Is Adria Airways finished?

adriaOvershadowed by the collapse of Thomas Cook, Slovenia’s Adria suspended flights for two days on Monday and Tuesday.

They have now extended the shutdown: “Adria Airways announces that it will continue with temporarily ceased majority of its flight operations also on Thursday, 26 September and Friday, 27 September. During these two additional days, the company will maintain a connection to its most important hub in Frankfurt. The Airline plans to operate on both days evening flights on route Ljubljana – Frankfurt – Ljubljana.”

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Two flights a day is cold comfort for the people stranded across Europe. One colleague of mine had flown Dublin to Amsterdam for his connecting flight to Ljubljana only to discover that the service was unlikely to be operated this week.

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Adria is a Star Alliance member and operated to just 18 destinations.

It has been in financial trouble for a long time.  In 2016, the Slovenian government sold Adria and branding rights to 4K Invest – a company, which undertakes restructuring projects.  4K added more capital late last year.

Adria is estimated to have a debt of €60 million. It has had five of its twenty planes repossessed. This includes two of its youngest aircraft, CRJ-900s with an average age 7.3 years), which were grounded by the Civil Aviation Agency (CAA) of Slovenia last week due to unpaid debt to a leasing company. The airline has suspended most of its approximate 500 staff.

Adria Airways was founded in Feb 1961 and was previously known as Inex-Adria Aviopromet and later Inex-Adria Airways. It has been the Slovenian flag carrier since a couple of years after the country’s independence from former Yugoslavia.

Many of its Eastern Europeans airlines compatriots have not survived since the collapse of communism in their territories. Hungary’s Malev collapsed as has Estonian Air. Germany’s Interflug merged. JAT is now Air Serbia. Romania’s Tarom is hanging in there as is Czech Airlines (CSA) which is the fourth oldest airline in the world. Lot Polish Airlines has been struggling for a while.

Adria’s biggest mistake was ordering 15 of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 (now the Superjet 100 ). The planes were never delivered and Adria exited the deal in April 2019. The average age of Adria’s fleet is now almost sixteen years old, adding to its cost base and reducing its attractiveness to passengers, compared to competitors.

I think I can see the airline throwing in the towel completely.

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