Ljubljana for Italy’s Northeast Airport Network

Strong interest for Ljubljana Airport continues

The Italian SAVE SpA, operator of Venice Marco Polo Airport, Treviso Airport, part operator of Charleroi Airport in Belgium and the future operator of Verona Airport, is eying to purchase a stake in Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport as its privatisation process looms, Italian media reports. It comes some nine months after the company first expressed interest in purchasing a stake in Slovenia’s busiest airport. Enrico Marchi, the CEO of SAVE, says the company’s long term goal is to create a complex of interlinked airports in north-eastern Italy which could also include Ljubljana. The Slovenian capital and Venice are only 245 kilometres apart. Marco Polo Airport has for long been drawing passengers away from Ljubljana due to its close proximity and exceptional links to the rest of Europe and beyond. Italian media believe Ljubljana Airport is the missing link in SAVE’s regional airport empire which is why it is keen on acquiring a stake. It would prove as a replacement for Trieste Airport which is operated by another company.

Jože Pučnik Airport has been marked for sale this year along with another fourteen government run companies. Slovenian Prime Minister, Alenka Bratušek, has not set a firm timeframe for the airport’s sale but has said that, “The process will be carried out promptly and will be fully transparent”. Only last week, Ljubljana Airport CEO, Zmago Skobir, stated China Southern Airlines is considering purchasing a stake in Ljubljana Airport but also other sectors of the Slovenian aviation industry including Adria Airways and other assets owned by the airline such as its flight school and property.

Originally, the now former Slovenian government planned to retain ownership over the existing terminal building, runway and cargo facilities while the new owner would run the new terminal, scheduled for construction this year, and would have control over the airport’s commercial operations. However, the construction of Ljubljana’s second terminal is now in doubt with minority shareholders to vote on whether to approve the project on September 16. It is believed they are leaning against the idea. During a recent visit to Slovenia, the Russian Minister for Communication and Mass Media, Nikolai Nikiforov, said Russian companies are also considering bidding for a stake in Ljubljana Airport. Jože Pučnik Airport is set to end four years of continual passenger decline in 2013.


  1. Anonymous10:56

    Interesting but what would be the impact on LJU if it's owned by the same group of airports that are its biggest competition?

    1. Anonymous15:31

      Its really stupid to say that Venice airport and other regional airports are main competitors for Ljubljana Airport.

      They aren't they are regional airports and serve their respective cities.

      Ljubljana Airport would benefit from better marketing strategy, lower costs and better service and hopefully better growth prospects.

      Ljubljana is likely to end up with good numbers this year and return to profit, hopefully by 2015 Airport will reach its best figure of 1.7 million passengers and by 2020 hit magic figure of 2.5 million.

      If you consider similar sized cities in other region, Graz, Salzburg, Verona, Trieste all have smaller passenger numbers than Ljubljana, exception being Bologna and Venice for obvious reasons, these two cities are major commercial, economic and tourist destinations.

    2. Anonymous16:23

      Trieste is way better then Ljubljana.
      Investing there is a better strategy.
      Trieste (Ronchi airporti) is a "secondary airport" for Italy and it's performing very well ... even better in the future.
      They are making -just few years- a rail connection to the airport.
      Trieste will go up up.
      Ljubljana down: 2.4 mil at Ljubljana airport

      with Adria, mafia lobby, petrol lobby, state ownership of the airport connected with public Adria.
      No way Ljubljan can make it.

      There is a need for a real change and to star work at Ljubljana to have mote low budget airlines, more airlines to Russia Moscow, S. Petersburg for example ...
      but still till money public is free
      and business real is not important

      situation will not change.

    3. Anonymous16:33

      Salzburg is way smaller than Ljubljana. And pax numbers are much higher than Ljubljana despite the fact that Munich is so close and train connections are excellent.
      Verona airport has way way more (neartly 3x!) more pax than Ljubljana.
      Data are for 2012
      Passengers 1,198,911 Ljubljana
      Passengers 3,198,788 Verona

      Terminals or no terminals
      subvention or no subvention
      Verona is performing way better at a fraction of the cost compared to Ljubljana.

    4. Anonymous16:38

      I agree that Verona it's in better position for tourism, business (factories) compared to Ljubljana.

      but still
      it's not heaven and hell

      big difference is because

      in Verona (despite all problems)
      there is less "monkey business" now called "coca style economy"
      compared to Ljubljana.

      That's wy is so important to have the control of the pier (Luka) Koper (Slovenia) ... illigal import, limited contol (for "our" people -naši-) ... but that's another coca story.

    5. Anonymous16:07

      ^ How is Trieste airport better than Ljubljana?
      I agree that LJLJ is run by ''mafia'' and that's why everything is falling apart. A railway from the airport to Ljubljana and other more important cities would make everything much better. This airport could have a lot potential...

      Anyway our mafia will scare all the investors away once again.

    6. Anonymous20:18

      Like Trieste, Ljubljana also has a planned railway connection in the future

    7. Anonymous15:22

      Yeah unless the ''head'' people start arguing aboutit again and it all fails, like it did the first 1000 times

  2. Anonymous13:37

    too good to be true

  3. Mark13:37

    To me this is like as if Dubrovnik bought Tivat. I don’t see the point or how would it attract more passengers.

    1. Mark, to me it makes total sense for DBV to aquire TIV and significantly reduce, if not entirely kill, all possible competition for travellers to Dubrovnik and the surrounding area. The likes of Ryanair will not be able to blackmail DBV and say if you don't reduce the airport fees (or in fact pay us to bring passengers) then we will fly to TIV and advertise the destination as Tricity Dubrovnik-Herceg Novi-Budva Airport.

      That's why SAVE is interested in LJU. It's strange how Slovenia is unable to undercut Italy or Austria and offer a cheaper alternative to passengers travelling to northern Italy or southern Austria. Currently Slovenian government has to "protect" Adria Airways, so it's not that surprising.

      To cut a long story short, they are after creating a mono or duopoly. It doesn't matter than where passengers fly to, DBV or TIV, they will pay money to the same operator.

    2. Anonymous20:22

      not really, its a strategy now that many smaller airport play, joining a smaller airport association or even merging to share the costs of development, marketing and logistics.

      I am suprised other airports in the region haven't yet been bought out outright.

      i know Skopje, Pristina and Zagreb airports are now controlled by Paris Airport and TAV, (Paris Airport owns majority steak in TAV), its only a matter of time before Sarajevo,Podgorica/Tivat, Mostar and other airports are sold or bought by other airport companies.

      Surprised that Croatian Government didn't create an airport agency for all of Croatia, Dubrovnik, Split, Zagreb, Pula, Zadar and Osijek airports would all fall in to one state run organization, as it is all airports in Croatia now need to finance their own expansion and modernization.

    3. Nameless person, you're ill-informed. TAV does not "control" PRN, however I can see exactly why they wish they did. Going forward, PRN and SKP will continue to undercut each other and fight over an overlapping market. There would be a higher ROI if TAV operated both airports.

  4. Anonymous17:22

    OT: Ex-Yu, do you know what is happening with the final signature on JAT/Etihad deal? They supposed to sign/approve everything by September 1st. Yesterday, I read in the local newspaper that nobody knows when it is going to happen. What might be slowing it down?

    1. Still waiting on regulatory approval which is why tickets did not go on sale today. Though it is expected to happen soon, September 1 was never set in stone. James Hogan expressed “hope” that they would take over on September 1 but added that the process has to take its own course. When I know more there will be a news item.

    2. Anonymous18:35

      Thank you for the info. I am very anxious to see this deal finally completed.

  5. Eventhough I am all for private ownership and professional management I just don´t see what is to be gained by selling a single operational airport in the entire country, even if it is just the share of the airport that is being sold.

    That would be like owning a house but selling your own front door to someone.

  6. OT :

    SARAJEVO AIRPORT welcomed 31,27 % more passengers in August 2013 (79.796) then in August 2012 (60.787).

    In August, Sarajevo was the FASTEST growing airport in the world.

    1. Anonymous21:09

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. Ex-Yu Aviation, thank you very much for removing of the unsuitable comment!

      We don´t need any nationalism here.


    3. Anonymous22:29

      encouraging, hopefully airport can hit 1 million mark in 2014, would be nice..

  7. Anonymous02:30

    When will the construction of Zagreb New airport terminal will commence? The news paper said around early September?


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