Soon to the US via Ljubljana?
A major obstacle for the establishment of flights between India and Slovenia has been overcome after the two countries signed a Scheduled Air Services Protocol yesterday. Once the national parliaments of both countries ratify the Protocol, flights between Slovenia and India can be easily established. 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.
Earlier this year, the Slovenian government, together with the petrol provider, Ljubljana Airport, Adria and Air India announced their willingness to get back to the negotiating table and discuss possible cooperation. 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”. The signing of the Scheduled Air Services Protocol, by the Slovenian Minister for Infrastructure and Urban planning, Zvonko Černač, and the Indian Civil Aviation Authority, indicates the government’s willingness to eliminate bureaucratic hurdles for a potential partnership between the Slovenian and Indian national carriers.
Meanwhile, exactly two months since the tender for the submission of non binding bids for the takeover of 74.9% of Adria Airways came to a close, no information has been released regarding the interested parties. It has been said that more than ten bids were submitted for the Adria share package.