Adria Airways | 1961 - 2019

Adria Aviopromet was founded in March 1961. It acquired four used DC-6B aircraft from the Dutch carrier KLM and operated its first commercial flight in August of the same year using Dutch crew. The first flights with locally trained personell began in December 1961. Initially, Adria's aircraft flew from Zagreb Airport. It was not until 1964 that the airline moved to the newly built Ljubljana Airport, which served as its home until the company’s final day.

In the years that followed, the airline gradually conquered the charter flight market and began carrying tourists from Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Scandinavia to airports across the Adriatic coast. Adria also became the first Yugoslav carrier to operate flights to the United States and Canada. Its aircraft made occasional trips to the two countries to cater for the Slovenian emigrant population.

In December 1968, Adria changed its name to Inex Adria Aviopromet following a merger with the Belgrade-based Interexport. The following year it acquired its first jet-engine aircraft: a DC-9-30 with the capacity to seat 115 passengers. This marked the start of its fleet modernisation program and enabled Adria to consolidate its position in the leisure market.

In September 1969, Adria began operating its first scheduled service: between Ljubljana and Belgrade. The airline experienced constant growth throughout the 1970s and validated its reputation as the most punctual charter carrier in Europe. By that time, it was also operating a number of scheduled domestic flights within Yugoslavia.

The 1980s saw the acquisition of new MD-80 and Dash 7 aircraft and, towards the end of the decade, the arrival of the first Airbus A320. Thus, Adria became the first Yugoslav carrier to operate Airbus manufactured jets. At the same time, the first scheduled international services to European destinations were introduced. In 1986, Adria left the Inex system and became an independent company called Adria Airways.

In 1991, Slovenia declared independence, with the Yugoslav Civil Aviation Directorate, still responsible for overseeing Slovenia's airspace, grounding the carrier for three months. It resumed operation in January 1992. It had to seek new opportunities in a significantly smaller market, since the majority of its charter services from Western Europe to the Adriatic coast had become inaccessible as a result of the creation of new states in the region. Whereas 90% of its traffic was made out of charter flights until 1991, following Slovenia's independence 70% of services amounted to scheduled operations. 

In the 1990s, as part of a push to privatise state-owned enteprises, Adria became a public limited company. As Slovenia's flag carrier it began to transform itself from a predominantly charter to a scheduled airline, establishing a network of scheduled services throughout Europe for the needs of the newly independent Slovenia. In 1997, the airline turned its first profit.

In 2004, it became one of the first airlines in the world to receive the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification, covering organisation, operating procedures, flight safety and company security.

In 2006, Adria carried more than a million passengers in a single year for the first time, while in 2007 it became the official carrier for the Government of the Republic of Slovenia during its six-month EU presidency. That same year, Adria began modernising its fleet. This included the arrival of two new 86-seat CRJ900 aircraft, which later became the backbone of its fleet.

Despite financial difficulties which rose from time to time, the airline was privatised in 2016. It was purchased by AA International Holding, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Munich-based turnaround fund 4K Invest. It purchased a 91.58% stake in Adria at a price of 100.000 euros and later bought the remaining shares in order to secure 100% ownership. The transaction marked its first investment in the aviation sector. In 2017, a subsidiary was set up, Adria Airways Switzerland, which acquired Etihad Airways’ upscale Swiss arm Etihad Regional. The investment proved futile and the company folded shortly after. Later that year, Adria sold its brand name to a 4K-affiliated company for eight million euros, injecting much-needed capital into the airline at the time. In December 2018, Adria Airways absorbed the company STBE through a merger and acquisition. The move increased the airline's share capital and changed its ownership structure. Its majority ownership (54.3%) was passed onto Stefan Beulertz, a lawyer residing in Malta, who was a close partner of 4K Invest.

In the late evening of September 23, 2019, Adria Airways ceased operations after several of its aircraft were repossessed and it was unable to sustain its mounting debt. Although the suspension was to be temporary, the company filed for bankruptcy on September 30. Adria Airways operated the last revenue flight with its own aircraft and crew from Copenhagen to Ljubljana on September 23. Its overall final service was a charter from Paris to Ljubljana on September 30, carrying Slovenia's men's Volleyball team, who had just become runners-up at the European Championships.


Owned and leased aircraft from 1961 until 2019:

McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 - S5-ABF (YU-AHJ), S5-ABH (YU-AJF)
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 - YU-AJO, YU-AJR, YU-AHR, YU-AJB, YU-AJN; YU-AJX in YU-AJY
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-33CF - S5-ABG (YU-AHW), YU-AJPMcDonnell Douglas DC-9-50 - YU-AJT, YU-AJU
Sud SE-210 Caravelle III - YU-AJE
Douglas DC-8-55 - N806SW
DeHavilland DHC-7 - S5-ACA (YU-AIE), S5-ACB (YU-AIF)
McDonnell Douglas MD-81 - S5-ABE (YU-AJZ)
McDonnell Douglas MD-82 - YU-ANA, S5-ABA (YU-ANB), S5-ABB (YU-ANC), S5-ABC (YU-ANG), S5-ABD (YU-ANO)
Airbus A320 - S5-AAA (YU-AOA), S5-AAB (YU-AOD), S5-AAC (YU-AOE), YU-AOB, S5-AAS, S5-AAT
Airbus A319 - S5-AAP, S5-AAR, S5-AAX
Bombardier CRJ100 - S5-AAH, F-GPYQ, EC-JOD
Bombardier CRJ200 - S5-AAD, S5-AAE, S5-AAF, S5-AAG, S5-AAI, S5-AAJ
Bombardier CRJ700ER - S5-AAZ, S5-AAY
Bombardier CRJ900 - S5-AAK, S5-AAL, S5-AAN, S5-AAO, S5-AAU, S5-AAV, S5-AFA, S5-AFB, S5-AFC
Boeing 737-500 - S5-AAM
Saab 2000 - S5-AFJ, S5-AFG, S5-AFF, S5-AFE

Adria Cargo

SAAB 340 - S5-BAM, S5-BAN
Fokker 50 - I-MLRT


  1. JU520 BEGLAX16:25

    Tx Admin for this resumé, very nice of you to find all these photos and document

  2. Anonymous16:42


  3. I worked for several Yugoslav and later Croatian airline companies. I never worked for Adria but I was passenger very often. I considered it "my" company, as I still consider everything from ex-yu space. I must admit I was suspicious when Jat Airways was replaced by Air Serbia because I was not sure what will happen next. And I am happy today that Air Serbia is developing and growing. I am happy that Croatia Airlines and Montenegro Airlines are around although they could be better and bigger, especially Croatia Airlines But today, not only that I am sad about Adria, today one part of me died with Adria. My condolences to all Adria people. You may be proud of the company you worked for, which was killed by bunch of CRIMINALS, for their benefits. RIP Adria, I will always remember you.

  4. Luka17:11

    Very nice homage, bravo admin.

  5. Anonymous17:50

    They realized they're not getting any money from the government.

    1. Anonymous02:26

      They will get money from the government -
      just under another name ...

  6. Anonymous17:50

    I guess they'll finally stop selling tickets.

  7. Anonymous21:07

    My first flight ever, 1982, SKP-ZAG onboard Adria.

  8. Anonymous22:55

    Nice reportaz

  9. Anonymous01:48

    I used to live in Slovenia before moving to the US. I remember my very first flight on Adria back in 1995 from LJU to CDG on their infamous DC-9. I was 15 years old, traveling with my younger brother and few other friends on a student exchange program to France. Due to the stormy weather, the flight was really bumpy and made me very nauseous. However, the return flight was a completely different story. It was operated by their new A320, which compared to DC-9 was so bright, spacious and much much quieter. At that moment, I simply fell in love with the world of aviation. That love is still alive today and I feel very sad to see Adria ending its run this way. After moving to the US, I would still fly them every year when going back to LJU for family visits. As a matter of fact, I just flew with them this past August. I would usually take their connecting flight to LJU via one of the Star Alliance hubs, BRU, MUC, FRA or ZRH. However, due to their many cancellations and schedule changes this summer, United Airlines rerouted me and my last flight with Adria ended up being the same as my very first one, LJU-CDG.

    RIP Adria… I feel like crying ☹


  10. Airline with the coolest name in ex Yu. Shame...I think OU and Adria should've merged and served Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia.

  11. Anonymous12:01

    Very nice text on JP history. Hope for some revival. Btw what was the story of DC-8 pictured in LAX?

    1. Plane was leased to Adria for a short period only and maintenance
      carried with the owners in LAX.

  12. So Sukhoi was right not to waste money and airplanes on this mess, kudos to Sukhoi for not bei g stupid.


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