The Slovenia Times

Sole bidder for subsidised air links in new call

Ljubljana airport.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA
File photo

The second call for applications for subsidies offered by the Slovenian government to improve the country's air connectivity has attracted a single bid, submitted by AirBaltic, Latvia's flag carrier.

AirBaltic is planning to establish an air link between Ljubljana and Riga in the 2024 summer season, the Infrastructure Ministry said when announcing the results of the call on 2 August.

The commission responsible for the procedure will now examine whether AirBaltic meets all the conditions to be granted the subsidy.

The government has earmarked €5.6 million a year for the scheme over the next three years, or a total of €16.8 million.

Carriers can apply to get subsidies for new passenger air links covering 50% of airport fees at Slovenia's three international airports, Ljubljana, Maribor and Portorož.

The first call, whose results were announced in May, saw the flag carriers of Luxembourg and Montenegro, Luxair and Air Montenegro, apply for the subsidies.

Only Luxair met the conditions and it signed a contract with the Infrastructure Ministry to operate direct flights between Luxembourg and Ljubljana twice a week from 14 September this year to 14 September 2025.

As the funds set aside for the subsidies have not been spent yet, the ministry will publish a third call in November.

"Air connectivity in Slovenia is still very poor compared to the recovery of air traffic elsewhere in the world. Slovenia still lags far behind all countries, except Belarus, whose airspace is affected by the war in Ukraine and sanctions," the ministry said.

Data for June shows the number of passengers at Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport dropped by almost 32% compared to the same month in 2019, while the number of passengers in the first half of the year was down almost 38% on the same period in 2019.

"While certain routes have been restored, the frequency of flights has not. Ticket prices are also above average due to the monopolistic position of carriers on routes from Ljubljana and the insufficient supply of seats," the ministry said.


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