Maribor loses commercial flights due to low demand
Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport will not see its first commercial flights in three years this summer after services from Italy, which were to be operated by Sky Alps, were canceled due to weak demand. The Italian carrier was due to introduce a series of flights from Bolzano, Naples and Pisa to Maribor last Thursday. They were to operate once a week until September 15, with the Dash 8 turboprop aircraft. A total of twelve rotations were planned from each of the three cities, with services mainly aimed at Italian tourists, but packages were also made available for those wishing to fly from Maribor to Italy. Tickets were sold online.
Project manager and director of tourism company BMG Božidar Dokl said the flights were canceled due to a lack of interest from Italian tourists due to growing Covid concerns in Italy. “Italians are now mainly choosing to holiday in their home country as concerns about Covid continue to grow. BMG had spent a great deal of time and energy promoting these flights, but flying nearly empty planes would be expensive. Charter flights, mainly set up for Italians to come to Slovenia, were also offered to Slovenians who wanted to visit the three Italian cities, but this was not a priority for us because the majority of promotional efforts were aimed at Italians said Mr. Doki said. The Slovenian Tourist Board was also part of the project.
Round-trip tickets for Bolzano Sky Alps flights cost 259 euros, the service from Naples was priced at 359 euros, while flights from Pisa were advertised at 289 euros. The fare included fifteen kilograms of checked baggage, as well as one piece of hand luggage weighing up to eight kilograms. Maribor airport, which has struggled to attract airlines for years, is set to be concessioned in the near future, after a previous concession agreement was terminated several years ago due to the inability government to adopt a new spatial plan, which would allow the airport to expand. The government is adamant that the new plan will soon be approved, after which the selection of a concessionaire will begin. Earlier this year, Wizz Air expressed interest in serving the city from Skopje, but would apply for grants worth up to one million euros.