CZ/SK verze

Regiojet at war with the Slovak Ministry of Transport. Instead of applying for a competition, sharp words.

Regiojet at war with the Slovak Ministry of Transport. Instead of applying for a competition, sharp words.
photo: Peter Štefek/
30 / 04 / 2021

The largest private Central European rail carrier decided not to submit a tender for rail transport between Bratislava and Komárno. The reason for this is an absolute loss of confidence in the sincere interest of the Ministry of Transport and the construction of the SR in a fair competition. However, the Slovak Minister of Transport did not take kindly to this accusation.

Regiojet did not submit an offer for a tender for the operation of rail transport between Bratislava and Komárno, which should start from the 1st of March 2023. As the main reason, Regiojet cited an absolute loss of confidence in the sincere interest of the Ministry of Transport and Construction of the Czech Republic in fair competition, which would bring an increase in the quality of services and cost savings.

According to a Regiojet spokesman, the major problem is that the Slovak Ministry of Transport has been sitting for several years with the same officials who do not have a schedule of competitions according to EU requirements. According to a Regiojet spokesperson, these officials are to announce pseudo-competitions without clear results. Moreover, he said, there is a reasonable suspicion that officials are linked to groups of entrepreneurs who want to keep lucrative rail contracts.

This procedure should also apply to the Žilina-Rajec route. The competition to operate this route ended twice unsuccessfully. According to Regiojet, this contract was also to be tailor-made for ZSSK Cargo. According to Regiojet, a similar situation was to occur in the Bratislava-Banská Bystrica express transport competition. This competition was never re-listed, despite the Ministry's promise to re-declare it.

The reaction of the Slovak Ministry of Transport did not wait long. The Minister of Transport, Andrej Doležal, strongly opposed the comments of a Regiojet spokesman: "How Regiojet or its owner have operated in Slovakia for many years are gone. I will not be blackmailed through public pressure, despite the vague conquest of public space with half-truths or lies".

The Slovak Ministry of Transport should also have rejected Regiojet's request for an extraordinary subsidy in connection with the sales shortfall in the covid-19 global pandemic. Regiojet has thus decided to develop commercial train transport on the territory of Slovakia, in which the State has no right to intervene. However, the company will no longer participate in a public competition.

Transport Minister Andrej Doležal confirmed in Slovak media that the competition for the operation of the Bratislava-Komárno line for the next ten years has been launched. The Ministry is currently waiting to see if the bids meet the criteria of the competition. If this does not happen, the competition will be cancelled and there will be direct negotiations with the candidates. " In this case, we will reach out to all relevant players in the market and ask them to agree to the publication of the offer so that the public is transparently informed. Only here it becomes clear who and to what extent he has a genuine interest in the liberalisation of tracks in Slovakia, " Slovak Transport Minister Doležal said in a media statement.

Regiojet is not the first company to use somewhat special business practices under the leadership of Jančura. While in Slovakia Jančur's company leaned directly into the Ministry of Transport itself, in the Czech Republic it tried to push out rival Asiana.

Asiana used a marketing slogan in which it identified itself as the market leader. Jančura opposed it, claiming that his company Student Agency would sell more tickets based on turnover, so Asiana's slogan is not true. It all culminated in the student agency starting to operate a bus line on the Prague-Karlovy Vary route, which until now was operated by Asiana. Asiana subsequently started operating the Prague-Brno line, which until now was served only by Jančura. Jančur's Student Agency responded to the new competition by rapidly lowering prices, for which the company was fined more than FIVE MILLION CROWNS from the Office for the Protection of Competition. The case eventually ended up in court, which ruled that the Student Agency must pay Asiana nearly CZK 12 million in compensation.