Regional airlines suffer from a paradox, according to Emil Dyulgerov, director network management, Adria Airways. “They are often in a weaker position than low-cost carriers and full-service legacy airlines, yet have a strong and sustainable impact on a local economy,” he explains.
The Slovenian carrier is building its medium-term strategy to strengthen its Ljubljana (LJU) hub. “Our route profile mixes direct services with indirect point-to-point traffic,” he remarks.
Adria experiences low O&D seasonality, benefits from Star Alliance connectivity and is pursuing interline opportunities with other carriers. “Adria is ready to consider new forms of cooperation,” Dyulgerov confirms, noting that all ideas will be welcomed.
Life for Adria began in 1969 as a charter carrier, before a switch to scheduled services in the 1990s. It has been privately-owned since 2016 and, from May 2019, has been led by two managing directors, Holger Kowarsch and Sven Kukemelk. The former leads the financial and commercial divisions, and support department; Kukemelk is responsible for the operations division and the flight school.
While network is the airline’s core – with one hub in Ljubljana and a second in Pristina, Kosovo – it is a strong player in the ACMI market where it has worked on behalf of Lufthansa, Luxair, LOT and others. The fleet – two Airbus A319s, nine Bombardier CRJ900s and two CRJ700s plus five Saab 2000s – is spread with 11 aircraft for scheduled services, one for charters and six for ACMI operations.
“In our hub operations, we hit all the banks at LJU in our four waves each day,” Dyulgerov comments. The connections enable incoming passengers from the cities to the north of Ljubljana to connect through to key Balkan state destinations and vice versa, thus delivering that strong impact on the region’s economies.