Above all, flying should be enjoyable, comfortable and stress-free. It’s meant to be more than just a mode of transport from destination A to B. It should be an extension of the vacation and enhance the overall experience. At least, that’s the expectation of Adria Airways Managing Director Dr Arno Schuster.

He wants his passengers’ lasting impression to be of the exquisite beauty of the Ljubljana landscape upon approach, or the delightful demeanour of the cabin crew, or even the inspiring content of the award-winning inflight read Adria OnAir Magazine.Adria Airways is the pride of Slovenia, and Slovenia is the pride of Adria Airways, and both are on the rise.

Dr Arno Schuster believes in travel convenience

Originally from Austria, Arno now calls stunning Mount Triglav home, and gushes about the Slovenian scenery and lifestyle. “It’s a great place to work. It’s a fascinating country and nature here is very beautiful.” He enjoys working with the dedicated staff in Ljubljana, as he orchestrates the aviation company’s evolution into an industry leader.

The overarching premise of his direction is travel convenience – simplifying the steps between idea and reality. “Our vision for Adria is to offer our passengers the most convenient travel experience,” Arno says. “In this region, although there are other possibilities for travel, Adria is the most convenient way.

Dr Arno Schuster Managing Director of Adria Airways

Our vision for Adria is to offer our passengers the most convenient travel experience.

This starts with us offering passengers inspiring articles about new destinations, then helping them through the booking process, and finally ensuring the flight itself tops off the overall experience. Travelling has become an important part of our life, and therefore it needs to be convenient rather than stressful.”

Adria Airways has the right connections

The airline’s membership with the Star Alliance helps with this, as does having its Ljubljana base at Jose Pucnik Airport. “With our connections, you can basically travel anywhere in Europe within one hour,” Arno notes. “For an airline, this is the perfect strategic location.” Arno’s background in restructuring and management consulting prepared him to guide Adria through “very challenging and uncertain times,” and now that the company has found firm footing, his attention has turned to strategic planning. 

He says expansion through connectivity is at the forefront of the team’s vision. “The initial phase of Adria was the stabilisation of our business, giving a clear vision with tangible goals to each employee. Now we’re looking to substantially grow the business – a huge opportunity for us. We’ve started adjusting our schedules to offer better transfers and increased frequencies.” 

From heavy turbulence to clear blue skies

Testament to Arno’s leadership is the fact he had no previous experience in aviation yet has metaphorically piloted the plane through heavy turbulence to clear blue skies. The airline now has 170 scheduled flights a week from Ljubljana.

“I was previously director of operations at 4K Invest, and I was really excited about the possible acquisition of Adria. I didn’t see myself being part of the industry prior to that, but like most people I had a certain affection for the idea of aviation.”

Deflecting the credit for the prosperous position the company holds, Arno heaps praise on his staff. “It all starts with the employees who’ve stayed throughout the years. They’ve been flexible and adapted quickly to new market opportunities and challenges. In this industry, where circumstances change constantly, that’s the mindset you have to have. We have the right people to meet these challenges.”