The Slovenia Times

Slovenia has an air carrier, but it rarely flies here

Amelia International aircraft.
Photo: Amelia International

While the government is pondering how to improve Slovenia's air connectivity and establish a new flag carrier, there is an airline company that has been active in Slovenia for years - it just rarely operates out of the country's main airport.

Amelia International started as a helicopter maintenance company, founded in 2008 by Milan Krajnc. In 2012 it became part of the French Regourd Aviation Group that uses Amelia as its commercial name, paying homage to American pilot Amelia Earhart.

Although a Slovenian company, Amelia International rarely flies in Slovenia, only performing the occasional charter flight. The company operates four regular connections for Air France, which has a shortage of small aircraft.

It operates its own link from Strasbourg to Amsterdam and certain connections for Transavia. "We are very adaptable. If an operator needs us on a certain connection, we can respond quickly and, if the aircraft are available, we are ready in a few days," says Krajnc.

Amelia International also offers charter flights and medical transports, as well as cargo transport on a smaller scale.

It operates flights around Europe with twenty aircraft, mostly Embrear 135 and 145. They also have ATR 42 and ATR 72, and added three Airbus A319 this year.

The company is expanding, Krajnc told the STA, adding that they have started to replace the small aircraft that will no longer be financially viable for short distances.

A larger plane with more seats means lower fuel consumption per seat and lower costs. This trend is a result of high airport fees, said Krajnc.

"If you want to follow the trends, you have to invest a lot, not only in aircraft but also staff, software and sales," said Krajnc. "These are expensive investments."

The company has around 60 pilots, employed in a subsidiary in France. Only about 15% are Slovenians, a few are former pilots of defunct flag carrier Adria Airways.

When the national airline filed for receivership in 2019, a lot of talent left, said Krajnc. "I fear that if aviation in Slovenia does not develop, it will run out of staff."

At its base in Šenčur the company employs 25 engineers and IT specialists, who work in aircraft maintenance and flight operations management.

Soon after Adria Airways went bankrupt, Amelia International prepared an analysis of Slovenia's air connectivity and presented itself as a potential national operator at ministries.

Now that the topic of air connectivity is on the agenda again, Krajnc noted that Amelia International is still open to cooperation but it depends how the state would envision the activities of a flag carrier.

"It is hard to make private capital interested in carrying all costs and operating in the red for years," he said.

Amelia International would apply for subsidies by the government to operate flights, if they were adjusted to the company's aircraft and practices.


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