Adria Airways is looking into further expanding its fleet and destination network as the airline continues to grow its operations out of Ljubljana. Speaking to “Aero Telegraph”, Adria’s CEO, Arno Schuster, said, “We believe our fleet is now a good size. Our Bombardier CRJ700 and CRJ900 aircraft, as well as the Airbus A319, are ideal for both scheduled and charter flights. We are already discussing expanding the fleet. On the one hand, it is about increasing frequencies and expanding the network. On the other hand, we are seeing strong demand for our wet-lease services. We recently secured an agreement with Austrian Airlines”.
He added, “Carriers value our flexibility and reliability, and know that we offer a good service to them. We are not just some unknown airline, we are a recognised carrier within Star Alliance. The wet-lease business helps us exploit our fleet better throughout the year. We will certainly grow strongly in the coming months and years”.
The Slovenian carrier has extended the leasing terms of its existing fleet. As a result, one of its Airbus A319 jets is now on lease until 2021, while the other two until 2024. Four of its CRJ900s will remain with the airline until at least 2022, while the other two are on lease until 2026 and 2027 respectively. Finally, the lease of three CRJ700s has been extended until December 2019. Previously, Vadislav Masalov, President of the Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company, said that Adria is negotiating the purchase of twelve Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft for delivery from June 2018 onwards. However, the carrier itself has never confirmed the arrangement.
Commenting on the carrier’s future plans, Adria’s CEO said the company will continue to grow. “In the first year after changing ownership, we reduced costs and increased revenues. As a result, we have increased Adria’s stability. We believe that we now have a good and secure base to further improve our results. One possibility for this is expanding the network. We noticed that our customers want a wider choice. For example, we have added Kiev to the timetable. Other new routes will be added next year. We also have a great advantage here. Slovenia is very central in Europe. Our flights all take one and a half hours. That makes transferring through Ljubljana appealing to many customers”. Addressing the carrier’s relatively low average cabin load factor of 66% in 2016, Mr Schuster noted, “We are seeing an increase in capacity utilization every month. We are therefore very confident. It must be noted that Adria Airways has increased frequencies on many existing routes, such as Amsterdam, Moscow, Vienna and Zurich. This, of course, initially pushes the load factor down. But it makes us more attractive to business customers. When we look at bookings for October, we are very satisfied as the upward trends continue”.