Solinair Looks To Launch Slovenian National Carrier

Solinair, the Slovenian subsidiary of Turkish cargo operator MNG Airlines, has proposed to establish a new flag carrier and national airline of Slovenia. This follows the bankruptcy of Adria Airways, which had been operating in Slovenia for 59 years, until September last year. Let’s take a look at what plans Solinair has for Slovenian aviation.

solinair air slovenia adria
Solinair is in talks with various aviation industry stakeholders in Slovenia to crate Air Slovenia. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia

Solinair is seriously interested reports that Janež Jelenc, the CEO of Slovenian cargo airline Solinair, is seriously interested in establishing a new national airline in the European country of Slovenia. The talks between Solinair and Slovenia have already reached an advanced stage, and further details are expected to emerge soon.

The speed of the developments indicates that Solinair is absolutely serious about replacing Adria Airways in Slovenia, and setting up a commercial passenger airline that would serve the country in pretty much the exact way that Adria Airways used to.

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This new airline would be called Air Slovenia. The set up would cost Solinair “nearly five million euros”. Solinair would not be paying for all of this itself: it is expecting a significant inflow of subsidies from the various stakeholders that have lost much of their business following the bankruptcy of Adria Airways. This is primarily Fraport Slovenija, the operator of Slovenia’s only airport with commercial flights, Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport. But it is also the Slovenian government.

Adria Airways
Adria Airways 2.0 would be called Air Slovenia, and it would again be a private venture. Photo: Getty Images

Air Slovenia’s fleet

Solinair has clearly looked carefully at the failed business strategy of Adria Airways and decided it will try to focus only on the profitable parts of Adria’s business. Thus, all the aircraft in Air Slovenia’s fleet would be regional jets only. The models being considered are the Mitsubishi CRJ900 and the ATR72 and Dash 8-400 turbopop aircraft.

Air Slovenia would limit its fleet to “four to five” of these aircraft, irrespective of which of the three models it chooses. Therefore, Air Slovenia’s fleet would be in stark contrast to Adria Airways’ mixed fleet, which also included Airbus aircraft, and a double-digit number of airplanes positioned across different bases in Europe.

Adria Airways A319
In its fleet, Adria Airways also had large Airbus aircraft, which were not profitable for the Slovenian market on a year-round basis. Photo: Getty Images

Air Slovenia’s potential destinations

The destinations that Solinair has proposed to launch as part of Air Slovenia are Amsterdam, Skopje, Tirana, and Pristina. All are currently unserved from Ljubljana, but all used to be served multiple times daily by Adria Airways. Air Slovenia would also try to replace Lufthansa Group services into the country from Frankfurt, Munich, and Zurich. Presumably this also means Air Slovenia intends to have a codeshare agreement with Star Alliance airlines. This is something that has proven to be a big plus for Adria Airways in the past.

Solinair intends to act fast. The airline’s CEO has said that the current crisis in the aviation industry is a perfect opportunity for a new airline to establish itself in a market like Slovenia. This means that further developments surrounding Air Slovenia should become clear relatively quickly, within 2020.

Do you think Solinair will actually follow through and set up a new national airline in Slovenia called Air Slovenia? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments.