Encouraging trends for Ljubljana Airport
Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport has posted much needed passenger growth as its search for a new owner intensifies. In the first three quarters, Slovenia’s busiest airport welcomed 1.033.901 passengers, an increase of 8.1% compared to the same period last year. A total of eight airlines operated scheduled flights to the city compared to seven last year. Ljubljana Airport welcomed 845.304 passengers on scheduled flights, up 10.2%, with the remaining 150.960 passengers boarding charter flights, also up 9.5%. Some 158.738 passengers used Ljubljana as a transit point for onward travel, representing an improvement of 36.7% compared to 2012.
Wizz Air has been a key player in Ljubljana’s recovery. The airline launched flights from London Luton and Brussels Charleroi late last year and has led to an expansion in low cost travel from the airport. Wizz Air and easyJet now account for 12.3% of all passengers using the airport, up 4.2% on the same period last year. easyJet is currently the second busiest airline in Ljubljana after Adria Airways. However, its numbers have been hit by a 7.5% decrease as it discontinued its Paris route but continues to maintain flights to London Stansted. In less than a year, Wizz Air has become Ljubljana’s third busiest airline with some 50.000 passengers carried to and from the Slovenian capital. Other carriers performing well include Montenegro Airlines which recorded a 22% improvement on its Podgorica service. Turkish Airlines, which is Ljubljana’s fourth busiest airline, saw its passenger number soar 35.4%. The biggest loser was Air France which has seen its figures plummet by 19%. The airline now operates its Paris - Ljubljana service through its regional subsidiary HOP!.
Ljubljana Airport’s performance is strongly linked with that of its biggest customer - Adria Airways. The Slovenian carrier, which has seen its numbers improve 3.2% in the first three quarters, carried a whopping 69.5% of all passengers using Ljubljana Airport or 691.919 travellers. This is despite the fact that Adria has operated fewer flights than last year. Overall, the most popular destination served from Ljubljana is London (both Stansted and Luton), followed by Frankfurt and Istanbul. Skopje is the most popular EX-YU destination to be served out of the Slovenian capital while Sarajevo and Belgrade come bottom last. The most popular charter flights were those to Tel Aviv followed by Antalya and Hurghada in Egypt. Almost all destinations served from the Slovenian capital recorded improved passenger trends in 2013 compared to last year with exception to Vienna, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Belgrade while Pristina and Brussels were break even.
Ljubljana Airport is hoping to end the fourth quarter and the year on a positive note. Earlier this week Air Serbia launched daily flights to Belgrade. In addition, next year, Adria Airways will introduce new flights from Ljubljana to Prague, Warsaw and London Gatwick. On Tuesday, the Slovenia Prime Minister pitched Ljubljana Airport to investors at the Russian-Slovenian investment conference. The Russian Minister for Mass Communications, Nikolai Nikiforov, has confirmed Russian companies are interested in buying a stake in Ljubljana Airport.