Slovenia's cargo specialist Solinair (SP, Ljubljana) is pondering launching a passenger subsidiary, Air Slovenia (Ljubljana), with a fleet of five DHC-8-Q400 turboprops connecting Ljubljana with key gateways in the region, General Director Janez Jelenc said during a V2 conference in Slovenia discussing the future of the market after the collapse of Adria Airways (JP, Ljubljana).

Jelenc said that the airline also evaluated the CRJ900 and ATR72 as potential aircraft for the start-up but concluded that the De Havilland Aircraft of Canada turboprops offered the best economics. Air Slovenia would initially operate to Lufthansa Group hubs at Brussels National, Frankfurt Int'l, Munich, and Zurich airports, where the airline would hope to establish a commercial parntership with Lufthansa (LH, Frankfurt Int'l), Brussels Airlines (SN, Brussels National), and Swiss (LX, Zurich). In addition, Air Slovenia is also evaluating potential flights to Tirana, Amsterdam Schiphol, Skopje, and Pristina.

In order to launch the project, Solinair would need to invest nearly EUR5 million euros (USD5.7 million), with a substantial part of the sum contributed by various stakeholders (including airport operator Fraport Slovenija and the government). Jelenc said that the market research showed that it would be a good time to launch a new Slovenian airline during the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Solinair, which currently operates two A300-600R(F)s for DHL Express, revealed it was in talks with the Slovenian authorities about passenger operations in June but did not go into much detail earlier. The airline is owned by Turkey's cargo specialist MNG Airlines (MB, Istanbul Atatürk).

The brand of Air Slovenia emerged last year, when the state-run Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC) floated an idea of creating such an airline to take over the operations of Adria Airways. However, after a short review, the government finally decided that setting up a new state-owned airline was not economically feasible and instead opted to seek better cooperation with foreign airlines serving Ljubljana.

Prior to its collapse in September 2019, Adria Airways did not operate Dash 8-Q400s. Its turboprop fleet consisted of six Saab 2000s. Regional rival Croatia Airlines (OU, Zagreb) operates six Q400s, the ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows.