Last call for Montenegro Airlines’ aging Fokker fleet
Montenegro Airlines has grounded the majority of its Fokker 100 aircraft with its fleet to shrink to just five operational jets this March. The national carrier’s Fokker fleet now averages 23.7 years. Out of the 34 commercial airlines operating this type of aircraft, Montenegro Airlines now has the third oldest Fokker fleet in the world. The airline says it grounded its first of five F100s in 2011 (registered 4O-AOL), however, the jet has not been cannibalised for spare parts. Its second aircraft (registered 4O-AOK) operated its last flight for the airline on December 31, 2013 before it too was permanently grounded. Finally, a third jet (registered 4O-AOT) will end its run with the carrier on March 1.
As a result, Montenegro Airlines will only have two F100s operating this summer (registered 4O-AOM and 40-AOP), both of which are 23 years old. As EX-YU Aviation News understands, the carrier is sourcing potential buyers for the grounded aircraft. The jets have the capacity to seat 102 passengers. An additional three Embraer E195s, which the airline took delivery of from 2008 onwards, will continue to be utilised by the Montenegrin carrier. However, the airline only owns one of the jets while the other two are on financial lease from the aircraft leasing company GECAS (General Electric Aviation Services). Following the expiry of the lease, which lasts eight years for each aircraft, Montenegro Airlines can purchase them if it wishes to do so.
In addition to its existing fleet, the Montenegrin carrier has another Embraer, the smaller E190 version, on order. Originally planned for delivery this April, it now looks likely its arrival will be deferred until further notice. Last week, the Montenegrin government issued an advisory to its national carrier to get its fleet in order which, according to them, should consist of three larger and three smaller jets. “The current fleet does not fully meet our traffic requirements due to the airline’s high seasonality. There is a need for smaller E175 jets with the capacity to seat 88 passengers”, the government said in its report. Earlier this month the Montenegrin government announced plans to privatise its national carrier.