Montenegro Airlines' pilots have threatened to go on strike as a result of unpaid wages, allowances and bonuses. According to the daily "Dan", industrial action will begin if the company fails to make payments for September and October wages, as well as allowances owed for the past three months. Similarly, co-pilots and cabin crew have not been paid in months. Montenegro Airlines' management is hopeful to settle the issue and avoid a possible strike through talks with pilot representatives. In a statement, the carrier said it has begun making payments on September wages this week. "Our company has been meeting all of its obligations without any state assistance this year, including the payment of salaries", it said. The airline is believed to owe some 200.000 euros in unpaid wages to its fifteen captains.
The latest development comes just six months after the airline's pilots initially threatened to walk off the job due to late wages. However, faced with the prospect of industrial action during the high season, the company's management scrambled to find the necessary finances to pay its employees. At the time, pilots expressed their dissatisfaction with the carrier's management as well as concern over their job security and the company's future. "This sort of treatment from the management towards its employees only deepens the animosity and mistrust", the Pilot's union said at the time. Last year, seven pilots left the company, unhappy with workplace conditions.
Montenegro Airlines recorded a 10.4 million euro net loss in 2015, making it the least profitable national carrier in the former Yugoslavia. The auditor of last year's financial report concluded that the company risks insolvency if it fails to restructure. "The company cannot settle its losses nor make payments for immediate expenses. Its capacity to continue operations relies primarily on its ability to restructure its obligations and establish a satisfactory level of liquidity", the auditor said in its report. It added, "The lack of circulating capital can reduce the volume of business on one hand and increase the risk of insolvency on the other. The options to improve the airline's financial position are limited and rely almost entirely on government support and its plans to restructure the business". Montenegro Airlines is believed to have narrowed its losses and improved revenues this year, however, its financial results won't be made public until later in 2017.