Government to provide cash to debt ridden Montenegro AirlinesThe Montenegrin government is set to pump 36 million euros into the national carrier in order for it to carry out its restructuring plan. The government has also ordered the country’s two international airports, Podgorica and Tivat, to write off Montenegro Airlines’ debt to the tune of 9.7 million euros. In return, the state owned Airports of Montenegro will be given a certain amount of shares in the national carrier. Furthermore, the government will provide funds for one out of the four Embraer E195 jets in the carrier’s fleet, at price tag of 13 million euros. The Montenegrin carrier already receives 400.000 euros from the state budget on a monthly basis. 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.
Montenegro Airlines, which keeps most of its business operations a closely guarded secret, was forced to suspend flights to Priština and Skopje due to unpaid fees last year. The Montenegrin government has already written off over three million euros worth of the carrier’s debt and issued state guarantees for a 9.6 million euro loan in 2011. Recently, the carrier has been lobbying for an open sky policy across the former Yugoslavia, which would allow it to launch flights from Belgrade to other countries.
Meanwhile, the head of Podgorica Airport, Milovan Djuričković, was ordered to reduce his monthly salary, which was ten times over the national average. It has now been reduced, under the government’s order, to three average monthly pays. Djuričković, member of the ruling Social Democratic Party, is famed for employing many family and party members at the airport.