A decision whether to lengthen Adria Airways’ fledgling service connecting Maribor’s Edvard Rusjan Airport with the Essex-based London Southend facility appears to be predicated on the creation of a local fighting fund to subsidize the Slovenian flag-carrier’s continued presence at the Delavska hranilnica majority-owned aerodrome.

Whilst a final commitment to the service has yet to be reached, a process of elimination would appear to suggest that Adria could pull the plug on the route only introduced in June unless a locally-backed plan is brokered by Maribor’s Municipality and the Hoce-Slivnica district where the airport is located. Statistics released by the airline though suggest that the service has not been the success it was originally hoped to be, with an on average 60% cabin load on the thrice-weekly flights but only 4% of those being UK-based tourists. With passengers and hard currency flowing out of the country but the Croatians, Austrians and indigenous Slovenians who overwhelmingly use the route flying back into Maribor to return home, how exactly is this service benefiting Slovenia and the immediate area? A 4% share of a 60% take-up of the flights which predominantly use the smaller, 86 seater Bombardier CRJ900 class of aircraft doesn’t amount to much in the way of inward income for the region if on average only two of those passengers are British tourists.

Whether the reported subsidy is to bankroll just the existing service or additional routes that for now remain conjecture hasn’t been made clear. For the time being the existing June 1st to September 30th schedule remains unchanged but for the service to become profitable once any financial crutch has been removed from the ailing patient more must be done by the Slovenian and Maribor Tourist Offices to attract visitors who will spend hard currency in the city and surrounding areas, rather than the current situation where little positive effect is being felt in the region from the first Adria Airways-operated service in fifteen years to fly out of Maribor.

Further reading on this matter can be found at:

Ex Yugoslav Aviation: no decision from Adria regarding Maribor Airport