Adria Airways: Slovenian flag carrier with a strong market niche; seeks path for Darwin Airline

Founded in 1961, Adria Airways is the national carrier of Slovenia. Privatised in 2016, it is 100% owned by 4K Invest, a Luxembourg-based private equity fund with mainly German investors.

A member of the Star Alliance, Adria Airways operates a fleet of three Airbus A319 and 10 Bombardier CRJ900/CRJ700 aircraft from its hub at the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana. It also serves Frankfurt and Munich from both Pristina (Kosovo) and Tirana (Albania). Adria Airways is the leading airline by seats on much of its network.

Its scheduled capacity is being reduced in 2017, although it has added one regional jet since the start of the year. It also operates wet lease contracts for other airlines.

In summer 2017 Adria Airways bought Darwin Airline, formerly part-owned by Etihad and trading as Etihad Regional. The Swiss regional airline has been rebranded Adria Airways Switzerland, but is expected to suspend its only two scheduled routes in Jan-2018 to concentrate on wet lease operations for its new parent and other customers.

Adria Airways has struggled to establish a record of sustainable profitability, but the monopolistic nature of many of its routes should provide a platform for improvement under its new owners.

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