New chance for Air India’s Slovenian ventureAdria Airways is to revive talks with Air India in order for the Indian national carrier to launch its once planned flights from Mumbai to New York via Ljubljana. Last year Air India and Adria Airways signed a memorandum of understanding which was to see Air India code share on Adria’s regional flights, while in return the Indian national carrier would operate some of its services to the United States via the Slovenian capital. Plans were set for flights to be launched either during the 2012 summer season or the 2012/2013 winter season. However, Air India requested lower fuel prices at Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport and an exemption from paying fees in order to launch services to the Slovenian capital, all of which were denied.
The Slovenian government, together with the petrol provider, Ljubljana Airport, Adria and Air India are now prepared to get back to the negotiating table to discuss possible cooperation. Talks are already said to have taken place at the Indian Embassy in Ljubljana. Several months ago, the head of Ljubljana Airport, Zmago Skobir, commented on the issue, “I stress that this project could be beneficial for both the airport and Adria but it must be approached on an intergovernmental level”.
Air India itself is experiencing major operational problems. Many of its pilots have gone on strike over anger relating to who gets to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Furthermore, the carrier’s finances are also in negative territory. In April the Indian government provided a major bailout package to the carrier and has approved subsidies of up to 7.3 billion euros.