||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (May 2011)|
|Founded||1924 (as a department of Bata Shoes)|
|Ceased operations||2001 (inactive for some years earlier)|
|Operating bases||Prague Ruzyně Airport
Bratislava (from 1969)
Slov-Air (also styled Slov Air or Slovair) was an airline from Czechoslovakia (respectively Slovakia following the dissolution), which provided services for agriculture, civil engineering and the industry.
The roots of the airline can be traced back until the 1924, when the Bata Shoe company began to build up an in-house airline for its corporate travel demand, operating small aircraft or gyrocopters like the Cierva C.30. Following the establishing of communism in Czechoslovakia in 1948, Bata Shoes was nationalised, and the airline was re-organized as Svitlet.
When in 1950 CSA was established as state airline of Czechoslovakia, Svitlet was transformed into a CSA-department, operating as Agrolet henceforth. In 1955, Agrolet became independent again as a utility airline mainly for agricultural flights. It operated out of Prague Ruzyně Airport using a fleet of the following aircraft types:
- Fieseler Fi 156 Storch, Polikarpov Po-2 Kukuruznik, Antonov An-2, L-60 Brigadýr and Z-37 Čmelák for agricultural services,
- L-200 Morava for medical and corporate passenger transport,
- Mi-1 and Mi-4 helicopters for civil engineering projects.
On 1 January 1969, Agrolet was renamed Slov-Air and moved its headquarters to Bratislava, catering for the demands of the Slovak part of the country. Starting in 1972, the helicopter fleet was modernised with Mi-8s.
Following the Velvet Revolution in 1989 and the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993, it was initially intended to transform Slov-Air in the flag carrier of Slovakia. These plans were dropped, when with Slovak Airlines an all-new state airline was created in 1995. Slov-Air was dismantled over the following years and split up into several independent companies for agricultural, medical, military and passenger services, most notably Aero Slovakia. The airline license of Slov-Air was officially revoked only in 2001, though.
Accidents and incidents
- On 31 July 1969, a Slov-Air Antonov An-2 (registered OK-KHD) crashed near Drogomyśl, Poland.
- On 18 April 1972, a Slov-Air Let L-410 Turbolet was hijacked during a scheduled flight from Prague to Mariánské Lázně by two of the nine passengers on board, who demanded to be taken to non-communist West Germany. The aircraft diverted to Nuremberg, where (according to the then West German procedure) all persons who wished to do so could claim political asylum.
- On 8 June of the same year, a similar situation occurred on board a Slov-Air flight from Mariánské Lázně to Prague (operated by a Let L-410, registered OK-ADN, and carrying 2 pilots and 15 passengers). A armed hijacker entered the cockpit and demanded to be taken to West Germany. In the ensuing ruckus, the pilot was shot dead. The aircraft did not have enough fuel to fly to Munich like it was intended by the highjacker, so an off-airport landing in a field near Weiding was performed. The perpetrator as well as nine passengers fled the scene.
- In September 1981, a Slov-Air An-2 (registered OK-KIM) crashed near Znojmo following another hijacking attempt.
- On 25 August 1982, another Slov-Air An-2 (registered OK-JIK) crashed near Smedava.
- On 13 March 1992, a Slov-Air Let L-410 (registered OK-PDI) carrying 9 passengers was damaged beyond repair in a crash landing at Žilina Airport.
- Information about Slov-Air at the Aviation Safety Network
- Information about Slov-Air at planespotters.net
- List of defunct airlines at airlinehistory.co.uk
- Slov-Air 1969 crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- Slov-Air April 1972 hijacking at the Aviation Safety Network
- Slov-Air June 1972 crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- Slov-Air 1981 crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- Slov-Air 1982 crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- Slov-Air 1992 crash-landing at the Aviation Safety Network