Ex-Yu Aviation, the best site for news on flights in the region, reports that Wizz Air will end its service between Charleroi, Belgium and Ljubljana for the winter season. The last scheduled flight is on 26 October. This will leave the budget carrier with just one service to the Slovenian capital, connecting Ljubljana with London’s Luton Airport, although this will be upgraded with the use of a 230-seat A321 instead of the current 180-seat Airbus A320.
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The best website for regional aviation news, Ex-Yu Aviation, reports that All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s largest carrier, will be returning to Ljubljana later this month, with two direct flights being operated for Japan’s largest tour operator.
Flight NH1951 will fly from Osaka Kansai International to Ljubljana on August 31, departing at 13:05 and landing in Slovenia at 18:5 the same day. The second flight, NH1955, will go from Tokyo to Ljubljana and leave Narita Airport at 09:00 on September 14, arriving at Ljubljana Airport at 14:00. The service will be operated using a wide-body Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
In June of this year the Slovenian State Secretary at the Ministry for Economy and Technological Development, Aleš Cantarutti, received a visit from Yoshihiro Seki, Japan's Minister for Economy, Commerce and Industry, in which they discussed the plans for more regular nonstop flights between the two countries. More on this story, including ANA’s new flights to Croatia, can be found at Ex-Yu Aviation.
STA, 22 July 2019 - The Chinese owners of airport operator Aerodrom Maribor have put up signs to limit access to Maribor airport, which is currently managed by DRI, a state-owned company, media reported on Monday.
This is the latest twist in the story of Maribor Airport, whose management was handed over to DRI, the state-owned consulting and engineering company specialised in infrastructure projects, in early June.
The government decided for the move after the Chinese-backed Aerodrom Maribor announced in January it was invoking a six-month notice and terminating the 15-year lease agreement it signed in 2017 due to delays in a planned expansion of the airport's runway.
DRI got the operating licence last week, so the airport reopened last Friday after being closed for a day.
But today, signs saying Private Property, No Trespassing, No Parking appeared at the entrance to the parking area.
The Infrastructure Ministry told the STA that the easement in the area of Maribor airport, owned by Aerodrom Maribor, was settled in the land register and that any disputes over the matter would be settled in court.
The ministry assessed that "the Chinese owners who unilaterally pulled out of the lease agreement for no apparent reason are doing this to hinder the operations of Maribor airport and are implementing their interests at Slovenia's expense".
DRI meanwhile told the STA today the signs did not disrupt the airport's operations.
DRI is to manage the airport until the end of 2020 or until the Infrastructure Ministry finds a long-term solution.
The ministry denied in a press release last week claims that Aerodrom Maribor terminated the lease agreement due to delays in the planned expansion of the airport's runway.
It added no deadlines or any other conditions for the state had been set in the 2017 agreement.
The project entails changes to the spatial plan for the area, which is a lengthy procedure and can take several years, it noted.
The Chinese-backed firm SHS Aviation bought Aerodrom Maribor at the beginning of 2017 from Delavska Hranilnica savings bank, signing a 15-year lease agreement with the state.
It made huge announcements when it took over, but few of its plans came to fruition and the airport has been languishing, serving only a handful of charter flights and subsisting mostly on revenue from pilot training.
STA, 18 July 2019 - Contractors have completed works on a major logistics centre adjacent to Ljubljana Airport that will be operated by Austrian logistics giant Cargo Partner. Spanning over almost 30,000 square metres, the new facility is expected to help turn the airport area in a major logistics hub.
Engineering company Protim Ržišnik Perc, which oversaw the project, said on Thursday the new facility would have 25,000 square metres of warehousing areas capable of storing 20,000 palettes, plus 4,000 square metres of office space.
It is located right next to a major centre run by Kuehne + Nagel which serves as the biggest logistics facility for Swiss drug maker Novartis in Europe.
When Cargo Partner broke ground on the project at the end of August 2018, the company said it opted for the airport area because of its excellent location and proximity to the seaports in Koper and Trieste.
Several other smaller logistics projects are also in development around the airport, Zmago Skobir, the head of airport operator Fraport Slovenija, said today as work started on a new passenger terminal at the airport
"It all started with the new bypass road. Since then development around the airport has been very fast," he said.
STASTA, 18 July 2019 - A cornerstone ceremony marked the start of construction of a passenger terminal extension at the Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport on Thursday. The expansion will boost the terminal's capacities considerably and improve the airport's services. The works are expected to take two years, with the total cost of investment exceeding EUR 21 million.
Steps in preparing construction site have already been taken by builders GIC Gradnje and Elcom with whom airport operator Fraport Slovenija signed a EUR 17.3 million construction contract at the end of June.
At the ceremony, Fraport Slovenija director Zmago Skobir said that the journey towards modernising the passenger terminal was a long one, but the German company had started delivering on the promises it gave when it became the airport's operator in 2015.
The terminal extension is necessary due to an increase in the number of passengers in the recent years. The trend is expected to continue in the future - in the next 20 years, the Ljubljana airport is expected to register a 3-4% increase of annual traffic growth.
The airport welcomed a record number of 1.8 million passengers last year and has been struggling with lack of space for a while.
Skobir said he was not concerned over the future of Slovenian air carrier Adria Airways since he was sure that it would adapt to growing passenger traffic rates, which are increasing in line with the Slovenian economy and tourism.
The current capacities of the terminal provide service to 500 passengers per hour, while the new terminal will cater to 1,250 passengers per hour. This will prevent bottle neck at the terminal, including during rush hours in peak summer season.
The terminal will thus get 10,000 square metres of new space, including new retail and restaurant facilities as well as additional 14 check-in desks, two security control points and a new departure lounge.
The extension will delight passengers and ensure long-term development and competitiveness for Fraport Slovenija, said Skobir.
Apart from the expansion, the operator also plans to modernise airport logistics and IT. According to Skobir, Fraport Slovenija is currently in a long-term investment cycle that amounts to more than EUR 40 million.
The German-owned operator will supervise and manage the investment with a team of ten engineers. According to engineering manager Andrej Tominec, the operator aims to open the new terminal in summer 2021 before Slovenia takes the EU Council presidency in July 2021.
The airport will stay open during the whole construction process. The new facility will be a separate unit connected to the existing terminal, located on the site of a former car park.
The building will be a spacious fusion of concrete, wood and glass, reflecting the nearby Kamnik-Savinja Alps, getting a lot of natural light and blending in with its environment, said the Plan B architecture firm, which has designed blueprints.
There will also be a park outside the new facility, envisaged as a refreshing shelter for passengers. A vision of turning the airport into a small airport city is thus coming to fruition, said Skobir.
Fraport Slovenija also plans to renovate the old terminal after completing the extension project.
STA, 15 July 2019 - British Airways is launching a new route to Ljubljana on Monday with its first plane from London Heathrow Airport due to touch down at Jože Pučnik Ljubljana Airport at 9pm.
The British air carrier had already operated scheduled flights to Ljubljana from Gatwick airport at the turn of the millennium, when Slovenian air carrier Adria Airways was flying to Heathrow.
Becoming the third carrier to fly between London and Slovenia's capital, British Airways will link the capitals twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, on a 220-seater Airbus 321.
For the time being, flights are planned only during the summer, but considering how well the flights are booked, the operator of Ljubljana airport hopes British Airways will extend the flights beyond summer.
The launch of the route tonight will be accompanied by a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring officials from airport operator Fraport Slovenija and British Airways, UK Ambassador to Slovenia Sophie Honey, Slovenian Ambassador to the UK Tadej Rupel and the head of the British-Slovenian Chamber of Commerce Barbara Uranjek.
Two other airlines fly between London and Ljubljana; Easyjet operates flights from Stansted ten times a week and from Gatwick four times a week, while Wizz Air offers four weekly flights from Luton.
A total of 239,727 passengers flew between Ljubljana and London last year.
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The best site around for all that’s in air in the former Yugoslavia, Ex-Yu Aviation, reports that Wizz Air, the budget carrier, is set to raise capacity on its flights from London’s Luton Airport to Ljubljana this winter, with the new schedule starting on October 27.
The change will see the Hungarian airline shift from the current 180-seat Airbus A320 to a 230-seat A321. The Ljubljana service is set to run three times a week for the 2019/20 season, rising to four times in December.
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STA, 27 June 2019 - Addressing the press in the face of mounting criticism on Thursday, the management of Adria Airways said it was aware of the carrier's issues but was also working hard to resolve them. CEO Holger Kowarsch said talks with potential strategic partners were under way, but he added Adria could also survive on its own.
Adria, Slovenia's former flag carrier which is in German ownership since 2016 and has struggled with liquidity problems, will do all it can to reduce the number of cancellations and delays, Kowarsch said, but he added that these were normal for all airlines and could not be avoided entirely.
Chief operating officer Tadej Notersberg said the challenges had gotten tougher in May primarily because of an unexpected protraction of maintenance work on aircraft and staff issues.
Now, only one plane remains subject to maintenance work, while 50 pilots and 70 cabin staff members were employed in the past year, with training taking a while.
Adria rejected media reports of a high pilot turnover rate, saying staff turnover had not increased and was lower than at comparable companies in Europe.
Meanwhile, Kowarsch did not wish to talk about any names, but said Adria was in talks with several potential partners. While the company was allegedly seeking state aid recently, Kowarsch added it could also survive without a strategic partner.
Adria did not negotiate a new contract with aircraft maintenance firm Adria Tehnika after the old one expired, but it has already picked a new partner, whose name will be revealed next week. Media reports suggest a Scandinavian company will take over maintenance in September.
Notersberg said Adria parted ways with Adria Tehnika because it was not happy with it, while he said the change will definitely not affect safety.
All our stories about Adria Airways are here
STA, 20 June 2019 - As problems surrounding airline Adria Airways seem to be mounting, Fraport Slovenija, the operator of Ljubljana international airport, says it is ready for a potential worst-case scenario at its main client.
"Although we cannot provide specific answers, we can say Fraport Slovenija has a plan ready for replacement transport, should it lose its largest business partner," the company said on Thursday, describing its business relationship with Adria as fair.
Fraport noted there was demand for certain air routes, which bodes well for keeping the routes which are potentially profitable.
Slovenia's profile in foreign markets is growing and there is more interest in visiting Slovenia, so the need for launching new or additional air links also grows.
The Brnik-based company also stressed it believed in the potential of Slovenia's air transport market, which can be seen from its many infrastructure investments.
Fraport told news portal Siol.si that attracting (new) airlines is "a very demanding and time-consuming process which usually takes up to two years".
This is even more so if a small market such as the two-million Slovenian one is in question.
Slovenia's main airport offers scheduled flights to 27 cities in 20 countries on board 12 regular airlines, which translates into more than 260 scheduled flights a week.
In summer, Adria, which has recently cancelled several flights and had some liquidity problems in the past, connects Ljubljana with 16 cities on direct routes.
Adria, which the Slovenian government sold to German fund K4 in 2016, carries 52% of all passengers travelling via Ljubljana airport, according to Fraport.
STA, 20 June 2019 - With mounting flight cancellations and delays, Adria Airways has been in the spotlight in recent weeks as passengers left stranded aired their grievances on social media. The Civil Aviation Authority said it had already received 134 complaints against the carrier so far this year over violations of EU rules on passenger rights.
The complaints related to Adria account for the bulk of the 208 complaints received so far this year, the agency told the STA.
Adria was also the main target of complaints last year and accounted for nearly 90% of all fines issued, its fines totalling roughly EUR 35,500.
Overall, the number of complaints the agency has received has been rising, from 149 in 2017 to 337 last year and 208 so far this year.
Given the trend, the number is set to rise further this year, but the agency says Adria is not the only airline to blame.
The number of flights and passengers has surged in recent years, with the number of violations of passenger rights rising accordingly.
STA, 17 June 2019 - The auditing firm which checked the financials of Slovenian carrier Adria Airways for last year is in the spotlight on suspicion that Adria's financial statements do not accurately reflect its financial state, news portal Siol reported on Monday.
The Slovenian Agency for Public Oversight of Auditing is looking into the work of the Slovenian branch of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which audited Adria, to determine whether it has done its job, according to Siol.
The credibility of Adria's balance sheet is one of the preconditions for its air operator certificate. If Adria were to lose it, it would have to ground its aircraft, Siol says.
"We've been informed about the audit and we do not see any problems. We're convinced our auditors have conducted a fair and professional audit of our financial statements," Adria said.
Siol speculates the check will look into several transactions involving the Adria brand, which was first sold to a mailbox company and later bought back as a capital injection to shore up the firm's capital base.
The company the brand was sold to is believed to be tightly connected with 4K Invest, the private equity fund which owns Adria.
The Agency for Public Oversight of Auditing has initiated proceedings at the request of the Civil Aviation Authority.
The news is the latest sign of problems at the beleaguered carrier, which has been in the media spotlight for months due to numerous cancellations and mergers of flights that have extended short-haul flights by hours.
Adria has claimed the ongoing disruptions are a result of technical and operational reasons and pledged to stabilise operations by the beginning of July.
Siol claims the cancellations are a result of technical issues with aircraft and lack of flight crews exacerbated by the airline's financial problems.
The airline had similar problems last summer and pledged to sort things out by this summer.
Adria's woes and the possibility of it going bust have raised concerns about Slovenia's air traffic connections and even given rise to calls that a renationalisation should be undertaken.
Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek said today state aid was out of the question since the carrier had received aid less than ten years ago, but she indicated the government was working on a contingency plan.
In the event Adria can no longer connect Ljubljana with European capitals, the government is exploring incentives for certain routes that are key for the state. "This is all the state can currently do," according to Bratušek.
The Slovenian Minister for Infrastructure, Alenka Bratušek, has said the government has developed contingency plans in case Adria Airways ceases operations. The comments came following a horror week for the national carrier during which it has been in the media spotlight for cancelled, delayed and merged flights, as well as financial mismanagement by its owners, lack of staff, unpaid compensation claims, the alleged involvement of its former managers in the collapse of Switzerland's Darwin Airline, and suspicions its yet-to-be-published financial report for 2018 does not reflect the company's actual financial state. Commenting on the situation, Ms Bratušek said the government has no means to aid Adria until 2021, as the company was a recipient of state funds in 2011. Under European Union regulation, the government is barred from providing further financial assistance to the airline until a ten-year deadline has passed.
The full story can be read here.