After the collapse of Adria Airways and the covid-19 pandemic, Slovenia landed among the worst air-connected European countries. In the first step, the government will solve the situation by subsidizing air connections. There are ten destinations on the priority list.
Slovenia’s air accessibility has been falling sharply since 2019, when the domestic air carrier Adria Airways collapsed. The covid-19 pandemic also dealt a second strong blow to Slovenia’s air connectivity. Although this has affected practically all countries in Europe and the world, the data show that the recovery of Slovenian air transport is among the worst in the EU, the infrastructure minister warned at the press conference at the presentation of the Program for greater air connectivity of Slovenia in the years 2023-2025 Alenka Bratušek.
As she explained, the government tackled the situation in two steps – through the preparation of the aforementioned program and then through the search for the possibility of establishing a new national airline. At the heart of the program for greater air connectivity in Slovenia will be a tender for subsidizing air connections. These are divided into three categories. Priority list ten routes cover Vienna, Brussels, Copenhagen, Athens, Madrid, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Prague, Berlin and Skopje.
If funds are still available after the first round, he is ready supplementary list seven tracks. These are connections to Rome, Stockholm, Oslo, Barcelona, Lisbon, Pristina and Paris. If, even after the second round, the subsidy funds will not be fully utilized, according to the minister, it is still ready additional list route “This actually covers all destinations in the territory of the common European area. In addition to the EU, these are also Norway, Iceland and the Balkans.” she explained.
The program was prepared by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Economy, Minister Bratušek and the Minister Matjaž Han have already co-signed it. In order for the public tender for subsidizing air connections to be published, the consent of the European Commission is otherwise required. “We are also in almost daily contact with them. Our expectations are that we would get the approval this month,” said Bratušek and announced that they expect the first tender to be published on March 24. The application deadline is expected to be 30 days.
“I believe that the airlines will sign up and that we will then have a little better air connectivity than before,” Minister Han said. 5.6 million euros per year are planned for subsidies. Subsidized connections will otherwise be possible at all three Slovenian international airports – Brnik, Maribor and Portorož.
There will also be a program on the possibility of establishing a new airline
Han emphasized at the press conference that “it is a really important topic that has a very multiplying effect on how Slovenia will fare economically”. As he pointed out, without good air connections, the economy and tourism will not be in good condition either.
According to him, in the last two years, the Ministry of Economy supported 11 airlines through two public tenders, which made 2,600 flights to Slovenia and carried 121,000 passengers. “Of course, this is a temporary measure, we have to find another solution, and together with the Ministry of Infrastructure, we will prepare a government program on the possibility of establishing a new airline. Then the government will decide how to proceed. But even if the government decides on this path, it will be it took some time to establish this. That’s why it’s important to provide better air connectivity through the program as well,” Han said.
Also according to Minister Bratušek’s explanations, the government will discuss the possibilities of establishing a new airline, “when the in-depth analyzes that are being prepared now will be done”.