Montenegro Airlines’ selective cost cutting

CEO Daliborka Pejović - keeping it amongst the party faithful

Last week Montenegro Airlines’ recently appointed new CEO, Daliborka Pejović, announced the airline was laying off all Serbian citizens working for the carrier in the country in the name of cost cutting. The latest measure has affected over twenty pilots as well as mechanics and engineers and a dozen cabin crew members. However, Ms. Pejović, which also added, “There are no plans to lay off any of our workers… only if we really have to will we consider it as a final measure”, failed to mention that as early as last month the airline hired new employees – members of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), while the carrier’s Board of Directors, all of which are members of the ruling party, found just enough job vacancies in the airline for their family members.

Last month Montenegro Airlines hired a new head for its Media Centre. Tijana Kavarić, wife of Montenegro’s Minister of Economy Vladimir Kavarić, was brought in from her previous job at the Montenegrin government to take on the new role. Despite “rigorous” cost cutting measures, Duško Lalićević, member of Montenegro Airlines’ Board of Directors and head of the Montenegrin Tennis Association found employment for his daughter at the carrier. Gorica Lalićević was recently named the Agency Coordinator at Montenegro Airlines. “It is true she works at Montenegro Airlines now”, Mr. Lalićević said. Ms. Lalićević took on her new role at Montenegro Airlines after leaving her previous position at the Ministry for Sustainable Development and Tourism. Up until June this year, prior to being named as the CEO of Montenegro Airlines, Ms. Pejović herself served as the State Secretary at the Ministry for Sustainable Development and Tourism.

In a recent statement, Montenegro Airlines emphasised, “In accordance with the goals of our company, which includes the utmost rationalisation of business, we have recently done a lot of work to cut all costs”. However, cost cutting was not high on the agenda in August when the airline organised a special charter flight for members of the ruling DPS party, their spouses and family members, as well as Ms. Pejović herself, to cheer on the Montenegrin water polo team at the World Championships in Barcelona under the pretence the flight would carry the Montenegrin team back to Podgorica. While the carrier never revealed the cost of organising the flight and taking one of its aircraft out of regular service to ferry party faithfuls to the match, Ms. Pejović claims the flight was organised and paid for by the Montenegrin Water Polo Association. However, the Association says it has never requested nor paid for any charter flight from Montenegro Airlines. The Montenegrin team returned from Barcelona on a scheduled Vueling Airlines service from Barcelona to Dubrovnik while Ms. Pejović and her entourage returned to Podgorica with their specially chartered flight.

As EX-YU Aviation News learns, the Serbian government’s Office for Cooperation with the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region as well as the Serbian Office for Human and Minority Rights has been informed of Montenegro Airlines’ recent decision to terminate contracts with all of its Serbian staff, in the name of apparent efforts to cut all costs.


  1. Anonymous09:03

    Mafia Airlines. It's amazing MGX survives with such a bunch of corrupt people running it.

    1. Stefan09:11

      It survives because the state writes off all their debt, they get cash injections, they have near to no competition. And all of this so we can finance DPS family members

    2. Anonymous11:48

      Same with Adria my friend.

      Tadej Tufek totally incapable. Getting job in Abanka (thank you to his mother), doing only caos (!) there. He has no idea of management, working with numbers (:)) etc. Because his mother holding a position there no one talking. But they want him out. So the mother -thru connections- got him the job as Adria Airways CEO. No skills needed.
      He was a lucky (money money) marionette
      in the corrupted hierarchy of Adria airways.

      Still going this way at Adria.
      Same chess pieces shifting positions on the corruption chessboard (from field to field from public company to public company) that not need to be.
      Mafia hands moving these "essential"/cover chess pieces on the board.
      It's all a few families affair: chess pieces and hands together.

      Up to today no substantial changes my friend.

  2. Anonymous09:10

    Wouldn't fly with them out of protest...but considering their prices wouldn't fly with them anyway.

  3. Anonymous09:27

    I like a woman with attitude:-)

  4. Nikola09:29

    after reading this, i would like JU to crush them completely. i mean, as much as JU was corrupted, they were never this much arrogant

  5. Anonymous09:41

    What I love about MGX is that they are not even embarrassed by all of this. They actually publicly admit it :D

  6. Anonymous10:24

    I used to love montenegro airlines but really this is disgusting. No matter what your background is, it is not right to do something like this. Discrimination to the max. I now hope airserbia destory this airline and take over its routes in and out of montenegro.

  7. Anonymous13:16

    Here is an excerpt from the recently opened Air Serbia pilot cadet program "Interested applicants must be Serbian nationals who are eighteen years or older."

    In case you missed it, you have to be a Serbian national, its a pre-requisite.

    Interesting that this website and all the approved comments think its bad when some other Balkan country prefers its nationals over Serbian, but no one even mentions it when Serbia does it.

    I have nothing against anyone because of their nationality, but I am against anyone of any nationality discriminating against others, a practice that was widely acceptable and implemented during the ex-yugoslav era i.e. preferring people of Serbian orthodox background over everyone else in ex-yugoslavia.

    Now that all the other peoples of the Balkan area have their own country and, just like any other state preferring to employ their own people as opposed to bringing in foreign nationals, it is a problem because those foreign nationals are Serb.

    1. The problem is that no one at Jat Airways/Air Serbia who is not of Serbian nationality has been laid off based on their nationality. That is the key difference. As for the other part of your comment, on Sunday all comments which were sent were approved. Moderating was introduced as I thought there might be flame wars or racist comments but the moderation was lifted midway through the day. If you believe that laying off workers (regardless of their nationality) while at the same time hiring party minions is acceptable that is up to you.

    2. Anonymous15:17

      Despite your biased willingness to make a parallel between these two cases, there is a huge difference between applying for a pilot cadet programme, which is essentially a scholarship, and laying off staff who were already employed to make room for members of the party or simply of a preferred ethnicity.

      This has to go in front of an EU court. This kind of behaviour can't be allowed in an EU member candidate country.

    3. Anonymous01:00

      Firstly I never agreed with this act specifically, and without fully looking into it agree that it seems fishy.

      Secondly although it is not the same, you cant deny that there is a parallel to be drawn between the two cases as well as many others in the Balkans and the world.

      My opinion is that it is only common sense that a public company would prefer to employ people who are its nationals. I would question as to why people who are not from Montenegro were hired in the first place, quite likely that it was also through connections and party politics, but that was never reported.

      My comment about this website was a general one as well, just the fact that it is called ex-yu speaks volumes. Don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with the fact that you are Serbian or that you are patriotic, but if you are running a news website about the Balkans than post your personal comments under your personal name and as an admin be objective.

      In regards to the EU court comment, in comparison to the other cases they have not yet looked into this one is insignificant. If they want to show they have a backbone there are much more serious cases they can do that through.

      Finally despite the baseless assertions of most people that corruption and nepotism is only a problem in the Balkans, or the undeveloped world, I would argue that it is a human problem one that is widespread throughout the west, just under a disguise of networking, Ivy league, etc.

    4. I would kindly ask you not to speculate on my nationality nor do I see what “patriotism” has to do with this article. A similar article would apply had Jat decided to lay off all Montenegrins or Adria decided to layoff a substantial amount of its Kosovar workforce (and might I remind you this very site ran an article on how Adria was paying its Kosovar cabin crew much less and offering lower working standards than to its Slovenian crew)

      I cannot draw parallels between the two cases you have presented. Were Montenegro Airlines advertising for jobs only for Montenegrin nationals there would be no article because I would conclude that Montenegro has enough qualified individuals for the jobs they are requesting. The reason Montenegro Airlines has hired a substantial amount of Serbian staff is because there are not enough Montenegrins with qualifications in certain areas like aircraft maintenance which is completely understandable considering the size of Montenegro’s population. Deciding to lay off staff based on their nationality, while at the same time hiring party faithfuls, is wrong on many levels and I don’t see why this site should stay quite about it, even at the risk of it being accused of being Serb centred or “patriotic” like you have done so.

      Also, I would like to direct you to the many articles in which EX-YU Aviation News has dealt with corruption at airlines in the former Yugoslavia. Over the last five years there has been at least one article on the shady managerial decisions and party politics at every single airline (Jat, Adria, Montenegro Airlines and B&H Airlines). This is just a note so you don’t come to the conclusion that Montenegro Airlines is being singled out.

    5. Anonymous15:39

      My assertions are not just speculation, they are quite evident as pointed out before. To top it off your defensive position to my argument just further proves my point. I do not know why, but it almost seems like you are ashamed of it.

      The fact that you do not wish to see the parallels in the two cases plays no effect on the actual facts. At the end of the day everyone on here will make their own conclusions. You trying to convince them otherwise just further highlights your insecurities.

      I never said you only post news about injustices towards Serbs. I was merely highlighting that you are not objective, as you have shown in your last post.

      Do you consider it "just" that although the whole of the Balkans resources were used to build JAT, Serbia after brutally attacking its neighbours, has taken ownership of the entire company.

    6. You will have to consult international law, specifically parts on movable and unmovable property, as well as international documents signed on Yugoslav secession to find out who got what from Jat and whether it was just or not. However, I fail to see what it has to do with the article at hand. Your arguments lead me to believe you have a problem with the article only because of the nationality it is dealing with.

      Despite your accusations, I personally believe it is very important to report on mismanagement and discrimination, especially in a region where ethnic hatred has led to so much destruction.

      I don’t intend to go into further discussion as I have explained my stance and have nothing more to add. If you have a problem with the site you are more than welcome to skip it, or, if you think it is bias and discriminatory towards certain nationalities you are more than welcome to report it.

      Have a nice day.

    7. Anonymous10:49

      You are right there is no point further going into it, everyone can draw their own conclusion.

      Besides we have come to some common ground.

      "I personally believe it is very important to report on mismanagement and discrimination, especially in a region where ethnic hatred has led to so much destruction."

      Good point to leave it.

      You have a nice day too.

  8. Anonymous14:03

    It's a shame that this kind of nepotism is still considered as a legal and just business conduct by some people.

    I've flown with YM a couple of times and really enjoyed it. However, Air Serbia will crush them on the BEG-TIV route and as soon as Ryanair and other LCC's has established themselves in MNE, the public interest to fly YM will be equal to zero.

    1. Anonymous16:44

      YM does not need passengers.
      As long as taxpayers pay for losses,
      their aircraft can also fly empty all the time.

  9. Anonymous15:02

    I always thought Serbians and Montenegrin were blood brothers, what went wrong?

    1. Anonymous15:16

      Communism, it created the Montenegrin ethnicity.

    2. Anonymous16:38

      Serbians and Montenegrins are blood brothers.
      Nothing to worry about,really.
      Those Serbs got fired because as foreigners they can not be party-members of DPS.
      That airline is a scheme run under disguise as an airline.
      It is very good possible that Montenegrin employees of YM also get fired in future to make place for daughters of corrupt party-members.

    3. Anonymous00:58

      Yeah, sure: here a point about being foreigner in the Montengro. Croats and Albanians are allowed to have both - Montenegrin and their state´s passport/citizenships. Serbs, however, must choose between the Serbian and Montenegrin.

      It´s a clear case of discrimination, because for a Croatian stewardess it would be no problem to obtain the Montenegrin cizenship beside the Croatian one. Same for every other nation expect for Serbs - a lex specialis intruduced by the ruling party in order to discriminate the "blood brothers" Serbs.

  10. I guess this would happen pretty much with anyone they appoint as their CEO. This is just how our Balkan mentality works. Everyone wants to be rich and famous in an easy way with no work or struggle. In order to make things better for everyone, there has to be a substantial change in people's mindset. At the end , we people are the ones who appoint those politicians and CEOs to lead us and represent us. I say shame on us for being so stupid and naive, fighting against each other for stupid nationalistic reasons and not focusing on real issues such as corruption, bribery, nepotism that pest all of us regardless of the national origin.

  11. Pamiri16:29

    Haha..its so funny!
    Its time for the corrupt governments of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to send envoys for learning from Montenegro how corruption is done properly.

  12. Anonymous19:51

    Good God, I am so glad I do not live there (the Balkans) any more, that is I have to say.

  13. Anonymous19:57


    Brilliant news for Croatian tourism,

    "Ministar turizma Darko Lorencin predstavio je danas na konferenciji za medije u Rovinju podatke sustava turističkih zajednica o ostvarenom turističkom prometu za prvih devet mjeseci ove godine. Kumulativni podaci za razdoblje siječanj-rujan govore o porastu od 5,2 posto u dolascima (11.589.272 dolazaka) i 3,93% posto u noćenjima (69.343.607 noćenja) turista na Jadranu i u Gradu Zagrebu u odnosu na isto razdoblje prošle godine."

    Croatian Tourism is doing better than expected considering July was major disaster and number of Russian, Ukrainian and Turkish guests fell by 40%.

    Zagreb is really doing well, "U razdoblju od siječnja do rujna 2013. godine u Gradu Zagrebu ostvareno je 15,7 posto više dolazaka što je ukupno 630.392 dolazaka i 12,5 posto više noćenja što je ukupno 1.077.665 noćenja."

    Up by 15%, just wow, on target of 875000 tourists this year and 1.4 million nights.

    Next year is expecting to pass 1 million mark in arrivals and 1.7 million in nights and revenue of about $875 million. By 2020, Zagreb hopes to attract 2 million foreign tourists and 3.2 million nights, with revenue of $2.2 billion, these are conservative estimates, and Croatia is hoping for 18.5 million (17 million foreign) tourist and 127 million nights with revenue of around $20 billion

    1. Anonymous22:17

      mozda Dash 8 aircraft might be sold off, not 100%, but this article speculates this.

      "U tišini, dok incidenti sa zrakoplovima Dash Croatia Airlinesa pune novinske stupce, tehnička služba nacionalnog avioprijevoznika u hangaru na Plesu servisira zrakoplov njemačke Lufthanse. Ovaj sektor, koji kompaniji donosi iznimnu dobit zbog usluga servisiranja i održavanja ne samo zrakoplova CA, već i flota drugih nacionalnih aviokompanija i niza komercijalnih, bilježi značajne uspjehe na međunarodnom tržištu. Toliko je posla da bi do proljeća trebala niknuti i treća hala čiji su kapaciteti već unaprijed popunjeni. Zbog svega toga napise o tome kako Dashevi nisu dobro servisirani, smatraju nepoštenima. Ovaj tip zrakoplova, priznaju, nije Rolls-Royce među avionima, no njegova sigurnost nije upitna. 'Mi možemo kupiti Airbusove ako se riješimo Dasheva, a onda možemo proglasiti bankrot i staviti ključ u bravu', poručuje član Uprave Zlatko Širac

      'Svi bismo se jako rado riješili Dasheva i kupili Airbusove. To što bi nas to odvelo u bankrot, to nikoga, ni javnost ni pilote, u ovom trenutku izgleda baš ne zanima', kaže Širac za tportal komentirajući salvu prigovora. Prinudno slijetanje 'na nos' u Zurichu najteži je incident otkada Croatia Airlines postoji. Ostali incidenti koji se vežu za ovaj zrakoplov nisu predstavljali prijetnju sigurnosti putnika ni osoblja. Riječ je o tehničkom slijetanju, ne prinudnom kao u slučaju Züricha.

      Šest Dasheva, koliko ih je u floti Croatia Airlinesa, čini zapravo okosnicu njihova putničkog sektora. Njih se koristi tijekom cijele godine, ne samo ljeti kada je povećan broj putnika i kada ekonomičnost Airbuseva koji imaju 132, tj. 164 sjedala nije upitna. CA ih rauba i do 30 posto više nego što je svjetski prosjek za Dash 8-Q400 zrakoplove.

      'Mi smo po pouzdanosti bolji od svjetskog prosjeka. Kod nas je tek 1,4 posto letova bilo otkazano ili je kasnilo zbog tehničkih problema. Kod nas je iskoristivost ovog zrakoplova osjetno veća od svjetskog prosjeka. Puno ga više raubamo nego što to rade ostale kompanije. Zašto to radimo? Zato što nam tako govori ekonomika prometa. Da to ne radimo, troškovi poslovanja bi nam bili bitno veći. Aibusovi su svojim kapacitetom predimenzionirani za brojeve putnika i promet koji imamo, pogotovo zimi', pojašnjava Širac.

      more here

      Oh btw, Croatian airlines is building 3rd hanger to service its and other airline's A320s and A319, very lucrative. There's another base at Zadar airport, but this one is owned by Lufthansa, and part owned by Croatian, mainly due to the fact that Lufthansa and Croatian airlines share flight academy there, its a joint venture owned by Lufthansa to train all its pilots, and pilots from Lufthansa Group as well as Croatian airlines pilots.

    2. Anonymous00:54

      Ne mogu da citam ovaj clanak, a da se ne setim tuzne price o Jat tehnici. I Jat tehnika je donosila profit, ali to nije, kao u Hrvatskoj, bio razlog da taj sektor bude okosnica aviokompanije, nego je sindikat trazio da samostalno rade, kako se njihov profit ne bi zbrajao sa gubicima ostalih sektora Jata. Kako jadno!? A onda kada su se osamostalili, nisu privukli nijednog stranog klijenta, nego su politicki ucenili Jat da im placa 2.5 puta vece cene za odrzavanja, i od toga ziveli. Kakvi jadni i nemoralni ljudi! I sada su Etihadu i JU ponudili nove 2.5 puta nize cene, a cude se sto ih Jat ne zeli.

      Neka misli ko sta hoce o Jugoslaviji, ali ta zemlja je ako nista drugo, a ono za sobom ostavila uljudnu aviokompaniju, sa pilotskom skolom, tehnikom, keteringom, hendlingom. A neko je sve to rasparcao, a nesto slicno necemo u skorijoj buducnosti gledati.

    3. Anonymous09:12

      I agree

  14. Anonymous20:18

    I’ve heard recently that similar to the WaterPollo trip government organized the trip to attend Davis Cup match between Serbia and Canada in Belgrade. Now you would ask why would Montenegrins watch Canada or Serbia, but the fact is that best Canadian player is guy who was born in Podgorica (his sister and brother still live there apparently). The interesting part is that his uncle is high ranking Montenegro politician and Minister of Environment I think (I forgot his name now). While this is something I can’t confirm (I only heard the rumor) judging by this article it seems plausible.

    Good luck to them but I feel sorry for people that earn their living working for YM. I hope it lasts long time but…

  15. If this was all true what she is saying I have no problem with YM trying to cut costs. It’s funny how stupid they are to say it openly. They could’ve just said that they are laying off based on the cost (the most expensive employees are out). If there was any rational thinking here they would realize that they are customer facing company with the most profitable routes actually going to Serbia. So, why piss off part of their customer base. But this would all be applicable to some normal company, in the case of YM I don’t think they would even know what am I talking about.

    1. Anonymous00:44

      It´s because of nationalism. Something that some people commentig here are just trying to ignore.. Still it is a big factor in ex-yu and the region. Montengro and YM, Serbia and JU, two conepts both denying the need to make business and approach according to the customer base and logical geopraphical market.

  16. BA88821:15


    1. Anonymous21:31

      Ex-yu already reported it on the launch page

  17. BA88822:21


    Cant see Air Serbia page on iOS

  18. Anonymous23:07

    Here she is, YU-APC at DUS :)

  19. Anonymous00:47

    "Paradoksalna je teza na kojoj DPS preživljava nakon referenduma, pokušavajući da nas zadrži u prošlosti, u mraku u kojem nećemo vidjeti a još manje ukazivati na sveprisutnu korupciju, veze organizovanog kriminala sa donosiocima političkih odluka, zloupotrebu institucija i resursa sistema zarad sticanja i održavanja partijske moći, političku zarobljenost pravosudnog sistema, nekažnjivost zločina... Ona se temelji na lažnom, cirkuskom, kafanskom, prevaziđenom patriotizmu."

  20. Anonymous04:58

    OMG Ex-Yu you are amazing. Where do you learn about all this stuff? All these stories about hiring sons and wives and aunts and party minions... Pure brilliance, "only in the Balkans".

  21. ExYu, can you confirm these sackings also include pilots from Serbia? If so, has anyone asked YM where will they find 20 pilots with Montenegrin citizenship on a short notice? In fact, how do they plan to replace any of sacked staff? Do they have trained locals ready to step in?

    1. Yes, 14 pilots and 8 first officers (co-pilots) have lost their jobs. Not sure what their strategy is. More alarming is the number of mechanics who have lost their jobs and how they plan to maintain their aircraft.


Post a Comment

EX-YU Aviation News does not tolerate insults, excessive swearing, racist, homophobic or any other chauvinist remarks or provocative posts with the intention of creating further arguments. A full list of comment guidelines can be found here. Thank you for your cooperation.