NYCFlyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1382 posts, RR: 10 Posted (8 years 4 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 3810 times:
Does anyone know why Slovakia - a tiny country - has two flag carriers? Especially when the local LCC (SkyEurope) outshines both of them by a long shot.
Air Slovakia flies to such a bizarre mix of secondary airports and destinations, you'd think they were an LCC: BHX, LCA, TLV, KWI, Bergamo, Bologna, DEL, and Amritsar, India.
Air Slovakia's website has these charming tidbits: "Air Slovakia BWJ was established in 1993, when the group of independent people, who had been working in aviation business, having necessary skills and knowledge, but especially the enthusiasm about enterprise and serve to passengers, joined together. Under the name Air Slovakia BWJ the airline operated since 1995. Till that time the companys name was Air Terrex Slovakia and after the separation with Czech subject Air Terrex it operates as a pure Slovak company. The main aim was clear: to fill the gap in Slovak aviation after the departure of ÈSA."
Slovak Airlines is even more of a joke, as it flies only to two destinations out of BTS: SVO and BRU. Kind of funny, actually: Slovakia's former masters, the Soviet Union, and their current masters, the EU.
From the Slovak Airlines website: "Slovak Airlines has been operating on the Slovak airlines market for 7 years. The company's main target is to operate regular and irregular passenger and cargo air transport."
On top of both of these carriers, SkyEurope's hub at BTS serves 21 destinations all over Europe, including STN, AMS, BCN, FCO, and ATH.
Considering the small size of the market, it puzzles me why Slovak Airlines exists at all. It was founded two years after Air Slovakia! Anyone have any thoughts on the curious prevalence of small airlines in a small market like Bratislava?
VH-OJO From Slovakia, joined Jan 2000, 238 posts, RR: 1 Reply 3, posted (8 years 4 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 3559 times:
Slovak Airlines was more a political decision than a business one, but I won´t go into that, you would get bored. If it was not for Austrian Airlines which took over Slovak Airlines last year, the carrier would have been bankrupt by now. And to be honest it should have been, but the decision of AUA to take over the ailing carrier was more a strategic one (having to do with planned privatisation of BTS airport, which is about to be announced - won´t bother you with that either) than rational one. The carrier currently operates 2 B733s doing summer holiday charters and a F-100 which does the scheduled BRU and SVO flights. It briefly operated a B762 for flights from the UK to India.
Air Slovakia owns a B737-230Adv(HK) and leases two B752s, with plans to apparently add a third one this year. It flies to some ad-hoc destinations mainly in the middle east and India.
SkyEurope is the only truly healthy business venture with strategic plans and visions in a strictly business sense. But it too suffers from its rapid expansion, often cuting corners, which results in frequent delays, unprofessional employees (especially the customer service on the ground) and angry customers. But that should improve, or at least I do hope so.
In summary, although Slovakia has three carriers, with the exception of perhaps SkyEurope, none really deserves to be labeled as a flag carrier.
VH-OJO From Slovakia, joined Jan 2000, 238 posts, RR: 1 Reply 5, posted (8 years 4 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3481 times:
Until as recetnly as maybe 2 years ago Slovak Airlines has been guaranteed a flag carrier status by a government mandate. Slovak was the only airline allowed to use such distinction. The mandate has luckily been revoked by the new government. The airline has been a disgrace to the airline industry in general (although it has a rather appealing logo, livery and pretty FA´s ).
Flycro From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2004, 373 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (8 years 4 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 3406 times:
Having flown SkyEurope to both Zadar and Split from Bratislava I would say they are a very classy outfit with competitive fares and a good onboard service for a LCC. I wish NE all the best, it's good to see them develop in the UK, with 5 services from STN including a new winter route to TAT and also growth at MAN.