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Business news in Slovenia

AirBaltic connects Ljubljana and Riga

Brnik, 25 April (STA) - A new route, linking the Slovenian and Latvian capitals of Ljubljana and Riga, was launched on Thursday as airBaltic's first plane landed at Jože Pučnik Ljubljana Airport. This is the second of four new routes that are being introduced at Brnik airport as part of a subsidy scheme designed to boost Slovenia's air connectivity.

Latvia's flag carrier will fly between Ljubljana and Riga twice a week, expectedly until the end of 2025. Its fleet consists of 47 Airbus A220-300 aircraft with 148 seats.

Around two-thirds of the seats were full on today's flight, while the co-pilot was a Slovenian.

As airport operator Fraport Slovenija stressed on the occasion, Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek's decision to subsidise the carrier's airport charge at Brnik contributed to the introduction of the new direct route.

State Secretary at the Infrastructure Ministry Andrej Rajh stressed the arrival of a new carrier is proof that the ministry's efforts are bringing results.

Last September, Luxair introduced a link with Luxembourg, and budget carrier Norwegian will start flying between Ljubljana and Copenhagen on Monday.

In the summer, Spanish flag carrier Iberia will start operating a Ljubljana-Madrid route.

Intensive talks are underway to connect Slovenia and Cyprus, while a fifth public call is being drafted to improve Slovenia's air connectivity, he said.

"The results of our work are tangible. Traffic at Brnik airport has increased by 30% compared to last year. The airport expects to nearly reach the pre-Covid results by 2025," said Rajh, adding that they are working together to ensure that Slovenia has a quality connection to the world.

Stressing the Luxembourg route was well received, Fraport Slovenija director Babett Stapel is happy about the new route and thanked the ministry for good cooperation.

Maria Radchenko, airBaltic's regional director for the Balkans, said that Ljubljana is becoming a very popular destination for their passengers this season.

She is also confident that Slovenians will choose to visit "the hidden jewel of the Baltics" and enjoy the beauty of Riga and other Baltic capitals.

Similarly, Vladislavs Korjagins from the Latvian association of tour operators and travel agents, said Latvians are increasingly interested in Ljubljana and Slovenia.

He is also happy that the new route will be operated all year long, but said that "if we want to keep it, we'll have to work hard." He thus intends to strengthen cooperation between Slovenian and Latvian travel agents.

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