The Slovenian airport, located close to the southern Austrian border, is keen on cargo. Details are listed in an ambitious master plan obtained exclusively by CargoForwarder Global. Key points within this paper are the construction of a state-of-the-art cargo terminal, extension of the runway and a close-partnered cooperation with a local trucking company.
The task the managers of Maribor Airport (MBX) have set themselves is enormous. They intend to convert this rather sleepy place into a premier Slovenian address for aviation, primarily for
throughput of cargo.
Just how ambitious their far-reaching strategic plans are is best illustrated by the figures and statements listed in their concept:
- By 2017 Maribor intends to turn over 200,000 tons of air freight annually, compared to only a couple of thousand shipments today.
- Air freight will then account for up to 60 percent of MBX’s total revenue.
- A new cargo terminal encompassing 5,000 square meters will be operational by then, complementing the existing facility which comprises 2,000 m² and which is currently being renovated from top to toe.
- Slovenian trucking firm Avto Kocevje will become an exclusive partner for road feeder services deploying between 10 and 15 vehicles during the first phase of the airport improvement.
- 500 meters will be added to the existing runway, bringing it to a total length of 3,000 m.
Five million investment
High-flying ambitions indeed. But are the chances of becoming Slovenia’s premier cargo hub realistic? “Before the end of this year the Slovenian state will invest five million euros in Maribor Airport to cater for the technical and infrastructural prerequisites for attracting scheduled airlines to the place,” majority stakeholder Stane Trampusch states.
The items of expenditure on the shopping list include the basic equipment needed to allow regular traffic, namely cargo operations, such as a high loader (€200,000), a brand new fire engine (€1m) and a de-icing vehicle (€250,000).
“We recently presented our cargo plans to a large number of cargo carriers and this triggered a very positive reaction, namely by Azerbaijan’s Silk Way Airlines, Russian Transaero and Japanese Nippon Cargo Airlines. In particular these three carriers have shown a major interest in serving our airport,” Trampusch says. The manager, who was brought up in Slovenia but resides in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany acquired 51 percent of ‘Aerodrom Maribor’ from local airport manager Aviofun, three months ago, thus becoming the majority owner. “This place is one of the best kept secrets, with an ideal location in the middle of a promising triangle bordered by Italy, Croatia and Austria” Stane enthuses.
Tightly-knit road feeder services
Because economically-ailing Slovenia is anything but an industrial hot spot, most of the goods flown in and out of Maribor Airport will come from places in the wider southeast European region. “That’s why we decided to partner with the company Avto Kocevje which operates a wide-ranging trucking network, linking our airport with places such as Vienna, Milan, Budapest or Belgrade.”
Taking this into account it seems that manager Trampusch can offer cargo airlines quite an attractive package consisting of his airport’s promising geographical position, the forthcoming modern ground infrastructure, a dense road feeder network and - a valuable selling point – the 24/7/365 accessibility of MBX airport.
Heiner Siegmund / Yvonne Boag