Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Etihad eyeing Montenegro Airlines

Etihad Airways to screen Montenegro Airlines

Etihad Airways has expressed interest to boost cooperation with Montenegro Airlines and look into the possibility of purchasing a stake in the national carrier. The news comes after the Montenegrin Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Igor Lukšić, met with Etihad CEO James Hogan in Abu Dhabi yesterday. In addition, both Montenegro Airlines and Etihad have held talks in the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Etihad will soon send its own delegation to Podgorica in order to screen the Montenegrin national carrier which is set to be privatised later this year. “We have made a definite agreement for a team from Etihad Airways to visit Montenegro in order to define models of cooperation and partnership between Etihad Airways and Montenegro Airlines”, Mr. Lukšić said in a statement.

Earlier this year, the Montenegrin Privatisation and Capital Investment Council announced plans to privatise Montenegro Airlines this year. At the time, the Council said shares in the Montenegrin carrier will be offered through a public tender. It will be the government’s second attempt at selling its indebted national carrier after it failed to do so in 2011. Despite the government’s approval for a second privatisation effort in 2012, the process never took place. Etihad has previously expressed interest to invest in Montenegro Airlines. During the 2011 privatisation attempt, in which the government was looking to sell a 30% stake in the Montenegrin carrier, Etihad purchased the tender documentation. However, it failed to place a bid later on.

With Etihad looking to finalise a deal to purchase a stake in Alitalia and its recent acquisition of Air Serbia, Montenegro Airlines would be the UAE carrier’s next investment in the region and one of its smallest after Darwin Airline in Switzerland. However, a possible acquisition of the carrier could also come through Air Serbia, which has previously expressed interest to tie up with carriers in the region and is in talks to further boost cooperation with Bosnia’s B&H Airlines.

51 comments:

  1. Croatia Airlines should really start worrying with the development in the region .Because the way it is going I don't forsee anything good for the Airline this happens when you hire friends to run your business especially when they have no business perspective

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  2. Not gonna happen, expressing interest is not the same as buying it, remember Garuda "expressing interest" for Croatia Airlines? Still, wish them good luck, who knows, maybe I'm wrong!

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    1. Well, I could see Etihad taking them over via Air Serbia. That would probably be the best solution. With Montenegro Airlines out of the picture, Serbia and Montenegro should sign an open skies agreement which would allow for Wizz Air to launch its own flights to both Podgorica and Tivat. Having this kind of duopoly is only hurting the market.

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    2. Well, wouldnt it be kind of a contradiction for both JU and YM to allow Wizz air or any other lowcost? Belgrade, Tivat and Podgorica are too important markets for both. Imagine if you can buy a return ticket for only 50 - 60 euros without baggage, if you want to spend your weekend there. YM and JU flights would be half empty.

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    3. Yes but at the same time Montenegro Airlines is bound to fail and their domestic market is too small and too season for them to become an independent player in the region.

      I disagree that the flights would be half empty. JU will always have an advantage over W6 and that is that it has Atrs which means it can offer a greater number of frequencies between Belgrade and Montenegro.
      Realistically speaking, Wizz Air couldn't send more than a daily flights to TGD outside the high season.

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    4. well, should JU buy YM, Komisija za zaštitu konkurencije would direct them to sell several daily flights between BEG and Montenegro to toher companies in order to allow merger. it was the same when Agrokor bought Mercator, KZK directed Agrokor to sell 22 IDEA stores. you have details here:
      http://www.kzk.org.rs/aro-saopstenje

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    5. But if the market is indeed liberalized and if any airline is allowed to open flights then I see no reason why they would force them to sell any of the flights. Maybe the agency would make the liberalization of the market a prerequisite for this acquisition.

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    6. Sebia-Montenegro air market is not liberalized. KZK can and will make them liberalize it in order to allow acquisition

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    7. What is currently preventing any carrier from an ECAA country to simply open the BGD-TGD/TIV route?

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    8. What currently prevents any carrier from an ECAA country to simply open the BEG-TGD/TIV route?

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    9. Well, I am not sure but I think it's the bilateral between Serbia and Montenegro which states that one carrier from each country can operate flights.

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    10. Shouldn't ECAA outrank any bilateral between countries who are signatories?

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    11. no, because ECAA is between EU and other countries, not between countries that are not EU. wouldn't W6 or any other LCC fly BEG-TIV every summer season if they could?

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  3. Renewed idea - one of possible solutions for OU and JP would be merger aditionally funded by some investor group or larger partner (Qatar?). Also option would be to operate OU part as main airline connecting ZAG/SPU/DUB/LJU with main business destinations (FRA/MUC/LON/ZRH/CDG) and JP part as low cost subsidiary to cover ZAG/SPU/DUB/LJU with other LCC oriented airports.

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    1. Too good to be true... Croatian government is falling apart, and has no interest in doing anything to save Croatia Airlines as soon as possible... Instead of sending economists and diplomats to negotiate the potential sale of OU (Qatar will start buying other carriers), they are waiting doing absolutely nothing!

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    2. Don't worry, the Slovene government has already fallen apart! lol

      So I guess that it is safe to assume that the deal with Garuda was a sham?

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  4. Did I say 4 months ago that Montenegro is target for taking over!

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    1. Highly doubt it, this is just another Garuda-Croatia Airlines scenario!

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    2. Purger, I remember reading you prediction.

      If EY takes a stake in YM, do you think that we will continue to see the Montenegro Airlines brand? How about fleet?

      YM could significantly cut down on costs if it enters a partnership with JU.

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    3. Just curious, hope someone can answer me: why would anyone buy Montenegro over Adria or Croatia? Just don't tell me that EU membership is the only reason, I'm interested in other reasons! Thanks, guys!
      P.S. Wish good luck to Montenegro Airlines!

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    4. Why to take Montenegro over Croatia or Adria? Because Montenegro and Serbian market are in logical synergy. In same time you kill competition and build good system in synergy!

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  5. I really hope Etihad will buy Montenegro Airlines so we can have a normal national carrier and they should immediately replace Daliborka Pejovic and others who know nothing about aviation.

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  6. I see this as a real possibility. JU is still very strong in Montenegro and YM is under a great deal of pressure. I just flew to TIV a few days ago and planes were almost full (B737, upgraded from ATR due to number of pax). And this is still off-season! A great deal of transit pax from TIV as well, I can only imagine an even greater number from TGD.
    I think this deal would suit both countries. JU keeps the Montenegrin market and the two destinations with the highest number of frequencies (TGD and TIV), while Montenegro gets to keep their brand and "national airline" which becomes sort of a feeder airline for JU and leisure airline for the Montenegrin coast for the summer season.

    Don't forget the two countries already cooperate in ATC, there's no reason not to cooperate in airline business as well.

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  7. why is the announced 73 million € loss of Air Serbia in 2013 not a topic here ??

    thx

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    1. wasn't the loss reflective of JAT Airways rather than Air Serbia ? Air Serbia, as a company jointly owned by Etihad and the Govt of Serbia, was only formalized in March this year. Up until then, it was 100% owned by the Govt of Serbia

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    2. Yeah, and that same guy will then flame it with: 'This is a pro-serbian blog! Always Air Serbia, no room for any other carrier!'

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    3. @ Racunari:

      Or because some Croats would say this blog is AirSerbia only.

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  8. I think the smartest thing for OU would be to merge with JP and JA and use Adria's name to become national airline of SLO, CRO and BIH. Adria has a long history, it's more recognized brand with no politics and nationalism attached to its name, enabling easier expansion in the neighborhood. To make this equal sacrifice, OU would lose its name as suggested but ZAG would become new mini regional hub with multiple daily feeder flights from LJU, SJJ, SPU, DBV, OMO, ZAD, PUY and OSI using OU's DHCs fleet and then connecting with the rest of Europe utilizing A319s and CRJ9. If OU doesn't act soon enough, the Etihad and Air Serbia will soon take over its market in the region and will be too late to do anything. Combining the carriers from SLO, CRO and BIH into a single one makes it also more attractive for potential investors. That's exactly what Etihad is doing now with the eastern portion of ex YU. They already got JU. Now they are probing with YM, while Macedonia has no national airline anyway and will be even easier to absorb by just increasing the presence of Air Serbia there.

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    1. You're viewing things overly rationally. The Balkanoid CEOs will never be able to come to such terms.

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    2. People please as long as Croatia Airlines Ceo is Mr. Kucko nobody will buy Croatia Airlines because his personal interest goes above the interest of the airline .If they fire him in no time there will be Airlines interested in Croatia Airlines.

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    3. A feeder flight from LJU to ZAG hahahahaha

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    4. I just don't see BIH in this possible merge, Slovenia and Croatia are in the EU, so it just wouldn't work out, there are major differences in standard between Slo and Cro on one and BIH on the other side...

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    5. From what we can see, Adria's management has big ambitions for the airline. There is no way in Hell they would accept reallocating to Zagreb, especially not now when their restructuring plan seems to be working. Also, their codeshare with Air Serbia seems to be working, why would they give that up?

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    6. "No way in hell"? Really? Ambitious plans? Croatia Airlines also has ambitious plans, so what, Slovenia and Croatia are linked much more than you can read in the media, plus both of these countries are EU members... I don't see it happening, honestly, but nothing is impossible, especially in aviation! If they somehow manage to sell Croatia Airlines (not likely, but still), it would be extremely bad news for Adria and vice versa!

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    7. Maybe Croatia Airlines and Adria could merge like Air France-KLM. They could become one company but continue to operate on their own.

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    8. Yeah but JP's ambitious plans are actually happening. They are planning on adding new routes, they are fixing their fleet and so on. To me it seems that Adria actually has a shot while OU keeps on operating without a concise business plan. I guess time will tell. However, I do not see what Adria would gain from merging with Croatia Airlines. After all, like you said it, they are in the EU which means they can expand in the Croatian market as much as they want... why share the cake when you can have it all for yourself?

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    9. Nemjee, like I said, things in aviation change rapidly, who can tell that Adria will succeed in fixing things, plus Croatia has numerous carriers, mostly beacuse of tourism, they can expand, sure, but I don't think they would stand the competition... I just hope that Croatia Airlines doesn't fall apart, although everything leads to that scenario... For all th eother things, I agree with you! Wish the best for all the Ex-Yu carriers ;))

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    10. Of course, anything is possible in ex-Yugoslavia so JP's restructuring plan might or might not work. Heck, they might even be shut down by the European Commission. lol
      But somehow I feel that the Slovenes will manage to bring Adria back from the dead. :)

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  9. OT:
    Users on the skyscraper city forum are saying that JU's new site will be launched soon. Those who say they have already seen the site report that it is built off of the same template as the old site, but with newer graphics and styles. They say that they liked how it looked.

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  10. OT: April - Skopje & Ohrid (107.036pax) ili +40%
    *za prvite cetiri meseca od godinata +17%

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  11. @ Anonymous 6:35 PM
    Kosovo and Albania are not part of EU either and yet Adria operates out of PRN and TIA with no issues. So, I don't see the reason why it wouldn't be able to do so out of SJJ. Also, this wouldn't mean losing all of the flights out of LJU or SJJ. They could keep some of the flights with healthy loads to Star Alliance strongholds such as FRA, MUC, VIE and ZRH and transfer weaker flights such as WAW, PRG, TXL, CDG, CPH, BCN, SVO, etc to ZAG which benefits more from its geographical location, has more O&D plus feeder flights that would support its growth in case this deal is materializes.

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    1. I do not see how the geographical factor matters when comparing Zagreb and Ljubljana.

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    2. ZAG has much better catchment area than LJU and is slightly more distant from other airports in the region such as TRS, VCE, VIE, MXP, MUC that tend to steal lots of potential passengers from the region. The geographical position and its central location become even bigger factors once you add BiH to that calculation. Many people who visit Slovenia and Bosnia fly to ZAG even now as it has much wider selection of airlines and destinations than SJJ or LJU.

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    3. My point is that the two cities are so close to each other that the geographic factor becomes irrelevant.
      Also, like I said it earlier, Adria is proving to be pulling its act together. The last thing it needs is OU pulling it down. Also, I doubt many Slovenes would agree with sharing their business with the Croats. Finally, I highly doubt big mama north of the Alps would be too happy if these two airlines merged.

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    4. Nemjee, the things they show in the media (political crap) about Slovenia-Croatia relations are mostly bullsh.., Slovenes adore Croatian coast, many of them have houses there, we actually get along more than fine, Agrokor bought Mercator... I don't think the citizens of Slovenia or Croatia would mind merging,but... LH is another thing, you're absolutely right! Also, at this moment, Adria is doing way better than Croatia Airlines!

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    5. I did not mean that the people would mind, when I wrote Slovenes I meant Adria's management. I don't think Slovenian people would actually care.

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    6. The fact is that if Adria wants to grow it can't rely solely on the Slovenian market and that's why we are seeing those desperate attempts to develop routes of TIA, PRN, LDZ, etc. It's actually no longer a question of growth but more of survival for both Adria and Croatia. Adria is still dominant at LJU but that's not because they are getting their act together, but because they have been highly protected by the airport and the government who hesitate to open up to other airlines. Croatia's and Adria's networks overlap so much, not to mention that both airlines are in the same alliance. By merger, they would be able to streamline those operations, reduce cost and redundancies in the network coverage. This would allow better fleet utilization and focus on the markets where each airline wouldn't be able to sustain operations on its own.

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    7. When I said that Adria was getting its act together I said that because of their decision to retire the CRJ-200s, to revise their schedule and to launch new routes. Naturally, their improved financial performance also helps.
      It also depends on how willing the Croatian political apparatus would be to completely give up on OU for the sake of this new business venture. It would require them to fire so many cousins, grandchildren, sisters, brothers, whores... of their political allies. I might be wrong but to me it seems that OU was much more destroyed by politicians than JP was. That's why the Arabs were godsend when it came to JU. Only a foreigner could fire all those extra employees which were pulling the airline into the abyss.

      My recommendation to Adria is to stay away from OU as far as possible and to build its mini hub in Ljubljana. After all, if airBaltic can be successful in Riga, despite being sandwiched between Finnair, SAS, Aeroflot and LOT, then I see no reason why Adria can't be too.

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    8. Yes, even with airBaltic, you Latvia centrally located between Estonia and Lithuania where the majority of its passengers come from. The same would be with Adria if they moved to ZAG being centrally located between Slovenia and Bosnia building primarily on the passengers coming from the 3 countries. It's interesting that another similarity between the two airlines is their names, both describing the sea/region where it's coming from Baltic/Adriatic region :) Anyways, I am flying Adria this summer again on my way from the US/Canada. I have a rather unusual itinerary this time, connecting via YYZ, ZRH and CPH. Will be interesting to see if anything changed and how their new CRJ9s look like.

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    9. Most of airBaltic's passengers do not come from Estonia and Lithuania, especially not now when both countries have their own national carriers and when Ryanair/Wizz Air operates a considerable amount of flights from the region. I would actually say that most of BT's passengers come from the Nordic region. That said, EE and LV do constitute an important market for the airline.
      It is actually quite interesting that airBaltic had a base in VNO but they ended up closing it down since it was not profitable for them, even if Lithuania did not have a national carrier back then. I guess the same thing would happen if this proposal would happen. A few airlines have managed to pull off a multiple hub system. The only one, in Europe, to successfully do it is Lufthansa and that's for more than obvious reasons. Look at mega carriers such as British Airways, Air France or even Aeroflot. They are all centred around one airport/city. I don't see how Adria could pull it off. Especially not when it comes to a relatively small and poor market (when compared to western standards).

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