Sunday, April 15, 2018

Montenegro Airlines wet-leases B737-500


Montenegro Airlines is boosting capacity this summer season by wet-leasing a Boeing 737-500 aircraft. The jet in question, registered 9H-OME, has been sourced from Malta's AirX Charter company and is 27 years old. It was initially delivered new to Norway's Braathens in 1991 and continued operations with SAS Scandinavian Airlines following the merger of the two companies. The jet was purchased by AirX Charter in 2014 and wet-leased to foreign carriers, including Volotea, ever since. The aircraft has a capacity to seat 120 passengers. Its entry into service is expected soon with the wet-lease arrangement to run until September. The Boeing 737-500 jet recently received Montenegro Airlines titles and arrived in Podgorica yesterday.

Montenegro Airlines initially planned to use the aircraft on popular routes out of TIvat, primarily to Belgrade and Moscow. However, Russian authorities have declined to issue the carrier a permit to use wet-leased equipment on its flights to the country. "The leased aircraft will be utilised on other scheduled and charter flights operated by Montenegro Airlines", the company said in a statement following the setback. During the 2018 summer season, Montenegro Airlines will be operating six aircraft. This includes three 116-seat Embraer E195s and two 109-seat Fokker 100s. The addition of the B737-500 will bring the carrier's total fleet capacity to 700 seats. As a result, Montenegro Airlines plans to handle some 360.000 travellers over the coming peak summer months, from June until the end September, while it is targeting 620.000 passengers in 2018 overall.

The CEO of Montenegro Airlines, Živko Banjević, recently said, "Plans concerning the fleet past 2018 are much more complex because we must replace the remaining Fokker aircraft. This has to be done in a way that meets the needs of the market, which is becoming more complex from year to year due to a range of different factors, making it difficult to forecast and plan". The CEO added, "As a result, the recently adopted five-year plan outlines two scenarios. One is for the remaining two F100s to be replaced with two E195s in the coming period, in addition to short-term aircraft leases over the summer. In that case, Montenegro Airlines' fleet would be made up of five E195s and one leased aircraft for summer operations. The second scenario calls for the replacement of the Fokkers with two Airbus A320 family aircraft or Boeing 737 family jets. Therefore, the fleet would comprise of three E195s and two A320 or B737 family planes".

88 comments:

  1. Is there a particular reason why the Russians are not allowing MGX to fly the B737-500 to Moscow and St Petersburg?

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    1. It's a warning. They are sending a message to Podgorica that Russia is not interested in expanding ties until the rhetoric is changed.

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    2. Perhaps you are right. Bad news for YM then because this aircraft would primarily be used to Moscow.

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    3. Plus it's more comfortable to fly on a B735 for three hours than an Embraer. Bad news for YM. Great news for JU, JP and OS.

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    4. And for airlines from Russia. There are many of them flying to Montenegro.

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    5. @Anonymous: Really? Flew once on one of YMs Embraers to BEG. The seat pitch was surprisingly good and the seats have adjustable headrests. Not sure, if the PAXEX on the B735 would be truly better...
      http://9h-ome.com/intern/tour_126y.html (official AirX Website)

      Mihael

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    6. For a 27 year old plane cabin looks in good condition.

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    7. Without sounding rude, the aircraft puts most other ex-Yu to shame. What a beautiful aeroplane!!!!!! I am sure seats are also so comfortable. I would gladly fly it...reminds me of the lovely Tupolev 154M!

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    8. The cabin looks really nice! It also seem to have 122 seats.

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  2. The colors fit with their livery.

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    1. It does and they actually painted the full tail in MGX livery with the eagle :)

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    2. And they did a water cannon salute at TGD when it arrived yesterday evening.

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    3. Bravo YM! Hopefully I get to fly it this year!

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  3. Is this the first time they are operating a plane larger than the Embraer?

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    1. I think they wet leased an Aviolet B737-300 two years ago.

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    2. That was for one day...

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    3. ... and it was grounded for most of the day since they didn't pay for it.

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  4. Anyone know when it will enter service? When might we see it in BEG?

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    1. If it already arrived in Podgorica it will probably be flying in a couple of days.

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    2. Interestingly, this very plane 9H-OME has already been to Belgrade in the past :D

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EHR9T4y8ns

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    3. The aircraft is already in service - flew to ZRH and back (YM150/151) today.

      https://www.flightradar24.com/data/aircraft/9h-ome

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  5. Nice good luck MGX.

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  6. Well at least they kept their promise with this wet lease so I hope they will be getting those announced planes next year and retiring the F100s.

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  7. I think we will see this plane on Belgrade flight and maybe some of their charter flights.

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  8. Will the crew be Maltese?

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    1. That would be funny to watch

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    2. Wet lease from Malta -> so quite sure, yes.

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    3. Most AirX crew are French, German, Dutch, Italian and Finnish.

      Source: I've worked for the airline for quite a while.

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    4. @anon 5:21
      Which markets were you mostly serving? Who mainly leases from AirX?

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    5. AirX is a pure charter airline. A340 and 737s were mostly chartered by football/baskteball clubs and music groups for tours while the Legacies, Challengers and Citations were offered to brokers for the rich indivduals.

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  9. I have always been a fan of Boeing. Pity it's only staying for a couple of months.

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    1. Maybe they choose B737-800 or MAX planes for 2019 fleet renewal.

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    2. I think that is too much capacity for YM. Not to mention the lease costs will probably be too high as well for their operational profile.

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  10. Their E95 has 116 seats while this one has 120. I guess the lease makes up the difference in fuel costs.

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    1. Hmm my thought too. Not much seat difference between the EMB and B737.

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    2. They probably couldn't afford to downpayment on the Embraer.

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    3. Not to forget that they had an extra Embraer but had to return it last year because they could no longer pay for it.

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    4. So had they not been forced to return that plane we would never have had this situation today.

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    5. Unbelievable. They were talking about bigger planes for summer. And what do they do & get? A large, heavy, old, very thirtsy plane with the same capacity as their Embraers.

      If they anticipate that they can sell more seats in summer, which is natural for every airline in the Northern hemisphere, then why do they not at least go for a 150-seater. I'd have understood an A319 or B737-700 but a -500 seems to be a ridiculous choice.

      Had they needed the same capacity as they have, then there are other choices of aircraft available with much lower initial and running costs, i.e. very cheap Sukhois SSJs, but also CRJX, E190-E195, etc. (I'd wish for C-Series of course, have flown on one of LX CS's and it is the quietest, best aircraft passenger-comfort and experience wise ever in my opinion, but too expensive for YM)
      If they cannot afford the lease of an Embraer, what makes them think they can afford a Boeing? Yes, an old B735 can have a similar lease rate compared to a new E195 but then why didn't they lease a 20 or 25 year old Embraer? It would have given them fleet commonality, not even to mention the significant lower costs as E-Jets are less havy (less ATC fees, smaller airport fees, less fuel burn and costs, commonality in maintenance etc.)
      Or did they get the Boeing for free? Which however seems very unlikely as it is the high season, for which they will rent that bird.

      I'd love to know the real reasons or catch (or bribe) behind the scenes.

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    6. There is no such thing as a 20-25 year old E-Jet, they've only been introduced in 2005.

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    7. Anon 4:37 is right. Flying a 30 year old a/c doesn't make any sense. It might look in perfect conditions but a new a/c is a new a/c. Lower operational costs, crew, catering, etc. Plus, current seating is already offered by E190 for much much much lower costs. We are in 2018 and not 1998, where B735 was a true warrior.

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    8. That is why 25 year old planes are being scrapped immedately and are not flying anymore, right? There are different models of achieving a low cost model, old airplanes is one of them. Look at Allegiant or Volotea or heck even AirExplore who now leases quite a few aircraft to Ryanair.

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    9. Volotea has a very seasonal operation. In August 2017, they operated 6500 flights and in February 2017, less than 1500. This means that in the winter they have plenty of time to fix all the defects and bring the aircraft into good condition for the summer. And AirExplore is a charter/ACMI company, not a low cost. Plus, have a look at last year's Ryanair debacle with pilot shrotage, the cheapest option was to cancel the flights rather to wet-lease them.

      For a true year-round LCC operation, you need new aircraft. No 25-year old aircraft will match the reliability of a new one, regardless of how good maintenance you have.

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    10. Well when you need extra capacity, that is when the ACMI aricraft kick in ;) That was my whole point. Also, funny how you just ignored Allegiant.

      P.S. Ryanair would have wet leased many more aircraft from Air Explore if they could.

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  11. So we can conclude that Belgrade and Moscow are their busiest routes?

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    1. Obviously. More than half of their annual passenger total is on BEG route.

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  12. Is catering and checked baggage free on YM flights?

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  13. It's a shame YM never finalized that deal with OU. They need a strong partner for transfer passengers.

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    1. They have Air Serbia for that.

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    2. I wonder how the partnership with Air Serbia is working out.

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    3. With five daily frequencies between Belgrade and Podgorica plus at least two with Tivat, it should be working well.

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    4. Wow just imagine W6 launching BEG-TGD one day...

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  14. To me it seems like YM is improving and is on the right track.

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    Replies
    1. Well after Daliborka some positive change was bound to happen.

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    2. What's wrong with Daliborka? It's not her fault..

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    3. She did a stellar job :D

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    4. I just bumped into this article :

      https://www.cdm.me/english/daliborka-pejovic-podnijela-ostavku-2/

      She inherited the debt already and was not an easy job..

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  15. 120 pax seems a bit small for a B737-500.

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    1. Not really. In a very dense seating capacity it can fit around 140 max.

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    2. @32'' pitch it is 120 seats.

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    3. 120-130 seats is normal for a 735 (1-class: without "real" business class seating)

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    4. Current E190 or CS100 have this seating configuration. Operating them costs much less, trust me darling.

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    5. I think for YM the problem is not operating them, it's leasing them. I doubt they have enough money for the downpayment.

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  16. Had a feeling they would take the B737-500 but for some reason I was convinced it would be the former MAT/Kontiki Sky B737-500. Anyone know what's happening with the plane?

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    1. It is parked at Skopje Airport. Used for airport security exercises from time to time.

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    2. Completely non airworthy. Full of corrosion, basically for scrapping

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  17. Will we see this classic bird in INI, if they resume flights?

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    1. They don't plane to resume flights to Nis. Even if they do one day it certainly won't be until September during which this plane is operating.

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    2. thanks u i hope tgd to ini is restored. People from ini can try alternative and not only w6 or fr to germany. thanks

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  18. If they're wet leasing a classic 737 why not go with -300 maybe even -400? Increase in capacity with the -500 is insignificant while the costs are going up, so might as well get a larger bird

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    1. If they wanted a bigger aircraft they could've chosen a 189 seater B738 like FR or 230 seater A321 like W6. Now this is a challenge!!

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  19. Does anyone know what's going on with the 4O-AOB Embraer? It hasn't been much active :))

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    1. Had an engine issue in Belgrade some 20 days ago. Still not fixed apperently.

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    2. RH engine is removed from aircraft, and send to Lufthansa for repairs...

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  20. According to beg.aero the B735 is scheduled to arrive tomorrow morning at 08.55.

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    1. Sorry, it departs BEG at 08.55.

      It's scheduled to operate two flights tomorrow. It lands at BEG at 08.15 and at 18.45.

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    2. According to FR24 it's E195:

      https://www.flightradar24.com/airport/beg/arrivals

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    3. We'll know tomorrow. :D

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    4. Hhahahaha yes! xD lets see!!!

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  21. Montenegro copied LH colours.

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    1. Montenegro had those colors before LH ;)

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    2. They made them darker.

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    3. LOL @ anon 11:35pm

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