The Slovenia Times

Companies moving to fill void created by Adria Airways

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The management of struggling air carrier Adria Airways filed for receivership after the government said it was not ready to invest in the carrier under the current owner and in its current financial state. On news of the receivership proposal, the Civil Aviation Agency stripped the airline of its operating licence and all flights have been cancelled.

The procedure, in which creditors will have three months to file their claims, will be managed by receiver Janez Pustati─Źnik. Passengers who had bought tickets for Adria's flights which were subsequently cancelled have been urged to report their claims as well.

Those who bought the tickets with their bank card can ask their banks for a refund, the Market Inspectorate said today. If their motion is denied, they can turn to the Slovenian Bank Association.

The Slovenian flag carrier, which was sold to the German turnaround fund 4K Invest in 2016, said that the proposal had been filed due to insolvency and in line with legal provisions applying in such a situation.

Adria had been struggling with financial difficulties for some time, with the problems deepening further after the sale, even though the new owner announced growth, several capital increases and a new strategic partner. Adria ended up selling all of its planes, while several of those rented were confiscated in recent years by leasing companies due to unpaid debts. The company, which employs 558 people, also owes part of the August wages and has reportedly failed to pay the social contributions for September.

Government will do the necessary

Following the collapse of flag carrier the government has endorsed changes to the aviation act that create a legal basis for the state to subsidise crucial air links with the country, if this proves necessary. In line with the proposed changes, the state could subsidise flight connections with Ljubljana if other airlines did not set up commercial flights.

In line with the proposed changes, subsidies would be possible for connections that are of vital importance for the country in terms of economic and social development. State intervention in such cases is also allowed under the EU legislation. But Betroncelj added the legislative proposal was yet to be coordinated with the European Commission. A decree will need to be passed and a call for applications published to create equal opportunities for all, he noted.

The Infrastructure Ministry would be able to launch a procedure to set up an "obligatory public service" if no air carrier with a licence of an EU member state offered connections that are important for Slovenia for economic reasons. The necessary funds would be provided by the government.

New carriers on the way to Ljubljana

For now it seems that the Ljubljana airport operator, Fraport Slovenija, will manage to restore some of the crucial connections with Ljubljana. The German Lufthansa and its subsidiary Swiss International Airlines, both of which are members of the Star Alliance, will be offering flights connecting Ljubljana to Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich, in the winter season.

The Belgian air carrier Brussels Airlines, also part of Lufthansa Group, is introducing six Brussels-Ljubljana flights a week. Adria's routes will also be partly covered by the Hungarian low-budget carrier WizzAir, which cancelled its Ljubljana-Brussels link for the 2019/2020 winter season but will restore it as of 31 March 2020. Travel agency Nomago also decided to organise several charter flights to mitigate the effects of Adria collapse on conference tourism.
 

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