Crisis measures at Montenegro AirlinesAfter a government bailout, Montenegro Airlines is now looking at slashing employee pay instead of slashing its workforce. The airline’s management planned to have only 100 staff working for the national carrier by 2014. However, the management has had a change of heart. “Employees are keener to see their wages slashed by some 20% instead of losing their jobs”, Zoran Djurišić, the airline’s CEO said. Apart from decreasing wages, the airline plans to reduce its destination network, with newly launched services to Milan and Brussels expected to go first along with its signature London route. On the other hand, despite falling on hard times, the airline plans to purchase new aircraft and replace its entire aging Fokker fleet with Embraer jets.
Meanwhile, Djurišić has requested the Montenegrin Government to punish those responsible at the national judiciary and the police department who have lead a 4 year investigation against him on assumption of corruption. Djurišić was accused of signing damaging deals with an Albanian airline for the lease of a Fokker jet and suspicious business dealings relating to the unsuccessful launch of the airline’s Serbian subsidiary, Master Airways. According to the judiciary, such actions cost Montenegro Airlines some 10 million Euros. No charges have ever been laid against Djurišić, who is a member of the ruling party in the Montenegrin Government, as is the case with most CEOs of national carriers in the former Yugoslavia.
Despite the recent bad press, Montenegro Airlines is set to benefit from a bumper tourist season. The airline carried some 20.000 passengers in the past two weeks, with the most popular services being those from Paris and Moscow.