As things begin to open up again, and international travel becomes a possibility once more, a number of airline have announced their plans to restart services connecting Ljubljana with other European cities. As reported on Ex-Yu Aviation, your best choice for regional news from the skies, the latest details are as follows.
Air Serbia will be the first to resume services, on 29 May, followed by Wizz Air, connecting Charleroi (Belgium) and Ljubljana three times a week from 16 June. Next is Air France, restarting operations on 24 June with two flights a week, while Brussels Airlines will offer its services on a three times a week basis from 29 June on.
EasyJet, Ljubljana’s busiest carrier, is planning to restart flights from London Gatwick and Stansted on July 1, although its service to and from Berlin is unlikely to begin before 25 October. British Airways’ flights from London Heathrow are scheduled to restart on 1 July.
Lufthansa will announce more details today or tomorrow, although no flights are expected until 15 June at the earliest.
Meanwhile, travellers to and from Finland will have to wait until 28 March 2021 for direct flights connecting Helsinki and Ljubljana from Finnair.
STA, 20 May 2020 - A week after international air passenger transport with Slovenia was allowed to resume, the timetable of flights to and from Ljubljana airport is still up in the air, with some airlines postponing the relaunch of their flights. Much remains dependent on the opening of borders and conditions for travelling across borders.
While some airlines communicated their plans to the airport operator Fraport Slovenija regarding relaunching flights after the ban, initiated on 17 March, was lifted, a lot remains uncertain.
The Serbian air carrier Air Serbia has announced it will start flying from Jože Pučnik Ljubljana Airport twice a week again on 29 May.
Lufthansa is expected to relaunch daily flights to and from Frankfurt in mid-June, while Air France plans to start operating flights to and from Ljubljana twice a week at the end of June.
On the other hand, the Dutch low-cost airline Transavia has cancelled all flights until the end of June, and the Finnish flag carrier Finnair has suspended their plans for flights to and from Helsinki for the entire summer, which effectively means until the end of the year.
The remaining airlines which had operated flights to Ljubljana before the suspension have not yet responded to queries from Fraport Slovenija about whether they would relaunch their flights.
The Ljubljana airport operator had expected a clearer picture about the relaunch of international air passenger transport this week, but this is not likely as Croatia is the only country so far whose nationals may enter Slovenia without limitations.
Much will also depend on how the coronavirus pandemic will be managed in Europe, to what extent European economies and tourism will recover and in what shape airlines will be after everything is said and done.
This year's summer schedule for Ljubljana airport, which was to enter into force on 29 March, included 17 carriers flying to 22 destinations in 15 countries.
Fraport Slovenija recently said that it would take a while before the airport reached the figures from last year, when it had served 1.72 million passengers. This was a drop of 5% compared to 2018 due to the troubles of the since bankrupt Adria Airways.
STA, 12 May 2020 - Although the ban on international air passenger transport with Slovenia was lifted today, passenger flights from Slovenia's airports are not expected before June as most air carriers have cancelled their flights until the end of May. However, Lufthansa, Swiss and Brussels Airlines have already opened bookings on June flights.
Currently, it is possible to book flights connecting Ljubljana with Frankfurt, Munich, Brussels and Zurich by the three carriers, all part of the Lufthansa group, which plans to restart at 20% of capacity as of 1 June, according to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.
The business newspaper Finance says that the three airlines will probably offer one flight per day.
Serbian flag carrier Air Serbia, which will restore flights on 18 May, is also expected to start flying to Ljubljana in June, but in a limited scope at first, writes the web portal Ex-Yu Aviation.
Easyjet is also expected to gradually start flying again in June but its plan to launch a new route between Ljubljana and the Luton airport this summer has been abandoned.
Turkish Airlines, which was one of the most active foreign carriers at Ljubljana airport, will also start flying again in June and then gradually increase operations until October.
Finish Finnair and British Airways have suspended their plans for summer flights to Helsinki and Heathrow for the time being.
Ljubljana airport expects more action in July, but everything will depend on the epidemic-related developments in Europe and the economic recovery.
The airport stresses that it will take a long time before it returns to last year's passenger numbers.
The government decided last night not to extend restrictions for air travel again, allowing resumption of passenger flights from the EU and third countries to Slovenia's international airports.
In a press release, the Government Communication Office said the ban, which was imposed on 17 March, was no longer necessary or sensible because following strict safety measures in individual countries air carriers were not providing flights anyway due to a lack of demand.
Slovenia does not have an air carrier since Adria Airways went into receivership last year.
Fraport Slovenija, which operates Ljubljana airport, welcomed the decision, saying that the lifting of the ban would help airlines plan flights.
Before the epidemic, 17 carriers were expected to operate 22 routes to 15 countries in the summer.
STA, 10 March 2020 - Fraport Slovenija, the operator of the Ljubljana airport, is already facing cancellation of flights to and from the airport due to the spreading of the new coronavirus, and more cancellations are expected in the future.
The company said on Tuesday that Wednesday's flights to Belgrade, to and from Frankfurt, to and from Brussels, and to and from the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica had been cancelled.
Several flights scheduled for next week have also been cancelled - including the connections with Berlin, Brussels and London.
"It is hard to speak about additional cancellations at the moment, but it is expected that new [cancellations] will follow," Fraport said.
Slovenia imposed a ban on arrivals of aircraft from the high-risk areas until the end of month today. Fraport noted that there were no direct links between Ljubljana and these areas any way.
State aircraft, mail or cargo aircraft and aircraft without passengers returning to a base or maintenance are exempt from the ban, which relates to the Italian regions of Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont and Marche, as well as China, South Korea and Iran.
As regards temperature screenings at the airport, a measure announced by the government to curb the spreading of the virus, Fraport said that it could be implemented in the coming days.
The national railway operator Slovenske Železnice meanwhile said that traffic was running on schedule, including by the train connecting Ljubljana and Italy's Trieste twice a day.
All our stories on coronavirus and Slovenia are here
Ex-Yu Aviation, the best site for regional air travel website for people in the industry and those who rely on them, reports that easyJet, the budget carrier for people who don’t mind bringing their own sandwiches, is introducing a third route from around London to Ljubljana. The new flights will be from Luton, and come in addition to those to and from Gatwick and Stanstead. This replaces the Luton-Ljubljana service that was run by Wizz Air until October 2019.
The new service is set to run year round, and will begin on 30 March (2020) with four flights a week, on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. On Mondays and Sundays the flights leave Luton at 07:15, and on Thursdays and Fridays at 07:00. Going the other way, the planes take off from Ljubljana Airport at 11:05 on Mondays and Sundays, and 11:50 on Thursdays and Fridays.
STA, 25 February 2020 - A company in Chinese ownership that used to lease the Maribor Airport plans to file a damage suit against the state after it terminated the lease in early 2019, whereupon the airport management was turned over to a state-owned consulting and engineering company.
The company, Aerodrom Maribor, said in a press release Tuesday it will demand EUR 2.1 million in damages, the equivalent of the lease payments for the duration of the agreement, plus costs and lost profits.
The lawsuit will claim that the state dragged its feet on the adoption of a zoning plan that would have allowed the Edvard Rusjan Maribor airport to extend the runway.
Aerodrom Maribor will claim that after the company terminated the lease, the state engaged in violations of the law by continuing to use real estate at the airport that remains in the ownership of Aerodrom Maribor.
Consequently, they will demand the erasure from the land register of an easement on the property that they say the state entered into the records based on a contract that never took effect.
Aerodrom Maribor also accuses the state of continuing to deceive potential investors by stating in a recent call for public-private partnership that a zoning law was in the making.
"It appears the state continues with its contentious conduct - by misleadingly attracting new investors willing to invest in the Maribor Airport in the conviction that the state will fulfil its promises," the company said.
After the lease was terminated, the management of the airport was entrusted to the state-owned firm DRI, which also hired all workers.
The move was designed as a stop-gap measure to keep the airport open until a new operator is found so as to prevent a scenario under which it would have to return EU funds: in accordance with the commitments accompanying a EUR 6 million injection of EU funds, the airport must stay open at least until mid-November 2021.
The termination of the lease ended a testy relationship between the state and a lessee that promised investments in excess of EUR 600 million and passenger numbers reaching two million by 2028, figures widely seen as unrealistic considering the location of the airport and nearby rivals Graz and Zagreb.
The company however maintains that its plans had been viable, assuming the state would keep its promises.
Outgoing Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek responded to the development today by arguing the first assessments indicated the plaintiff had absolutely no chance of success.
She stressed that Aerodrom Maribor stopped paying rent almost immediately after she became minister and that it was Aerodrom Maribor that cancelled the lease.
"The ministry had honoured all the terms set down in the contract," Bratušek added, while saying that a kind of promise that the zoning plan would be changed by March 2018, issued in writing by the then Infrastructure Ministry State Secretary Jure Leben, was not binding on the state.
"The relevant institutions will be the ones to judge if this letter entails any commitments for the state," the minister said, while arguing that the Infrastructure Ministry was in fact not authorised for making such zoning changes.
Maribor airport remains virtually abandoned: without a single scheduled flight, it is confined to occasional charter flights and small sports aircraft.
It recorded only 2,700 passengers in 2018, the latest year for which figures are available.
Ex-Yu Aviation reports that Israir Airlines, Israel’s third largest carrier, is launching flights between Tel Aviv and Ljubljana. The service scheduled to run from late May until October 13, with three additional charter flights during Passover, in mid-April. The flights replaces those previously operated by the collapsed Adria Airways, and join those offered seasonally by Sun d’Or Airlines.
The service will be met by a 180-seat Airbus A320, and starts on 23 May with two flights a week. On Tuesday the plane leaves Tel Aviv at 17:20, arriving in Ljubljana 20:00; while on Saturday the flight leaves at 11:35 and arrives at 14:15. Going in the other direction, from Slovenia to Israel, the service leaves at 21:40 Tuesday and 15:15 Saturday, arriving at 02:00 Wednesday and 19:35 (Tues).
As reported by Ex-Yu Aviation, Qatar Airways is planning to hire cabin crew based in Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, with registration for Slovenia and Serbia required by February 15. You can apply online, and applicants who make it to the shortlist will then be invited to an open day in Ljubljana, the date of which remains to be announced.
While the news does suggest the airline could soon start flights between Ljubljana and Doha, something it’s been considering since 2017, as yet nothing is scheduled and no contracts signed.
Those interested in the positions, which despite the picture in the hiring ad, as shown at the top of this page, is open to both men and women, must meet the following requirements:
More details can be found here.
After some years of plans that remained unrealised, Ex-Yu Aviation reports that the Ukrainian carrier Windrose Airlines is to start flights between Kiev and Ljubljana this summer. The service starts on 30 April and will operate twice weekly, on Tuesday and Sunday, with the schedule set to end in October, unless demand is greater than expected in the low season. The flights are scheduled to leave Kiev at 11:10 and arrive in Ljubljana 12:10, while they’ll take off from Slovenia at 12:50 and touchdown in Ukraine at 16:10.
The best source for news on air travel in the region, Ex-Yu Aviation, has more good news for those still worried about holes in the schedule due to the collapse of the (perhaps soon to be revived) Adria Airways.
First, Turkish Airlines has announced plans to increase capacity for the summer season, starting late March 2020, by using a 178-seat Airbus A321 on its morning and evening services. Moreover, for the peak season – 3 May to 23 October – the second flight of the day will be served by a 289-seat Airbus A330-300, giving a total daily capacity of 467 seats each way from Ljubljana to Istanbul.
The website also reports that Air Serbia is boosting its schedule this summer, with 17 weekly flights planned between Ljubljana and Belgrade, up from 12 in summer 2019.