Ryanair in Talks for Return to Ljubljana in 2023
STA, 18 July 2022 - The Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair has conducted talks with the Infrastructure and Economy Ministries about setting up flights from and to Ljubljana Airport, according to the Erar web portal. Slovenia is currently the only EU country without flights operated by Ryanair.
Currently working with over 250 airports, Ryanair is now aiming to add Ljubljana to its portfolio in 2023. The carrier briefly maintained flights between London Stansted and Maribor in 2007 and 2008, before terminating the cooperation.
After successfully setting up their Zagreb base in 2021, the budget airline now hopes to set up flights to and from Ljubljana Airport because of its proximity to the capital and Bled as a coveted travel destination.
Slovenia urgently needs a greater airline connectivity, said Matevž Frangež, a state secretary at the Economy Ministry, while representatives of the Infrastructure Ministry added they plan to appoint a new concessionaire to manage Maribor Airport.
Ryanair representatives expressed concerns over high costs per passenger at the Fraport-operated Ljubljana Airport, while Economy Ministry representatives explained to Ryanair the subsidy system, and that they have just finalised an open call for carriers in which Ryanair has not taken part.
State subsidies for carriers will amount to EUR 2 million this year, while last year the amount was EUR 5 million.
Ryanair and the two ministries agreed to draw up a list of destinations that are most strategically important and attractive, and set up a follow-up meeting for August to discuss their cooperation in detail.
According to the Sierra5.net air traffic web portal, the third international airport in Slovenia, located in Portorož, would not be suitable for Ryanair flights, as the landing strip is too short.
The web portal added that only the existing carriers operating to and from Ljubljana Airport could apply for Economy Ministry's subsidies for regular airlines, while the subsidies were not applicable to new carriers.
Maribor Airport would also be suitable for low-cost carriers due to good infrastructure solutions that would facilitate a quick and safe handling of aircraft as well as passengers, while staff shortage might present a problem, Sierra5.net concludes.