Farewell Adria Airways

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This topic contains 20 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Sanran 15 Oct 2019
at 17:53
.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)

  • Cedric_Statherby
    Participant

    I am very sorry to see the demise of Adria Airways. I have very fond memories of flying on them.

    I was flying to Slovenia in mid-1992, only weeks after the country had secured its independence from the Yugoslav Federation, an independence that had been won at the cost of 66 lives in a short civil war. It was traumatic for the Slovenians at the time, though obviously not remotely on the scale of the suffering and loss of life later in Croatia and Bosnia.

    Our flight was due to land at Ljubljana’s Brnik airport, but was diverted over 100 miles up country to the secondary city of Maribor. The first we knew of this was when we boarded, and the Captain announced that “due to a problem at Brnik, we are flying to Maribor. Buses will take you to Ljubljana from there”.

    The Captain did not say any more or explain the problem, so I turned to my neighbour and made some comment about “typical eastern European incompetence” – as one did in 1992. This was doubly unfair actually, as not only was Slovenia very competent, but Ljubljana is also further west (by some way, in fact) than Vienna or indeed Stockholm.

    My neighbour was quick to reply. “Actually, it is not incompetence, but they have found an unexploded bomb from Milosevic’s assault on us last month”.

    I mumbled some retraction, and as he seemed keen to continue, I asked him to tell me a little more. He explained about the Yugoslav Federal Forces’ attack on Slovenia, how it had been beaten off with the loss of those 66 lives, and how Slovenia was trying to make its way as a very newly independent nation.

    “Take this airline. Our planes were shot up, and many of them destroyed. Our airports were bombed and their runways put out of action. Our tourist trade has completely collapsed, our pilots are being requisitioned by our new airforce, our membership of international aviation councils is unclear or suspended, we have almost no foreign exchange to buy fuel, and our routes have to be renegotiated one by one. But we still fly”.

    And then he gave me his card. He was the CEO of the airline, and put beside the challenges he faced, the several minor disruptions I have had over the years on my business travels faded into justified insignificance.


    DavidSmith2
    Participant

    I too started using Adria in the early 1990s and then very regularly through to 2010. For well over 10 years, I was a gold card holder and travelling in excess of 100 flights a year.

    They were great for me with excellent reliability and punctuality and a good level if in-flight service. But there were always some underlying issues, including legacy contracts and knowledge that the routes they flew (mainly in the western Balkans) were always going to come under pressure from lower cost carriers.

    In recent years, I have used them very little although that was partially because of their high prices for routes where cheaper alternatives existed.

    I am confident that almost all of the routes will be back-filled by other companies – whether piecemeal or by someone like Lufthansa or Austrian moving in wholesale and taking on the Skopje/Tirana/Pristina/Podgorica routes, but they may well go direct to Munich/Frankfurt/Vienna so Ljubljana Airport may suffer a loss of income, unless it continues as a regional hub/transit for Balkan flights.

    Anyway, however it pans out, it is a very sad day for me and, more importantly for slovenia and all the employees of Adria Airways.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    It is sad as they operated the Lugano – Zurich route for Swiss. Swiss then announced they would abandon the route altogether. 10,000 bookings are affected by this (including mine) and they have “generously” said they will provide a First Class train ticket for F pax and Hon’s and Senators (2nd class for everyone else). That will be fun with three cases of 30kgs, a golf bag and 2 carry-ons with two changes to Zurich airport. And that’s just me!!

    They will allow me to change the ticket to depart from MXP but that means a taxi ride costing chf 100.
    Sorry Swiss, but EK provide a car from home to the airport for their premium passengers, you don’t, so after 40 years with Swiss / Swissair, and as much as I don’t want to, my allegiance will be changing to Emirates, as will that of many other Luganese who are equally furious!

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    What a coincidence LP !

    I have just written a piece on this very subject and it is about to be posted online.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Here’s our piece. And pity LP that I did not know (at time of writing) about that generous offer from Swiss !

    Swiss to launch Lugano-Zurich rail link


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    Synchronicity Alex!! I’ve just read it and will post a reply which I’ll copy here.
    Enjoy the weekend wherever in the world you may be.


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    This “Flugzug” in a way is a sham and copout from Swiss, who should probably now be renamed “Zurich Airways”. Even the name offends many Ticinese being in German rather than Italian. We already have 14 train journeys to Zurich, but they involve at least one, if not two changes, which is fine is you don’t have baggage, but with perhaps two suitcases and a carry on is very inconvenient, especially as Swiss give you no help at all. Further, the service is not always as reliable as train services in the rest of Switzerland with frequent delays and cancellations, not to mention oft overcrowded trains which means standing room only – as I experienced today, though we did have seats.

    Then as you correctly pointed out, are the timings. I can be in Malpensa in 45 minutes to an hour, as opposed to 15 minutes to Lugano Agno. Why would I then fly Swiss to London, Barcelona, Lisbon or Paris, to name just a few, via Zurich when I can fly direct with BA, AF etc etc. By avoiding Zurich my door to door time is roughly the same, if not a bit faster, and often much cheaper.

    Now looking at long haul. Again MXP trumps here. Emirates, which is not only much more competitive in the premium cabins, but also provides a free chauffeur driven service at both ends. If you’re willing to pay between CHF 50 and 100 (CHF 25 for the bus) for the transfer then a whole host of offerings are there, Qatar, Turkish, SIA, Thai, Korean, Cathy, AA, United to name again just a few. All offer a wonderful premium product and again at a much more competitive fare than Swiss.

    Swiss has also forgotten, that many of its passengers travel to Agno from the surrounding towns of Como and Varese in Italy as it’s easier for them than going to Malpensa. Flying ex Lugano invariably means your whole journey would be on Swiss so this traffic will also be lost and they definitely will not be using the train service.

    The locals here are furious, and their spending power should not be underestimated. Over 10,000 tickets are affected and that’s just until the year end, with many in the premium cabins. There is now talk, and I’m a part of them, among several high profile business people, to start a shuttle airline with support from and feeding pax into AF, BA and other airlines, but totally excluding Swiss. I personally don’t totally agree with excluding Swiss (though I understand why) but the feelings are so high at the abandonment of Lugano (first Geneva and now Zurich) that they feel Swiss just cannot be trusted.

    This feeling is bolstered by the fact that three airlines want to fly the route, but being non Swiss (nationality) based they need special government permission to fly an internal route, and this is being blocked by, you guessed it – Swiss!

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    Further to the above, Swiss are now showing fares ex Lugano on their website, with the Lugano – Zurich section by train. I looked up fares to Vienna, a route I flew recently, and the travel time home – hotel via MXP (direct to VIE) is at least 2.5 hours faster and you have an extra hour in bed. Not only that but the fares in both Economy and Business are at least 30% cheaper. Same with the return, leaving on the mid afternoon flight from Vienna via MXP you are home in time for dinner. Via Zurich and the train you’re home in time for bed and after that long train journey will likely need it?

    Makes no sense and who’d fly “by train” ex Lugano now???

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    I just looked at the flight schedule, and for the train this is what it shows:

    Flight information
    Lugano (QDL) – Zurich (ZRH)
    Departure
    Date: 23/10/2019
    Time: 05:32
    From: Lugano (QDL), Switzerland
    Arrival
    Date: 23/10/2019
    Time: 08:12
    To: Zurich (ZRH), Switzerland
    Operating Airline: SWISS RAILWAYS
    Flight number:
    LX 7441
    Total travel time: 02:40

    However, if I check the SBB website, I see a change in Zurich is required, but there is a 2 minute discrepancy in the arrival time at the airport between the above and the SBB website, so perhaps part of the train carries on directly to the airport. This I don’t know?


    Swissdiver
    Participant

    I guess, LP, this is a marketing exercice to (try to) show the non Ticinese that they are treated well. But as you mentioned, the “Flugzug” is rubbish.

    When Swissair dropped intercontinental flights from Geneva just before an Easter week-end hoping we won’t react, they gave the competition a massive opportunity. The result is still seen today. There are 10 daily flights to London, including 8 to LHR, and 9 to CDG, while “only” 8 are going to ZRH (on October 11th). LX realised this however a couple of years ago. There is now a fleet of the excellent CS300 based in Geneva, which probably improves a bit LX’s market position although the Orange thing is still the main player here. And the three Middle Eastern are coming once to twice a day as well.

    Finally, on a side note, yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of Geneva airport!

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Sanran
    Participant

    Hi LP,
    I wouldn’t say people from Ticino are generally furious if this airport will be definitely closed. It is no longer making sense.
    The vast majority of LUG-ZRH flights were just the firsy leg of a then intercontinental flight. Swiss could give a similar service if, and only if, they will allow check-in in Lugano and Bellinzona train stations: at that point your bags are no longer your responsibility and you don’t need to be so early in advance in ZRH. Don’t you think?
    Furthermore too many times flights were canceled, even at last minute, causing a lot of problems for further connections.
    LUG doesn’t make any sense financially, if not for private aviation and this one will remain there as it is profitable. But frankly for a city like Lugano throwing so many millions in that black hole called Lugano-Agno airport is simply not bearable.
    I’m not saying this makes me happy: I love these very small and fast airport, but one needs more than four flights per day to survive.


    Swissdiver
    Participant

    Hi LP,
    I wouldn’t say people from Ticino are generally furious if this airport will be definitely closed. It is no longer making sense.
    The vast majority of LUG-ZRH flights were just the firsy leg of a then intercontinental flight. Swiss could give a similar service if, and only if, they will allow check-in in Lugano and Bellinzona train stations: at that point your bags are no longer your responsibility and you don’t need to be so early in advance in ZRH. Don’t you think?
    Furthermore too many times flights were canceled, even at last minute, causing a lot of problems for further connections.
    LUG doesn’t make any sense financially, if not for private aviation and this one will remain there as it is profitable. But frankly for a city like Lugano throwing so many millions in that black hole called Lugano-Agno airport is simply not bearable.
    I’m not saying this makes me happy: I love these very small and fast airport, but one needs more than four flights per day to survive.

    In my view, serving LUG from GVA and ZRH should be seen as a public service obligation for the flag carrier. Unfortunately it is not. As a result, it takes over 5 hours to go to Lugano from Geneva, and almost 3 hours from Zurich Flughafen.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    Yes Sanran, it was mainly feeder flights, but that’s whats needed. Not many people want to add 3 hours to their journey and Lugano station is just not set up for travellers with heavy bags. The parking facilities are awful, no trolleys and no proper facilities.

    As for not making sense financially, that’s not the case at all. Over 200 people depend on the airport for their livelihood. 5 hours by train to Geneva versus 30 minutes by air meant a lot of business between the cities stopped. And yes, as Swissdiver said, it is a public service and a vital one at that.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Sanran
    Participant

    I definitely agree that infrastructure (real check in, parking and so on) needs to exist before they can call it Flugzug,
    On the other hand Swiss being no longer a flag carrier, it cannot be forced in any way. There is a subsidy, but apparently is not enough to make it interesting.
    I’m not happy about the fall of LUG, but that’s the result of too many years of decline. If it were just 30km southern, someone would surely rescue it with public money, but it isn’t.


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    Swiss is definitely still a flag carrier in Switzerland, even though I said it should be renamed “Zurich Airways”! I can’t answer as to subsidies and not sure what you mean by “30 kms southern”?

    It’s also not entirely true that LUG has been in decline for many years. Until Swiss abandoned the airport it was still a well used airport, with the city about to provide a direct rail link from the main station by diverting the Lugano – Ponte Tresa line. It was Swiss that did not invest, and who chose Adria over Austrian, who ran a very good service, as they were cheaper. Well we all see what “cheap” did.

    As I said, 3 hours v 6 hours station to arrival airport is not a contest, and many will go directly from Milan. Where Swiss will feel it the most is in it’s premium traffic.

    2 users thanked author for this post.
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