Ljubljana Airport seeking Middle East flights

Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport is continuing to seek nonstop flights to the Middle East, despite increased competition from nearby rivals in Zagreb and Venice making it increasingly difficult to secure such operations. The recent launch of Emirates' daily service from Dubai to Zagreb, which is also aimed at Slovenian travellers. has resulted in Flydubai, once seen as a potential new operator at Ljubljana Airport, back down. The airline's Commercial Senior Vice President, Jeyhund Efendi, told EX-YU Aviation News that the carrier is focusing on its operations to Belgrade, Skopje, Sarajevo and Tivat, which launches later this month. "Flydubai is always looking at exploring new opportunities for our network, but at the moment we do not have any immediate plans for Ljubljana", Mr Efendi said. Emirates recently noted it was looking to work with Flydubai so as not to overlap and compete on existing markets.

Both the Slovenian government and Ljubljana Airport launched an offensive last year to attract Gulf carriers. The airport held talks with leading airlines from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), including Emirates, Etihad Airways, Flydubai and Air Arabia. Furthermore, Slovenia and the UAE signed a Civil Aviation Agreement, which enables flexibility on routes, capacity, number of frequencies and types of aircraft between the two countries, for both passenger and cargo flights. On the other hand, the Qatari Minister of Economy and Trade, Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, recently visited the country where he expressed hope for flights between Doha and Ljubljana to be established in the near future. However, Qatar Airways did not include Ljubljana in its latest expansion plans for 2018, which will see cities such as Cardiff, Mykonos, Kiev and Prague added to its growing network.

Ljubljana, which is in close proximity to a number of larger airports, is looking to increase its competitiveness by offering more direct flights. Besides Emirates, Zagreb Airport is served by Qatar Airways, while Etihad, Emirates and Qatar link Venice to the Middle East. In April, the Slovenian Ministry for Infrastructure noted that it is concentrating its efforts on boosting the country's air connectivity and linking Ljubljana Airport with new destinations. "In our opinion, it is important for Slovenia to be connected with the rest of the world, no matter which airline provides the service. As long as they are safe and offer affordable fares to the public". In a recent report, Ljubljana Airport noted, "By working on marketing, we aim to encourage airlines to launch new routes and increase passenger numbers at the airport, particularly from neighbouring countries and thus reduce the outflow of local passengers to neighbouring airports". It added, "We will focus our marketing activities on raising our profile and strengthening the airport’s competitive position in the region".


  1. Anonymous09:05

    There is very little chance for any Gulf airline to come to LJU now. Why is it that we got ignored so badly by tgem?

    1. Anonymous09:06

      Vienna is too close.

    2. Also we are way too poor for them i think

    3. Anonymous09:09

      Slovenia is wealthier than most other Eastern European destinations that the ME fly.

    4. Anonymous09:16

      Wealthy and extremely populous

    5. Anonymous14:34

      Not so true. There are only a handfull Slovenians residenting in GCC.....copmared to 10's of thousendts of Croats or Serbs

  2. Anonymous09:05

    EK flying a 777-300ER every day to ZAG will put pressure on all nearby airports. And none of the ME3 airlines is interested to engage in a price war right no. Especially not for our region.

    1. Anonymous09:20

      True unfortunately.

    2. Anonymous09:32

      Yes, the bad financial situation that most gulf airlines are right now will make launching new routes more difficult.
      LJU should have attracted a flight there 2-3 years ago when the Emirs didn't know where to spend their money.
      Now it is going to be very difficult.

    3. Anonymous19:34

      Seems QR increases its profit in just ended fiscal year. https://www.qatarairways.com/en-nz/press-releases/2017/June/qatar-airways-releases-annual-results-revealing-a-21-7-per-cent-.html?activeTag=Press-releases&CID=SMALL0678502232000000001105

  3. Anonymous09:08

    Maybe Air Arabia. Do they fly such long sectors?

    1. Anonymous09:10

      Who would be interested to go to Sharjah?

    2. Anonymous09:19

      Don't they fly from Dubai International too?

    3. Anonymous09:35

      No, they only fly you to Sharjah and then they offer you then a bus ride to Dubai!

    4. Anonymous10:29

      Air Arabia was in LJU in 2012 and there was discussion to connect LJU-BEG-SHJ with 5th freedom for BEG-LJU sector but they decided against it so they will probably not going to try again especially as a major issue was crew layover since LJU is not in low cost catchment area.

    5. Anonymous16:54

      Sharjah and Dubai are basically merged. Sharjah Airport is closer to Dubai downtown than Al-Maktom Airport.

  4. Anonymous09:34

    What about seasonal at least?

  5. Anonymous09:44

    No chamce now ;(

  6. Anonymous10:07

    Ljubljana has to understand that they've no chance with ME carriers, due to the distance and size of their market. Narrow bodies can hardly reach LJU, and the size of their market is half of Zagreb.

    1. Anonymous12:40

      I agree- ZAG airport too big. Also, Zagreb is becoming tourist mega city. Something like Budapest or Vienna.

    2. Anonymous15:06

      Zagreb tourist mega city, ne lupaj gluposti. Gledaj i vidi da nije velika razlika.

    3. Naravno da Zagreb nije "tourist mega city", ali kad se pogleda struktura gostiju - to nisu "susjedi", niti gasterbajteri, već ljudi koji posjećuju glavni grad u sklopu dolaska u Hrvatsku. S obzirom na takvu vrstu potražnje i činjenice što je ipak riječ o glavnom gradu zemlje od 15 mil stranih turista (13,8 mil u 2016.), te će brojke sve brže rasti. Tako da će se dominacija Zagreba nastaviti i još povećati u odnosu na ostale gradove u regiji. Split bi mogao za 3 do 5 godina biti jedina ozbiljna konkurencija, radi veličine i atraktivnosti. Dubrovnik isto, ali on je grad od 50.000 ljudi i dugoročno će ga "kočiti" njegovi limiti s kapacitetom...

    4. Anonymous18:44

      @AnonymousJune 11, 2017 at 12:40 PM

      hold your horses, nowhere near tourist mega city, it is an attractive city that will start to grow as an destination, that is all.

      Current visitor projections are:

      2016: 1 152 000 - Nights: 2 050 000
      2017: 1 280 000 - Nights: 2 250 000
      2018: 1 420 000 - Nights: 2 500 000
      2019: 1 580 000 - Nights: 2 750 000
      2020: 1 750 000 - Nights: 3 200 000
      2021: 2 000 000 - Nights: 3 500 000
      2025: 3 000 000 - Nights: 5 700 000
      2030: 4 200 000 - Nights: 8 500 000

      The projection is based on the trend, so things can always change in future, however up to 2025, we can be certain things won't change much in terms of visitor trend, and Zagreb could hit 3 million visitors by 2025. Most tourist mega city destinations have over 10 million visitors. However, I presume you either trolled or tried to be funny/sarcastic.

  7. Petar10:12

    Maybe they could offer to be part of a two stage flight.
    Say Middle East-SOF-LJU
    or Middle East-SKG-LJU
    or Middle East-OTP-LJU
    or Middle East-TIA-LJU
    or Middle East-LCA-LJU.
    Offer fifth freedom rights too.

    What do you guys think?

    1. Anonymous10:26

      I agree, I think that would be their best chance to get flights. SKG-LJU could be the best option. There are quite a few passengers flying from Slovenia to Greece as well.

    2. Anonymous10:33

      Whatever route they decide they need to get JP codesharing with its network. They need to make connections as convenient and affordable as possible.
      Interlining alone is not enough.

    3. Anonymous11:00

      ^ +1

    4. Anonymous16:55

      SOF or OTP will work the best.

  8. Anonymous10:25

    Only Qatar could do something like that, like they did in Belgrade

  9. Anonymous10:27

    I hope that Qatar starts Ljubljana. I don't understand why Gulf carriers are avoiding LJU (could it be higher costs than neighbouring airports?) I know Ljubljana is close to bigger hubs but it can also attract passengers from smaller cities like Graz and Slovenians would travel from LJU if there were options.

    1. Anonymous10:57

      ZAG is comparable with LJU regarding fees

  10. Anonymous10:30

    It seems that LJU has some security flaws as someone made to smuggle in hazardous materials on board yesterday's easyJet flight to STN. The airplane made an emergency landing at CGN, and passengers were evacuated via slides while German police has blown up a backpack that was allegedly contained explosive.

    1. Anonymous10:53


      yep crazy!

    2. Anonymous12:39

      No explosives in the bag. False alarm.

  11. Anonymous10:54

    Sorry Ljubljana but the ship for flights to the Gulf has sailed.

  12. Anonymous11:01

    With Qatar in political isolation in the Gulf, they'll be looking to gain support elsewhere for their causes, particularly in the EU which has so far shown a degree of sympathy...

    Would not surprise me a single bit that they announce LJU out of the blue for this reader and also to discourage Slovenians to use the EK service out of ZAG...

    1. Anonymous11:16

      With so much frequencies within the GCC on hold and assuming it will last or that demand will fall post eventual normalization, I would more expect seeing ZAG increase,not LJU starting. Easier solution for the carrier, especially vs EK in ZAG. They have everything already set up in Zagreb,and Slovenians are already used on it, much like EK. I also wouldn't be surprised seeing BEG increase to daily pushed earlier.

    2. Anonymous12:40

      So because Slovenes are used to QR in ZAG, they would't use QR if they came to LJU?

    3. Anonymous13:30

      No, the point is that Croatia is far bigger market where also VCE is not that close. Easier for the airline to increase operations than start from scratch in LJU. And can target the same passengers, or vast majority of them anyway.

    4. Anonymous17:30

      @AnonymousJune 11, 2017 at 11:01 AM

      FlyDubai might be an option for Ljubljana, but I doubt it now that EK is in Zagreb, they'll simply not jeopardize their Zagreb route that they just started.

      Qatar's priorities in terms of expansion are.

      Prague, Dublin, Valencia, Marseilles and Lyon.

      All major airport with traffic exceeding 10 million pax and good potential for a successful route.

      Qatar won't risk with Ljubljana, as Zagreb is doing so well and they just got EK to compete on same route (almost).

      Ljubljana needs to expand its existing airport as it is really small, the facilitates are very limited and I imagine with 2.0 million pax current terminal will barely cope with the traffic. Ljubljana desperately needs new terminal, hopefully very large one that can accommodate all the future flights.

  13. Anonymous11:01

    What about LJU spreading its wings a bit and starting DXB. They have the right equipment and I think, with smart scheduling, they could link the flights to the rest of its network.

    1. Anonymous11:10

      LJU has the right equipment? Vans, cars, busses?

    2. Anonymous11:11

      Sorry I meant Adria. Haha just reread my comment now.

    3. Anonymous11:37

      I think that could have worked. I think Croatia Airlines really missed an opportunity there, morose than Adria, before EK started flying. It could have been them filling up their planes with holidaymakers from Dubai to the Croatian coast.

    4. Anonymous11:52

      Which is something that they are not doing right now?
      When EK lands in Zagreb they all just teleport to Dubrovnik?

    5. Anonymous12:17

      They could have been feeding their flights for years and not since last week.

    6. Anonymous12:41

      This was probably a great opportunity for JP some years ago. I don't know, maybe that ship has sailed. So sad to see so much potential wasted when busines is ran politically, not professionally.

    7. Anonymous17:17

      @AnonymousJune 11, 2017 at 11:37 AM

      With what planes??

      OU is stretched as is, you perhaps missed the bit where OU wet leased 2 additional aircraft to cope with the existing route network. Adding one more destination which is 6-7 hours away would take one aircraft out of commission in what is really small fleet.

      Air Serbia can afford to do that, OU can't.

      AnonymousJune 11, 2017 at 11:52 AM

      Exactly, OU aircraft get full with transfers, and everyone is happy. OU also saves on not sending aircraft to Dubai or Doha.

  14. Anonymous12:16

    Slovenia is the only one in ex-Yu without flights to the Gulf :/

    1. Anonymous12:34

      There are no flights from Pristina either.

    2. Anonymous12:44

      Well if there is potential for say PRN-DXB there is an opportunity for Adria there. They could even operate it as LJU-PRN-DXB.

    3. Anonymous12:45

      To be honest, who cares. The Gulf states have an appaling human rights record and these airlines are all vanity projects funded with petrodollars.

      I think the Slovenian market can be served with TK for the East and via European hubs for the West.

    4. Anonymous13:50

      True but Slovenians are in high numbers using EK service from Zagreb and Flydubai before that. Better to have them fly from LJU. People preffer non stop flights than via IST.

    5. Anonymous13:57

      HAHAHAHAHA !!!

      This last comment is THE comment of the day !

      Gulf states have an appalling human rights record and that their airlines are all vanity projects - and in the very next sentence, makes the case for TK, whose govt is even worse that any of the Gulf states for human rights abuses.

      Where have you been these past 10 mths ? Have you not seen what the Turkish govt is doing to anyone opposed to the President and Govt ? Job losses, trial without detention etc etc etc.... Try being a Kurd in Turkey and see how your life is.

      As for its airline, it has to be one of the most subsidised - if not THE most subsidised - airline in the world.

      The moral to this story is to avoid commenting on politics and stay on topic with aviation.

      When you stray as you have done and do not know your subject matter, you end up stepping in deep poo....

    6. Anonymous14:26

      Anonymous at 1:57 PM
      Choosing to fly TK instead of others because of "human rights record" is truly delusional!

  15. Anonymous12:33

    The bigger issue is that LJU is not attracting any new airlines, not just from GCC countries. Why?

  16. Well at least they are not seeking NY flights.

    1. Anonymous15:16

      Not yet they aren't - give them time and they will - just like the rest of them !

  17. JU520 BEGLAX14:10

    Before LJU Airports seeks for Gulf flights, I recommend them first to build their new terminal
    Their is 2 bag carousels and for example tonight after 2115h there is 8 planes landing within 30 minutes, 2 of them Easyjets. Its a god damn mess in the arrival area. If I would be QR, I would tell Skobir, first you build a terminal like in ZAG, than you might start thinking of us
    Often AY TK A321 arrive in the evening at the same time with 400 passengers standing and waiting there for their bags in an area of roughly 90 m2 and 2 bag carousels. Already a superb first impression for the SLO visitiors

    1. Anonymous17:09

      I think Zagreb's old terminal had 3 luggage carousels and decent waiting area, i think around 350sqm. New terminal has 4 large luggage carousels and an area of around 2200sqm in luggage collecting area around existing 3 collection points. Entire area is around 5000sqm, once two additional carousels are added. I think total capacity of all 5 will be around 20 flights per hour.

  18. OT: does anybody has numbers for May in LJU?

  19. Anonymous02:24

    Good luck Ljubljana. I hope they manage to find someone to operate these flights but I fear that with so many larger nearby markets it will be difficult.


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