Fico wants state airline company

The Slovak National Party came up with the idea last year

The airport in Poprad below the High Tatras.The airport in Poprad below the High Tatras. (Source: TASR)

A national airline could start with one or two aircraft that would regularly serve the Bratislava-Poprad-Košice route, said Prime Minister Robert Fico on the RTVS’ radio discussion programme, Sobotné dialógy (Saturday dialogues). This way he approved the idea pursued by his coalition partner, the Slovak National Party (SNS) of Andrej Danko.

“We chiefly need to provide regular air transport on Slovak territory,” said Fico. “This is the most important thing for us at the moment.”

Fico sees a solution for the national airline project in ensuring that the Prešov, Košice and Bratislava Regions and the Bratislava city council engage in cooperation. The state cannot automatically provide money for the project, as this would be unpermitted state aid.

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Slovakia has had national airlines in the past. The government held one third in Slovenské Aerolínie launched during the third government of Vladimír Mečiar in 1995. The company went bankrupt as well as two other airlines in Slovakia – SkyEurope and Danube Wings, the Sme daily recalled.

Now low-cost Irish Ryanair and Hungarian Wizz Air operate in Slovakia.

For now there are no details about how the new national airline would be launched or operated. A feasibility study should follow in 2018.

A route similar to that proposed by Fico in the discussion programme already exists in Slovakia. Czech airlines flies eight times per week between Bratislava and Košice. The flight lasts 55 minutes and a return flight costs more than €200, Sme wrote.

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