Ljubljana Airport seeks Gulf 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 General Manager of airport operator Fraport Slovenia, Zmago Skobir, said last week, "We are working closely with the Ministry for Economic Development and Technology concerning flights to the Arab world. We also have good cooperation with the Slovenian National Tourism Board, with which we are jointly identifying markets of interest and coordinating sales and marketing activities". Mr Skobir previously noted, "We are constantly working on the Gulf area, so we are very active in that respect. It is one of the most important goals not only for Fraport and the Slovenian National Tourism Board, but also for the country and the airport itself. The more direct routes, the more investors there will be, as well as more tourists. So, the Gulf is our priority but we have very strong competition for these markets in Zagreb, Belgrade, Venice and Vienna".

Last year, the Slovenian Ministry for Infrastructure said that hybrid carrier Flydubai was negotiating with Fraport Slovenia over the introduction of flights to Ljubljana. "There are good prospects for the establishment of flights between the UAE and Fraport Slovenia's Ljubljana in 2018. UAE carriers are interested", the ministry said at the time. However, by July 2018, Flydubai said, "We are always looking at exploring new opportunities in our network, but, at the moment, we do not have any immediate plans on Ljubljana". In 2017, Qatar Airways' CEO, Akbar Al Baker, noted, "Ljubljana is being looked at. We have many destinations we plan to operate with our narrow-bodies". However, despite opening a flurry of new routes within Europe, including the likes of Kiev, Thessaloniki, Prague, Gothenburg and Mykonos, services to the Slovenian capital have not been included in Qatar Airways' network so far.

Both the Slovenian government and Ljubljana Airport launched an offensive two years to attract Gulf carriers. In addition to Flydubai, the airport has held talks with other leading airlines from the United Arab Emirates, including Emirates, Etihad Airways 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. In September, Slovenia's national carrier Adria Airways noted, "More further afield we are looking at Dubai. Unfortunately, currently do not have the right aircraft with which we can fly there". Among visitors from the Gulf to Slovenia, the numbers from Saudi Arabia are the highest, followed by those from the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

Comments

  1. They need to get FZ, they alredy fly to every European village that's within the range of the MAX.

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    Replies
    1. Well as you see, FZ said they don't want to fly to LJU.

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    2. What about seasonal at least?

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    3. I think the Emirates/Flydubai swap in Zagreb killed the chances of LJU getting these flights from Flydubai.

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    4. The market is growing across the region. Routes that might have not worked in the past now have potential.

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  2. Can Sukhoi make it nonstop Ljubljana - Dubai without restrictions?

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    1. I don't think so.

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    2. That's a real shame. Adria could have used them to start flights and the capacity is ideal for this kind of route.

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    3. If Adra wanted to start flights to Dubai they could do it tomorrow. They can use the A319.

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    4. Not really. They have leased all of the A319s.

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    5. I wonder if the A319 could make it to Dubai from Ljubljana. When Etihad used to fly to Venice with the A319, they had to make regular refuelling stops in Ankara. I guess JP might have to introduce load restrictions which might make the route unprofitable.

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    6. Even if Adria by some miracle decided to start flights they would choose something like PRN-DXB instead of LJU-DXB. Their priorities are increasingly elsewhere.

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    7. 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.

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    8. Didn't Air Arabia fail really badly in PRN? There is no market there. The little market there is is served from SKP.

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    9. But if I remember when there was some article with PRN stats, Dubai was one of the top unserved destinations from Pristina.

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    10. Any new route for Adria would be a major issue for them at the moment financially. Don't expect any new routes from them in 2019 unless it is something subsidised by a small European airport. The airline truly is on the brink of bankruptcy.

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    11. This is true. Adria's license is currently under review by Slovenian CAA. We will see what happens. Decision due at the end of the month.

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    12. JP to DXB is the biggest non-sense people here don't seem to grasp. There is not enough P2P traffic to fill A319. No codeshare beyond DXB.

      Or you can drive to VCE or ZAG and connect to the entire EK network. Hard choice.

      LJU-PRN-DXB would be even more ridiculous.

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    13. They could conclude a codeshare with EK if they wanted to fly.

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  3. I don't understand, why is it so important for LJU to have flights to the Middle East?

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    1. They said it themselves.

      "The more direct routes, the more investors there will be, as well as more tourists."

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    2. Because flights to a megahub like Dubai significantly increases your connectivity to the world and can bring in more passengers.

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    3. With JP on the brink of bankruptcy, they will need to fill the missing revenue.

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    4. Well Skobir said how if Adria goes bankrupt it "wouldn't be the end of the world" ;)

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  4. Maybe Air Arabia. Do they fly such long sectors?

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    Replies
    1. Who would be interested to go to Sharjah?

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    2. Actually Sharjah is becoming more and more popular because accommodation there is half the price as in Dubai yet it is close to Dubai and even closer to Dubai Airport.

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    3. Doesn't Air Arabia fly from Dubai International too?

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

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    5. 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.

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    6. All of Air Arabia's routes on ex-Yu have been a complete failure. Besides Pristina, there was the Tuzla fiasco as well.

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    7. Truth be told they only sold tickets to Tuzla through a local travel agency and not on their website.

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    8. Would not have worked either way.

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  5. 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.

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    1. True. Route is too expensive for operators.

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    2. Narrow bodies are now flying from Dubai to places like Prague and Helsinki. So I don't see why it would be an issue.

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    3. VCE and ZAG are too close and Slovenia is within their catchment area.

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    4. QR also launches Talinn this year, also with a narrow body

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  6. 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.

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    1. reason is beacuse QR/EK/FZ flights to ZAG and QR/EK to VCE are filled a lot out of Slovenia so if they start flights to LJU it will affect these operations

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    2. You can't get higher costs than ZAG. So don't think it is a cost issue.

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  7. Interesting that Saudis are the largest group of tourists from GCC.

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    1. An opportunity for FlyBosnia to start flights to Ljubljana as well and shuttle passengers from Saudi Arabia via Sarajevo to LJU :D

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

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  9. They can use Adria's flight to Skopje and continue onward to Dubai or Doha :)

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    Replies
    1. Why when there are already flights.

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    2. Hardly practical when you can do that journey on a single ticket.

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

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    Replies
    1. There are no flights from Pristina either.

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    2. If I remember correctly Air Arabia used to fly to PRN.

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    3. Yes and they failed miserably. They gave up after less than a month.

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  11. Having EK downgrading ZAG from EK to FZ, I don't think LJU will get a chance for FZ.
    QR seems quite reasonable. But again, comparing the traffic size, SKP currently has a poor LF and even reduced frequency in winter.

    I think that it's only BEG that is enjoying healthier Gulf figures having FZ, QR and EY.

    Maybe what LJU needs is Air Arabia. They announced flights to PRG, so why not LJU? Their hub in SSJ is not like the rest the emirates of AUH or DXB, but still..

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    Replies
    1. Sorry, meant SHJ and not SSJ.

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    2. You do know that EK is flying most of the year (from March to December), that is 8,5 months, and just 3,5 months out of season flights are operated by FZ.

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    3. Not true actually. They start in April (you seem to consider March 31 as the whole of March) and this year flights do not end in December but on October 26.

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  12. 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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  13. I suppose people from Slovenia use TK as their main means of transport to DXB?

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    1. There are rumors TK will introduce third daily flight to LJU. Slovenia might become the biggest ex YU market for TK.

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    2. While I'm happy that LJU might get more TK flights, I'm really unhappy with TK pricing in Ljubljana. It's very expensive. If you look at their prices from other cities, ex-Yu cities in particular, they are usually the cheapest choice compared to the competition.

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    3. Even if the third daily TK to LJU is introduced, Slovenia will not become the biggest ex-yu market for TK :Sorry if I 'm mistaken but I think BIH has 3 daily in SJJ by TK, as well as Croatia with 2 daily ZAG and daily DBV

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    4. Biggest ex-YU markets to IST:

      1. BEG - 249.589
      2. SJJ - 191.494
      3. SKP - 155.460
      4. LJU - 143.475
      5. ZAG - 142.133
      6. TGD - 104.066

      IST-LJU
      01-07.2017 - 77.241
      01-07.2018 - 89.761

      That is around 16% growth in the first seven months of the year.

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    5. Just very simple question @Nemjee : If we discuss market of the ex-yu countries, for Turk Hava Yollari,, why do you give us numbers for capitol city airports only,,not all of the airports served by TK in particular country, and why your numbers include Pegasus, Atlas and others, not only TK?

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    6. Pegasus is not included as they fly from SAW, not IST. So for many like SKP, ZAG, LJU... where TK is the only carrier numbers are for them alone.

      I have city-pair statistics, they are not broken down by carrier.

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    7. Nemjee, please numbers for:

      DBV-IST
      CND-IST
      VAR-IST

      or any secondary, non-capital you think of, flown by TK.

      Хвала!

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    8. CND-IST is not there, only route available from CND is Stockholm.

      Here are some other numbers:

      1. IST-ATH 580.058
      2. IST-OTP 367.490
      3. IST-BUD 246.337
      4. IST-TIA 171.536
      5. IST-SOF 168.623
      6. IST-SKG 132.494
      7. IST-VAR 71.768
      8. IST-DBV 55.513

      Нема на чему!

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    9. So the BEG-IST and IST-OTP figures are extremely high! Nice!
      The biggest shock for me is SJJ! It is just behind BUD approx.!
      Also more shocking is TIA beating all other Balkan capitals!

      Finally LJU and ZAG figures are almost the same. Given that TK is becoming more popular in Slovenia, I am assuming this figure will rise. But also ZAG has QR and EK/FZ considered competitors.

      Lets see what happens after March, when all flights operate from ISL. IST will soon be history. Although the views of the city surroundings are just amazing and all those planes landing and taking off every 2-3 minutes will all be missed.

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    10. Nice!! With third daily IST-LJU coming soon there could be 200.000 passengers in 2019?!

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    11. I would say YES.

      In 2006, TK used to operate 3 weekly IST-LJU and now 13 years later, the flights are double daily>>> https://www.fraport-slovenija.si/en/press/6518

      Remember that TK had a serious slot issue and it will be over in March when they transfer to ISL.
      The figures provided by Nemjee show us just how important the LJU-IST route is.

      TK have a tradition in non-capital airports if they see it works in the capital. So why not MBX-IST 3 weekly as well? CND doesn't have anything special compared to MBX.

      My guess is that all BEG, ZAG and LJU will become 3 daily and SJJ directly 4.
      OTP now regularly is served with A330.

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    12. BEG was supposed to become 18 weekly with most evening and some morning flights operated by the A333. This proposal was blocked by the Serbian CAD.

      ZAG is ten weekly in winter so it first needs to become double daily before it goes to triple daily.

      LJU has a great chance of maybe even seeing a widebody in summer 2019! They seem to be doing exceptionally well there.

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  14. I think the Slovenian market can be served with TK for the East.

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    Replies
    1. There is enough demand for a nonstop flight.

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    2. 3 weekly service Dubai-Ljubljana would work without a problem.

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    3. Zaključuješ na temelju čega?

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    4. And because it is without a problem no one opens flights.

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  15. What about Wizzair LJU-DWC?

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    Replies
    1. W6 would first need to open a base in LJU, they can't do a W rotation to DWC through LJU because of crew time limits.

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    2. Or simply "borrow" another EU based aircraft. Example: SOF-DWC-LJU-DWC-SOF or OTP or BUD being closest.
      BUD > DWC > LJU > DWC > BUD.

      Easy peasy.

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    3. Easy peasy, of course. You do know this is around 22 hours of flight time, right? One crew, no problem.

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    4. Missed that one, mate.
      True LJU-DWC is 5 hours!

      Well, we will wait for the LJU W6 base :)

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  16. LJU's recent growth only goes to show that the airport is finally learning how to attract the market around it. Three weekly on FZ would represent a natural progression of things.

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    Replies
    1. Dubai- Ljubljana - New York by Emirates would be great :D

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    2. Keep dreaming.

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    3. And that would put Ljubljana in exclusive club of only 4 European airports to have Emirates flights to America (Athens and Venice to New York and Barcelona to Mexico City). So real!

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  17. The Ljubljana Gulf saga. Hope they finally get the flights, they have been talking about it for years.

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    Replies
    1. Flights to the Middle East are way overdue. They have been holding talks for years. Time to put their money where their mouth is.

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    2. +1
      Less words more action. They have been talking about UAE airlines coming to Ljubljana for almost a year. Let's finally see it happen and not just commitments and nice words.

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  18. Why didn't Emirates for example keep flying 3 weekly Zagreb in winter and introduced another 3 weekly to Ljubljana in winter too? It could have worked in favour of both airports.

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  19. Flydubai would be the best fit for Ljubljana for the time being.

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    Replies
    1. I think there is a greater chance of us seeing QR in LJU then FZ.

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    2. .... if we ever see either.

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    3. Emirates could not operate 3 pw from Zagreb, but for sure would be successful in Ljubljana with so many frequencies. Hahahaha

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  20. I would rather they focus on finishing a deal with ANA then so much on Gulf.

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  21. Have there ever been flights from Ljubljana to the GCC? During Yugoslav times maybe?

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    Replies
    1. Not to GCC but there were to the Middle East and Adria had scheduled flight to North Africa and even Léopoldville, now known as Kinshasa, the capital of DR Congo.

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    2. Didn't Adria have flights to Kuwait City just a couple of year ago?

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    3. Yes in 2014. They flew from July 26 to September 11 with A319.

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    4. Thanks. What were the frequencies?

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    5. Welcome. Just once per week.

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    6. @An.11.13
      Could you please tell when? As far as I remember, and being 53 I remember a lot, Adria never had scheduled flights to North Africa. JAT used to fly DC-9 once weekly Ljubljana to Tunis, and that's it. Charters by Adria, possibly and probably, but I don't remember scheduled flights. Kinshasa stuff, I hear it for the first time in my life, so I would really appreciate some more info. What Adria did have, and is not mentioned, were weekly flights Ljubljans-Seychelles, with technical stop in Djibouti, for about two years, with their brand new A320's, upon their arrival

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    7. Always loved your posts. So interesting and surprising. Wish you a long life, Rijeke.
      But LJU-SEZ??? How long did that route last? And why SEZ?

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    8. It lasted as long as all ADRIA employees visited Seyshells

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    9. @pozdrav you would have to be older than 53 to remember flights to Kinshasa ;) but anon 11.13 is only partially correct. After purchasing four DC-6Bs in 1961
      Adria started flights to Tunis, Conakry, and Leopoldville but not from Ljubljana but from Belgrade. Adria executives planned to acquire more DC-6Bs,
      so that it could add additional routes to West Africa, Ethiopia, the Middle East,
      and East Asia. These flights to Congo ended after the civil war started there. There were massive (I assume staged) demonstrations in Belgrade after Patrice Lumumba was assassinated. I think even the Belgian embassy in Belgrade was ransacked. JAT then started cargo flights to Leopoldville carrying apparently medicine but more likely it was weapons for rebels. JAT also airlifted a group of schoolchildren back to BEG. Adria then also started running suspicious cargo flights to Leopoldville via Tunis. It also started passengers charters Belgrade-Tunis-Leopoldville in 1962 and in 1964 it started flights to Algeirs. After a while these flights ended. Remember, Adria almost went bankrupt numerous times.

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    10. Had no idea about all these. Thanks very much for info. Really nice to know :)

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    11. @pozdrav iz Rijeke: ali ja se sjećam da je kasnih 80. JP reklamirala letove LJU-CAI. Bila reklama u reviji Krila. Ali imao sam tada 7-8g tako da moguće da je samo bila reklama i nikad nisu počeli letit. A koju godinu kasnije ionako je sve otišlo do vraga

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    12. @An.14.26
      Thanks! :) SEZ flights from LJU lasted around 2 years, 1989-1990 if I remember well, maybe one year before or later, during the golden era of ex-yu aviation for all companies, and shortly before everything went down :(

      @An.15.15, of course employees would use opportunity to visit destinations their company fly to, and Adria employees used that opportunity for Seychelles like any others employed by any airline, but they represented 1 or 2 percent of the passengers - planes were packed with tourists from primarily Slovenia, but from entire ex-yu too , as well as from neighbouring parts of Italy and Austria.

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    13. Athos, moguce da su bili charteri Adrie iz Ljubljane za Cair, ali redovno je Cairo imao samo JAT 3 x tjedno iz BEG i 1 x tjedno iz ZAG na 727. A Adria je radila jako puno chartera za Egipat, do pred nekoliko godina su imali Hurghadu i Sharm El Sheikh, tako da je sigurno bio i Cairo.

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    14. Simply amazing Rijeke!!! Yugoslavia's aviation was sure exciting back in the days.
      When I think of Congo, I just remember the Belgian comics - Tin Tin in Congo :D

      If the old Adria existed today, it would have been with no doubt the biggest airline in the region.
      Flights to JFK, SEZ, TUN!

      Sadly, today JP is just a small airline with no longer such exotic destinations. Who knows? Maybe the investors from 4K inject more cash and JP restores those historical routes.

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  22. Seems like we will have to keep using GoOpti for flights to Dubai :(

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  23. A Fraport rep said that flights to Middle East will finally happen this year.

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    Replies
    1. I really hope so. But I think the flights would have already been announced if they were starting this year.

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    2. The year just literally started. There is more than enough time to announce new flights for this year.

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  24. Better that they start work on introducing LJU-BCN or LJU-ATH rather than LJU-DXB and LJU-DOH.

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  25. Meanwhile Budapest will have both Emirates and Flydubai flying there next summer.

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    Replies
    1. You can't compare BUD to LJU.

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    2. Or to any other ex-Yu city for that matter.

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    3. What equipment does EK use to Budapest?

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  26. What about Oman Air? They are not flying to Dubai, but even Muscat offers quite a few connections onwards. Plus, probably they don't fly to any of the airports nearby.

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    1. That would be a treat. They are an excellent airline and the new terminal in Muscat is stunning.

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  27. Fraport did wonders in the Bulgarian coastal airports. Both made 5.5 million passengers and am confident the same will happen with LJU. Just a matter of time.
    They are a good operator tbh.

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    Replies
    1. MA nego što. Najbolji. Samo vidi FRA kako je super. Superprljav, superkaotičan, personal superneljubazan. Nema što. Majstori

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  28. TK sending A321 more regularly to LJU.
    U2 with a permanent A320 service to STN, mix A319 and 320 to LGW
    SU with a serious upgrade from the Superjet to A320 in many days even after the holiday season
    LO sent E190 on some days and upgrade from DH4 to DH8 on peak season. Nice addition.
    AF no change.
    W6 mainly A320 to LTN - no change.


    JP sending A319 (S5-AAP) to SVO during peak season instead of CR9 and CR7 mix

    The best thing about LJU is that most destinations have identical journey time of around 1:30-1:50 minutes. Slovenia, right in the heart of Europe.

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  29. Maybe Qatar might take a shot at Ljubljana with a narrow body but we won't be seeing Emirates due to closeness of Venice and Zagreb (overlapping markets to a degree). Etihad is in a severe rationalisation phase and they are seriously contracting. The prosects of Persian Gulf links are pretty low I would say.

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