Adria hopes for new partner to solve financial problemsThe CEO of Adria Airways, Klemen Boštjančič, is confident that the airline will be successfully privatised this year. “We are trying to find a strategic partner. There are many that are trying to do this but I truly believe we will find one”, Boštjančič says. Recently, Adria selected its privatisation advisor. Barons Financial Services, an advisory investment banking firm headquartered in Geneva with a subsidiary in London, will manage Adria’s privatisation effort. Currently there have been no airlines which have openly shown interest in purchasing a share in the struggling carrier. At one point Qatar Airways was rumoured as a potential investor, however, the Middle Eastern airline denied such claims.
Analysts worry that if a cure for Adria’s woes is not found soon, the airline will be insolvent come September. A former member of Adria’s Board of Directors, Vinko Može, is critical of the management who recently ousted him from his post. Može claims that Adria is focusing too much on taking out loans rather than stimulating ticket sales. He is also critical of the decision to ground some aircraft in order to cut costs. In the first two months of the year, the Slovenian carrier handled 114.227 passengers, which is down 9.8% compared to the same period last year.
Adria’s CEO has said that if the airline’s search for a strategic partner fails, it will be inclined to work on forming a unified national carrier for the countries of the former Yugoslavia. The governments of both Montenegro and Serbia have so far openly backed the proposal, however, Serbia’s Minister for Infrastructure has said that such a joint venture is unlikely due to the self interests of general managers at the airlines. Croatia Airlines has ruled out any unification although notes that some form of regional cooperation could work. The CEOs of Adria Airways, Croatia Airlines, Jat Airways and Montenegro Airlines will meet for talks on May 19 in Budva.