Following the collapse of Adria Airways this week, Slovenia’s only airport in Ljubljana has lost almost half of all its air traffic. Most flights by Adria Airways were feeder flights to Star Alliance hubs, so it is no great surprise that Lufthansa Group announced today it will launch an entire network out of Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport within a month.
Adria’s bankruptcy leaves an acute gap in Ljubljana
Simple Flying first reported in June that an Adria Airways bankruptcy was increasingly likely. Adverse circumstances surrounding the Slovenian flag carrier kept growing over the summer and operations officially ceased in full earlier this week.
For years, Adria has been positioned as a feeder to Lufthansa Group hubs, serving Brussels, Frankfurt, Zurich, Vienna and Munich several times daily. As we already reported, Adria Airways had such a strong relationship with Lufthansa Group that it also had feeder flights to Frankfurt and Munich from the capitals of Albania and Kosovo.
Thus, with the collapse of Adria, Lufthansa Group has been left with a loss of 216 weekly outbound and inbound flights to channel its connecting passengers. These include 64 weekly flights to Frankfurt, which even for a giant like Lufthansa is not insignificant. 42 of these flights were from Ljubljana, 6 from Tirana and 16 from Pristina.
Lufthansa Group steps in rapidly
To fill the acute gap left by Adria in Ljubljana, several Lufthansa Group airlines are stepping in. An entire network is being formed in Ljubljana by Lufthansa’s airlines, despite the Group not having a single route to Slovenia at all at the moment.
As already reported on Simple Flying, Brussels Airlines is launching a six-times-a-week service in November. This will coincide with Wizz Air pulling out of Slovenia and no longer flying the Ljubljana to Brussels route after seven years.
Today, an announcement followed from Lufthansa Group too, that Lufthansa and Swiss will launch their own services.
Lufthansa to Ljubljana from Frankfurt and Munich
Lufthansa CityLine will be flying double daily between Frankfurt and Ljubljana with its CRJ900 aircraft. Flights will depart Frankfurt every day at 09.15 am and 4.40 pm, arriving in Ljubljana at 10.30 am and 5.55 pm. They will then depart Ljubljana at 11.05 am and 6.30 pm, returning to Frankfurt at 12.25 pm and 7.50 pm. Flights are already bookable, from Sunday 27 October, the first day of the winter schedule.
These are clearly timed to coincide with Lufthansa’s morning arrival wave into Frankfurt and evening departure wave out of it. The route is very clearly intended to be a feeder.
From Munich, the German airline will be flying daily starting Friday 1 November. Flights will depart Munich at 10.45 am to arrive at Ljubljana at 11.45 am. They will then depart Ljubljana again at 1.10 pm to return to Munich at 2.10 pm.
Swiss to Ljubljana from Zurich
Swiss itself will be the first to begin flying, launching five weekly flights in just two weeks’ time. At the start of the winter schedule, on 27 October, the frequency will increase to daily.
Once the frequency increases to daily, the flights will be operated by Swiss’s A220 aircraft. Until then, presumably, because no spare aircraft are available, flights will run as five weekly with a Helvetic Airways E190.
What will be interesting to see is whether Lufthansa Group airlines expand their schedule to Ljubljana to match the capacity that Adria had on these routes. For example, Adria had three daily flights to Zurich all summer long, while Swiss has only scheduled a single daily rotation.
Also, curiously, Austrian Airlines has been absent from this announcement. Adria’s two daily flights to Vienna remain inexistent and all the feeder traffic to Austrian and Eurowings left unserved.
With Slovenia’s main airport now fully dominated by Lufthansa Group airlines, it will be interesting to see how they adapt their network over time. It will also be interesting to see which competitors to Lufthansa Group step in to take some of the market share left vacant by Adria.