Resignations and dismissals as Montenegro Airlines tries to keep afloat
Montenegro Airlines has continued with its cost cutting measures after its Finance Department determined the carrier is 68 million euros in debt, significantly higher than the 19.1 million claimed by the previous management which was dismissed by the government last summer. Montenegro Airlines has decided to shut down its sales offices in Frankfurt and Zurich, while it previously closed its offices in London and Rome. However, the carrier will keep open its representative offices in Belgrade, Moscow, Paris and Vienna. As it turns out, the airline’s country manager in Frankfurt was the brother of former CEO Zoran Djurišić who ran the carrier for almost twenty years. The closure has further fuelled tension between the airline’s current and former management. Mr. Djurišić himself resigned from the company on November 28, 2013 after he was dismissed as CEO in July.
In another sign that all is not well amongst the powerbrokers at the airline is the recent resignation of Executive Director Vojin Vlahović, who served only ten days on the job. The airline’s management has refused to comment on the issue, though CEO Daliborka Pejović says it was a decision made by Mr. Vlahović himself. Until being named as Montenegro Airlines’ Executive Director last month, Mr. Vlahović served as the Montenegrin Ambassador to Italy and the advisor to the Prime Minister.
Despite the problems, CEO Pejović says the airline has a bright future ahead. “Despite the debt, I can say with confidence that Montenegro Airlines has a future following the measures undertaken in the second half of 2013. I expect the new management will better handle the commercial sector of the business than was the case up until now”, Ms. Pejović says. She adds, “We will fight for new markets”. Montenegro Airlines recently announced the launch of new flights to Dusseldorf on April 19. However, the airline will face added competition with Ryanair launching new flights from London to Podgorica this summer. In addition, the Montenegrin carrier has seen tough competition on its main service to Belgrade with Air Serbia seeing an 11% passenger increase on flights to and from Podgorica and Tivat.