Estonian aviation expert and former Nordica Business Development Manager Sven Kukemelk has become the new Managing Director of Adria Airways. Mr Kukemelk served as the Executive Director for Business Development at the Estonian carrier, later becoming CEO of its affiliate Regional Jet. During his tenure, the company received an IOSA certificate, grew its fleet from six to twelve units and established new ACMI contracts with LOT and SAS Scandinavian Airlines. After leaving the Nordica Group, Mr Kukemelk co-founded the aviation consultancy NA Advisory. The Estonian businessman joined Adria six month ago, serving as the airline’s Deputy Chief Commercial Officer and was named as CEO of the Adria Airways Flight School just last month. He has also worked at the Estonian Aviation Academy, airBaltic, Estonian Air, Tallinn Airport and Lufthansa Consulting in the past.

Adria will from now on be led by two Managing Directors, Holger Kowarsch and Sven Kukemelk. Holger Kowarsch will continue to lead the Financial and Commercial divisions and the company’s support departments, and Sven Kukemelk will be responsible for managing the Operations division and will continue to lead the Adria’s Flight School. “The owners believe that with the changed leadership, our company will be more successful in addressing all the issues and challenges that are being raised due to the rapid development in the aviation industry, which all European air carriers, in particular, are faced with”, Adria said.

Adria Airways assisted in the creation of Nordica following the collapse of Estonian Air. It provided the airline with an Air Operator’s Certificate, commercial platform, ticketing system, staff and flight codes. In late 2016, Nordica abruptly ended its cooperation with Adria and forged a new agreement with LOT Polish Airlines. It has never been disclosed how much of a financial incentive Adria received for its partnership with Nordica, which was negotiated by the carrier while it was still in state hands. In its 2015 financial report, the airline’s new owners at the time, 4K Invest, hailed the tie-up. Adria is currently wet-leasing a Nordica Bombardier CRJ700 aircraft in order to maintain its schedule without disruption as several of its own jets are undergoing maintenance.