility Operations are not allowed.

      Haplek

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  18. I really wish Maribor the best in the future. Hope officials did not make a mistake by selling the airport to the Chinese.

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    1. The Germans have not done much with Ljubljana so I don't see why this would be any worse?

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    2. They did not sell the airport. They only gave it under concession.

      Haplek

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  19. Well the Slovenian government seems to be on board this project and don't think it's a scam unlike most experts here.

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    1. not even the website of VLM is functional-
      so much for @its not a scam@

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    2. Read the comments. The website was working this morning but went down during the day because they are implementing online ticketing for these flights.

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    3. Of course, they are implementing web check-in!

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  20. It would have been better and much more worthwhile for MXB if they just threw some money at Wizz Air to start flights.

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    1. Unlike Wizz, SHS will invest in expanding the airport, other infrastructure in Maribor and will try bring Chinese tourists to Maribor. Tourists who burn the most money of all others.

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    2. And with Wizz you will get actual flights.

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    3. China is a poor country. It has a lot of people who are starting to travel, but nontheless they are not the ones spending "the most".

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    4. @10:23, as you can see you will get flights with SHS too.

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    5. No, you will not.

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    6. They already "threw money" at Ryanair and it didn't work out. Why would they do it again?

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    7. @ 10.33 Don't you think they would have already tried if they saw the potential? Wizz, Norwegian, easy jet?

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    8. @Anon 10:27
      China is a poor county...

      Have you been there recently? Average salary in Beijing is 1.200 EUR now, and there are 20 million people living in that city only...

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    9. Average salary in Beijing is not 1.200 EUR lol

      I spend 3-4 months in China every year for business, there is a whole other reality outside the central business districts.

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    10. Lol or not, the guy was right: average salary in Beijing is more than 9.000 yuan, which equals to some 1.200 Eur.

      Many people from Serbia teach English there, and earn some 3-4.000 EUR a month. I know two of them.

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  21. You can spot the VLM Fokker 50 regurarly these days in bothe Pula (PUY) and Zadar (ZAD) already.

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    1. Are these the charters from Italy?

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    2. Great :) thanks

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    3. They also regularly fly between Italy and Greece

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    4. Nice. So like it says in the article.

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  22. The BEG and ZAG illusions of being on the top will soon come to an end and we all FINALLY see a new ex-Yu airport merge to the top. Go MBX go Slovenia! Olé!

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  23. Why is everyone so negative towards this? What's the issue? They got an AOC. Sure they can be ambitious but why not. They have the financial backing so let's wait and see before judging and discrediting it from the start.

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  24. I'm happy for Maribor. The airport deserves so much better and I hope the Chinese will develop it.

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  25. It would actually be great news for Belgrade, Podgorica and Split if this materialized. Extra passengers for them and a link to Maribor.

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  26. If this was planned by the Slovenian government it was a masterplan. Leave Ljubljana and Adria to Germans and Maribor to Chinese and Russians. The super-powers can then fight all they want over Slovenian sky (or at some later point collaborate) both can only benefit the Slovenian economy...

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    1. Smart strategy in my opinion.

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    2. And POW to Serbians

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    3. Well, better Chinese and Germans or Serbs rather than Arabs, deffinitely!

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  27. If they realize even 5% of everything they have promised it would be amazing news for Maribor.

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    1. It's a long term project which I think will give significant returns to the city of Maribor. Let's give them a chance.

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    2. Agree. The Slovenian government and Maribor local council has been negotiating with SHS Aviation for 5 years. It's not something they just decided suddenly. Let's give them enough credit that they couldn't be duped that easily.

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    3. Maribor local council has been negotiating with SHS Aviation for 5 years? I am from Maribor and these is realy something new for me. And SHS Aviation was founded last year.

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  28. But aren't they 60% Dutch and 40% Canadian. Why is everyone saying they are Chinese?

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    1. That's just a smokescreen to make it easier to invest and is regular practice. Look at the names of the owners of this company and everything will be clear.

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    2. Dutch and Canadian are only passports. Gillian Yeung and Siu Yin Pang are Chinese.

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  29. Thanks for updating us on the progress.

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  30. The three AirSerbia A320's might fined a home in Maribor.

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  31. Never underestimate a city just because it´s not a big one or a capital city.

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  32. Slovenian governance is one of the most corrupted in EU beside the fact not knowing what's doing.

    Selling Adria was another master peace of it, unfortunately many people does not realize what kind a damage was done to a country with that.

    SHS, is this kind of a joke? There are much more credible operators who are (were) trying with wide-long haul ops. (AS and the A330 with all support of EY, Jet, etc,) Now someone is trying to convince public that all this drama with fleeting-in A320 and A33O is sustainable? I dont believe that operating F50 in 2017 at the heart of Europe is a credible business case. I mean, get serious; maybe good enough to operate for Balkan express but not to be competitive on the market. I don't care what they do till the goverment is making fals deals with publich property.

    There's another fact you most of it dont realize. Slovenia is at the moast poor airline market. If that would not be the case, Easy and Ryan would eat it a decade ago and there would be no JP. As all SLO apts together will never (or for many years)not have over 2MIO pax it's funny to leasten all these enthousiastic stories going arround since years.

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    1. Source of your bullshittery?

      Also, I can´t take you serious with that level of written English.

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    2. What kind of damage has sale of Adria Airways caused to Slovenia? Not having to pour millions every year to keep them afloat?

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  33. Good luck to them.

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  34. The good thing is that there will be more comoetition on the Slovenian market.

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    1. If they develop their network, people won't have to drive to Ljubljana anymore to catch a flight.

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  35. Does SHS own any other airline?

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    1. They bought Thomas Cook Belgium last month.

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    2. Not yet but they are in talks with EY over AB, AS and AZ.

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  36. This morning the webside of VLM Airlines was still online. Now its not any more. Maybe they are implementing the major changes with booking system??

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    1. Yes they will put up a new site with options to buy tickets.

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  37. What is the pay like for pilots and cabin?

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    1. You mean on 330's? ;)

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  38. Their website is down for nearly a day now. That's quite amateurish.

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    1. It is already back online. With posibillity to book tickets! They were implementing this!

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