|Montenegro Airlines plans Skopje and Zagreb service|
Montenegro Airlines is considering expanding its operations in the region with the introduction of flights to Skopje and Zagreb. The carrier held talks with the Macedonian government yesterday regarding the potential launch of services between Podgorica and Skopje. Montenegro Airlines said it would launch the service if it receives subsidies. “Before we make a final decision on launching flights, we have to conduct a feasibility study to determine whether the service would be profitable and whether the two governments are prepared to subsidise part of the expenses”, the Montenegrin carrier said in a statement. It added, “The launch of this service would benefit both regional and business ties. In addition, Macedonian passengers would have the ability to connect onto other flights through Montenegrin airports”.
Montenegro Airlines suspended its daily service from Podgorica to Skopje Alexander the Great Airport in February 2011, without prior notice, when it was revealed the carrier had several thousand euros in unpaid debt towards Macedonia’s busiest airport. The airline denied such claims, maintaining the service was instead cancelled due to poor loads. Similarly, the carrier suspended flights to Pirstina on the same day after its aircraft was held up at the airport due to unpaid debts. Previously, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s B&H Airlines operated flights to Skopje via Podgorica but the service was cancelled shortly after due to poor loads. Within the former Yugoslavia, Montenegro Airlines currently operates flights only to Ljubljana and Belgrade. Just several years ago, the carrier also maintained services to Niš, in addition to Ljubljana, Priština and Skopje.
Meanwhile, Montenegro Airlines plans to launch services to Zagreb this coming winter season in cooperation with Croatia Airlines, which would codeshare on the flights. The new service will result in improved connectivity between the two neighbouring countries, as well as an expansion on the market, which both carriers are aiming for. Croatia Airlines will provide logistical support for the new route, while Montenegro Airlines has been offered incentives from Zagreb Airport, such as service discounts, in order to kick-start the new service. The Montenegrin carrier faces no competition on the route. Croatia Airlines, suspended its three weekly flights between the two capital cities back in 2013 due to low demand. Originally, the two airlines planned to introduce the service this summer but the launch date, which is yet to be specified, has now been pushed back until winter. On Monday, Montenegro Airlines confirmed it was leasing one of its Embraer jets and crew to Croatia Airlines on a short-term basis. “The aircraft is leased for several days. The agreement is beneficial for us as we provide our excess resources , available outside of the peak season, and achieve sufficient profit as a result”, the carrier said.