Adria Airways have responded to their decision to terminate the wet lease agreement between the Slovenian flag-carrier and the Danish Air Transport group several weeks ahead of schedule by replacing the now returned 19 year old Airbus A320 with a Boeing 757 class of aircraft – from the Madrid-based Privilege Style charter group – constructed in 1993.

The exclusively economy class aircraft will service several of Adria’s charter flights for only a few days before being returned to its parent operator – the 216 seater jet being earmarked for flights between Ljubljana’s Brnik Airport and resorts in Turkey, the Dodecanese and other Greek tourist traps. Such short-termism is symptomatic of many of the concerns arising from Adria’s business model that at times seems to run along ‘day to day’ lines. With the continued uncertainty surrounding the ongoing privatisation process of the predominantly state-owned airline only serving to destabilize its operation, Adria’s preponderance of leasing aircraft to allow it to operate a full, and indeed, expanded roster of routes have brought into sharp focus the dangers of only owning one of the estimated thirteen aircraft it has used this summer. Problems will often arise in such circumstances if aircraft have to be prematurely returned to the lessor due to technical issues or the owner receiving a better deal from another operator. Viewed in isolation and as a result of measures taken to ensure the airline remained ‘in the air’, the sale and lease back in 2014 of two of Adria’s Bombardier CRJ900 class of jet was seen as a sound business decision – the only one though that was open to it at the time. This has only been one of several issues that have dogged the airline during 2015 which saw strike action by its cabin crews slated for June 1st narrowly averted – industrial action scheduled to coincide with traditionally the first day of the summer tourist season.

Discontent amongst Adria’s pilots regarding the airline’s current direction and indeed its future viability precipitated rumours of a bid predicated on an employee buyout, reportedly backed by public savings bank Delavska hranilnica, the majority shareholder of Maribor’s Edvard Rusjan Airport. Recent reports of the seemingly perpetual liquidity issues affecting the airline that will only become more acute during the forthcoming winter season highlight the real need for the state to expeditiously divest itself of what has become a financial bottomless pit. There are undoubtedly turbulent times ahead for Adria Airways, ones I hope they can successfully negotiate.

Further reading on these matters can be found at:

Ex Yugoslav Aviation: Adria Airways agree short-term wet lease deal

and the following article, again penned by the Ex Yugoslav Aviation blog which gives a thorough and authoritative synopsis on the current and historic liquidity issues at Adria:

Ex Yugoslav Aviation: liquidity issues again dogging Adria Airways?