Slovenia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Tanja Fajon, confirmed she has discussed the possibility of establishing flights between Qatar and Slovenia on her recent visit to the Gulf state. Ms Fajon held talks with Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani. Qatar Airways has expressed interest in serving Ljubljana. Prior to the pandemic, the airline’s former CEO of 27 years, Akbar Al Baker, said, “Ljubljana is being looked at. We have many destinations we plan to operate with our narrowbodies”. Last year, the airline began codesharing on Air Serbia’s flights between Belgrade and the Slovenian capital.
Recently, a large Qatari delegation, headed by the country’s ruler Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, visited Slovenia, during which potential flights were also discussed. “As for the air connectivity between Ljubljana and Doha, Qatar Airways is very interested in the European market, but opening a new route requires time to study the market. Once this is completed, flights will be launched. Slovenia is a tourism-oriented country that relies on this sector as a main resource in the economy and has attractive facilities. Tourism between the two countries could see a leap in the coming period”, the Qatari delegation said.
The lack of narrow-body equipment remains a deterrent for Qatar Airways, with its 29-strong Airbus A320 fleet fully utilised across its network, while its 737 MAX 8 jets are exclusively deployed on regional routes as they do not feature the carrier’s hard product. The airline is not expected to take delivery of new narrow-bodies until 2026. There have never been nonstop flights between the two countries. Although there is little demand for point-to-point travel between the two capitals, with an average of a 1.000 travellers, a potential Qatar Airways service would be primarily used by transfer passengers, with the Qatari carrier boasting an extensive international network. Flydubai is the only Gulf carrier serving Ljubljana. The airline handled 70.541 passengers on its Slovenia flights last year, up from 45.263 in 2022, or an increase of 55.8%.

Article source: http://www.exyuaviation.com/2024/06/slovenia-in-talks-over-potential-qatar.html

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