Financial boost for Montenegro AirlinesThe Government of Montenegro is coming to the national carrier’s rescue but has decided not to privatise Montenegro Airlines. The government will restructure the airline before any talks of a possible future sale is on the agenda. The airline’s mounting debt owed to its hub airports Podgorica and Tivat will be indirectly written off. In return, the state owned Airports of Montenegro, which runs Podgorica and Tivat airports, will be given a certain amount of shares in the national carrier. Furthermore, the airports have been ordered to slash their taxes and fees but only to Montenegro Airlines. The flag carrier owes 7.5 million Euros in unpaid fees to its hubs.
Montenegro Airlines will be given 400.000 Euros from the state budget on a monthly basis to cover operational costs. The debt Montenegro Airlines owes to the Serbia and Montenegro Air Services Agency will be covered through compensation. The Montenegrin government will offer the Agency ownership over the three star Park Hotel in the town of Bijela on the coast. Earlier in the year the government wrote off a total of 3.2 million Euros of debt and gave state guarantees for a 9.6 million Euro loan.
In February, Montenegro Airlines was forced to suspend flights to Priština and Skopje due to unpaid fess. An attempt to sell a 30% share in the airline last year failed despite interest from other airlines. All interested parties wanted Podgorica and Tivat airports in the sale package. In 2010 Montenegro Airlines recorded a loss of 3.7 million Euros. It is keeping this year’s financial results a closely guarded secret. In 2012 the airline plans to use its recently obtained loan to buy a new aircraft, open new routes and get one of its grounded Fokkers F100 back in the air.