Cargo traffic is booming and has been reaching record values in recent months - compared to the same period last year, we recorded a 16% increase in cargo throughput with a total of 10,493 tons of handled cargo in the last four months. Expectations are high for the peak of the summer season, as the offer of flights will be significantly higher than last year, and an abundant offer of charter flights is expected. Fraport Slovenija is preparing for a traffic-intensive period by training additional staff, especially in passenger and ramp handling.
In April, 70,124 passengers were handled at Ljubljana Airport, a 668 % increase compared to April 2021, almost reaching the volume of traffic recorded in the busiest month of last year - August. In the first four months of 2022, 198,079 passengers travelled through the airport, which is seven times more (596%) than in the same period last year. This significant recovery in the last months has been fuelled by easing of entry limitations in European countries and increasing demand for flights. Traffic growth in April is also supported by a strong start of the charter season.
Recovery in line with forecasts
The volume of passenger traffic in the first four months of 2022 represents 40% of handled traffic in the comparable period of 2019, that is before the Covid-19 pandemic. The recovery rate is in line with Fraport Slovenija’s forecasts, despite the lack of passengers expected on connections with Russia and Ukraine that have been interrupted or cancelled due to the war in Ukraine. The recovery of traffic at Ljubljana Airport is also comparable to the recovery of "pure" international traffic elsewhere in Europe. Ljubljana Airport might have a slower growth of passenger traffic than some other airports, but this is due to a very different traffic structure. There are no mass tourism products in Slovenia, it lacks domestic and ethnic traffic.
Doubled passenger numbers in 2022 compared to last year
According to current forecasts, around 880,000 passengers will travel through Ljubljana Airport this year, which is a 104 percent increase compared to last year, but still 49 percent less than in 2019. ACI World foresees passenger traffic to recover fully to the levels it had been recording before the Covid-19 pandemic in 2026. The same forecasts stand for Ljubljana Airport, if circumstances are favourable.
"We are witnessing a healthy growth of passenger traffic at Ljubljana Airport. Carriers are responding to increasing demand by adding frequencies, and their timetables are stable. We are pleased to be able to offer passengers a rich network of direct flights during the summer season, and with connections through hubs they are able to travel to the most distant parts of the world. They will also have a wide choice of holiday destinations and these are expected to make a valuable contribution to the volume of traffic handled in 2022. With modern infrastructure and ensuring a high level of service quality, we will enable travellers to have a good start to their journeys at Ljubljana Airport. We rely on a busy summer to double the volume of last year's traffic in 2022," said the managing director of Fraport Slovenija, Dr. Babett Stapel ahead of the peak months.
15 scheduled airlines directly to 19 destinations
In the Summer Schedule, which is currently in place, passengers will be able to travel directly to 19 destination with 15 scheduled carriers in the peak of the season, and through hubs connectivity throughout the world will be ensured. As the busiest month, August will offer 140 weekly flights (compared to 80 available last year). The latest addition to the flight network is Lufthansa’s re-established daily connection to Munich. British Airways is expected to return flights to London Heathrow in late May, a month later Israir will reintroduce flights to Tel Aviv and Air Montenegro will establish flights to Tivat. Double daily flights to Paris Charles de Gaulle will be offered as of June by Air France, a strong increase from current daily flights. With Transavia France also offering flights to Paris Orly twice weekly, the French capital will be the most frequently connected destination out of Ljubljana Airport. With 10 weekly flights to Istanbul, operated with a 182-seats Airbus A321, Turkish Airlines is offering the highest seat capacity among currently available routes. Flydubai will increase the frequency of flights to Dubai from five weekly to daily in July. Airlines have significantly strengthened their connections in the Summer Timetable. Besides all above mentioned, next destinations will also be available:
- Air Montenegro three times to Podgorica,
- Air Serbia ten times weekly to Belgrade and twice weekly to Niš,
- Brussels Airlines five times weekly to Brussels,
- easyJet four times weekly to London, Gatwick,
- LOT Polish Airlines five times weekly to Warsaw,
- Lufthansa twice daily to Frankfurt,
- Swiss International Airlines daily to Zurich,
- Transavia three times weekly to Amsterdam,
Wizz Air twice weekly to Brussels Charleroi and three times weekly to London Luton.
A wider choice of holiday destinations with charter flights
Charter passengers represented about a fifth of all passenger traffic at Ljubljana Airport last year and it is expected that their number will be even higher this year. The offering of charter flights will give a greater choice of destinations. According to current forecasts, Turkey, Spain, numerous Greek islands, Jordan, Madeira, Egypt, Tunisia, Malta, Azores, Albania, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Italy, Iceland, Latvia and Zanzibar will be, among others, offered by travel agencies that organize seasonal summer charters from Ljubljana Airport.
Record growth of cargo traffic
In the field of freight transport, Ljubljana Airport is seeing record growth this year. The absolute monthly record of handled freight through the cargo terminals of Fraport Slovenija and express carriers, recorded in October 2017 (2,826 tons), was exceeded first in March with 2,872 tons of cargo throughput and again in April with 3,035 tons of cargo throughput. In the first four months of the year 2022, a 16% increase has been recorded in comparison with the same period last year, with a total of 10,493 tons of cargo handled (the average growth in the last seven years was 6%).
Extension of the cargo terminal
An investment into the expansion of the cargo terminal is planned for this year. The tent facility will be replaced with construction. The existing cold store for temperature-sensitive cargo will continue to function in the new hall, and around 250 m2 of space will be added to place new technological equipment for more efficient handling of cargo. The construction of the new facility is scheduled to begin in autumn and is expected to be completed this year.
“Cargo traffic was the bright spot for the aviation industry during the Covid-19 pandemic. The new dimensions of growth in this section we have been recording at Ljubljana Airport recently are driven by strong global trade in goods and are truly exciting. A strategic location, highly professional and quality services, and flexibility are the key advantages recognized by our business partners in the cargo segment. With the planned modernization and expansion of storage capacity, we will add one more advantage this year," commented Dr. Babett Stapel.
New employments with the traffic growth
Fraport Slovenija is preparing for a busy summer by training additional staff, especially in ramp and passenger handling, where we are facing an increased workload to cover new procedures due to the Covid-19 pandemic. During check-in, on behalf of carriers, our staff has to check if the destination’s entry conditions are met by travellers. This prolongs the time needed to handle each passenger significantly.
At the airport on time and well prepared
Passengers themselves can make a significant contribution to be handled quicker at the airport, by arriving there on time and well prepared. We recommend that they arrive at least two hours before their flight, they must hold all the necessary travel documents, pay attention to the validity of identification documents and prepare to provide a proof of RVT condition for Covid-19.
Modern technology and improvements for a better travelling experience
The use of advanced technologies in the new terminal ensures a better travelling experience. Passengers pass through the automated boarding pass control to reach the security control point and the use of smart security lines and advanced baggage screening technology helps the flow through the check procedure to be quicker. In February, the connecting corridor between the new and the old terminal opened, and certain parts of the old terminal have been renovated to welcome arriving passengers. The corridor serves as a connection to the new security check for passenger checking-in in the old building as well as for transfer passengers from non-Schengen areas. One more novelty for arriving passengers will be automated border control points, which the Police are expected to start using by summer.