Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport is seeking direct flights to the Middle East in order to better compete against nearby rivals in Zagreb and Venice. The head of Ljubljana Airport’s Airline Management, Janez Krašnja, says services to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are currently being considered. Recently, the airport held talks with the leading carriers from the UAE, including Emirates, Etihad Airways, Flydubai and Air Arabia, with the latter two believed to have shown the greatest interest in launching operations.
Last November, Slovenia and the UAE signed a Civil Aviation Agreement, which enables flexibility on routes, capacity, number of frequencies and types of aircraft between the two countries, for both passenger and cargo flights. The Slovenian Minister for Economic Development and Technology, Zdravko Počivalšek, will visit the UAE in September where further discussions on the establishment of flights are expected to take place.
Ljubljana, which is in close proximity to a number of larger airports, is looking to increase its competitiveness by offering more direct flights. Zagreb Airport is served by both Qatar Airways and Flydubai from their respective hubs, while Alitalia, Emirates and Qatar link Venice to the Middle East. Gulf carriers have little presence in Slovenia. Flydubai, which operates services to Zagreb, offers its passengers bus transfers from Ljubljana to the Croatian capital.