Portoroz, 15 April (STA) - Scheduled flights between the Serbian capital of Belgrade and the Slovenian coastal resort of Portoroz were launched on Thursday as an ATR 72 aircraft operated by Serbian flag carrier JAT touched down at Portoroz airport, bringing 34 guests from Serbia.
"I don't remember an aircraft of this size ever touching down in Portoroz," airport director Robert Krajnc told the press.
The route operated by JAT will be on trial by the end of June and will carry passengers to and from Belgrade on Thursdays and Sundays.
Krajnc hopes that the trial route would contribute to the planned expansion of the airport and extension of the runway.
The route will cost EUR 160,000 in this initial period. An informal consortium of the LifeClass and Bernardin hotel chains, the Portoroz Tourist Association, the Slovenian Tourism Board and tourist agency Kompas investing EUR 100,000. The remaining EUR 60,000 is expected to be covered with ticket sales.
Marko Tancer of Kompas said that 20% of all tickets had been sold so far. He is expecting occupancy rates between 40% and 45%. The cheapest return ticket costs EUR 136 including taxes.
The consortium is soon to be joined by nearby Croatian cities of Buje and Umag. "If it turns out that the project is working, we will continue it," said Patricija Grzinic of the Portoroz Tourist Association.
Portoroz hotel owners expect the route to boost the number of Serbian guests in Portoroz and nearby Piran, which stood last year at 3,500.