The Slovenia Times

Regional airline potential partner of new flag carrier


The government's decision on the new carrier will be made on the basis of projections which have not yet been fully prepared, said Počivalšek.

"The talks with this potential partner are at quite an advanced stage, but I cannot for the moment reveal the name of this company, which is a regional carrier," said the minister.

After Adria went bust the government initiated talks with German carrier Lufthansa as a potential industry partner for a new airline, but Slovenia's overtures were turned down.

Počivalšek highlighted that the talks with Lufthansa had been designed to align Slovenia's plans with those of the leading European airline, adding that Lufthansa had never expressed interest in being involved in such a new company replacing Adria.

"I can only say that Lufthansa will support any Slovenian action which would aim to revitalise the flag carrier and its integration in the Star Alliance group," added Počivalšek.

Assessments of how much it would cost the state annually to operate a new carrier are yet to be delivered. "We're still calculating that. For now, we've been assured that this move is possible and that the country can help such a company under relevant EU regulations by investing in promotion," he said.

Počivalšek added that the government believed air transport should be supported for the same reasons public passenger transport is promoted.

He announced that the government would decide on the matter in "a relatively short time".

The minister, who has been in charge of the Economy Ministry since late 2014, denied the claims that the government had responded to the Adria situation belatedly.

"The ministry had already started to discuss the Adria issue in the previous term," said Počivalšek, adding that the carrier's owner, the German fund K4 Invest, disappointed him when the situation started to deteriorate in the spring and the talks were becoming more urgent.

The owner's guarantees, which were given at the acquisition, were not provided and the fund did not deliver a restructuring plan along with its request for additional state support.

Asked about whether the fund had been siphoning funds away from Adria Airways, Počivalšek said that "the carrier's business results are obviously screaming for somebody to take a closer look at them".


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