Friday, May 27, 2011

Montenegro plans Belgrade base

Montenegro Airlines hopes for flights from Belgrade to Europe
The CEO of Montenegro Airlines, Zoran Djurišić, told a press conference on Wednesday that Montenegro Airlines plans to offer flights out of Belgrade to Western Europe. This came only several days after the Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate denied to issue Montenegro Airlines a license to operate summer charters from the Serbian capital to Palma de Mallorca in Spain. Djurišić said that although the Directorate had the right to make such a decision he hopes that Serbia and Montenegro will liberalise their skies soon. Djurišić added that he wants Montenegro Airlines to begin flights from Belgrade to other countries other than Montenegro and in return Jat Airways should be granted the right to fly out of Tivat and Podgorica to other countries of its choice.

Serbia is currently implementing phase 1 of the Open Sky agreement meaning that it is under no obligation to issue fifth freedom rights to airlines, although it has exercised this right with Wizz Air since the Hungarian registered airline flies from Belgrade to several destinations in Western and Northern Europe.

Recently, the Montenegrin Government announced it would liberate its sky by allowing low cost airlines to commence flights to both Podgorica and Tivat. Montenegro Airlines’ chief says he welcomes competition but underlines that low cost airlines should operate all year round services to the country and not only peak season flights.

Until June 2006, Montenegro Airlines operated summer charters out of Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport as well as scheduled services to Zurich, Podgorica and Tivat.


  1. Wow... will they come out of the fairytale land?
    Jesus, this airline is so annoying. It's like a fly that you can't get rid of. I hope that the Montenegran market gets liberated as soon as possible so that the lowcost airlines crush YM. If they liberate the market between Serbia and Montenegro, Wizz Air will be the first airline to enter the market. No matter how many flights Wizz offers, Jat will survive on the route leaving Montenegro Airlines to die slowly.

    On a side note, where do they intend on flying from Belgrade? Istanbul with Turkish Airlines and Jat?
    Athens with Olympic Airlines and Jat.
    Rome with Jat, Alitalia and Wizz?
    Vienna with Niki, Austrian and Jat?
    Moscow? Could they even think of this route with their narrow and uncomfortable E195 to compete with Jat's 733 and Aeroflot's A320/321.

    Maybe Paris? Or wait, it's Montenegro Airlines! I am sure that they are going to fly to London and compete with Jat and Wizz Air! I mean British Airways failed but they are no comparison to YM and their brand new jungle jets!

    Get real. You missed your chance in Belgrade (Thank God). The market is becoming saturated with carriers, leaving no space for them.

    The only way Montenegro could survive in Belgrade is to launch low yielding routes to Hamburg, Madrid, Oslo... or routes where Jat's equipment doesn't allow it to operate normally like Berlin or Brussels.

    Maybe they should rather concentrate on opening up a base in Zagreb before they miss their chance there as well. Another possible scenario would be to lease out a couple of E195 and stay with one aircraft plus the two E175s to serve the less popular routes.

  2. Peter from SydneyMay 27, 2011 at 9:34 AM

    HAHA, agree with Nemjee to some extent. Why doesn't YM go to Macedonia, where they'd have a field day with potential routes. Belgrade is competitive but if they can't make it work in Montenegro as basically a monopoly airline, I don't see how it could compete with 2 other airlines already on the route. Finally if YM wants to launch a base from Serbia, taking a leaf out of their own books, it cannot be a charter type set up, each route opened up must be a yearly route link.
    What this shows is again, the desperate situation YM finds itself in. What were they thinking buying all those shiny new jet, which destinations did they hope to put them on? Crazy!

  3. Danny from SydneyMay 27, 2011 at 9:50 AM

    lol @ Nemjee ... love it ...

    If anything it would actually be of a bigger impact to there current routes rather then a gain for there planned routes from BG. The country has 500k and the airline has 8 planes, have they ever realised that for a country of that size there is a limitation in how big a airline can be?? If the airline had proper managment they would first work to maximise there current countries routes and identify a business plan suited for the airline and its demographics so at least they can return a few dollars to the GOV before they look at branching out to another country.BIH has 4.5million and a airline that serves it with 2 planes yes i understand that the market for montenegro is more of a demand during peak season but realistcallly i still cant understand how they have any aspirations of becoming any bigger and look at a foreignbase when there own routes are not profitable.

  4. maybe an idea is to get as someone else said on another post there emabrier whichi "is the law" and run long haul flight to sidney or new york with about 8 stop overs im sure that could be another "realistic option" for them!!!!

  5. Oh God.

    Wait. Don't rush. Give them a chance. :)))

    First of all, flights to/from any Russian destination is out of the question, because the agreement between Russia and Serbia doesn't allow more then one carrier from each country to operate to any destination to/from Russia from/to BEG/INI. Remember Yamal Airlines wanted to start 2 weekly service from DME in the beginning of 2010, but failed due to this agreement. (The only exception is the charter service to/from Sochi). BTW - I think that this is not changed with the Open skies agreement. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Next, any destination to UK, Norway (DY), Sweeden (JU/WZZ), Denmark (JU/QI), Netherlands (JU/WZZ), France (JU/AF) etc, would be a complete failure. Why? No need for an answer.

    Next, E195 are perfect for routes with smaller demand such as TXL, BRU, HAM, VCE etc. So, maybe one of these could work out from YM. Plus the charters, of course. The only destination, I think, that doesn't have direct air service out of BEG, but has great potential is GVA. ZRH, as a destination frequently served by YM in the past, is out of the question because they won't be able to survive and compete with 14 weekly flights on Swiss and 11 weekly with JAT.

    The only good thing that could come out of this is the possibility of choice for the passengers. Greater competition, lower prices. More based aircrafts, more routes, more passengers, more choices, more money for BEG. So let them be. Honestly, I would give them a chance. On a yearly basis, of course, not to make a hub just during summer seasons. But, just a chance. Nothing more.

    In the end, JU could lease one or two Embraer jets from YM, to feel the gap it has. :))))

  6. Oh, I forgot. One more thing - JU to operate any service from TIV/TGD. Are you kidding me? Ancient history :)

  7. Daniel from SYdneyMay 27, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    It would be too much training and techinical costs for Jat to lease the embarier to fill a temp gap, they could only look at 737 or ATRs to lease otherwise it would be pointless if they were really to gain airbuses in the short term.

  8. @JU500

    Don't forget that SkyWork is going to fly Geneva-Belgrade-Geneva from this winter. Return ticket stands at €118 tax included. The flights are going to be operated twice per week using Dash-8 aircraft.

    There is no profitable way they can operate with this aircraft.
    The only way they could survive is to get their hands on a lot of cash, get a 737-700 or -800 and fly to Dubai and get an interline agreement with Emirates. Now, we all know the possibility of this ever happening... so no need to comment on it any further.

    Venice would not work as I am sure Wizz Air is going to put it on its radar when it places the second aircraft in Belgrade. This route will be reinforced with Jat's exit from Trieste.
    I think Hamburg would be the only destination that could work. However they could operate it 4 times per week. What would they do with the aircraft during the rest of the days? Maybe some charter flights and that's it.

    If they had any sense of intellect they would work on feeding their own network. However to do it right, they need to look beyond unprofitable routes such as Nis, Pristina and Sarajevo. They should concentrate on the Turkish market.
    By launching overnight flights to secondary Turkish airports such as Ankara and Sabiha Gokcen they would be able to get some of the Turkey-Europe market.
    Not to mention that Ankara is unserved at this point with Anadolu jet still being relatively weak there. As for Sabiha, well they could attract some of the Asia-Istanbul passengers thta wouldn't need to travel to the European side and catch a flight from Ataturk.
    Not to mention that they could time convenient connections to Vienna, Zurich and Frankfurt, all being cities with a considerable Turkish population.
    Not to mention that in Sabiha they could advertize themselves as one of the few non-lowcost airlines to fly there.

  9. Nemjee,

    "Could they even think of this route with their narrow and uncomfortable E195 to compete with Jat's 733 and Aeroflot's A320/321."

    Embraer is more comfortable than old wreckages (JAT's 737), I use Lufthansa's ones a lot.

  10. This is not stupid idea, what more it is very good one. Who will use Montenegro from BEG:

    Big Montenegrin diaspora in Belgrade and we know in which «top management» position they all are, so they do travel a lot.

    Connections from TIV and TGD via BEG to 3rd destinations. And that is not stupid. For example

    TGD – CDG 3x
    + TGD – BEG – CDG 9x
    ...40% of pax for sure would be from TGD to CDG + some on leg TGD-BEG, and than you need just 25% of plane on leg BEG-CDG to make it break-even)

    And why not to compete Jat? If you have on one route for example Air France, Jat with ancient fleet and Montenegro with brand new and economical E195, trust me Jat will be one who will have to go out of that line. You can not compete with 25 years old 737 which drink enormous amount of petrol against smaller and less drinking new generation aircraft. Break even on 737-300 is some 95 pax, break even on E195 is some 60 pax.

  11. Anonymous,

    I fly on Jat's 733 at least twice per month. They are far from uncomfortable so I do not see your point here.


    First of all, Jat's Boeings have received new engines which make them more economical than the old ones.
    Plus, the Montenegran minority in Serbia will not care that the airlie is from their homeland. If they cared so much, and if they were so influential they would have made an effort for Master Airways to remain in operation in Serbia. Also, they would have made sure that the serbian government allowed YM to operate the charter flights.
    So, I do not think YM can rely that much on the Montenegrans living in belgrade.

  12. JU could lease Embraers with the maintenance at TGD? Is it possible?

    Skywork will commence the service out of Bern, not out of Geneva.

    Venice, for now, is a possible destination. If WZZ opens that route too, YM/JU/AZ would only say "Bye, Bye, Venice." :)

    Hamburg/Hannover, yes, I do agree - 3/4 flights a week.
    (Berlin too, why not? JU sent its ATR to Berlin few days ago, so YM could easily feel its Embraer with right prices on a 4 daily service :))))

    Now, seriously, what about St. Petersburg? Helskinki? Some routes without any direct competition? Minsk? Luxembourg? Innsbruck? Basel? Nice? Lisbon? Some Italian and Croatian coastal destination? Sofia? Tirana? Morocco? Algeria? Lebanon? I want to hear your opinion.

    Of course, routes to Turkey (without charters) could absolutely work. But again, out of Belgrade -> more destinations = more regional and European-destination options. Simple as that. But again, TK with domestic network and its presence in the Balkan region...huh.

  13. I think this is rather political than business announcement. Hence, YM for the sake of their owner is simply provoking, not just Serbian CAD and Govt, but broader public.

    So this statement deserved ignorance.

    Btw, CAD has made good move, denied BEG, offered INI.

  14. Generale Milorade, koliko su ti paprike? hehehe

  15. Embrarer 195 is the best airlplane on mid line..

    Most confortable, faster , and off course the most beautiful plane in class.

    Fly Nikki, Luftahansa, Jet blue Montenegro Airlines had them.!!!

  16. Agree, Embraer 190/197 is nice, quiet, extremly comfortable and has wonderful windows. Plus, you can have a full flight and no pax has to sit in that awful middle seat!!! There is no way you can compare JAT ancient fleet with that.

    And no, I am NOT working for Montenegro Airlines! I'm just giving both professional and passenger opinion.

  17. not 197 but 195, I'm sorry... Quick typing. :)

  18. The only hub they can have in Serbia is Nis Airport. :)

  19. YM will never get a base at BEG, as has been said, it can be only INI. Wizzair is definitely going to get 2nd plane in 2012 if not thi year, one of the first new routes will be Venice Treviso. And yes I agree, why another airlines simply don's tart NEW destination, which have no competition, as has been said, Helsinki, Krakow, Edinburg, Malaga, ANY of Canaru Islands all year around, coastal cities in ex Yu, SPU, PUY, DBV, TIV... wish Wizz was flying to Ciampino from belgrade instead to Fuimocino, Ciampino is much closer to the city.

  20. Hahahaha destinations like Malaga, Krakow,Helsinki, Edinbourg-people where do you live?!These destinations can hardly work out from hubs like Vienna and you dream about Belgrade-Edinbourg for examle or Belgrade-Krakow.Neither business, nor diaspora nor tourists.You dont operate a route in order the cabin crew to visit these destinations.
    Btw. I flew in January with E195 and it was the best experience on a middle class plane ever.Boeing, Airbus and CRJ series are crapy compared to Embraer.So much legroom, spacious luggage compartments, very relaxing cabin lightening, zero noise and an incredible feeling of safety..I couldnt imagine that Embraer was such a great plane!!

  21. Btw since someone mentioned Minsk as a possibility of destination.. There was a flight from Minsk the other day to Belgrade. And I went to the website of the Minsk airport and saw their survey about where what city would they like to be connected to.. If we don't count the "impossible or almost impossible routes" such as Goa, Beijing.. Belgrade is one options, and Helsinki too (Belavia starts flying there in june)... So, maybe this charter flight brought Belavia officials to organize the route? :)

  22. Minsk-Belgrade-Minsk could work on Belavia's Crj-200.
    There is quite a lot of business between the two countries, however I fear that if they do launch the route we might see tickets as high as €300 for a return flight.
    I am not sure if Belorussians need visas to enter Serbia?

    Regarding some other comments on here: yes, Embraer jets are wonderful aircraft. No one is saying otherwise, our problem here is that Montenegro is not a properly run airline. They are trying to expand at all costs. The fact that they are trying to set up a base in Belgrade shows the huge level of desperation.
    Maybe it wouldn't be that bad, they would be burned after maximum two months in the city. YM is not a lowcost and their cost structure is everything but cheap meaning they would fail to be competitive out of Belgrade which already sees quite a lot of cheap flights on legacy carriers.

  23. Malev is sending their 737-800 to BEG today, not too often ej? from Antalya there are A321's coming in with one of the charter airlines. But whats with JAT sending a 737-300 to Antalya, arent those not on schedule? Maybe part of charter that isent on their site...?

  24. @Aleks

    Malev used to send their Boeings regularly to Belgrade during the promotional period. In 2009 they launched a campaign with tickets for €1 to any destination in Europe. Even before the flights were launched their cabin occupancy stood at 77%, that is for all the flights before Christmass.
    Soon after, when the promotional campaign was over the number of passengers plummeted on the BUD-BEG-BUD segment. It was so bad that the flights were not daily anymore and they had to downgrade the route to a crappy E-120.
    It seems to me that the numbers are on the rise at the moment as, let's not forget, from this summer they will be flying 9 times per week to Belgrade with two flights spending the night in BEG and departing to Budapest at 04:55. These flights were introduced in order to offer convenient departures to Western European flights departing from Budapest at 07:00. This means that the very early arrival to Budapest from Belgrade will join their flights from Damascus, Beirut, Amman, Larnaca, Athens..

    As for the charter airline using the A321, that airline is called Atlasjet. They launched charter flights from Antalya about two weeks ago. They are directly competing with Pegasus which operates the route using a B737-800. Actually, they operated a flight yesterday. Jat operates a random charter to Turkey now and then however I guess that their middle of the night flights are not as attractive as the ones offered by the Turkish carriers.

    On a side note, my sister came back from Barcelona yesterday. She flew on Spanair's A321 that was packed to the last seat! I do not understand it, if they are sending their A321 that often to Belgrade, even out of the season, why don't they just add another flight to Belgrade and have it as four flights per week. It will offer more connections for the people who transit in Barcelona.

  25. Sure, why not, I'd allow them provided that they form a Serbian airline, with a non-Montenegrin name, re-register their planes with "YU" and employ only Serbian staff.

  26. Yes, but if they do that then they can't get the monetary support from the Montenegran government. A vital ingredient for their survival.

  27. Nemjee

    Regarding the conversation about skoplje terminal, I believe some people just do not understand some things - and I will not try to explain everything to them lol.

    I saw pictures of the atlasjet A321, nice presence at BEG airport. And I heard as well the flights to Barcelona are doing real well! Maybe they will change something for the summer. They currently have 3 weekly flights, and will introduce one more in July and one in August, so it will bs 5 weekly.

  28. @Aleks,

    That's why the best things is to not try and reason with those people.

    As for the Turkish charters, I guess that they are using the opportunity of Jat not being able to offer any charters do to their shortage of aircraft, but also coz fo their change is tactics. Before Jat used to pay a lot of attention to charter flights, I remember they used to have 6 to 9 daily charter flights. Now they are concentration mostly on regular flights, which i think is a wise thing to do.

    Regarding Spanair, if you are referring to the schedule at it doesn't mean that they are adding flight it just means that there are going to be minor changes. BCN-BEG-BCN will remain as 3 timer per week.

    The only think we can hope at this point is for airlines like Lot, CSA and Malev to remain strong in Belgrade by addind more flights.
    Also, we should hope for Aerosvit's flights to remain popular. They fly KBP-BEG-KBP four times per week, however it's not that rare that an upgreade occurs. Usually from an E145 to A148 but the otehr day they have sent a B735!

  29. You are right, JAT needs new aircraft. However when you look at the schedule at there is a point in about July that there will be 5 weekly flights!(: Also referring to the other status, many people do not understand like that one from 22 years when that person went last, 22 yrs ago was1990, JAT flew all over the world, BEG was a hub. That person did not understand during their absence at BEG, yugo died, sanctions were in place for srbija and we got bombed. we have major improvements and are once again becoming a hub, and i believe it is sad that person just compared today to BGD 1990 lol

  30. btw - Norwegian Air SHuttle is flying in today to Beograd via Dubrovnik w/ their 737-300...:) but JAT is using one of their ATR to Istanbul and Milan?

  31. Yes but people prefere to trash other people/countries without any viable arguments. That is what these Skopians always do, and then in the end they just say how the world is against them and that everyone hates them.
    I agree with you, that guy was abcent from Belgrade for 22 years. A lot has happened since, unfortunately a lot of bad stuff. However recently Belgrade was voted as the capital of cool by some British newspaper. Actually Belrade has become a very popular destination for Brits since Wizz Air launched flights.
    I remember last year at the beer fest there were so many of them. I think that this summer things are even more wild for Belgrade with more flights and more destinations. I am just waiting to see how the Chicago-Belgrade flights are going to do. I hope for the best, but let's wait and see. Direct US-Serbia flights on a legacy are not going to happen anytime soon, so at least this is something.

    Jat sends their Atrs to various destinations due to a lack of 733s which are undergoing maintainance at this point. Milan is not that bad for an Atr, it's only one hour on a 733, sometimes even less.

    However, one good thing is that airBaltic seems to be doing well in Belgrade. Their inaugural flight had 50% cabin occupancy and if you go on their site, the first cheapest fare available for RIX-BEG is somewhere in August. Kudos to them for making Belgrade work. I guess the absence of St. Petersburg-Belgrade is really helping them!

  32. Also what is funny is that there are going to be two B737-600 in Belgrade today and both of them land at the same time! Malev and Austrian Airlines at 14:15.


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