London calling - British Airways lands at ljubljana Airport

London will be within even easier reach of travellers at the height of this year’s summer season, thanks to British Airways’ new direct flight from Ljubljana to London Heathrow. British Airways will in fact be flying twice a week from the Slovenian capital to Heathrow’s Terminal 5.

The twice-weekly flights between London and Ljubljana will operate on Mondays and Fridays from 15 July to 2 September. British Airways is the carrier of the One World airline alliance, which returns to Ljubljana airport after 18 years. On Fridays, they fly to Ljubljana with a 180-seater Airbus 320 and on Mondays with a 220-seater Airbus 321.

Mag. Tadej Rupel, Slovenian ambassador in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, was also among passengers on the fuly booked first flight. Upon arrival in his homeland he said: "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in political, economic, scientific and cultural terms, represents an important partner country with which we have diverse and all-round relationships. The British market also offers the opportunity to further strengthen excellent economic cooperation, as a constant increase in trade between the countries is observed every year. Last year, the value of total commodity exchange exceeded EUR 1 billion and increased by almost 11% compared to the previous year. In addition, the UK market is one of Slovenias' key foreign markets in the field of tourism, where we also record a constant increase in the arrival of British guests to Slovenia."

By cutting the ribbon, Mag. Rupel together with Sophie Honey, British ambassador to Slovenia, officially opened the new connection. Ambassador Sophie Honey addressed passengers at departure: “I am happy that I am able to be present on the day when British Airways returns to Slovenia.I believe that the launch of this new direct service between London and Ljubljana will consolidate and further improve business and tourism links between the United Kingdom and Slovenia. It is my hope that British Airways recognises Ljubljana as a sufficiently attractive destination and considers introducing a scheduled service between the two airports in the future.”

Zmago Skobir, managing director of Fraport Slovenia, welcomed the new carrier with the following words: “The return of British Airways to our airport is the fruit of years of hard work on the part of Ljubljana’s airport and Slovenia’s tourism sector. We firmly believe that the arrival of one of the most trusted names in air travel will further boost the recognisability and popularity of Slovenia as a destination in the British market. The choice of Heathrow is a significant added value, in that Heathrow is a springboard to all global destinations.”

English guests are very important for Slovenian tourism. “This connection is of great importance to continue the positive trend of the number of British guests who generated 470,000 overnight stays last year, which is 10 percent more than the year before," explained mag. Maja Pak, director of the Slovenian Tourist Board and added"We are pleased with the largest British airline’s new connection to Slovenia, as Ljubljana Airport is once again connected with Heathrow, the largest and busiest British airport, which also boasts the largest number of transatlantic flights. Thus, the establishment of this connection is also of great importance, as it makes Slovenia more accessible to passengers from remote markets."

Passengers on the first flight were safely flown to Slovenia by 7-member crew with a co-pilot of Slovenian descent. We surprised the crew and the passengers with delicious cake-pops in the colours of the airline. Among the satisfied first passengers was also London based Slovene Miha Košak, member of the management board of the British-Slovenian Chamber of Commerce, member of the supervisory board of Fraport Slovenia and member of the board of trustees of the British-Slovene Society: “The return of British Airways to Ljubljana is particularly welcome to Slovenes like me who live in London and travel frequently between the two countries for business and family reasons. The new service brings even more opportunities for cooperation, particularly in trade, education and science. The connection with Heathrow also means opening up the greater part of the British market to Slovenian exporters and connections to other British cities such as Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow, until now served by budget airlines with inconvenient timetables.” 

A lot of effort to establish new connection was also made at the British-Slovenian Chamber of Commerce. Chambers’ director Barbara Uranjek stressed: “I believe that this new service will be a good platform for further growth, both in trade between the United Kingdom and Slovenia and in the number of British tourists visiting the country. British Airways is one of the world’s biggest airlines. That such an important airline is returning to Slovenia after eighteen years is an extremely positive sign that indicates a strengthening of what are already extremely good relations between Britain and Slovenia.”

At the opening ceremony, Emil Delibashev, British Airways regional commercial manager, also shared enthusiasm with the passengers: “Feedback from both business travellers and tourists has been extremely positive, with passengers very satisfied that we are adding the Slovenian capital to our global network in our centenary year. We are constantly developing our services and are committed to offering our customers an even greater choice of destinations at competitive prices. We believe that this new connection will be a big hit among British visitors this summer.”

Seats are available to book now, with hand baggage only fares starting from €80 one way and 100 euros with luggage one way in Euro Traveller, British Airways’ economy cabin, and from only €165 in the airline’s business class cabin for, Club Europe for one way journey.

The new route comes as British Airways is investing €7.4 billion to improve its customer experience over the next five years, including industry leading WiFi, new aircraft, a new Club Suit in our longhaul flights, brand new cabin interiors and furnishings across 128 long-haul aircraft and investment in its short haul business class cabin, Club Europe.

6.7% traffic growth in June

During summer, passengers can travel to London from Brnik with three different airlines to four London airports. Flights offered by the British national carrier will additionally affect the growth of traffic at the Ljubljana airport. In 2018, airport experienced a record, as never before in history so many passengers travelled from it, specifically 1,818,229, of which 240,000 were traveling between Ljubljana and London. Traffic growth continues also this year. In June, 188,662 passengers travelled via Ljubljana Airport, a 6.7 percent increase compared to June last year. The total number of passengers at mid-year was 859,557 or 3.4 percent more than in the comparable period last year.

Photo by: Peter Irman

Zg. Brnik, 16 July 2019.