Ljubljana airport getting busier
More than 689,000 passengers flew through Ljubljana airport in the first seven months of the year, which is 35% more than in the same period last year but still as much below the figures recorded in the same period in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sharing the latest data with the Slovenian Press Agency, the company operating Slovenia's main international airport, Fraport Slovenija, said the year-on-year increase was encouraging.
The airport is expected to see slightly more than the planned 1.2 million passengers by the end of the year.
In July alone it catered to almost 150,000 passengers, up 9.5% from July 2022 but 27% down from July 2019, which was just months before Slovenian flag carrier Adria Airways went bankrupt.
More flights to chose from
At the peak of the summer season there are almost 20% more seats available on scheduled flights than last year and 25% more flights.
Some regular routes have already recovered post-Covid, such as Istanbul, Paris, Warsaw and Zurich, with Frankfurt and Belgrade expected to follow suit shortly.
A number of airlines have expanded their flights to a dozen destinations, with Fraport saying that "more frequent flights to key hubs have improved flight options to all parts of the world".
Two more destinations are yet to be added this season, with Luxair to fly to Luxembourg from 14 September and Wizz Air to Skopje from 27 September.
These flights are expected to remain on the winter schedule, when more destinations will be available than last year.
British Airways has recently announced it will fly to Heathrow four times a week in winter. Fraport Slovenija also expects flights to Amsterdam and Prishtina to continue into winter.
Lufthansa is expected to keep the frequency of flights from last winter, operating one daily flight to Munich and two to Frankfurt.
Charter flights traffic above pre-Covid level
The charter flights segment has recovered even more than regular passenger traffic since the pandemic, having already reached 2019 levels this year.
From January to July, there were 20% more passengers on charter flights than in the same period last year, and almost 4% more than in the first seven months of 2019.
Fraport Slovenija expects to top 150,000 charter flight passengers by the end of the year, which will be on a par with the same period in 2019.
Decline in cargo traffic
Meanwhile, the airport has seen a slowdown in cargo traffic. It handled just over 15,000 tonnes of cargo in the January-to-July period, down 11% from the same period last year but up 7% on the comparable period in 2019.
The downward trend started in the second half of last year with the economy cooling after the airport handled a record 30,000 tonnes of cargo in 2022.
In line with economic trends, the company expects a 10% annual fall in cargo by the end of 2023, which is comparable with broader trends in air cargo transport.
Frequent fierce storms that have marked this summer have affected air traffic in terms of delayed flights, not so much in terms of flight cancellations or rerouting, Fraport Slovenija said.