Regular readers will be familiar with my ongoing and in the main fruitless quest to source alternative passages to Slovenia from the north of England. In 1999, when I first flew to Slovenia from Manchester to Ljubljana, Adria Airways was the only direct-option to Slovenia from the north. Despite the advent of a profusion of budget airlines, this is sadly still the case. The likes of Wizz Air and Easyjet fly to Ljubljana from London Luton and Stansted respectively but for some unfathomable reason, no other airline to date has taken the plunge to operate a route from the north into Slovenia, despite the unqualified success that it would prove to be.
The irony of all this is not though lost upon me. In 1999 and at the height of the troubles in Kosovo, tourists were too edgy to holiday anywhere that came with nomenclature “former Yugoslav republic”, despite in ex-Yugoslav geographical terms Slovenia being almost as far away as it was possible from Pristina and the Field of Blackbirds. The result was that ostensibly I had Bohinj to myself which was terrific for me, not so for the local tourist economy. Why irony? I am getting to that bit. At that time, when flights I travelled on to Ljubljana were less than half full, Adria were using their biggest ‘planes for the Manchester to Ljubljana route. Now, in 2014, Slovenia’s popularity is such that securing a direct flight from Manchester or even a circuitous one via the hubs of Paris, Amsterdam and Zurich can at times be impossible, not helped by Adria now using 86-seater jets for this route! The more popular Slovenia has got, the more difficult it is to get a seat on the ‘plane to Ljubljana – you would expect this. You would not though presage this happening because capacity has been reduced on the route, despite Adria running a twice a week service from Manchester from May to September. Surely, it must rank up there with the most short-sighted and illogical decisions yet made by a flag-carrier. There is though a glimmer of hope…
Having checked Adria’s website and booking portal out of habit rather than expectation, I was pleasantly surprised to see a few seats remaining in June for Wednesday and Saturday departures from Manchester to Ljubljana, retailing at 297 GBP for a return-fare on selected dates. Have Adria decided to yield to the obvious demand and put on a larger ‘plane for this route? Unlikely. My guess would be that they have held a few seats back for passengers not wishing to travel on a package with the likes of Inghams, thus affording travellers more flexibility with departures and where they can stay in the country. I am sure though, despite Adria’s fleet being limited in size and capacity that they could charter a 757 to use on the Manchester to Ljubljana route; otherwise, how will they ever be able to tap into the potentially lucrative north of England and Scottish markets if they offer them no tangible way into Slovenia?
Further details of Adria Airways can be found here: Adria – book a flight