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Nine airlines would fly to Ljubljana with government support

Ljubljana, 13 November (STA) - Nine airlines have submitted applications for subsidies to fly to Ljubljana, an effort to improve air links to the Slovenian capital. All the carriers have previously operated or are still operating Ljubljana flights. An expert commission set up by the Economy Ministry is to decide on the applications on 23 November.

According to the ministry, the airlines in the running for EUR 1.5 million in subsidies are Lufthansa, Air Serbia, Montenegro Airlines, Air France, Turkish Airlines, Swiss Air, EasyJet, Wizzair, and LOT Polish Airlines.

The airlines have eight days to supplement their applications if necessary before the commission makes its decision, which is expected on 23 November.

This is the first call for applications out of three for a total of EUR 5 million in subsidies aimed at restoring connections with Ljubljana.

In the second round, applications for EUR 2.3 million in subsidies will be reviewed on 10 June 2021, and then on 11 October 2021 for the remaining EUR 1.2 million.

To be eligible, airlines must establish regular flights to one of Slovenia's airports at least twice a week during the summer season, meaning between 28 March and 30 October 2021.

Those applying for the third instalment will have to fly to Ljubljana twice a week in the winter season, between 31 October and 31 December 2021.

Air traffic has been strongly affected by the corona crisis. Nine carriers were expected to fly to and from Ljubljana in the winter, offering nine direct connections to destinations around Europe. Currently, the airport is served by just three airlines.

Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, the main international airport in the country, has seen an almost 82% drop in the number of passengers in the first nine months compared to the same period last year. No more than 300,000 passengers are expected altogether by year's end, which is 80% less than planned.

In October, 10,775 passengers were recorded, an 89% drop year on year. The number of aircraft movements fell 47.2% to 935.

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