Fraport expects Ljubljana airport to replace most Adria flights

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LJUBLJANA, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Ljubljana airport should be able to replace most flights lost in the collapse of Slovenia’s Adria Airways within a year and a half, its manager and owner Fraport said on Tuesday.

Fraport is in talks with airlines to replace Adria flights, which accounted for 11 of 29 regular routes serving Ljubljana, Zmago Skobir, business director of Fraport Slovenia, told a news conference.

“There is demand for these destinations and we have received the first signals that they will be replaced,” Skobir said.

Bankrupt Adria, which is owned by German investment firm 4K Invest, owes 4 million euros ($4.36 million) to Fraport.

Still, Fraport Slovenia expects to end the year in profit and does not does not plan to cut staff.

Brussels Airlines said on Tuesday it would start flying to Ljubljana in November, linking Brussels and Ljubljana six times a week.

Monday’s bankruptcy of Adria, which employed about 500 people, could have a negative impact on Slovenia’s tourism sector and economy, according to some analysts.

“Slovenia will be less connected to the world and that will mean that its competitive advantages will be reduced,” Bogomir Kovac, a professor of Ljubljana’s Faculty of Economy, told Reuters.

The government is contemplating establishing a new airline but Kovac said he does not believe that will happen, noting the government did not react in recent months to signs that Adria was in trouble.

$1 = 0.9178 euros Reporting by Marja Novak; editing by Jason Neely