Slovenia is not known as a hub of aviation, but Michel Coulomb believes the Balkan nation is one of Europe's easiest places for a charter firm to do business.
The French founder of Elit'Avia has just taken delivery of its fifth Bombardier Challenger 605, making it the continent's largest operator of the type. It also flies a Challenger 300, a Dassault 2000EX and a Citation Exel. All its aircraft are under management contracts. It expects to add a Dassault Falcon 7X and a Gulfstream G550 in the next three months.
When Coulomb was setting up Elit'Avia four years ago he was looking for a suitable base and chose the Slovenian capital Ljubljana. "I had experience of operating charter businesses in France, Switzerland and Luxembourg, but I got fed up with the slow regulatory system," he says. In Switzerland, it could take seven months to add an aircraft to an air operator's certificate, he says: "In Slovenia it takes one week."
He adds: "Slovenia is part of the eurozone and Schengen [free borders agreement]. It's a small country but it has an excellent civil aviation authority. They are extremely responsive."