Slovenia did not have a single scheduled passenger service yesterday. The airport in Maribor has no services at all, while Ljubljana Airport is only served by Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, and Air Serbia at the moment, with low-capacity aircraft and at low frequencies. Will the situation get worse before it gets better?
Not a single scheduled aircraft arrival in Slovenia yesterday
Yesterday, Tuesday 3rd November, there wasn’t a single scheduled passenger service departing out of or arriving in Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport (LJU), which serves the capital of Slovenia. This is a dire statistic for a country that has not closed its borders and is still open to passenger traffic, albeit with a quarantine requirement for arrivals from certain countries and regions.
Today, Wednesday 4th November, the situation is not much better. There was a single arrival at just after 14:00 local time, and there will be another arrival just before 19:00.
At 14:17, an 11-year old Lufthansa CityLine Embraer 190-1000LR landed from Frankfurt, where it also immediately returned as flight LH1459. Just before 19:00, a Turkish Airlines Airbus 319 is arriving from Istanbul New Airport, where it will also immediately return as flight TK1064.
Turkish Airlines is presently the only airline sending wide-body aircraft on its services to Ljubljana, though even Turkish is sending the smallest aircraft in its fleet: an A319.
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Only Air France will land in Slovenia tomorrow
Tomorrow, the situation will be worse. A single arrival is scheduled for the whole day. This will be an Air France service from Paris Charles de Gaulle operated by an Air France Hop Embraer aircraft. It will arrive at 11:45 as flight AF1036 and depart at 12:20 as flight AF1037. It will be the only scheduled departure for almost 38 hours at Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport.
To make matters worse, this is the last Air France flight to Ljubljana until 16th December. Air France has canceled all flights to Slovenia until that day, after it had previously scheduled three weekly flights between Paris CDG and Ljubljana. These flights are codeshared by Delta under the flight number DL8413.
At Slovenia’s other airport, Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport (MBX), there are no scheduled flight services at all at the moment.
Slovenia has been hit hard by COVID-19
Currently, only Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, and Air Serbia maintain scheduled flight services to Slovenia. This leaves the country, and Ljubljana in particular, with incredibly limited connectivity. Not only can passengers not easily enter and exit Slovenia for tourism or business purposes, but there is next to no cargo capacity on offer via the existing scheduled services either.
Just under two months ago, Slovenia still had as many as six daily flight departures. The range of departure times and destinations, as well as the degree of competition, offered relatively good connectivity at the time, though it was already far too low for a European Union capital. But, since then, easyJet, LOT, Transavia, and now Air France too have all canceled flights. Lufthansa has trimmed its schedule massively, as has Air Serbia.
At this rate, Slovenia could be left with no flights at all on several days per week on a regular basis. The winter is looking bleak.
How long do you think it will take Slovenian aviation to recover from this dire situation? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.