|Fokker jets leaving Montenegro’s flock|
Montenegro Airlines will sell the majority of its Fokker 100 fleet. The aircraft have been progressively grounded by the carrier since 2011. Montenegro Airlines’ Fokker fleet now averages 23.7 years. Out of the 34 commercial airlines operating this type of aircraft, the Montenegrin carrier now has the third oldest Fokker fleet in the world. The airline 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) ended its run for the carrier on March 1 this year.
During the week, the Montenegrin government approved the sale of the three grounded jets. In a statement it said the aircraft registered 40-AOL has been placed under a Storage Program, meaning it can no longer be used for commercial service while 40-AOT and 40-AOK have been placed under a Fly Away Storage Program, meaning the aircraft can continue flying following substantial investments. The three jets have been estimated to be worth 1.440.000 US dollars. Although the aircraft were once the workhorse of Montenegro Airlines’ fleet, the carrier now has only two operational F100s (registered 4O-AOM and 40-AOP), both of which are 23 years old. The jets have the capacity to seat 102 passengers.
Montenegro Airlines’ fleet now primarily consists of Embrarer jets. The carrier has three E195s and one E190 it took delivery of only recently. However, the airline only owns one of the jets while the other three 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 March, 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.