The Slovenian Parliamentary Committee for Infrastructure, Environment and Spatial Planning has backed amendments that will align the country's aviation act with the European Union's new guidelines on state aid for public airports. The new law will enable airports in Maribor and Portorož to receive state aid, if the need arises. If a public airport cannot operate under given market conditions, the amendments would enable it to obtain state aid in accordance with EU guidelines for state aid to airports and airlines. "We want to tackle domestic legislation to make it possible for funds [for airports] to be considered as permissible state aid", the State Secretary at Ministry for Infrastructure, Klemen Grebenšek, said. Under the guidelines, state aid can be approved until April 4, 2024, when all airports will be required to be in a position to fully cover their own operating costs. The airports in Portorož and Maribor have received state aid in the past and under the legislative changes will be able to continue doing so. The infrastructure at Portorož Airport is operated by various legal entities, though the bulk is owned by the local community, while Maribor Airport is fully state-owned but is managed by a private company.
Under the current aviation act, airports in Slovenia can only function as a public utility service, which the government says does not suffice under current market conditions because it does not enable their development under a level playing field with other European airports that do not face such restrictions. Therefore, the amendments will also allow public-private partnerships. The National Assembly will decide on the amendments in a fast-tracked procedure later this month.