Saturday, August 8, 2015

Montenegro Airlines sees passenger growth

Montenegro Airlines slams Belgrade over fees as passenger numbers improve

Montenegro Airlines has seen an upsurge in passenger numbers during the first seven months of the year, with a strong start to August as well. During the January - July period, the Montenegrin carrier welcomed 320.000 passengers on board its aircraft, an increase of 4% compared to 2014. “We managed to soften the expected passenger decline on the Russian market by boosting operations to Belgrade, as well as some western European destinations”, the airline’s Executive Director, Željko Banjević, says. During the first weekend in August, the carrier handled a record 7.990 passengers. “Last Saturday we had 3.890 travellers and on Sunday 4.100. Coupled with the 3.490 passengers on Friday, which is traditionally the busiest day of the working week, we handled 11.500 travellers on six aircraft with an average cabin load factor of 95%”, Mr Banjević adds.

Montenegro Airlines’ passenger numbers have improved in all three sectors – scheduled, charter and codeshare travel. Furthermore, the carrier expects for growth to continue in the coming months. Last year, the airline handled 557.000 passengers, a decrease of 5% on the year before. In addition, its losses amounted to 9.5 million euros. However, Montenegro’s Chief Commercial Officer, Predrag Marković, once again criticised Belgrade Airport’s decision to hike its fees, describing the measure as “an enormous increase which would impact even more financially stable carriers”. Mr Marković says, “The Belgrade route is of strategic importance for Montenegro Airlines. Despite numerous objections on our part, we were forced to sign an agreement knowing it would drastically increase our fees for handling, landing, lighting and the use of air bridges”. Belgrade Airport increased its fees for the airline last April by 1.3 million euros. “In 2011 we handled 220.000 passengers on 1.440 of our Belgrade flights, in 2013 250.000 on 1.470 flights and in 2014 255.000 travellers on 1.500 flights”, Mr Marković explains, arguing that the airline should receive discounts, as it has in the past, since it shuttles a significant number of passengers to and from the Serbian capital.

Montenegro Airlines recently began settling part of its 68 million euro debt and has agreed to repay money owed to the operator of the country’s two international airports - Podgorica and Tivat - amounting to 6.423.390 euros. The debt repayments will start on March 1, 2017 and will be made in instalments over 108 months. Earlier this year, the airline’s CEO, Daliborka Pejović, said the carrier would sign a strategic partnership agreement with Etihad Airways over the summer, which could potentially lead to the Emirati carrier buying a stake in the airline. However, asked to comment on the announced strategic partnership, an Etihad spokesperson told EX-YU Aviation News recently that the airline does not wish to make statements on plans of such nature. Furthermore, the Montenegrin Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs refused to comment on the issue as well.

37 comments:

  1. This airline is truly amazing. Once Milo is overthrown it will crumble like a house of cards. I don't think there is a more corrupt carrier in ex-Yu. Everything is mired in politics, absolutely everything in the airline. Even people doing ticketing at their airline shop are there thanks to political ties.

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    1. And then you have corruption on the other side where they increase your fees by 1.3 million in a single year.

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    2. Don't count on anyone overthrowing Milo anytime soon. lol

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    3. True, Montenegro Airlines is without doubt one of the most corrupted airlines on earth. This Predrag Markovic guy, the CCO of the company is the son of the vice premier of Montenegro and is 20-something years old!

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    4. A excellent article about the chronic corruption at MGX. This is from 2 years ago.
      http://www.exyuaviation.com/2013/10/montenegro-airlines-selective-cost.html

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  2. Well I'm glad that there passenger numbers are on the up but I assume their finances are a disaster otherwise they would have reported them. We talks a lot about transparency here but Montenegro Airlines hasn't published a single financial report in years, even if it is required by the law to do so.

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    1. They admitted themselves last year that they cooked the numbers and misrepresented their finances for years, representing a profit when they were recording massive losses. In a normal country, someone would be in jail for that.

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  3. It seems Etihad is no longer interested which is not such a surprise seeing they have dud investments in Aer Lingus and Air Berlin. It's a pitty, if they bought MGX the anti-corruption commission would have to allow a third player on flights between Montenegro and Serbia and then we might have seen Wizz Air. This is not possible at the moment due to bilaterals and it allows for a monopoly. Air Serbia is so overpriced and Montenegro Airlines is not that far behind.

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    1. What's preventing Wizz Air now from adding Belgrade - Rome? Even EC requested opening of that route as a result of Etihad - Alitalia tie up and there are no takers. With more than 80 existing weekly flights between BEG and Montenegro, Wizz Air would stand even less chance of success on BEG-Montenegro.

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    2. Corruption, my friend. They have a lot of obstacles put in front of them by BEG.

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  4. They are generally a good airline. Good service and crew. Glad to see their passenger numbers are improving.

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  5. OT: today Adria lease A340-313 CS-TQM for DUS PRN flights ;)

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    1. JP 783 from DUS, ETA at PRN 13.00

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    2. Last weekend a B767 flew between DUS and PRN. Nice to see another widebody at the airport.

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    3. Yes, I believe it's was a charter.
      Right now two widebody aircraft at PRN: A340 and B757. Both operating on behalf of Adria.

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    4. it's regular charter, 3 times per week PRN-DUS-PRN, the same like MLH daily regular charter from PRN opr. by Adria

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    5. Jel to vracaju Kosovske Azilante ili sta ?
      INN-NS

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    6. ASL would be scared to bring that big of a plane.

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    7. Air Serbia is scared to lease anything bigger than an ATR, let alone a wide-body. In 5 years we'll still have Aviolet flying around, hopefully they won't be the only ones.

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    8. Illegal migrants?

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    9. Also today adria leased 757 from pristina to basel and back

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    10. @ Visit Kosovo 1:12
      B757 is narrow-bodied aircraft with a single aisle

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    11. @Anonymous 11:02 PM
      My bad. B757 is narrow-body. Not many of these land at PRN and I confused it with the B767. Sincere apologies.

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  6. regular charter 3 times weekly whole year

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  7. Bilo bi zanimljvo jedino da Embraer-i MGX sa se preuzmu u flotu ASL.
    INN-NS

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    1. Taj zanimljiv film sa MGX E190 u ASL neces gledati sem u svojim snovima.

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  8. Could someone please explain the difference between regular charter and scheduled flights ?
    Is there 'regular charter' term in Serbian civil aviation law?
    Thanks in advance!

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    1. Za razliku od "klasičnog čartera" koji se vrši ad hok za potrebe turističkih, sportskih itd. putovanja, postoji i uslovno rečeno "redovni čarter". On se obavlja u sezoni ili preko cele godine u zavisnosti od interesovanja. Takodje operater karte prodaje preko svog veb sajta.

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    2. Hvala!
      Kakva je razlika izmedju redovnog cartera i redovnog leta onda?
      Sto se tice AOC, da li tu ima neke razlike izmedju kompanija koje lete redovne chartere/ letove ?

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  9. OT Does anybody know anything about today's charter JU3160 BEG-OHD-BSL (MLH).... ?

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    1. Belgrade-Ohrid segment was ferry flight.

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  10. Off topic question
    I'm flying on JU300 on Monday to Brussels and onwards to the States on Delta. JU300 is operated by A319. I might be having slightly overweight baggage (a kilo extra perhaps), so I'm just wondering, how's the ground staff at Belgrade airport? You think I might be able to get away with it without paying?

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    1. You should have no problem at all if you have 1-2Kg over the limit. Generally they close their eyes on such small overweight however do not go overboard; if you end up with 5kg extra you will have to pay. Have a nice flight and give us the details of the flight....

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  11. They have to consider growing by making regional partnerships. TAROM, Bulgaria Air will be a good way to balance ASL.

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