A raft of new routes from Ljubljana’s Brnik-based airport look set to be announced, amid growing speculation that the Iberian peninsula is set to benefit from a direct link with Slovenia’s capital.
Whilst Fraport’s acquisition of Ljubljana Aerodrome has ushered in a new era for Slovenia’s primary airport, the country’s flag-carrier, Adria Airways, has remained in a state of flux over the possible denationalisation of the company. Adria have nevertheless pushed on regardless, introducing new routes from Brnik to the likes of Berlin and Stockholm, alongside the curveball thrown at the aviation industry by announcing a resumption of services from Maribor Airport, initially with their flagship route into London, albeit via the Essex-based Southend Airport. There is little point Adria acting as if it is in limbo, even though in many respects that is precisely what its future is in. With Fraport keen to exploit a route into Spain that Adria are also eager to explore, a service into Madrid appears to be by general consensus preferable to Barcelona, the former offering good links to South America, a market Slovenia has as of yet failed to penetrate but the possibility to code-share with Iberia flights using Barajas Airport would make it easier to transit between the likes of Santiago, Buenos Aires and Ljubljana.
Other, more prosaic routes connecting Slovenia with the likes of Oslo and Hanover inevitably point to a more pragmatic acceptance that corporate customers still make up a sizable tranche of Adria’s business although, it will be interesting to see if the low-cost model adopted by the airline for the Maribor-London service is an approach solely reserved for flights out of Edvard Rusjan Airport or, will become the norm across its incumbent and future timetabled services. With links to Dusseldorf and Hamburg also slated for 2016, these would again suggest the business demographic being the target market, effectively ensuring travellers can venture to their destination and back in a day.
Much of the conjecture surrounding future operations from Brnik centre around securing better connections with long-haul destinations, the aim to consign circuitous and at time tortuous journeys to the past form a central plank of Fraport’s and Adria’s progressive thinking. Increasing the range of charter flights into Brnik is also high on the agenda. Despite, for instance, many Japanese tourists flying directly into Ljubljana from Narita many are still left with an arduous passage into Slovenia, usually arriving at Joze Pucnik Airport via Helsinki, an astonishing 70% of Finnair’s passengers being Japanese.
It is hoped more flights from regional British airports will be announced for the winter season although, these are not presently anticipated. Fraport would though do well to listen to Kranjska Gora’s tourist officials, who attribute the lack of ski-season flights into Ljubljana to the British winter-sports market significantly stagnating in KG over the last few years.
Further reading on this matter can be viewed at: Ex Yugoslav Aviation blog: Fraport and Adria Airways look to the future