Slovenian-registered carrier Amelia International, which is part of the Regourd Aviation Group, is open to cooperation with the Slovenian government over the country’s new flag carrier but has said its involvement would depend on how the state would envisage the new airline. “It is difficult to make private capital interested in taking on all the costs and operating in the red for years”, Amelia International’s Managing Director, Matija Kranjc, told the Slovenian Press Agency (STA). An expert commission set up by the Slovenian government has found that a new flag carrier could only be successfully established in partnership with a privately-owned company. The government is divided on whether to go ahead and set up the new airline, with a final decision expected to be made in the coming weeks.
Amelia International was established in 2008 as a line and base maintenance organisation for helicopter operators. It transitioned into a continuing airworthiness management organisation (CAMO) in 2012 after it received a Slovenian Air Operator’s Certificate. With a growing fleet, which includes ATRs, an Airbus A319 and A320, as well as Embraer ERJ145s, Amelia International today operates ad-hoc charter flights to destinations in Europe and the Middle East, as well as Public Service Obligation flights on behalf of Air France. The airline is seen by many as one of the most viable partners for a future Slovenian flag carrier. The country’s Prime Minister, Robert Golob, said in case the government decides to create a new airline, it “would not happen any time soon” but added the state would seek “a strategic partnership with one of the existing carriers”.
Amelia International had considered introducing scheduled flights from Ljubljana following the collapse of Adria Airways in September 2019, but ultimately decided against it. “When we knew Adria Airways was in trouble and there was no way for them to come out of it, we did a lot of market analysis and projections. We tried to figure out if we could operate profitably out of Slovenia. We spent a good half a year trying to find a solution and see if we could find an economically sustainable model to fly from Ljubljana, and we couldn’t. We are not saying it can’t be done, we are just saying we couldn’t find a way to make it happen. At the time we didn’t see it, but we thought someone else would. Time has basically shown us that no one wanted to take on the challenge”, Amelia’s Managing Director said.