The Air Operator Certificate formerly belonging to Adria Airways, the collapsed flag carrier of Slovenia, has been made invalid. The AOC was purchased by The King of Bananas in January 2020 for a new airline, Air Adriatic.
Adria Airways’ AOC is no longer valid
The Slovenian Civil Aviation Agency has refused to extend the deadline for Air Adriatic to unfreeze the Adria Airways Air Operator Certificate, Slovenia’s Finance paper reports.
The AOC was purchased in January 2020 by Izet Rastoder, the Montenegrin businessman dubbed the King of Bananas, for 45,000 euros ($54,500). If Rastoder ever had the intention of resurrecting Slovenia’s former flag carrier, his chances have just collapsed.
When Adria Airways collapsed, Slovenia’s Civil Aviation Agency froze its AOC. The AOC was then sold at an auction as part of a wide sell-off of Adria’s assets that needs to happen for even a fraction of Adria’s debts to be covered.
When Rastoder purchased the AOC, he was given time to resolve the license discrepancies. He was then given an extension until September 2020 on the basis that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more difficult for him to do so. However, he has still not done so, and Slovenia’s CAA is not willing to provide another extension.
Slovenia is badly missing Adria Airways
Despite initially indicating that it would be replacing Adria Airways following its collapse in September 2019, Slovenia has not even started doing so. There remains much discontent in the country surrounding the sudden disappearance of a flag carrier, so it is not entirely unlikely that Slovenia will eventually create another airline from scratch.
For example, for all of today, Friday 11th June, there were just five departures from Ljubljana, the only airport in Slovenia with scheduled commercial services. These were an Aeroflot flight to Moscow, an Air France flight to Paris, a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt, an Air Serbia flight to Belgrade, and a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul.
And today was a good day – tomorrow, Saturday 12th June, there are only flights to Frankfurt, Belgrade, and Paris. Yesterday, Thursday 10th June, there were flights only to Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and Warsaw.
Even for pandemic times, this tiny set of destinations delivers extremely poor connectivity for Slovenia, and it is, therefore, no wonder that some politicians in Slovenia are still calling for the state to set up a new national airline, even if it is loss-making to begin with.
Slovenian exporters need cargo capacity, political officials and business travelers need high-frequency routes to more European capitals, and the Slovenian tourism industry needs that tourists from across Europe have a way of getting to the country on holiday.
Adria Airways was the flag carrier of Slovenia and a 58-year old airline. With the news of the AOC being finally made invalid, the story of Adria Airways now seems to have a fully conclusive ending.
What do you think of this news? Do you think something could have come out of Air Adriatic purchasing Adria Airways’ AOC at all? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.