|Former CEO blasts management over poor results|
The former CEO of Montenegro Airlines, Zoran Djurišić, who led the carrier for nineteen years until his dismissal last summer, has said the airline has faced a decline in passenger numbers, revenue and safety standards over the past year. The comments came after the carrier’s current management said financial reports and records under the leadership of the former CEO were falsified to show an improving outlook. According to Mr. Djurišić, the Montenegrin carrier recorded 31.000 fewer passengers in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2013, while revenue plummeted by 4.2 million euros. The former CEO has accused the current management of trying to cover up its own “ignorance and poor operating results”.
The Montenegrin carrier has been hard hit on its most important market - Serbia. According to available data, Montenegro Airlines handled 106.732 passengers between Podgorica, Tivat and Belgrade in the first half of the year while operating roughly the same amount of flights as in 2013. The result represents a decline of 7.5% compared to the same period last year. While the Montenegrin carrier is still dominant on the abovementioned routes, its counterpart, Air Serbia, has seen its numbers double. According to Belgrade Airport, the Serbian carrier welcomed 98.727 travellers on flights to and from Montenegro during the first six months of the year, an increase of 51.3% on 2013.
Mr. Djurišić questioned the safety of Montenegro Airlines’ jets after the company took eight months to name the head of its safety oversight, which, according to the former CEO, is “unthinkable in aviation and completely unacceptable according to strict aviation guidelines”. The comments come after a Montenegro Airlines Embraer E190 jet, delivered new to the carrier four years ago, had to divert en route from Tivat to Belgrade last week after a number of its fuel pumps failed and its engines began to vibrate. For its part, Montenegro Airlines has refuted Mr. Djurišić’s safety claims saying, “Montenegro Airlines has safety procedures in place and keeps its operations at the highest level under the constant supervision of the civil aviation agency. The company’s safety has never been compromised”.
Both the former and current management teams of Montenegro Airlines have been accused of unprofessional decision making and rampant nepotism. The airline has fallen prey to the country’s governing Democratic Party of Socialists with many of its members, as well as family members of government officials, finding employment at the carrier.