Net profit of €3 million was generated in 2014 by Adria Airways, notwithstanding their slimmed down programme the Brnik-based Slovenian flag-carrier posted a spike in customers on both its charter and scheduled services, 13% and 7% respectively.

The marked decrease in passenger numbers using Adria’s service between Ljubljana and Moscow Sheremetyevo was largely offset by declining fuel costs and diminishing costs per passenger to the airline although aviation fuel prices, in line with domestic consumption are likely to have now plateaued; it is also unlikely that passenger costs can be lowered any further, despite optimistic projections for 2015 suggesting the contrary. At first glance it is perhaps surprising that Adria are rumoured to be interested in operating a flight into Russia from their secondary base within Slovenia, with Maribor’s Edvard Rusjan aerodrome earmarked to become a low-cost hub for Adria and potentially, other regional airlines eager to tap into the geographic potential that could see Austrian, Hungarian and Croatian passengers patronising the Delavska hranilnica majority owned airport.

There is though strong business-interest emerging in Slovenia from within Russia – Bovec, Maribor itself and nearby Pohorje all being the subject of rumoured takeovers or actual acquisitions of tourism infrastructure. Thermal spa resorts are exceptionally popular with residents of the former Soviet Union; it would therefore be propitious for all stakeholders in eastern Slovenia to marry up their areas of expertise to facilitate a burgeoning long-term market attractive to Russian tourists. A year is a long time in any business, especially involving one such as Adria Airways that’s involved in an ongoing takeover saga. Neither buoyed nor undermined by interminable conjecture surrounding its possible sale, Adria is very much getting on with business and seeking to push on into new areas, their in effect rebranding as a low-cost airline in all but name being confirmed by offering flights from Maribor to London(Southend) for as little as €69. Expensive landing charges at Brnik could see a long-term model designed towards shifting much of its traffic to Maribor although, it is hard to envisage the nation’s flag-carrier running a skeleton service from Slovenia’s primary airport. By pitching itself to one demographic using one airport but to another from elsewhere, there is an inherent danger of the airline losing sight of its target market unless, it is able to successfully demarcate its business between budget travellers and corporate passengers. Displaying a clear signal of its long-term intentions and identity will be vital for Adria, should it remain under state auspices or in the end, as is likely, be denationalised.

Further reading on this item can be viewed at: Gorenjski Glas: Adria Airways posts profit for 2014