The nascent symbiotic relationship forged between Maribor Airport and Slovenian flag-carrier Adria Airways has yielded excellent, albeit early results, with data indicating the fledgling Maribor to London(Southend) service retailing at a level above initial expectations.
Flying three times a week into the Essex seaside resort, Adria’s resumption of using the Delavska hranilnica majority-owned Edvard Rusjan Airport after a fifteen year hiatus is very much a test case for the future, the desire of all parties to turn Maribor’s airport into a low-cost, regional hub gathering traction. Despite being initially styled as a seasonal route – June 1st-September 29th – should early sales continue in a similar vein reports suggesting an extension to the service, possibly until the end of October, could be announced at the end of April.
A ringing endorsement of Adria’s long overdue use of the modern and fit for purpose airport in Slovenia’s second city will surely increase speculation of further routes being added for 2016, services into Russia and Azerbaijan being two of the destinations rumoured for next year. A low-cost, Slovenian-owned airport would appear the antithesis of Ljubljana’s Brnik-based aerodrome, now in the hands of German-registered concern Fraport. Adria perhaps see Maribor being a more malleable operation they can mold to their way of thinking, their informal ‘hand in hand’ relationship with Brnik being a thing of the past since Jose Pucnik Airport fell under the auspices of Fraport, who count Frankfurt Airport as part of their aviation portfolio. With the trade union backed savings bank Delavska hranilnica last year acquiring a majority stake in Edvard Rusjan Airport, the time appears to be right for Adria to look beyond its traditional Ljubljana base, adding Maribor to its hubs in Lodz and Tirana. Despite Slovenia’s state airline earmarked for denationalisation as part of the country’s incumbent administration’s privatisation programme, it’s very much a case of business as normal for Adria, despite eleven of its twelve aircraft being operated on sale and lease back terms.
Further details on this story can be found at: Ex Yugoslav Aviation blog: Adria happy with initial Maribor-London sales