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Montenegro Airlines to renew fleet, add routes

Montenegro Airlines to renew fleet, add routes

2017 09 17

2017 09 17

Montenegro Airlines plans to add larger aircraft to its fleet and expand its route network as it continues to restructure following a record 11.4 million euro net loss in 2016 and a number of operational issues earlier this year. "As we continue to stabilise our business this year, we are working hard on drafting a plan for the next three, five and ten years. At this point, we have already defined our long-term business and commercial strategy, which is based around the renewal of our fleet, as the remaining two Fokker F100s approach retirement", Montenegro Airlines' CEO, Živko Banjević, said. He added, "We are also undertaking activities on the market to remain competitive against the growing number of scheduled, charter and low cost carriers". The airline currently boasts a fleet of three 116-seat Embraer E195s and two ageing F100s.

Montenegro Airlines is looking at adjusting capacity by leasing larger aircraft with the ability to seat over 140 passengers. "We also plan to increase frequencies on existing routes and launch two new scheduled services to Germany, as well as add more charter flights", Mr Banjević noted. The CEO called for better coordination between the carrier and state authorities. "We need to define which routes should be covered by the national airline, and where low cost carriers can fly from. Due to the lack of such coordination, Montenegro Airlines is incurring significant losses". The Montenegrin government recently unveiled a draft plan to inject 29.5 million euros into the country's aviation sector in 2018, up from this year's 200.000 euros. Subsequently, no investments are planned for 2019 and 2020. The information, outlined in the country's proposed three-year fiscal strategy, gives no further details on what the sum will be spent on, although it is believed to be linked to Montenegro Airlines' restructuring process.

According to the CEO of the Montenegrin national carrier, the company is reducing its inflated workforce and attempting to bring its finances in order. "Since January, we have significantly reduced our costs in all segments. We are currently mulling the closure of our remaining representative offices outside of Montenegro and a decision on this matter will be made very soon. At the same time, we are working on acquiring modern software solutions for sales and revenue control", Mr Banjević said. He added, "Soon we will see a revitalised and healthier Montenegro Airlines, with a new business and commercial strategy, which will enable the company to secure its place on the market, increase passenger numbers and give it a chance to launch operations to new and far-away markets, which is especially important for the tourism industry. It will also become much more aggressive in its commercial policy towards its competitors on existing markets".

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