Air Serbia and Montenegro Airlines are to finalise a major codeshare agreement in the coming days, which is expected to have an impact on both comapnies. According to the Montenegrin carrier, the two sides have negotiated the four annexes which form part of the deal, which regulates various matters including timetables, handling procedures, reservation procedures and revenue from ticket sales. The initial agreement, which will see Montenegro Airlines place its code and flight number onto 32 of Air Serbia's destinations, was inked on August 18. "All of the agreements have been negotiated and will be signed in Belgrade in the coming days. Additional procedures are required in order for Montenegro Airlines to gain regulatory approval to sell tickets on the Podgorica - Belgrade - New York service. We have commenced this process and this is why we planned our winter schedule separately from Air Serbia", the head of Montenegro Airlines' Operations Centre, Darko Abramović, said.
Montenegro Airlines noted that once the codeshare deal is finalised, the carrier will modify its winter operations to include an additional three weekly flights between Podgorica and Belgrade, two of which will be timed so as to feed onto Air Serbia's service to New York. "Once all regulatory approvals are secured for ticket sales to New York, Montenegro Airlines will add three weekly flights - each Monday, Tuesday and Thursday - between Podgorica and Belgrade in order to offer better connectivity. The number of operations between Tivat and Belgrade will remain unchanged", Mr Abramović said. The 32 destinations which will be part of the codeshare include Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Athens, Banja Luka, Beirut, Berlin, Brussels, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Larnaca, London, Milan, Moscow, New York, Ohrid, Paris, Podgorica, Prague, Sarajevo, Skopje, Sofia, St Petersburg, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Tel Aviv, Thessaloniki, Tivat, Zagreb and Zurich. In return, Air Serbia will place its flight numbers and designator code onto Montenegro Airlines' services from Podgorica and Tivat to Belgrade, as well as from the Montenegrin capital to Rome.
The Montenegrin national carrier believes the new partnership with its Serbian counterpart will bring it closer to Etihad Airways and improve its finances following a record loss in 2015. "This deal will better position Montenegro Airlines on a number of large markets which have already been conquered by Etihad and secure better use of the company's resources. Signing this agreement will open up 32 new destinations which will act as an important catalyst to the entire Montenegrin economy and especially the tourist sector, which was one the management's main goals", the company said. It added, "The realisation of this agreement will boost passenger numbers during the winter season, which will generate additional revenue during the slow months when we operate fewer flights compared to the summer season. Our calculations show that we will have growth of at least 1.3 million euros in revenues next summer".