|Montenegro Airlines to launch new destinations next year|
Montenegro Airlines has announced plans to expand its route network next year, in a move aimed at combating increased competition in the region. The Montenegrin carrier is negotiating the launch of flights to Copenhagen via Zagreb, which it intends on operating three times per week on a year-long basis. The airline hopes to be granted fifth freedom rights out of Zagreb and cooperate with Croatia Airlines on the route. Furthermore, new seasonal summer flights will include Manchester and Lyon next year. Montenegro Airlines also intends on launching a range of charter flights to Germany, as well as Prague and Warsaw. In a statement, the airline said, “The company still aims at conquering the market, primarily Western Europe, harmonize its ticket pricing policy and further optimize its network”.
The national carrier has also hinted at a possible return to Pristina after it said it was close to paying off its 429.000 euro debt to the Kosovan airport. Montenegro Airlines suspended operations to Prisitna in early 2011 after one of its jets was grounded at the airport for several hours due to outstanding debt. It was cleared to depart back to Podgorica only after a 50.000 euro deposit was made. The airline is also making good on other outstanding obligations such as those to Airports of Montenegro and the Serbia and Montenegro Air Traffic Services Agency. “The airline is meeting all of its fiscal obligations in 2014”, the carrier said.
The airline has managed to see an increase in passenger numbers this year. While it has not revealed its total for 2014 so far, in August it saw a 3% passenger increase, with 4.183 travellers on scheduled flights and a further 1.594 on charter services. The result comes despite a decline in the number of operated flights. In a statement, the airline noted, “Despite increased competition on the market, the strategic partnership between a company in the region and a global giant of commercial aviation, natural disasters in neighbouring countries, the Ukraine crisis and poor weather conditions over the summer, the national carrier is satisfied with its performance during the first eight months of the year”. Montenegro Airlines is the third national carrier in the former Yugoslavia to announce its expansion plans for next year following Adria Airways and Croatia Airlines.