Strategically timed to effect the airline’s operations on the symbolic first day of the summer peak-trading season, Adria will hope to avert strike action which, if not nipped in the bud, could have serious repercussions for its ongoing viability, amid a backdrop of escalating tensions from within the Slovenian Union of Pilots – their members’ concerns including the bolstering of Adria’s fleet with aircraft acquired on sale and lease back terms or, wet leased planes not previously owned by the airline who often secured additional jets only when they’ve been retired by other carriers, the recently leased A319 Airbus having previously seen active service for the majority of its sixteen years with Air France. Although this business model has seen Adria’s pilots openly question if the airline has a long-term future is should be remembered that last year’s sale of two aircraft, however unpopular it proved to be, kept a Slovenian presence in the skies and bought the Brnik-based concern some much needed breathing space, as well as injecting vital liquidity into the business.
The grievances of cabin crew staff and their pilot colleagues seem to run far deeper than merely how many aircraft Adria actually owns – of the twelve it will operate this summer eleven are leased – and paints a conflicting picture to the one Mark Anzur, the airline’s CEO, has resolutely remained on-message with, declaring that increased patronage, turnover and additional routes added to Adria’s roster of services vindicates the precarious course he helped negotiate to seemingly calmer waters. Whilst projected increases of turnover and passenger numbers by 2020 suggest to outsiders that all is rosy in Adria’s garden, a simmering backdrop of discontent within its front line staff heavily undermines the hard work that has enabled predictions for the future to be so comparatively bullish. Unless a swift resolution can be brokered between management and Adria’s most important staff members of all, the journey plotted by Anzur and his board of directors towards a prosperous future will struggle to get off the ground, especially if the displeasure brought into the public domain by many of his employees proves to be only the tip of the iceberg.
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Finance.si: Adria Airways seek to avert strike action (a subscription to access this content might be necessary)