Updated: Sep 25, 2019
Adria Airways has suspended operations for two days, as it struggles with financial difficulties. The airline, which has been around for more than 50 years, is now evidently struggling once more.
The airline announced earlier yesterday (23 September) that it would temporarily suspend all of its flight operations on the 24 and 25 of September. In its press release, however, Adria Airways noted that it is seeking a potential investor to make sure the new announcement is ‘indeed temporary’.
The airline also mentioned, that it would maintain its connection from Ljubljana to Frankfurt, with a one way service on Tuesday 24, and the return journey on the 25.
In 2016, Adria Airways was privatized and was sold to investment fund, 4K Invest. With the new ownership came a change in business model, and the airline decided to sell all of its own planes, and replace them with leased aircraft. Earlier this year, the airline’s majority shareholder, however, changed.
On September 20, Adria Airways saw two of its Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft removed from service, after being repossessed by lessor Trident Aviation after the airline failed to pay off some of its debt. S5-AAU and S5-AAV are to be removed from the Slovenian register and returned to Trident Aviation. Adria Airways now has a fleet of 10 Bombardier CRJ900s, all of which are of course, leased. Almost half of them, however, have been wet-leased to other airlines. The Slovenian Civil Aviation Agency is watching Adria closely, as it struggles to maintain its operations.
Unfortunately, the new announcement affects airlines that have outstanding wet-lease agreements with Adria Airways including Luxair and SWISS. It also affects Austrian Airlines which has two Adria Airways CRJ900s in service. The announcement to suspend operations affected today's rotations from Vienna to Warsaw (OS623 & OS624) in addition to OS403 and OS404 from Vienna to Lyon and back. The airline’s Bologna to Vienna flight (one-way) was also cancelled. Austrian’s service on September 25 from Bologna to Vienna has also been cancelled.
Austrian Airlines said that it will “try today and in the coming days to cover all affected flights with replacement aircraft, but at the same time we cannot rule out the cancellation of further flights.” The carrier has been able to reduce a lot of the disruption, however not all of it, as mentioned above. Austrian Airlines signed the agreement for the CRJ900s earlier this year, valid until the end of the 2019/2020 winter season.
Adria Airways isn’t the first airline in Europe to struggle, especially in Eastern Europe. Some of Slovenia’s neighboring countries lack a flag carrier, after the respective airlines went bankrupt decades ago. This includes Malev Airlines, the former national carrier of Hungary, which lies next to the North Eastern border of Slovenia. Adria Airways has not been in a good financial position to say the least, over the course of the past few months. With the recent bankruptcy of Thomas Cook and Aigle Azur, it’s safe to say that operating an airline in Europe has not been an easy task.