Adria Airways goes bust

Slovenian national carrier had been ‘intensively searching solutions’ for a rescue

 

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Tuesday 01 October 2019 09:13 BST
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Adria Airways has gone bust
Adria Airways has gone bust

In what has been a dreadful month for European airlines, September ended with a final victim: Adria Airways, the national airline of Slovenia.

For the past five days the carrier had been “intensively searching solutions” to its severe financial problems.

It has continued to operate a shuttle between the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, and Frankfurt – main hub for its alliance partner, Lufthansa. The German airline is believed to have paid for the flights to continue.

But late on Monday, it announced on its website that it had filed for bankruptcy at Kranj district court, in the nearest town to Ljubljana airport.

“The company announces that it will cancel all scheduled flights due to initiation of bankruptcy proceedings,” the message read.

Adria Airways follows Thomas Cook Airlines, and two French carriers – XL Airways and Aigle Azur – into bankruptcy in September. The month is cruel to struggling travel businesses, because new bookings are not coming in at sufficient levels to pay off the many bills that are due for the summer.

Adria Airways carried 1.2 million passengers in 2018, the same number as Ryanair flies in three days. Around 100,000 passengers are believed to have forward bookings with the carrier, which was a member of the Star Alliance.

Most of its operations were to and from the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, with key links to Frankfurt, Munich, Prague and Vienna. Adria Airways had secondary hubs at Pristina in Kosovo and the Albanian capital, Tirana.

As with other small national carriers, Adria Airways was damaged by the rapid growth of low-cost airlines – notably easyJet, Ryanair and Wizz Air – which are now likely to take over the profitable routes. It is possible, though, that Austrian Airlines – part of the Lufthansa group – may move in.

Adria Airways was founded in Ljubljana in 1961. During the 1980s, it flew many charter flights between the UK and the then-Yugoslavia, under the brand name Inex Adria.

It was privatised in 2016 and struggled thereafter against a punishing economic situation caused by intense competition.

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