STA, 5 February 2019 - STBE, a company which is said to own the airline Adria Airways brand, has been absorbed by Adria Airways, Slovenia's flag carrier in German ownership. The move increases the airline's share capital and changes its ownership, the business newspaper Finance reported on Tuesday, citing publicly available documents.
Adria's share capital has thus increased by EUR 1.5m to EUR 3.28m and its majority ownership has passed to Stefan Beulertz, until now the sole owner of STBE.
According to news portal Siol, STBE had bought Adria's brand from Adria a while ago for EUR 8m.
Before Beulertz became its majority owner, Adria was in sole ownership of AA International Aviation Holding, a company within the German turnaround fund 4K Invest, which bought Adria from the Slovenian state in 2016.
The airline said its strategy and day-to-day operations would not change under the new ownership. "The merger by acquisition of STBE is one of the measures to improve the company's financial strength and performance," Adria told the STA.
Struggling with liquidity issues, Adria was supplied with EUR 4m in fresh capital at the end of 2018.
Its owners announced another EUR 10m capital hike in the first quarter of this year and the move is believed to be a part of this operation.
Last year, Adria was scrutinised by the Civil Aviation Agency for speculation of insolvency, but the agency said last month the airline was able to secure long-term solvency, so it kept the air operator certificate.
Meanwhile, Finance cited an unofficial source saying the company had generated an operating loss of EUR 14-15m last year.
Adria neither confirmed nor denied the report, reiterating it would inject the airline with EUR 10m in fresh capital by the end of March.
Adria will phase out flights to Moscow and Düsseldorf this week and terminate cooperation with German airport Paderborn-Lippstadt.
"We have not managed to agree further conditions for air services under which we could carry on the cooperation [with Paderborn]... All the other operations of Adria Airways remain unchanged," the company told the STA.
The website Ex-Yu Aviation reports that Adria Airways is planning a reduced schedule for summer 2019, with at least nine fewer routes than 2018. In addition to the recently suspended Moscow and Dusseldorf services, the carrier currently has no plans to reintroduce connections to Warsaw, Kiev, Brač, Bucharest, Dubrovnik, Geneva or Hamburg, cutting at least 32 flights per week. Adria also announced that this summer will see just one weekly flight to Paris and Copenhagen, while as yet there’s no news as to whether the two weekly flights to Tel Aviv that were on the books for 2018 will return
However, in a move that some see as making Ljubljana a feeder airport for German hubs the carrier is set to increase the number of summer flights to Munich and Frankfurt. There will also be more seasonal flights to Pristina and Zurich.
The news comes a week after the Civil Aviation Agency stated that Adria Airways current plans mean that it will be able to meet it’s financial liabilities and remain solvent, and thus keep its operating licence.
All our stories about air travel and Slovenia can be found here
January 03, 2019 - Ex-Yu Aviation has a report that details how the Slovenian government and Ljubljana Airport have worked over the last few years, and are continuing to work, to attract nonstop flights to the Middle East. The site quotes Zmago Skobir, the General Manager of Fraport Slovenia, the firm that operates Jože Pučnik Airport, as saying 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… 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".
In recent years both Flydubai and Qatar Airways have expressed interest in flights to and from Ljubljana, while the airport has also held discussions with Emirates, Etihad Airways and Air Arabia, although without any deals being signed. The story, which can be read in full here, ends by noting that the country which supplies the most visitors to Slovenia from the Gulf region is Saudi Arabia, followed by the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.
STA, 21 December 2018 - Fraport Slovenija, the operator of the country's biggest airport, will log a record number of passengers this year, managing director Zmago Skobir told the STA in an interview.
When German airport operator Fraport acquired the state-owned Aerodrom Ljubljana in 2015, it promised to invest in infrastructure, development and jobs, and it has been delivering on its promise ever since, Skobir said.
"Ever since Fraport's arrival, the company's development and operations have skyrocketed. In 2014, we recorded 1.34 million passengers and EUR 32m in operating revenue. By the end of this year, we will have served 1.82 million passengers."
The number of passengers travelling through the Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport increased by 8.5% compared to 2017, but the increase was even higher in the previous two years, said Skobir.
Moreover, the number of employees went from 400 at the time of the takeover to 482 at the moment. The company also additionally hires temps when the need occurs, he said.
Fast growth also brings a variety of challenges, with Skobir saying that the company faced lack of staff, which was also overburdened.
"But we are aware that people are the key element in the services sector. A beautiful new terminal means nothing if the staff is unkind and unprofessional."
"We invest a lot to make our staff happy. This year, we will set up a pay system, also raising salaries by 15%. We are also looking for new staff. We are an attractive employer but the training takes a while and we aim to keep the staff, we want them to feel good here."
When asked about the reasons for strong growth, Skobir said that there were several, the main one being Slovenia becoming an increasingly popular destination.
Moreover, the airport has sufficient infrastructure to handle the increase in traffic and can respond with a good quality service at a competitive price. This is important because it is competing for travellers and airlines with six other airports nearby.
Adria Airways has made a considerable contribution to this because it is trying to restructure its flight network since it got a new owner, according to Skobir. He also expressed satisfaction that the airline has been doing well after ten years of struggles.
"But we'll see what will happen in the future. So far, cooperation has been exemplary and we expect the planned recapitalisation and other plans to go well."
"But it would not be the end of the world for the airport and Slovenia's connectivity in case of a different scenario."
When asked about the trends in aviation and expectations for the Ljubljana airport, Skobir said the airport will likely follow the upward trends expected throughout the industry. However, the strong growth will taper off and become more stable.
When asked whether the company was prepared to face the next economic crisis, which is expectedly around the corner, Skobir said the key was to invest in infrastructure, equipment, organisation and employees when the going is good.
"Fortunately, we have a strategic owner who operates more than 30 airports and understands investment cycles. All of the profits and accumulated assets... go into infrastructure, ensuring stable and steady returns over a longer period."
The airport operator is currently getting ready to start construct a new terminal. If everything goes according to plan, construction will start in the spring and be completed by the end of 2020, about half a year before Slovenia will assume the EU presidency in the second half of the EU.
Skobir is moreover happy with the development of the airport city, saying that a lot had happened in the past two years, since the local authorities gave the go-ahead to develop some of the land near the airport. He expects the airport city to be completed in the next three to five years.
STA, 8 December 2018 - More than one billion passengers travelled by air in the EU last year, which is 7.3% more than the year before and 39% more than in 2009. The highest growth was recorded in Slovenia, where the number of passengers rose by 19.8% to 1.682 million, latest Eurostat data show.
Slovenia was followed by Luxembourg, Estonia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.
The Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport was listed as the 150th busiest airport with 1.682 million passengers, mostly travelling within the EU.
The busiest airport in the EU was London's Heathrow with 78 million passengers, followed by Paris's Charles de Gaulle with 69 million and Amsterdam's Schiphol with 68 million.
The UK recorded the highest number of passengers (265 million), followed by Germany (212 million) and Spain (210 million). Some 47% of the passengers flew within the EU and one in five passengers travelled within their own country.
Ex-Yu Aviation reports that travellers to and from the UK will have new option in summer 2019, with British Airways launching a service that connects Ljubljana and Heathrow airports. The flights will run from July 15 to September 2, and will be an addition to the other regularly scheduled services between the British and Slovenian capitals, with easyJet flying out of Stanstead and Gatwick, and Wizz Air working from Luton.
The British Airways service from London Heathrow (LHR) have the flight number BA690, taking off from the UK at 17:20 and touching down at Ljubljana Airport at 20:35. From Slovenia to the UK the flight number is BA691, taking off at 21:20 and landing at 22:35. In both directions the route will be served by an Airbus A319
The regional aviation website Eu-Yu Aviation reports that Adria Airways has quietly ended services connecting Ljubljana and Bucharest, Kiev and Warsaw. While no formal announcement was made, the airline omitted these cities in a recent press release, despite having advertised all three routes just two weeks ago in a seasonal promotion. Ljubljana Airport now has no direct flights to Bucharest or Kiev, although it’s still possible to fly to and from Warsaw using LOT Polish Airlines, which runs a daily service.
STA, 26 October 2018 - After an absence of 15 years, Russian flag carrier Aeroflot will return to Ljubljana airport as it launches daily scheduled flights from Moscow on Sunday.
As reported by STA, Adria Airways is likely to end a second year in the red, after posting a net loss of €5.4m in 2017, with the company blaming the poor results on fuel prices. However, despite a number of cancellations in recent weeks, the carrier is still planning to operate 171 weekly flights to a total of 21 destinations this winter, as detailed in the company’s latest schedule, which runs from October28 to March 30.
The website Ex-Yu Aviation has just published a good overview of the changes to Adria Airways schedule for the winter 2018/2019 season, which starts on October 28 and ends March 31.