Thursday, October 23, 2014

Adria phases out last A320

Adria’s fleet shrinks to ten aircraft

Adria Airways has phased out its last Airbus A320, brining the carrier’s total fleet size down to just ten aircraft. The 21-year old jet, registered S5-AAS, performed its last flight on behalf of Adria on Tuesday to Egypt. It joined Adria’s fleet in April 2011, performing its first flight for the carrier from Ljubljana to London Gatwick, with an all-economy 180-seat layout. The A320 was primarily used on charter flights to Greece, Turkey and Egypt but on occasion would also operate on regular services to Frankfurt, Vienna and Zurich. Recently, the aircraft was involved in a series of minor technical glitches, bringing bad publicity to the Slovenian carrier. The jet will now return to its lessor.

The Airbus A320 has been a staple of Adria’s fleet since May 1989. The airline ordered five aircraft of the same type in 1985 with the first arriving 25 years ago, still operating under the Yugoslav flag. The jet delivered to Adria was the first to be powered by IAE engines and the first Airbus A320 ever to be registered in Yugoslavia. As a result, after more than two decades, Adria will no longer feature the A320 in its fleet. However, the Slovenian carrier plans to wet-lease several A320-family aircraft in 2015 while a total of five or six jets will join the fleet by 2016.

Adria’s first A320, registered YU-AOA

The CEO of Adria Airways, Mark Anžur, recently said his airline was considering leasing out aircraft larger than the A320. The carrier’s fleet is expected to shrink further this winter with the retirement of its last two Bombardier CRJ200s by March next year. The airline will scrap one of the aircraft while the other will be used for charter flights. Earlier, Adria’s CEO said the carrier’s fleet will consist of sixteen CRJs and Airbuses by 2020. Mr. Anžur notes Adria will need higher capacity aircraft in order to keep up with expected growth trends next year. The Slovenian carrier now operates a fleet of ten aircraft with a pair of Airbus A319s, six Bombardier CRJ900s and two CRJ200s.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Zagreb Airport breaks two million mark

Zagreb Airport posts September growth

Zagreb Airport has welcomed its two-millionth passenger in 2014, just over two weeks ahead of last year. The two-millionth passenger, Jelena Raić, was travelling on an Austrian Airlines flight from Zagreb to Vienna. She passed through the airport last Friday, October 17, and received two free return tickets from Austrian. Croatia’s busiest airport has now handled 134.737 passengers during the first seventeen days of October and is preparing to welcome Eurolot as its latest customer this Sunday. The airline will operate daily flights from Warsaw, with the service to be codeshared by Poland’s national carrier LOT. Meanwhile, Flydubai will inaugurate services from its hub to Zagreb next month.

Commenting on Zagreb Airport’s recent growth, Passenger Service Manager, Ivana Akmadžić, said, “I am very happy to have had the opportunity to welcome and greet Zagreb Airport’s two-millionth passenger and I am especially delighted that we recorded this number fifteen days ahead of last year”. She added, “This comes as a result of teamwork and close cooperation among all of us. Following record passenger growth of 10% in August, we have continued with such trends in September when we recorded an increase of 7%. We expect for these positive trends to continue at Zagreb Airport throughout the 2014/15 winter season”.

In September, Croatia’s busiest airport saw 251.280 travellers pass through its doors, an increase 7% compared to the same month last year. The number of flights operating to and from the airport also increased, from 3.564 last year, to 3.632 this September. Over the past nine months, Zagreb Airport has handled 1.865.263 passengers, up 4.2% on the same period in 2013. Last year, Zagreb welcomed a total of 2.300.231 passengers. Ealier in 2014 the airport estimated it would record an 8% passenger increase by the end of the year.

MonthPAXChange (%)
JAN135.758 2.6
MAR165.336 5.7
APR192.443 3.1
MAY217.775 5.9
JUN243.984 6.8
JUL260.783 4.7
AUG269.500 10.5
SEP251.280 7.0

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Montenegro Airlines plans 2015 expansion

Montenegro Airlines to launch new destinations next year

Montenegro Airlines has announced plans to expand its route network next year, in a move aimed at combating increased competition in the region. The Montenegrin carrier is negotiating the launch of flights to Copenhagen via Zagreb, which it intends on operating three times per week on a year-long basis. The airline hopes to be granted fifth freedom rights out of Zagreb and cooperate with Croatia Airlines on the route. Furthermore, new seasonal summer flights will include Manchester and Lyon next year. Montenegro Airlines also intends on launching a range of charter flights to Germany, as well as Prague and Warsaw. In a statement, the airline said, “The company still aims at conquering the market, primarily Western Europe, harmonize its ticket pricing policy and further optimize its network”.

The national carrier has also hinted at a possible return to Pristina after it said it was close to paying off its 429.000 euro debt to the Kosovan airport. Montenegro Airlines suspended operations to Prisitna in early 2011 after one of its jets was grounded at the airport for several hours due to outstanding debt. It was cleared to depart back to Podgorica only after a 50.000 euro deposit was made. The airline is also making good on other outstanding obligations such as those to Airports of Montenegro and the Serbia and Montenegro Air Traffic Services Agency. “The airline is meeting all of its fiscal obligations in 2014”, the carrier said.

The airline has managed to see an increase in passenger numbers this year. While it has not revealed its total for 2014 so far, in August it saw a 3% passenger increase, with 4.183 travellers on scheduled flights and a further 1.594 on charter services. The result comes despite a decline in the number of operated flights. In a statement, the airline noted, “Despite increased competition on the market, the strategic partnership between a company in the region and a global giant of commercial aviation, natural disasters in neighbouring countries, the Ukraine crisis and poor weather conditions over the summer, the national carrier is satisfied with its performance during the first eight months of the year”. Montenegro Airlines is the third national carrier in the former Yugoslavia to announce its expansion plans for next year following Adria Airways and Croatia Airlines.