airBaltic (BT, Riga) has reportedly held talks with the Slovenian government to discuss the conditions for the Latvian carrier possibly opening a new base in Ljubljana.

The airline was the only carrier to submit a bid in a second tender for subsidies for flights out of the Slovenian capital, and according to the country’s Ministry of Infrastructure the carrier plans to link Riga with Ljubljana next summer season, starting from May 2, 2024, 2x weekly.

In the first tender, Luxair (LG, Luxembourg) and Air Montenegro (4O, Podgorica) applied for subsidies, but the latter subsequently withdrew from the process, with its CEO Mark Anzur recently telling ch-aviation in an interview that the subsidy scheme on offer, which will cover 50% of the fees at the airport, “was not enough to take the risk.” Slovenia has since issued a third tender for airlines to introduce new routes to the country.

“We pointed out that we are very interested in all forms of cooperation that would contribute to Slovenia’s improved air connectivity. Our external partners presented key findings of an analysis on Slovenia’s air connectivity with possible Public Private Partnership models,” the ministry said, as quoted by EX-YU Aviation News.

The Ministry of Infrastructure did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ch-aviation.

The analysis refers to a study on the potential establishment of a new flag carrier in Slovenia since the collapse of Adria Airways (Ljubljana) in September 2019.

airBaltic has said it has no plans at the moment to open a base in Ljubljana, pointing to the substantial financial and organisational investment that would be involved, not to mention the need for a new local brand.

However, airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss told EX-YU in March: “I’m very sad that Ljubljana doesn’t have an airline anymore. Looking at Latvia with 1.8 million people, being at the northern end of Europe and having connectivity with more than 100 routes from just one airline, Ljubljana should have its own carrier and have that connectivity. Adria Airways failed and nobody else stepped in. What we have done in the Baltics is take a bankrupt company to where we are now. The same development is possible in Slovenia. Why not do what we do and start out with five planes out of Ljubljana and just establish connectivity?”