Following last year’s collapse of Adria Airways, the former flag carrier of Slovenia, the Slovenian Government immediately started making preparations for a new national airline. The preparations were then abandoned when it became obvious that the re-establishment of a new airline would cost Slovenia much more than the government could afford to spend on it.
Now, with COVID-19 travel restrictions reducing Slovenia’s air connectivity to as few as zero (!) flights per day, the plans for a new Adria Airways are back on the table. Will Slovenia get a new flag carrier?
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Aviation in Slovenia is in dire straits
As Simple Flying reported earlier this week, Slovenia did not have a single departing or arriving passenger flight on Tuesday this week. For a European Union member state, this is a concerning statistic. In fact, it somewhat alarming given that Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport (LJU), which serves the capital of Slovenia, is fully open. This is different from what was happening in April when Slovenia had no passenger flights because it had actually shut its airports.
Almost all airlines that ordinarily fly to Slovenia have discontinued their flights to the country. Some will only resume flying briefly for the Christmas holidays, while others have pulled all ticket sales until next summer. Even Air France, which picked Slovenia as one of its first destinations when it resumed flying in May this year, has abandoned Ljubljana this week.
For this reason, media in the country are now once again reporting that Slovenia is in the process of setting up a new national airline.
Adria Airways number two is in the making
The Slovenian Government is reportedly in the provisional stage of planning a new national airline together with a “private partner,” SEEbiz reports. The project is being planned under the umbrella of a COVID-19 support package, named a Recovery and Resilience Plan. Slovenia intends to fund this through the money it expects to receive from the European Union as a member state.
Out of a total of almost five billion Euros in this package, Slovenia has set aside over 70 million for the establishment of a new national airline. At the same time, as part of a separate policy, Slovenia will also begin subsidizing all airlines that fly there.
How realistic is this plan?
Slovenia is clearly intent on setting up a new national airline, just like it was a year ago, but this time it is in a stronger position to succeed with the project.
Firstly, there are now several potential private enterprises that might be willing to assist. The Adria Airways AOC is now in the hands of The King of Bananas, who is rumored to want to set up an airline with it. And, as Simple Flying reported at the time, Slovenian cargo airline Solinair expressed an interest in July to launch passenger services too.
Furthermore, Slovenia now has a far stronger political motivation to launch a new Adria Airways, as the country has been left seriously scarred by a lack of air connectivity resulting from COVID-19. Furthermore, there is more funding available from the European Union, much of which Slovenia will receive as a grant, which could potentially be used towards this purpose.
Do you think Slovenia will eventually establish a new national airline? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.