Ljubljana, 19 October (STA) - Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, the main international airport in the country, has seen an almost 82% drop in the number of passengers in the first nine months compared to the same period last year. No more than 300,000 passengers are expected altogether by year's end, which is 80% less than planned.
In September alone, the number of passengers dropped by 87.4% compared to the same month last year to 21,686, and in the first nine months only 267,780 passengers were recorded.
"We'll finish the year with some 300,000 passengers, which will be 20% of what we expected at the start of the year, the airport operator Fraport Slovenija told the STA on Monday.
Currently, Air Serbia operates four flights to Belgrade a week from the airport, Montenegro Airlines flies to Podgorica once a week and Luthansa has a dozen flights per week to Frankfurt.
Air France's planes go to Paris three times a week, Turkish Airlines has two flights to Istanbul, and Easyjet flies to London's Gatwick twice a week until the end of the month.
According to Fraport, the six airlines will also fly in the winter season, which starts this Sunday. In line with previous announcements, LOT Polish Airlines should return for the winter season with four flights a week to Warsaw from December, and Transavia with two weekly flights to Amsterdam as of 16 December.
Easyjet should operate three weekly flights to Luton and three to Gatwick from 11 December on, and Brussels Airlines should reintroduce its five weekly Brussels flights on 15 February 2021.
Since the situation is constantly changing, it is not clear whether all the plans will be realised. Fraport will publish the winter schedule on Thursday.
"A long and hard winter is ahead and a long-term recovery," Fraport said, adding that it expected no significant improvements before next spring.
A new passenger terminal is to open at the airport by next summer, as Slovenia assumes the EU presidency in the second half of 2021, which is expected to boost demand for flights to and from Ljubljana.