The site Ex-Yu Aviation reports that Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport saw it’s third month in a row with rising passenger numbers, with the figures for March 2019 up 3% on a year before, and a total of 133,641 travellers served. In contrast, SHS Aviation, the Chinese-owned operator of Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport, will end its involvement with the troubled airport on July 15 2019.
SHS, which had planned to make the airport a hub for Chinese tourists, signed a 15-year agreeement for the concession in March 2017. However, it has been unhappy with delays by the Slovenian government in agreeing a new zoning plan that would have enabled it to invest €600 million in a redevelopment project, as well as the rejection of requests for state aid.
Maribor Airport has been without any scheduled commercial flights since September 2018.
All our stories on air travel are here
STA, 5 April 2019 - The boss of Slovenian air carrier Adria Airways, Holger Kowarsch, has told the STA the failed deal with Russia's Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC) to lease Russian planes would also have involved an around 10-million-euro capital injection. Adria is thus still looking for a strategic partner.
Kowarsch, general manager of the Slovenian company in German ownership which had some liquidity problems recently, said it had been Adria that exited the deal.
After preliminary contracts were signed, SCAC did not deliver when the payment deadline was due in end February, for which reason Adria quit the deal, he explained in an interview for the STA on Friday.
Earlier this week, Adria announced it would not expand its fleet with 15 Sukhoi Superjet SSJ100 planes, as it had failed to agree on the terms of the long-term lease.
It said on Tuesday it doubted SCAC's interest in a fair and stable long-term partnership and was worried about its lack of a common vision of further strategic development.
Meanwhile, SCAC said in a release on Wednesday it had opted against entering the deal due to Adria's poor financial standing, in which way it avoided potential losses.
According to Kowarsch, Adria was in talks with SCAC for almost ten months, the Russians had access to all business information and carried out an extensive due diligence.
He also noted Adria had never denied it would post a loss for 2018, which he said will amount to a two-digit figure in terms of millions of euro.
Despite a planned recapitalisation of around 10 million euro, Kowarsch said it had not been agreed yet what stake SCAC would get in the Slovenian air carrier.
However, EU law limits the stake of investors from third countries in air carriers to 49%, he explained.
Kowarsch said Adria had been at first disappointed as it considered the Russian company a good opportunity for the air carrier.
But he also said that in recent meetings with Adria's partners in Europe and the US, he received information which put SCAC in a bad light as business partners.
"We need a partner we can rely on and with which we can find common ground on Adria Airways's future development," he said.
Adria's owners, among them German fund 4K Investments, believe Adria still needs a strategic partner, and is already in talks with potential investors, but Kowarsch said there was no hurry.
He noted that after it was supplied with four million euro at the end of 2018, Adria is fit in terms of capital so there is no need for a new capital injection.
This is why he does not expect any more problems with the Civil Aviation Agency, which periodically checks their financial standing and had ordered K4 Investments to recapitalise Adria last year.
Kowarsch also said that contrary to some media reports, the recapitalisation was carried out in cash.
While there were still some liquidity problems last winter, the prospects for the summer season are good so Adria expects a two-digit growth in passengers.
The plan for this year is to get out of the red, Kowarsch stressed.
Last year's loss is a result of several factors, among then damages Adria had to pay for cancelled flights and delays, dearer fuel, problems with staff and a slow introduction of Saab's 2000 planes.
Kowarsch stressed that despite all the problems, the safety of passengers on board Adria planes has never been at risk. He noted that negative publicity in some media outlets has caused the company quite some business damage.
Adria will most probably lease Canada's Bombardier's planes, Kowarsch announced, saying the 2020 summer season was now being planned so they would see what fleet they needed.
He also expects the number of passengers to rise in 2021, when Slovenia takes over the EU presidency for six months.
The website Ex-Yu Aviation reports that the Slovenian government is planning to increase the number of international connections with the country by subsidizing flights on new routes to and from Ljubljana airport. The project, which is being led by the Slovenian Tourist Board, will give €150,000 a year to each new route for marketing and promotional activities, with €90,000 provided to airlines adding more flights to their existing schedules.
The countries seen as most important for Slovenia’s tourist industry in this regard are listed asGermany, Finland, the United Kingdom, Russia, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Israel, Ukraine, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Japan, and the United States, as well as Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
STA, 19 March 2019 - Air carrier Adria Airways is cutting a number of regular routes this summer, Ex-Yu Aviation portal has reported. The company said on Tuesday that it would fly to 16 destinations and increase the frequency of flights to some of them. Meanwhile, passengers will still be able to reach the abolished destinations via other Star Alliance carriers.
It will bump up the number of weekly flights from Ljubljana to Munich, Prishtina, Skopje and Tirana, as well as flights from Prishtina to Frankfurt and Munich, the Slovenian-based air carrier said in a press release.
During the summer season, between 31 March and 26 October, Adria will fly to 16 destinations from Ljubljana: Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Manchester, Munich, Paris, Podgorica, Prague, Prishtina, Sarajevo, Skopje, Sofia, Tirana, Vienna and Zürich.
In total, the carrier will be flying 194 times a week on 20 different routes, the company said.
On the other hand, Adria is abolishing flights to Belgrade, Berlin, Delhi, Düsseldorf, Göteborg, Hamburg, Helsinki, Istanbul, Kyiv, Moscow, Oslo, Singapore, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Warsaw, and Geneva, Ex Yu Aviation says.
According to Adria Airways, all of the abolished destinations, except Kyiv, can be reached by direct or indirect flights operated by other Star Alliance carriers.
CEO Holger Korwatsch was quoted as saying in the press release that the situation in the industry was demanding and that the company could not allow a repeat of last summer. In December 2018, Adria had to be recapitalised or else face losing its flight licence.
Ex-Yu Aviation, the best site we know for flight information in the area, reports that British Airways is set to increase its capacity this summer on flights between London and Ljubljana. By switching from an Airbus A319 to A321, the carrier will be able to carry 76 more passengers, up to 220, on a service that’s scheduled to run from 15 July to 2 September (2019).
There are two services a week on the timetable, operating on Monday and Friday. The flights leave London Heathrow at 17:20 and arrive at Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport at 20:35. In the other direction, passengers can expect to take off from Slovenia at 21:20, and touchdown in the UK at 22:35.
All our stories on air travel and Slovenia can be found here
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.