Montenegro Airlines

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Montenegro Airlines
Montenegro Airlines logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
YM MGX MONTENEGRO
Founded24 October 1994
Ceased operations26 December 2020[1]
HubsPodgorica Airport
Secondary hubsTivat Airport
Frequent-flyer programVision Team
Fleet size4[2]
Destinations21
HeadquartersPodgorica, Montenegro
Key peopleŽivko Banjević, CEO[3]
Net incomeDecrease €-8.0 million (2019)
Websitemontenegroairlines.com

Montenegro Airlines a.d. (Serbo-Croatian: Montenegro erlajns / Монтенегро ерлајнс) was the flag carrier of Montenegro,[4] headquartered in Podgorica. It operated scheduled and charter services throughout Europe from its hub at Podgorica Airport with a second base maintained at Tivat Airport.[5] The airline was liquidated from 26 December 2020 due to accumulating heavy losses.[1]

In February 2021, the government of Montenegro launched a new flag carrier, Air Montenegro.

History[edit]

A former Montenegro Airlines Fokker F-28 1998 in Zürich
Montenegro Airlines office in Vienna in July 2018.

Early years[edit]

The airline was founded on 24 October 1994, by the government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.[6] The first aircraft, a Fokker 28 Mk4000 (nicknamed "Lovćen"), was purchased almost two years later in 1996.[6] The first commercial flight took place on 7 May 1997, at exactly 10:30 between Podgorica and Bari, Italy.[6]

In April 2000, Montenegro Airlines became a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).[6] In June 2000, the first of five Fokker 100 aircraft was delivered to Podgorica Airport.[6] The airline joined Amadeus CRS on 5 March 2003.[6] In 2004, Montenegro Airlines' pilots were the first in the region to be granted the IIIA certificate. On 2 July of the same year, the airline carried its millionth passenger.[6]

After the Montenegrin independence referendum, Serbia became an international market for Montenegrin companies. Montenegro Airlines had to cease international flights from Serbia to countries other than Montenegro, thus losing the profitable Niš - Zurich line, due to lack of Seventh Freedom policy. In an effort to circumvent this, Montenegro Airlines registered a separate airline in Serbia called Master Airways, but it was denied an operating license allegedly due to Serbian Government protectionist policies. On 23 July 2007, Montenegro Airlines ordered 2 Embraer 195 in order to grow its fleet and destination network. The aircraft being leased from GECAS for a period of 8 years. The first of the two Embraer E-195s arrived at Podgorica Airport on 5 June 2008.[7] The delivery of the first Embraer was followed by introduction of regular flights to London-Gatwick and Milan-Malpensa International Airport.

On 17 April 2009, El Al and Montenegro Airlines issued a joint statement reiterating El Al's keen interest in buying 30% of the stock,[8] but the plan failed.[9] The airline remains a government-owned company and enjoys financial and protectionist support from the government.[10]

Development since 2010[edit]

After the arrival of the airline's first pair of Embraer E-195s, Montenegro Airlines requested Embraer to change the remaining backlog order to the E-175.[11] However, the third E-195 was delivered anyway,[12] and thus the fourth remaining order was to be an E-175.[13][14] On 6 July 2012, local media cited that Montenegro Airlines has yet again changed the fourth order, this time requesting an E-190LR model. The aircraft was delivered in May 2014.[15] In November 2014, Montenegro Airlines put both its Fokker 100s up for sale. However, by June 2015 no buyer has been found and the aircraft are likely to be scrapped.[16]

Liquidation and the new company[edit]

In August 2016, it was reported that accounts belonging to Montenegro Airlines had been frozen after the airline failed to comply with a court ruling regarding the payment of debts to the operator of the country's airports. Montenegro Airlines owed the company more than US$15 million.[17]

In December 2020, the Government of Montenegro announced the shutdown and liquidation of the company in the forthcoming weeks stating mismanagement and accumulating losses for several years.[18][19] Shortly after, it has been announced that the airline will suspend all flights from 26 December 2020 marking the end of its operations.[1]

On 29 December 2020, it was announced by Minister Mladen Bojanić that the Montenegro Airlines would be reorganized and replaced with a new company the To Montenegro (2 Montenegro), as the new Montenegrin flag carrier airline.[20]

In late 2020 it was uncovered that a number of individuals close to the ruling DPS party, such as controversial religious leader Miraš Dedeić, were given free tickets or significant discount for the flights of the Montenegro Airlines.[21]

In April 2021, it was reported the Montenegrin government made Air Montenegro the official name for the ToMontenegro project and that the airline would start up using two of Montenegro Airlines' former Embraer-195 aircraft.[22]

In June 2021, Montenegro Airlines' former directors, pilots, flight crew and other employees reported to the Bankruptcy Administration claims of US$205 million for salaries, taxes, contributions, per diems and fees.[23]

Corporate affairs[edit]

Business trends[edit]

The available business and operating results of Montenegro Airlines are (as at year ending 31 December):

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Turnover (€ m) 67.7 65.4 67.5 79.5 80.7
Net profit/loss (€ m) -10.4 -11.5 -15.9 -2.0 -8.0
Number of employees (at year end) 372
Number of passengers (000s) 580 581 569 644 657
Passenger load factor (%) 68 70 71
Number of aircraft (during year) 6 6 5 6 6
Notes/sources [24][25]
[26]
[24][25]
[26]
[26] [26] [27][28]

Destinations[edit]

At the time of closure, Montenegro Airlines served 18 destinations in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Austria, Slovenia, Serbia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.[29]

Codeshare agreements[edit]

Montenegro Airlines maintained codeshare agreements with the following airlines:[30]

Fleet[edit]

Montenegro Airlines Embraer 195
Montenegro Airlines Fokker 100

Final fleet[edit]

At the time of closure, Montenegro Airlines fleet consisted of the following aircraft:[32][33][34][2]

Montenegro Airlines fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
Y Total
Embraer 195 3 2 116 116 Two aircraft were to be added by summer of 2020. All aircraft now flying for Air Montenegro.[35]
Fokker 100 1 102 102 Was to be phased out by the end of 2020.[35]
Total 4 2

Historical fleet[edit]

The airline previously operated the following aircraft:[36]

Montenegro Airlines fleet
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Notes
Boeing 737-300 1[36] 2019 2019 returned to lessor Blue Air
Boeing 737-500 1[36] 2018 2018 returned to lessor Air X Charter
Embraer 190 1[36] 2014 2017 returned to lessor TUI fly Belgium
Fokker F-28 2 1996[6] 2000
Fokker 100 4[36] 2000 2020[35]

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • On 25 January 2005 at about 11 p.m., a Montenegro Airlines Fokker 100 (YU-AOM) ran off the side of the runway during a night landing in snowy conditions at Podgorica. The nosegear collapsed and the airplane skidded for about 700 meters before coming to rest. Two passengers, the pilot, and the co-pilot sustained minor injuries.[37]
  • On 7 January 2008, at about 9:30 pm, a Montenegro Airlines Fokker 100 (4O-AOK) was shot at while landing at Podgorica Airport. A routine inspection of the aircraft led to the discovery of a bullet hole in the aircraft's tail. The aircraft was carrying 20 passengers, but no one was injured. The reason for the incident is unknown; however, reports indicate that it may have been an inadvertent result of guns being fired during celebrations for Orthodox Christmas.[38]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Montenegro's indebted state airline ceases operations". CTV News. 2020-12-26.
  2. ^ a b "Montenegro Airlines prepares for service resumption". exyuaviation.com. May 24, 2020. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  3. ^ "New CEO of Montenegro Airlines appointed". Montenegro Airlines. 2017-02-07. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
  4. ^ "Flag carriers of the former Yugoslavia urged to unite". Centre for Aviation. 10 April 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-07-24. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  5. ^ "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-04-10. p. 52.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Istorijat". Montenegro Airlines. Archived from the original on 2012-10-01. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
  7. ^ [1] Archived October 31, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "El Al conducting talks to buy Montenegro Airlines stake - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper". Haaretz.com. Reuters. 2009-04-16. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
  9. ^ "EX-YU aviation news: El Al dumps Montenegro plans". Exyuaviation.blogspot.com. 2009-09-09. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
  10. ^ "Montenegro erlajns na izdisaju, država jedini spas - Vijesti online". Vijesti.me. 2012-04-28. Archived from the original on 2012-06-29. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
  11. ^ "EX-YU aviation news: Montenegro Airlines changes aircraft order". Exyuaviation.blogspot.com. 2009-05-29. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
  12. ^ "Photos: Embraer ERJ-190-200LR 195LR Aircraft Pictures". Airliners.net. 2010-07-19. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
  13. ^ "Dan online - Ekonomija: Đurišić naručio četvrti "embraer" - 2011-05-12". Dan.co.me. 2011-05-12. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
  14. ^ "Naručen četvrti Embraer". Aviokarte.Hr. 2012-10-03. Archived from the original on 2012-05-25. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
  15. ^ "M.Erlajns dobio novi avion". Radio Televizija Crne Gore. Retrieved 2014-05-18.
  16. ^ ch-aviation.com - Montenegro Airlines pulls Fokker 100s off market 19 June 2015
  17. ^ ch-aviation.com - Montenegro Airlines accounts frozen over ACG debts 12 August 2016
  18. ^ "Montenegro Closes Indebted National Airline | Balkan Insight".
  19. ^ aerotelegraph.com (German) 25 December 2020
  20. ^ Bojanić: Nova kompanija zvaće se "2 Montenegro", 29 December 2020, Vijesti
  21. ^ Stojović, Mladen (2020-12-31). "Montenegro Airlines za Miraša TOTAL FREE, besplatno letjeli i Ana i Jefto". Objektiv Crna Gora (in Bosnian). Retrieved 2021-01-01.
  22. ^ Podgorica rebrands ToMontenegro as Air Montenegro - CH-Aviation
  23. ^ "Милионска потраживања директора и пилота МА у стечају". Дневник (in Serbian). Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  24. ^ a b "Montenegro Airlines posts biggest loss in history". exyuaviation.com. April 25, 2017. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  25. ^ a b "Montenegro Airlines achieved two and a half times better business results in 2017 than in 2016". Montenegro Airlines. April 29, 2018. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  26. ^ a b c d "Montenegro Airlines best year". Montenegro Airlines. December 28, 2018. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  27. ^ "Jubilee MA in the sign of a new record (in Montenegrin)". Montenegro Airlines. January 13, 2020. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  28. ^ "Montenegro Airlines posts €8 million loss in 2019". exyuaviation.com. May 3, 2020. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  29. ^ montenegroairlines.com - Destinations retrieved 12. July 2018
  30. ^ "Profile on Montenegro Airlines". CAPA. Centre for Aviation. Archived from the original on 2016-11-02. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  31. ^ "Arabian Aerospace - Etihad Airways and Montenegro Airlines sign codeshare agreement".
  32. ^ Montenegro Airlines Fleet (official website)
  33. ^ "Global Airline Guide 2019 (Part One)". Airliner World (October 2019): 21.
  34. ^ "Montenegro Airlines Fleet Details and History". Planespotters.net. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  35. ^ a b c Alen Šćurić (14 November 2019). "Montenegro airlines nabavlja Embraer E195 do travnja (aprila) 2020". Tango Six. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  36. ^ a b c d e airfleets.net - Montenegro Airlines retrieved 26 December 2020
  37. ^ "Aviation Safety Network > News > News selection". Aviation-safety.net. 2008-03-20. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
  38. ^ "All Balkans Home". Balkan Insight. 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2012-10-07.

External links[edit]

Media related to Montenegro Airlines at Wikimedia Commons