Adria Airways started operations in Slovenia back in 1961, as a charter company using a single Douglas DC-6 plane. Back then, its name was Adria Aviopromet (this translates to Adria Airways). A few years after, Adria began to fly to the Adriatic coast from Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Scandinavia.
In 1964, Adria added flights to the United States and Canada and relocated its base to Ljubljana.
In 1968, the company ended in bankruptcy procedure due to the serious crisis it experimented in 1967 with regards of its aircraft becoming non-competitive in the market. Thanks to the great efforts of the president of the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Adria continued its operations.
In December 1968, Adria suffered a merger with InterExport in Belgrade and changed its name to Inex-Adria Aviopromet.
In 1969, Adria purchased a McDonnell Douglas DC-9 jet and began to modernize the fleet, increasing their share on the tourist flights market. By March 1970, Adria already had four Douglas DC-6B and a Douglas DC-9-30.
In 1970s, Adria received an award for being the most punctual carrier on the charter flight market. As one of the principal focus was on education, Adria founded a professional education center and helped setting up an aviation course at the engineering faculty in Ljubljana where they gave emphasis to the development of safety awareness.
Adria initiated the ’80s as a respectable and successful company in the tourist market and scheduled internal flights. As success continued through the 80s, Adria purchased several new McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft.
In 1984, Adria establishes the first scheduled international flight with the route Ljubljana-Belgrade-Larnaca. As success continued, Adria added more airplanes to its fleet: 5 Airbus A320, 2 Dash-7, 4 McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30, 2 McDonnell Douglas DC-9-50, 1 McDonnell Douglas MD-81, and 4 McDonnell Douglas MD-82.
In 1986, Adria left the Inex group, due to commercial law restructuring programme, and became independent, changing its name to Adria Airways. Later the same year, Adria became a member of IATA.
In 1989, to keep up with advancements in the aviation’s field and to continue to offer a safe, efficient and affordable flight, Adria acquired its first A320 aircraft, followed by another two the following year.
The early ’90s, due to the declaration of independence of the Slovenia Republic, become difficult for Adria: in 1991, it gets banned from flying for 3 months as a political repression, in 1992 operates on a reduced market and changes the company structure, in 1995 they reduce their fleet, staying with the Airbus A320s.
In 1998, Adria began to modernize its fleet and bought 3 Canadair Regional Jet, for being economical, environmental friendly and flexible.
In 2002, Adria was selected by Bombardier Aerospace to be the first authorized heavy maintenance facility for the CRJ aircraft in Europe.
In 2004, Adria obtained the IOSA certificate among the first in the world and joined Star Alliance, the largest airline association.
In 2010, Adria added Belgrade to its schedule and moved all operations to Maribor since the Ljubljana airport was being renovated. On April 2010, there was a volcanic eruption in Iceland, and many airlines like Adria were grounded.
In June 2010, the company was reorganized, so Adria Tehnika and Adria Flight School were created as separate companies. Later in July, flights to Banja Luka and Istanbul were added.
In March 2011, Adria’s 50th Anniversary was celebrated showing Adria’s history with an exhibition in the National Museum of Contemporary History.
In July 2013, Adria Airways became a member of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA).
In spring 2014, Adria Airways began operating from Frankfurt to Tirana, Albania.
In summer 2015, Adria Airways began operating from Maribor, Slovenia’s second-largest city and an important tourist destination and winter sports center, to London Southend Airport.
In March 2016, Adria Airways was privatized when 96% of Adria Airways’ shares were acquired by 4K Invest, through its subsidiary company AA International Aviation Holding GmbH, from the Slovene state.
In 1975, 1976 and 1981, Adria Airways planes were involved in 3 incidents with a total of over 400 deaths. No accidents have been recorded since the 1981 Ajaccio crash.