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Situated in south-central Europe, there are three international airports in Slovenia. Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport (LJU) in the central part of the country is by far the busiest, with connections to many major European destinations. The other two airports are Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport (MBX) and Portorož Airport (POW). The state owned Adria Airways is the largest Slovenian airline and the national carrier of Slovenia. Since 2003, several new carriers have entered the market, mainly low-cost airlines such as EasyJet. The Civil Aviation Directorate of Slovenia is the authority responsible for air transport in the country.
Airports in Slovenia
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Earlier this year, CAPA established its Global Airport Investors Database. As the Database approaches its 500th corporate entry, it is an appropriate moment to examine the trends in airport privatisation and financing that have influenced the content of that database in 2013, a year when the number of deals at best remained stable but the number of participants in investment continued to grow, despite some ‘retirements’.
As in the previous year, 2013 witnessed relatively few airport M&A transactions involving secondary and tertiary level airports, but with some significant ones occurring at the primary level. Indeed, at this level, in aviation and other transport sectors such as ports and roads in aggregate, the number of deals rose close to record levels.
The first half of 2013 saw global deals of infrastructure assets worth USD16.6 billion, and by the end of the third quarter this figure had risen to USD23.5 billion, which already exceeds total annual deal values for every year since 2008. The majority of assets being acquired in 2013 have been either in Europe or Asia.
Montenegro’s small aviation market has been witness to some interesting developments since the Jun-2013 entry of Ryanair. The Ireland-based carrier is now the sole LCC operating in Montenegro with a single route however it has expressed interest in opening up the market further. Other European LCCs will be watching Ryanair’s movements in the market.
The small Southeastern European nation of just under 14,000km2 has a population of only about 620,000. Montenegro’s 2012 GDP was USD4.231 billion, which has significantly increased since 2000 when it was USD1.707 billion, according to World Bank data. Air traffic to/from the country has increased from just under 700,000 passengers in 2005 to 1.345 million passengers in 2012.
Montenegro Airlines is the national carrier and sole scheduled operator. It currently provides around 41% of total seat capacity to/from Montenegro, according to CAPA and Innovata data. Fourteen foreign full-service carriers currently serve the country, accounting for around 58% of capacity while Ryanair, the only LCC in the market, currently contributes around 1% of seat capacity.
Slovenia’s Adria Airways this year plans to search for a strategic investor, hopeful it can attract interest from other airlines after completing a restructuring and recapitalisation in 2011. But the flag carrier, which has emerged as a significantly smaller and less ambitious entity, still faces significant challenges as it joins several Eastern European carriers in trying to sell stakes in adverse market conditions.
The Slovenian Government sold just under 30% of Adria Airways in Sep-2011 to a group of four banks as part of a debt for equity swap. The agreement also included a EUR50 million cash infusion from the Government, which has had to pump capital into the Ljubljana-based carrier multiple times over the last several years to cover continued losses. But the banks, which include two Slovenian and two international banks, are considered short-term investors and only agreed to the deal as it was seen as the only alternative to avoiding bankruptcy. The four banks are expected to sell their stakes at the first opportunity while the Government is also eager to further reduce its share, which now stands at just over 70%.
Phoenix Aircraft Leasing is a small leasing company based in Singapore that has six aircraft on lease to TRIP, Air Bagan, Myanmar Airways International, Régional and Adria Airways. In a wide-ranging interview, Managing Director Tony Griffin spoke to CAPA about his "wish list", the C Series and COMAC 919 and the possibility of the A321neo replacing the B757.
The outlook after the Japanese earthquake was still not entirely clear this week even as Narita International Airport Corporation stated all operations at the airport had returned to normal, and Delta reported it was operating its “normal” 40 flights a day to Japan.
The overall numbers may be small, but the growth in seating capacity is spectacular from Europe to a number of emerging markets around the world this summer. Headlining this list is Slovenia, Tajikistan and Georgia in Eastern Europe; El Salvador, Panama and Colombia in Latin America; Rwanda, The Gambia and Togo in Africa; and Cambodia and Vietnam in Asia.