Government cheering for Turkish takeoverThe Montenegrin government has announced that “Turkish Airlines is close to taking over Montenegro Airlines and the country’s airports”, national broadcaster RTCG reports. However, the government adds that it won’t sell the national carrier at any cost. If it decides that it is not the best time to privatise Montenegro Airlines, the government will offer Turkish Airlines certain privileges at either Podgorica or Tivat Airport, would initiate stronger cooperation between the flag carriers of both countries and would offer the Turks an opportunity to redevelop Berane Airport in the country’s north-east. This kind of approach will be made possible by the signing of an Intergovernmental Agreement which is being drafted at the moment.
Earlier in the year, the Government of Montenegro announced that it will sell a 30% share of Montenegro Airlines through a public tender by the end of the year after a failed attempt in 2010. This led to fierce criticism from Montenegro Airlines CEO, Zoran Djurišić. “The national carrier is having financial problems but in reality every airline is except for Turkish Airlines which is why we want them as partners”, the Ministry of Transport said in a statement. The extent of Montenegro Airlines’ troubles are unknown to the general public. Problems began this year when the airline was forced to suspend several routes and the government wrote off multi million Euro debt. Recently, the company that runs both of Montenegro’s international airports said its business was being jeopardised at the hands of Montenegro Airlines’ unpaid debt to Podgorica and Tivat.