Adria Airways has decided against extending its seasonal service from Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport to London Southend due to high costs. The Slovenian carrier resumed scheduled operations from the country’s second largest city in June, following a fifteen year hiatus, maintaining three weekly flights to London. Adria confirmed its decision to suspend the service yesterday after lengthy talks with Maribor Airport’s management team. The company said that maintaining the route would expose it to excessive risks due to high costs associated with ferrying one of its aircraft from its hub in Ljubljana and thus performing an empty leg. Furthermore, revenue on the service was limited as tickets were mostly sold at low cost prices, in line with the airline’s plans to develop Maribor into a low cost hub. “The total revenue generated by these flights could have been greater, but given they operated on a seasonal basis, they met our expectations”, Adria said in a statement.
The average cabin load factor on the route amounted to some 70%, however, it failed to attract a significant number of foreigners, which the service was primarily aimed at in an attempt to boost the tourism industry in Slovenia’s north-east. Slovenian passport holders made up 85% of all passengers on the route. Adria says it hopes to resume the service next summer season. Previously, the airline said it would consider opening a low cost hub in Maribor by basing a single aircraft in the city, which would lead to the launch of new routes in Spain and, in the long term, Russia. “Adria Airways had good cooperation with Maribor Airport, which has emerged as a reliable business partner. We both hope to upgrade the service to London next year and add additional new routes”, the airline noted. Adria’s last service from Slovenia’s second largest city to Southend Airport will operate on Tuesday, September 29.
Maribor Airport handled some 18.000 passengers last year, the majority of which were flown on charter flights. It estimates handling 35.000 travellers in 2015. According to the “Večer” daily, the airport is in talks with Express Airways over new routes. The small airline has a flight school at the airport and offers panoramic flights over Slovenia, as well as seasonal commercial services from Brač and Split in Croatia to Germany and Sweden. It currently operates its flights with a leased ATR72-500 aircraft. Reports suggest the airline could launch one destination in western Europe and the other in the south of the continent next summer. More information on the new routes should be known in the coming days.
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Air Serbia and Adria Airways are both developing in-flight entertainment options for their passengers, becoming the first carriers in the former Yugoslavia to do so. Earlier this week, the Chairman of Air Serbia’s Supervisory Board, Siniša Mali, confirmed that the airline will offer passengers wireless Internet connectivity on its Airbus fleet by year’s end. “We are fully committed to ensuring that Air Serbia remains at the forefront of its regional peers in providing the best products and services for our guests … and that is why Air Serbia will have a Wi-Fi system on board its aircraft by the end of the year”. The service was originally to be unveiled during the second quarter of 2015 but has since been pushed back. Nonetheless, its roll out is expected in the coming months.
The new ‘Wi-Fly’ app will enable Internet access on board flights, which will be accessible via personal WLAN/Wi-Fi equipped devices, such as laptops, tablets and smart phones. In addition to Internet connectivity, Air Serbia’s ‘Wi-Fly’ will enable free content streaming which will feature new release movies, popular TV programs, and a variety of music. On Wednesday, the airline’s CEO, Dane Kondić, said that passengers will be able to use the Internet and make calls in-flight. A growing number of European carriers offer Wi-Fi Internet access on board a select number of their aircraft. Some of them include British Airways, Lufthansa, Air Berlin and Turkish Airlines. The product is widely available in the United States as well as the Middle East.
Adria Airways is also developing its own in-flight entertainment options. The carrier’s CEO, Mark Anžur, says the airline will roll out a new multimedia channel called “In Flight Entertainment”, which will be available across the carrier’s fleet. “Using this new system, passengers will have a simple way to access important information about individual flights and general tips on air travel. The channel will also give access to a wide variety of entertainment options. At the same time, the system will enable more interaction between passengers and the company”, Mr Anžur says. According to the CEO, the latest innovation, which will be introduced “in the near future”, will offer high-quality content on board its aircraft and is in step with the times. Further details and a set time-frame for Adria’s new service are expected soon.
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