Adria Airways have announced plans to scale back their ambitious plans for the coming year, deciding instead to consolidate its current schedule and confirmed routes for 2016.

Whilst much of what Adria’s management implement is at the mercy of the flag-carrier’s new owners, there is, as has perpetually been the case, a strategic position being adopted despite of and because of the interminable ongoing privatization process of the Brnik-based airline. In other words, Adria cannot plan for a scenario which may still not occur. In deciding to maximise the optimal performance of its raft of current routes instead of chancing its arm with additional services not guaranteed to be successful, Adria’s management are playing the percentages, perhaps influenced by the successful ‘seeing off’ of Swiss Airlines’ service between Zurich and Ljubljana that ran in tandem with Adria’s own, but, is due to be shelved in early 2016. With a tentative strategy up to 2017, Adria’s CEO Mark Anzur could perhaps be forgiven for thinking a takeover of the ailing airline will be believed only when the ink has dried.

A crucial aspect of Adria’s more pragmatic approach surely centres on the lack of aircraft at its disposal, with uncertainty continuing surrounding the future of a fleet almost entirely assembled on Wet Lease terms. The absence of the last of its own jets that were disposed of in a frantic effort to keep the airline operational has undoubtedly damaged Adria’s image and relations between management and its rank and file. Although rumours of additional planes joining Adria in 2016 is initially welcome there is a yawning financial disparity between leasing aircraft and purchasing planes it can call its own. The very fact Adria needs an emergency cash injection of €8 million to see it through a traditionally difficult winter period highlights its complete an almost indefinite reliance on hiring rather than acquiring jets.

An intriguing and somewhat incongruous aside to Adria’s troubles has been its adoption of the now defunct Estonian Air’s Tallinn-based schedule, honouring flights whilst using the former airline’s fleet. Although this will obviously prove to be a welcome money-spinner for Adria, it seems strange that their concentration on events away from Slovenia’s borders has perhaps influenced its decision to shelve ambitions closer to home. Slovenia’s administration, headed by state-owned vehicle Slovenian Sovereign Holding(SSH) are expected to commence the process of choosing the preferred binding bid although, will the state sell Adria, in its desperation to jettison a financial bottomless pit, at any price? In what is undoubtedly a buyers market, the state will have to balance its desire to remove Adria from the books with its duty of care towards the airline’s workforce and reputation, which could be damaged by a cheap disposal to a Hedge Fund predicated on a quick resale.

Further reading on Adria Airways can be found at the Ex Yugoslav Aviation website:

Ex Yugoslav Aviation: Adria Airways to scale back 2016 plans