Ljubljana Airport’s new terminal on thin ice

Decision on Ljubljana Airport’s new terminal on September 16

Shareholders of Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport will decide on September 16 whether to go ahead with the planned construction of a new multi million euro terminal. Minority shareholders are firmly against idea as they believe the new project will be a white elephant and unprofitable. The majority shareholder, the Slovenian government, has not decided whether it is for or against the project and has earmarked Ljubljana Airport for sale this year in an effort to cut the country's budget deficit and avoid becoming the latest euro zone member to seek a bailout.

Zmago Skobir, the CEO of Ljubljana Airport, believes the investment is essential for the future growth of Slovenia’s busiest airport. “A new terminal would ensure long term traffic development at the airport. Today, during the busiest part of the day, the airport has insufficient capacity to handle all passengers as the terminal was built in 1973”, Mr. Skobir notes. During a recent visit to Slovenia, the Russian Minister for Communication and Mass Media, Nikolai Nikiforov, said Russian companies are considering bidding for a stake in Ljubljana Airport. China Southern Airlines has also expressed interest in purchasing the airport.

Earlier this year, Ljubljana Airport signed a contract to co-fund a 73 million euro new terminal to be in use by January 2015. The airport management team has since said the project could be completed for less than sixty million euros. The new terminal, which is to be built next to the existing passenger building, would cover an area of 31.200 square metres. Furthermore, the airport would have the capacity to handle 1.800 passengers per hour compared to the current 700 passengers. Earlier this spring a new 24 million euro air traffic control centre was opened near Jože Pučnik Airport.


  1. Wouldn't it be wiser to wait for the ruling of the European Commission on Adria before deciding on whether to build a new terminal or not?

    1. Anonymous09:38

      Adria is not the same company and I do not see the point here...LJU has nothing with state subsidies to Adria

    2. The point is that Adria is still under investigation by the European Commission. If the E.C. rules that the subsidies Adria received were illegal they will have to pay it all back.
      Naturally, being a loss-making business, Adria will not be able to do so. In other words they will have to go belly-up.
      If they lose their primary customer, Ljubljana will not have such an urgent need to construct a new terminal.

    3. Anonymous13:17

      U're such a pessimist when it comes to everyone else but Serbia, nemjee, I do wonder if you have ulterior motives for your negativism.

      Ljubljana airport needs desperately new terminal, when airport handled 1.7 million passengers it was barely able to cope with the traffic, current terminal is very small, only 15000sqm, and this includes new add on. Current terminal can barely cope with 2 million passengers, u could squeeze 3 million passengers through the terminal somehow but that would undermine Airport Security and passenger safety what suppose to be the main international airport in to an EU member state.

      Of course Ljubljana needs new terminal and it needs it urgently, as Slovenian economy recovers and the EU economy recovers in 2014 passenger numbers will go up, Ljubljana airport will handle 1.75 million passengers by 2015 and current terminal isn't sufficient to cope with major passenger increases, by 2020 Ljubljana will handle 2.5 million passengers, current terminal can hardly cope with these numbers.

    4. It's pure logic. Adria risks being shut down the same way Malév was. The scenario is identical, but we still have to see what the outcome will be in this particular case.
      Last year Ljubljana airport handled almost 1,200,000 passengers while Adria transported around 990,000 (though I do not know if these include PRN flights as well).

      So if Adria goes belly up LJU will lose a lot of passengers, especially those who are connecting. With such a great risk ahead they should better wait for the ruling and then take the next step... or not.

      The whole thing is that the European Commission is not investigating the current state of Adria, they are looking at its past and if they received government aid. We both know they did and we both know how big the amount was.

      So yes, I might be a pessimist when it comes to the future of Adria but I think I have good reasons for it.

    5. Purger15:16

      So what? Malev was shot down and BUD had less than 10% reduction of traffic that year and Malev was some 60% of traffic in BUD. When something like this happened other companies jump in. Of course not in a second, but also they don't need one year for that.

    6. Are you seriously comparing Budapest and Ljubljana? These are two completely different markets whose geographical location makes them incomparable. That is, Budapest airport has far less competition than Ljubljana making its transition easier.

      Also, the most likely scenario is that Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian Airlines would launch Ljubljana taking over most passengers.
      Wizz Air might add a few other routes and that's pretty much it.

      It would be far wiser to wait and see how things work out.

      Or wait, maybe your suggestion is better. Let's invest millions of Euros in a project whose future is extremely uncertain.

      If Adria goes belly up, let them wait for the situation to stabilize itself and only then consider building a new terminal. In case that Ljubljana is condemned to become a lowcost sanctuary, then the infrastructure plans might need to be revised so as to avoid a mess erupting, as was the case with Budapest.
      Adria and Wizz Air are two different kinds of airlines with completely different needs. Ljubljana should wait and see who will be its primary customer in the future.

    7. Anonymous16:54

      Uf Adria was to go belly up, (highly doubt that, airline has assets exceeding value of debts) Slovenian government can still intervene, there's a leeway for notional governments to act, even in the worst case scenario Slovenia can launch another airline, perhaps Air Slovenia on ashes of AA.

      Clean Slate, and it can be done in matter of months as aircraft are there.

  2. How about we start by harmonizing the bus and train schedules, and maybe a nice glass roof over the bus parking lot so I don't get soaked every time waiting to board a bus!!

  3. JU520 BEGLAX16:14

    Last time I arr in LJU with the 1730 Arrival flight from ZRH, I went real quick over to the departure hall, just to see that the queue for the security check was about 80 metres long.
    So if this is not sign enough that the Airport needs a new terminal, I don t know more to say.

    During rush hours like morning and evening departures, the Airport is packed, especially during seasons when flights are full.

    But if I m going around in Slovenia, I have anyway the feeling they have kinna backward attitude.
    Big Projects have a difficult life. Same as for the Airport in LJU counts for the Train Station in LJU. Since years on hold. Biggest bus Station of the Country still roofless and looking same as 35 years ago. Last time I went to Kranj, this bus station looks so run down, also there, not a single cent of investment done in the past 40 years.
    Slovenia has some very innovative heads such as the guys from Pipistrel or the Jakopin Brothers
    but for the rest I have sometimes the feeling that progress and change is not necessarly their best friend.

  4. Anonymous19:37

    What about Ljubljana bus station first?
    It's the worst bus station in any capital city of Europe.

    Only few countries in central Africa are worse.

    You can never have a second ... first impression.

    Timing for new air terminal is crazy.
    When is full? during cvharter flight time 1x or max 2x x day in summer. And few times in the morning. Maybe 2x x week max in high saeson.

    1. JU520 BEGLAX19:56

      Every Airport is being constructed/expanded according to the peak time traffic situation

      and during the daily rush hours LJU Airport has necome way too small and does not offers the conveniences I expect from an Airport.

      also Airports today make up to 40-50% of their revenues with non aviation business. and for this the old terminal is not suitable


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