The news that Adria Airways declared bankruptcy was very significant for both Ljubljana Airport (LJU) and Slovenia. Adria accounted for more than a half of total traffic in the country, connecting Slovenia to key destinations in Europe, including Brussels (BRU), Frankfurt (FRA), Munich (MUC), Vienna (VIE) and Zurich (ZRH). ZdravkoPočivalšek, the Slovenian Minister of Economic Development, mentioned that the government had two ideas in mind on how to sustain the capacity within Ljubljana (LJU): either ask for outside help or establish a new, government-owned, airline.
For now, the former option was exercised – as Počivalšek mentioned even before Adria Airways announced its bankruptcy in September, the Slovenian authorities were in contact with Lufthansa Group to maintain the level of capacity and it seems like a deal was reached. However, as predicted, in the short-term, capacity will still be reduced.
Lufthansa Group has announced that the three network airlines, namely Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa and SWISS will swoop in and fill the capacity void. Austrian Airlines will maintain the connectivity between Vienna (VIE) and Slovenia, but the new three daily flights will land at Klagenfurt (KLU), Austria, instead of Ljubljana. Klagenfurt is just north of Ljubljana – the two airports are separated by less than 30 miles.
Lufthansa will maintain the connection between Frankfurt (FRA) and Munich (MUC). From October 27, 2019, Lufthansa will fly two daily flights between Frankfurt and Ljubljana (LJU). Meanwhile, the German airline plans to start flying between Munich (MUC) and the Slovenian Capital from November 1, 2019, offering daily flights as well.
SWISS Airlines, starting October 16, 2019, will fly five times per week between Zurich and Ljubljana. As the airlines’ winter schedule kicks in, the Swiss carrier will switch to daily operations between the two cities.
Together with Lufthansa, many airlines have also responded to the bankruptcy of Adria – while in the short-term outlook of two to three weeks, passenger numbers at Ljubljana Airport will be significantly lower, it seems like the impact of Adria Airways collapse won’t be as bad as predicted initially.