Air India and Adria still hope for flights between India and Ljubljana
Air India is currently in talks with Adria Airways to enhance bilateral cooperation with the Slovenian carrier, which is waiting to be privatised. Talks between the two airlines come more than a year after it was announced the two would cooperate in order for Air India to reroute some of its flights to the United States via Ljubljana. Air India Chairman and Managing Director, Rohit Nandan, has been in Ljubljana holding talks with Adria’s management last week. "Air India continues to engage with major airlines in order to enhance bilateral cooperation and also continues to maintain dialogue with Star Alliance in an effort to expand its global reach and connectivity", Mr. Nandan said in a statement.
In 2011, Air India and Adria Airways signed a Memorandum of Understanding which was to see Air India codeshare 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. In 2012, 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.
Last year a major obstacle for the establishment of flights between India and Slovenia was overcome after the two countries signed a Scheduled Air Services Protocol. At the time 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”. Adria Airways is posed to be privatised soon with China Southern Airlines currently the only airline expressing interest in the Slovenian carrier. Air India, which was linked to a possible joint venture with Jat Airways several years ago, has not been associated with a possible purchase of Adria.