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Old April 13th, 2016, 10:22 AM   #161
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Ljubljana airport grow


Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport recorded passenger growth of 3.3% during March, handling 93.923 travellers. The number of aircraft movements also improved, totalling 2.501, or an increase of 2.1%. During the month, LOT Polish Airlines launched services from Warsaw, which will see it compete directly against its Star Alliance partner Adria on the route. This summer, Ljubljana Airport will offer 220 scheduled flights per week, with Aegean Airlines to launch services from Athens in June. During the first quarter, Jože Pučnik Airport handled 245.466 passengers, up 3.9% on the same period in 2015. This is despite an overall decrease in the number of operated flights which stood at 6.425, down 3.2%.



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Old April 14th, 2016, 10:09 AM   #162
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New owner to buy out Adria for €45.000

The new German owner of Slovenia's flag carrier has published a takeover bid to acquire all of Adria Airways' remaining shares at fifteen cents apiece. This values the 3.91% stake at less than 45.000 euros. Previously, AA International Aviation Holding, an affiliate of the German turnaround fund 4K Invest, acquired a 96.09% stake in Adria through a recapitalise-and-sell procedure completed in March for 100.000 euros and an additional one million euro capital injection. It is now seeking to buy the remaining 298.702 shares in an offer valid between April 8 and May 9. The bidding notice does not state the threshold needed in order for the acquisition to be successful.

Since taking over Adria, 4K Invest has already implemented a number of changes. The new management has suspended several loss making routes and cancelled plans for a new service from Ljubljana to Cologne. The airline will also reduce its number of flights from its base in Lodz in Poland to Amsterdam from six to four times per week. However, on the other hand, Adria will introduce new flights from the city to Paris, and will launch services from Olsztyn as well. It has also concluded short-term wet-leases of its aircraft and crew to both Austrian Airlines and Air Serbia. As a result, one of the jets will be leased out from Adria's mainline fleet (to Air Serbia), while the other, leased by Austrian, is a former Estonian Air aircraft, operated by the Slovenian carrier. In addition, as of last week, Adria has based a former Estonian CRJ900ER jet in Ljubljana for the summer.

Following media reports in Slovenia that 4K Invest is tied to Iranian businessmen, who the press claimed to be the actual new owners of Adria, the German company was quick to deny such assertions, labelling them as "utter nonsense". "4K Invest and all of its subsidiaries, including AA International Holding, the parent company of Adria Airways, are completely owned by European Investors, mostly German nationals", the company said in a statement. It added, "Any rumours of Iranian ownership are utterly nonsense. The persons and organisations with links to Iran mentioned in a Slovenian publication in the last days are unknown to 4K Invest. The responsible manager on the side of 4K Invest, who headed negotiations with the Republic of Slovenia and its organisations, is Dr Martin Vorderwuelbecke. Neither he nor other managers of 4K Invest have any relation to Iran". The German company has named 33-year old former liquidator Dr. Arno Schuster as Adria's new CEO.



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Old May 6th, 2016, 10:09 PM   #163
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Adria Airways sees stronger first quarter


Adria Airways has posted improved numbers during the first quarter, with the Slovenian carrier handling 198.084 passengers over the three-month period, an increase 6.81% on 2015. The figure was achieved despite the cancellation of its Ljubljana - Istanbul service in January. Passenger numbers on charter services fell 33% to 12.205, the airline said. It attributes the weaker figures to the suspension of its charter flights to Egypt following last year's downing of a Russian passenger plane over the Sinai province, in an apparent terrorist attack. On the financial front, the carrier said that low fuel prices and a stronger dollar had a positive impact on its performance, although no further data has been released. Adria's management has also refused to comment on its 2015 annual results, which are yet to be published. It is believed the airline recorded a net loss of some five million euros. Adria's 2014 annual results were made public in September 2015.

In March, Adria was acquired AA International Aviation Holding, an affiliate of the German turnaround fund 4K Invest. The holding acquired a 96.1% stake in Adria from state-run shareholders in line with an agreement which also envisaged a capital injection of 4.1 million euros. The new German owner recently published a takeover bid to acquire all of the outstanding shares at fifteen cents apiece. This values the 3.9% stake at less than 45.000 euros. Jan Palmer, who advises 4K Invest and urged the Estonian government to ink a commercial alliance with Adria over Nordica's operations late last year, says, "Adria has a very long history but it must become cost-effective now. Dare I say that Estonian Air was operating much more efficiently in its last months of operations than Adria is today. The investors [4K Invest] want to make changes at Adria and move forward quickly". Mr Palmer is also an advisor to Nordica.

The new management at the Slovenian carrier has made a number of changes over the past two months. In addition to suspending flights from Ljubljana to Stockholm and planned services to Cologne, it has also discontinued flights from Tirana to Brussels and Paris. On the other hand, the airline will launch flights from Lodz and Rzeszow in Poland to Paris next month, as well as from Olsztyn to Munich. It recently leased a Bombardier CRJ900ER aircraft and will operate a number of flights on behalf of Austrian Airlines and Air Serbia this summer season. Adria has also continued its cooperation with Nordica, which uses its Air Operators Certificate (AOC). According to an agreement between the two sides, the cooperation is set to last until the end of 2017, however, Nordica has said the deal is likely to be extended and deepened.


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Old May 16th, 2016, 05:05 PM   #164
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Ljubljana sees sharp passenger downturn


Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport has seen its passenger numbers decline over 10% during April, following several months of successive growth. Slovenia's busiest airport welcomed 100.549 travellers through its doors, a decrease of 10.5% compared to the same month last year. The number of operated flights also decreased, totalling 2.601, down 3.4%. The disappointing figures come primarily as a result of Adria Airways' network cuts, with the airline suspending services to Istanbul and Stockholm since the start of the year. On the other hand, Swiss International Air Lines has discontinued its operations from Zurich. These were not offset by the recent launch of LOT Polish Airlines' new route from Warsaw to the Slovenian capital.

Ljubljana Airport's General Manager, Zmago Skobir, recently said, "We expect a slower growth rate to that of last year and we would like to close at 1.5 million passengers. That will be heavily influenced by how Adria Airways' new owners manage the airline, which has a market share of 60% - 65% at our airport". A recent company report notes, "Air traffic growth in Ljubljana is forecast to be moderate, but stable. Passenger numbers are expected to reach 1.8 million a year by 2020, with the average growth rate of over 4%. At the same time, changes in the traffic structure are expected to go in favour of an increased share of foreign air carriers".

Overall this year, Ljubljana Airport handled 346.015 travellers, a decrease of 0.7% compared to the same period in 2015. The number of aircraft movements stood at 9.026, down 3.2%. Ljubljana Airport is yet to surpass its all time passenger record, achieved in 2008, when it handled 1.673.050 travellers, followed by 2007 when it saw 1.524.028 passengers pass through its doors. In 2015, the airport improved its numbers by 10% compared to the year before. In a month's time, Ljubljana will welcome yet another new arrival, with Aegean Airlines to launch seasonal flights from Athens, which should provide a boost to the airport's figures.


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Old May 17th, 2016, 07:31 PM   #165
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Ryanair warns of Slovenia "airport monopoly"


Ryanair's Chief Commercial Officer, David O'Brien, has warned countries not to sell airports to monopolists like in Slovenia, Georgia and Greece, labelling the move a "disaster". Speaking to "Forbes", Mr O'Brien argues that foreign operators often collect all the profits, direct income to their home bases and leave locals with a short supply of flights and high fares. He adds that in the long-term this will not benefit consumers. Ryanair currently operates services to every European Union-member state with exception to Slovenia and Luxembourg. The budget airline maintained flights to Maribor for several months, between 2007 and 2008, but the service was suspended. In late 2014, Slovenia's union-owned bank, Delavska hranilica, acquired a 57% stake in the airport, conceding that one of the reasons for its investment was to show that the sale of Slovenia's largest airport operator, Aerodrom Ljubljana, which manages Ljubljana Airport, to Germany’s Fraport was a "mistake". Fraport acquired a 100% stake in Ljubljana Airport's operator just under two years ago. In 2013, Ryanair requested for the European Commission to swiftly act and conclude its investigation into whether Adria Airways accepted state aid and benefits from the Slovenian government to the tune of up to 85.5 million euros from 2007 to 2011, contrary to European Union competition laws. In a letter to the Commission, Ryanair said, “State aid was provided to Adria despite its inefficiencies while Ryanair has to develop its own market and is losing revenue”. The Commission subsequently ruled in favour of Adria.


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Old May 18th, 2016, 04:51 PM   #166
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Slovenia to boost airport competitiveness


The Slovenian government has endorsed changes to the aviation law that envisage boosting airport competitiveness. The motion has been welcomed by Portorož, Maribor and Ljubljana airports. The proposed changes to aviation legislation would allow airport operators to function as public-private partnership companies and would grant access to European Union-approved subsidies. The government, which adopted the proposal last week, says it wants to boost competitiveness of Slovenia's airports because it believes that existing regulations do not meet current market conditions. The proposal has been praised by the operator of Portorož Airport, which has struggled to enter into a public-private partnership arrangement.


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Old May 23rd, 2016, 10:09 AM   #167
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Adria and Turkish Airlines expand codeshare



Adria Airways, the strategic partner of Estonian airline brand Nordica, has entered into a codeshare agreement with Turkish Airlines on the latter's Istanbul - Tallinn service. The Slovenian carrier already codeshares on Turkish's flights between Istanbul and Ljubljana.“Turkish Airlines, which is constantly been awarded the best airline in Europe, cooperates only with the best. Therefore, the fact that our strategic partner Adria Airways has been able to establish this codeshare agreement with Turkish Airlines under the Nordica brand is also a sign of trust for Nordica’s team and partners. Moreover, the current agreement proves the good choice of a partner we have through Adria Airways”, Sven Kukemelk, the Executive Director for Business Development at Nordica said. “I am sure that this cooperation will definitely benefit greatly both partners and based on this we can further increase Estonian accessibility especially via Istanbul to south-east Asia and the Middle East”. Nordica was established by the Estonian government late last year to replace the bankrupt Estonian Air. All of its flights are operated in cooperation with Adria Airways whose air operator certificate, commercial platform and ticketing system is used by Nordica. According to an agreement between the two sides, the cooperation is set to last until the end of 2017, however, Nordica has said the partnership is likely to be extended and deepened.



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Old May 25th, 2016, 09:39 PM   #168
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easyJet boosts Ljubljana service


Budget carrier easyJet will increase frequencies on its daily London Stansted - Ljubljana service as of tomorrow to nine weekly flights. The airline will maintain the route with a mix of Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft. easyJet was the first low cost airline to introduce flights to the Slovenian capital twelve years ago. It competes against Wizz Air (four times per week) and Adria Airways (twice per week, seasonal) on the route. The two rivals maintain services to Luton and Gatwick airports respectively. Combined, the three airlines handled 150.000 passengers on flights between the two cities last year.


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Old May 28th, 2016, 03:59 PM   #169
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Turkish Airlines marks Ljubljana anniversary


Turkish Airlines today marked ten years since launching operations from Istanbul to Ljubljana. The airline celebrated the milestone with the opening of its new downtown office in the Slovenian capital, while on Monday the carrier will boost operations on the route from ten to fourteen flights per week. "Increasing the number of services to Ljubljana from three per week in 2006 to fourteen in 2016 is a good indicator that we are doing very well", Ziya Taskent, Turkish Airlines' Senior Vice President for Sales, said. The Turkish carrier is the sole operator on the Istanbul - Ljubljana route after its Star Alliance partner Adria Airways suspended the service on January 1. Turkish Airlines will operate 108 scheduled weekly flights from Istanbul to the former Yugoslavia during the peak summer months, with the carrier to maintain operations to Belgrade, Dubrovnik, Podgorica, Pristina, Sarajevo, Skopje and Zagreb in addition to Ljubljana.



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Old May 31st, 2016, 06:11 PM   #170
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Serbian company eyes Portorož Airport


Serbian-based holding company MK Group has expressed interest in purchasing a stake in Portorož Airport, the smallest of Slovenia's three commercial airports. In a statement, the company said, "Portorož has the potential to further develop and increase the number of foreign visitors. That is why we want to develop both the airport and marina. We want to promote Portorož as a high-end destination and it is in our interest to boost the number of flights in order for the airport to work at full capacity. The MK Group is one of Serbia's largest private sector companies, while the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) holds a 5% share in the business. The operator of Portorož Airport has struggled to enter into a public-private partnership arrangement with another company in order to lengthen the airport's runway, which is seen as crucial for attracting new airlines. The airport's operator sees potential in linking Portorož with flights to Italy, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic and France. Operator Aerodrom Ljubljana, holding company Istrabenz and the Port of Koper are all looking to sell their stakes in Portorož Airport. The MK Group says its involvement now depends on talks with local authorities.



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Old June 4th, 2016, 12:31 PM   #171
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Ljubljana Airport holds talks with UAE carriers


Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport has held talks with representatives from Emirates, Etihad Airways, Flydubai and Air Arabia concerning the introduction of flights from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after aviation regulators from the two countries signed an agreement of understanding in a bid to expand cooperation in the sector. The talks were also attended by the Slovenian Tourist Board, as well as local tour operators. In a statement, the Slovenian Ministry for Infrastructure said, "It is now up to the airlines, airports and tour operators to draw up specific plans". Last November, Slovenia and the UAE signed a Civil Aviation Agreement, which enables flexibility on routes, capacity, number of frequencies and types of aircraft between the two countries, for both passenger and cargo flights. The agreement also foresees the implementation of fifth freedom traffic rights, permitting carriers from the UAE to operate services to any airport in Slovenia and then onwards to a third country.

Gulf carriers have little presence in Slovenia. Flydubai, which operates services to Zagreb, offers its passengers bus transfers from Ljubljana to the Croatian capital. On the other hand, Etihad Airways codeshares on Air Serbia's double daily flights between Belgrade and Ljubljana. Currently, Flydubai operates services to Belgrade, Sarajevo, Skopje and Zagreb, with Etihad maintaining operations to Belgrade and Air Arabia to Sarajevo, although it has flown to both Tuzla and Pristina in the past. According to the "Sierra5" portal, Flydubai has shown the greatest interest in introducing services to the Slovenian capital according to "unofficial but reliable" sources, although neither frequencies nor possible launch dates have been discussed.

The Slovenian Ministry for Infrastructure noted, "Passengers travelling from Ljubljana Airport should benefit from better connections to the UAE, which will play a significant role in promoting cooperation, especially in the tourism sector, which is of great importance to Slovenia". Last year, Slovenia and the UAE signed an economic cooperation agreement which the two countries see as an opportunity to boost ties in various fields, particularly in tourism. Earlier this year, the two established a joint committee on economic and commercial cooperation.


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Old June 7th, 2016, 09:04 AM   #172
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Turkish Airlines Expands Ljubljana Service in W16

Turkish Airlines in winter 2016/17 season is increasing service to Slovenia, based on comparison with winter 2015/16. From 30OCT16, operational frequency during winter will increase from 7 to 10 weekly. Airbus A320 aircraft operates this route.

TK1061 IST0715 – 0845LJU 320 x57
TK1063 IST1715 – 1845LJU 320 x14

TK1062 LJU0940 – 1255IST 320 x57
TK1064 LJU1940 – 2300IST 320 x14



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Old June 11th, 2016, 09:28 PM   #173
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Ljubljana sees sharp passenger decline


Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport has seen a second consecutive month of declining passenger numbers, wiping out gains it recorded earlier on in the year. Slovenia's main airport handled 116.499 travellers in May, a decrease of 9.3%. This is despite the number of operated flights remaining almost unchanged at 2.863 aircraft movements, up 0.1%. The results follow on from a disappointing April when the airport recorded a 10.5% drop in passenger figures. The slowdown comes as a result of Adria Airways, which boasts a 60% - 65% market share at the airport. The carrier discontinued flights to Istanbul and Stockholm so far this year, while Swiss International Air Lines suspended its Zurich service as well.

During the first five months of the year, Ljubljana Airport welcomed 462.514 travellers through its doors, a decrease of 3%, while flight operations also edged down 2.5%, to 11.879. The airport's General Manager, Zmago Skobir, recently said, "We expect a slower growth rate to that of last year and we would like to close at 1.5 million passengers. That will be heavily influenced by how Adria Airways' new owners manage the airline. Air traffic growth is forecast to be moderate, but stable. At the same time, changes in the traffic structure are expected to go in favour of an increased share of foreign air carriers". Ljubljana Airport is yet to surpass its all-time passenger record, set in 2008, when it registered 1.673.050 travellers.

Despite Adria's network suspensions, Ljubljana Airport has also welcomed some new carriers recently. LOT Polish Airlines launched flights from Warsaw in March while Aegean Airlines will introduce seasonal services from Athens next Wednesday. Recently, Turkish Airlines boosted frequencies on its Ljubljana service from ten weekly to double daily, while budget carrier easyJet increased its daily flights from London Stansted to nine weekly. Ljubljana Airport held talks with a number carriers from the United Arab Emirates last week, including Flydubai and Air Arabia, relating to the possible establishment of services between Slovenia and the Gulf nation. Reportedly, Flydubai has shown interest in the potential flights.



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Old June 16th, 2016, 09:28 PM   #174
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PHOTOS: Aegean Airlines launches Ljubljana




Greece's Aegean Airlines launched flights from Athens to Ljubljana yesterday. The service will operate twice per week, on a seasonal summer basis, until September 24. The carrier is expected to carry some 7.000 passengers on its 34 flights. Furthermore, Aegean will operate charters from Rhodes and Corfu to the Slovenian capital during the summer. "We are very excited to welcome this route between Ljubljana and the heart of Greece. I am certain it will be a success, offering our passengers to discover the lively ancient but modern capital or to plan their journey with Aegean Airlines' connections onwards from Athens”, the General Manager of Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, Zmago Skobir, said. Services will run with an Airbus A319 aircraft.















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Old June 17th, 2016, 08:21 PM   #175
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Ljubljana Airport seeking Beijing flights


Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport is seeking to establish a direct air link to Beijing. Both the Chinese Embassy in Slovenia and the Slovenian government have begun procedures for the flights to be launched. Ljubljana Airport's Head of Airline Management, Janez Krašnja, says the airport is supporting the Embassy's efforts, noting that intercontinental flights would give it a competitive advantage in the region. He expressed hope that a Chinese carrier could be persuaded to launch the service. Last month in Beijing, the Slovenian Minister for Economic Development and Technology, Zdravko Počivalšek, discussed the possibility of introducing flights between the two capital cities, with Ljubljana likely to be used a stopover en route to another European destination.

Mr Počivalšek held talks with the China National Tourism Administration and the Czech Regional Development Minister over the possibility of Ljubljana being used a stopover point on flights between Beijing and Prague. Currently, the only carrier serving the Czech capital out of Beijing is Hainan Airlines. "It is in the interest of the Czech Republic to upgrade its product for Chinese tourists by providing them with connections to Slovenia. We also talked about direct flights to Ljubljana, but I would say that the first step for this to happen would be through a stopover concept", Mr Počivalšek noted. The minister could not say when the flights could be launched, but reiterated Chinese interest in the service. He added that "some discussions have already been held" concerning direct cargo flights between Beijing and Maribor as well.

Last year, Hainan Airlines, China's fourth largest carrier, considered introducing flights from Chongqing, in the country's south-west, to Zadar by using the airport as a stopover on its service to Rome. Ultimately, these plans never materialised. Hainan Airlines introduced three weekly flights to Prague last September with its Airbus A330-200 aircraft. Besides Prague and Rome, the carrier also maintains services to Brussels, Berlin, Manchester, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Paris in Europe. The number of Chinese tourists visiting Slovenia increased 49.7% in 2015 compared to the year before. Under China's new "One Belt, One Road" strategy, the number of flights to European countries is expected to increase significantly over the coming years.



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Old June 19th, 2016, 03:28 PM   #176
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Adria sees passenger decline


Adria Airways has seen its passenger numbers decline during the first five months of the year. The Slovenian carrier handled 381.300 passengers during the January - May period, a decrease of 8.8% compared to last year. The Slovenian carrier attributed the weaker figures to the suspension of its charter flights to Egypt following last year's downing of a Russian passenger plane over the Sinai province, in an apparent terrorist attack. Furthermore, its figures were impacted by the suspension of a number of services to the Belgian capital in the wake of the Brussels bombings. Adria also discontinued services from Ljubljana to Istanbul and Stockholm, as well as from Tirana to Brussels and Paris earlier this year. On the other hand, it has introduced flights from the Polish cities of Lodz and Rzeszow to Paris, as well as from Olsztyn to Munich, with a new seasonal service from Pristina to London to be launched today.

The Slovenian carrier is in the midst of a restructuring process, following its recent acquisition by German turnaround fund 4K Invest, through its subsidiary AA International Aviation Holding. The new owners plan to swing the airline back into profitability. As a result, services to Berlin will be discontinued at the end of the season, in late October, and turned into a seasonal summer only route. Furthermore, the number of employees will be reduced. There have been some layoffs and replacements already, although no large-scale redundancies are planned. The new owners have not given a timeframe as to when the carrier would turn profitable. Last year's financial results are expected to be published during the first half of July, with the airline tipped to post a loss of several million euros.

In the coming period, Adria is set to focus on improving its passenger services. Late last year it introduced in-flight entertainment on board its aircraft and last week rolled out a new fare structure, allowing travellers with hand baggage only to book fares at a discounted rate. The carrier plans to conclude codeshare agreements with Sky Team-members Air France and KLM, on its services to Paris and Amsterdam. Adria recently leased a Bombardier CRJ900ER aircraft and is operating a number of flights on behalf of Austrian Airlines and Air Serbia this summer season. Furthermore, it has continued its cooperation with the Estonian national carrier Nordica, which uses Adria's Air Operators Certificate (AOC). According to an agreement between the two sides, the cooperation is set to last until the end of 2017, however, Nordica has said the deal is likely to be extended and deepened.


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Old June 22nd, 2016, 10:21 AM   #177
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Maribor Airport sold


Savings bank Delavska hranilnica has reportedly sold its outright stake in the operator of Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport - Aerodrom Maribor. Its Chairman, Jože Stegne, has announced that a buyer has been found and that the bank would receive between three to four million euros from the sale. Delavska hranilnica, the largest of three union-controlled savings banks in Slovenia, has held a full stake in the operator of Maribor Airport since last June, while it bought a 57% stake in November 2014. "We will make profit on Aerodrom. A contract has been signed to sell it", Mr Stegne said in an interview last week, while failing to provide any details. The daily "Večer" has also reported that Delavska hranilnica had signed a contract for the sale of Maribor Airport with an undisclosed buyer. Mr Stegne had reportedly agreed with the buyer not to reveal its name to the public yet. He said that it was a strategic investor which would develop the airport. Meanwhile, the General Manager of Maribor Airport, Ladimir Brolih, said he knew nothing about the sale and that he could not comment on it. According to Delavska hranilnica's Chief Supervisor, Ivan Sotošek, the name of the buyer will be known soon, when the transaction is expected to be completed. Maribor Airport has no scheduled year-long flights. It handled 24.896 passengers in 2015.




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Old June 24th, 2016, 10:14 AM   #178
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The road ahead for EX-YU airlines


Adria Airways' upcoming winter operations will mark its first full season under new management. The German turnaround fund, 4K Invest, which now owns a 100% stake in the company, has been swift in terminating unprofitable routes and reducing the workforce. So far this year, the airline has suspended flights from Ljubljana to Istanbul and Stockholm and from Tirana to Brussels and Paris. The carrier has already announced plans to terminate flights from Ljubljana to Berlin this winter and turn it into a summer-only destination. On the other hand, Adria has confirmed it will boost frequencies on flights from Warsaw, as well as on the recently launched Pristina - London and Olsztyn - Munich routes. Furthermore, it will add additional departures from Lodz to Paris. The Slovenian carrier also plans to conclude codeshare agreements with Sky Team-members Air France and KLM, on its flights to Paris and Amsterdam. In addition, it will continue its cooperation with the Estonian national carrier Nordica, which uses Adria's Air Operators Certificate (AOC), for at least another year, after which the two will broaden their partnership.



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Old June 27th, 2016, 09:23 AM   #179
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It seems to me this will be quite slow year for Slovenian aviation.
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Old June 28th, 2016, 04:15 PM   #180
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Ljubljana Airport seeking Middle East flights


Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport is seeking direct flights to the Middle East in order to better compete against nearby rivals in Zagreb and Venice. The head of Ljubljana Airport's Airline Management, Janez Krašnja, says services to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are currently being considered. Recently, the airport held talks with the leading carriers from the UAE, including Emirates, Etihad Airways, Flydubai and Air Arabia, with the latter two believed to have shown the greatest interest in launching operations. Last November, Slovenia and the UAE signed a Civil Aviation Agreement, which enables flexibility on routes, capacity, number of frequencies and types of aircraft between the two countries, for both passenger and cargo flights. The Slovenian Minister for Economic Development and Technology, Zdravko Počivalšek, will visit the UAE in September where further discussions on the establishment of flights are expected to take place.

Qatar Airways is also considering potential services to the Slovenian capital. The Qatari Minister of Economy and Trade, Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, recently visited the country where he expressed hope for flights between Doha and Ljubljana to be established in the near future. The Slovenian Ministry for Infrastructure said a direct air service to Doha would open up new opportunities for tourism. In addition to launching flights to Sarajevo in November and Skopje early next year, the Qatari carrier carrier has hinted at introducing double daily services to Zagreb in the near future, while possible new routes in the former Yugoslavia could include Dubrovnik and Pristina, besides Ljubljana. It has been confirmed that the airline has undertaken a feasibility study for a number of destinations in the region.

Ljubljana, which is in close proximity to a number of larger airports, is looking to increase its competitiveness by offering more direct flights. Zagreb Airport is served by both Qatar Airways and Flydubai from their respective hubs, while Alitalia, Emirates and Qatar link Venice to the Middle East. Gulf carriers have little presence in Slovenia. Flydubai, which operates services to Zagreb, offers its passengers bus transfers from Ljubljana to the Croatian capital. On the other hand, Etihad Airways codeshares on Air Serbia's double daily flights between Belgrade and Ljubljana. Mr Krašnja said that by attracting new carriers and offering new routes the airport is looking to compensate for the loss in turnover being generated by Adria Airways, which has suspended two routes so far this year and cut back on plans to expand out of the Slovenian capital.



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