Montenegro Airlines on sale in 2014

Montenegro Airlines looking for new owner

Montenegro Airlines will be privatised this year, the country’s Privatisation and Capital Investment Council has announced. Shares in the Montenegrin carrier will be offered through a public tender. “We cannot specify at this point in time the pace in which the privatisation process will take place”, the Council said in a statement. It will be the government’s second attempt at selling its indebted national carrier after it failed to do so in 2010. Despite the government’s approval for a second privatisation effort in 2012, the process never took place.

In 2009, Israel’s national carrier El Al teamed up with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development with the aim of purchasing a stake in Montenegro Airlines. El Al was interested in the Montenegrin carrier only if it gained control over Podgorica and Tivat airports as well, which the government deemed “unacceptable” at the time. In 2011, the Montenegrin government offered a 30% stake in its national airline. Arkia Israeli Airlines, El Al and Etihad Airways all purchased tender documentation but never made a takeover offer. Later that year the government announced that Turkish Airlines was close to making a takeover bid for both the airline and the country’s airports but added it would not sell its national carrier at any cost. In the end the possible takeover by Turkish Airlines did not materialise.

Montenegro Airlines’ debt has reached 68 million euros by the end of 2013. The Montenegrin carrier owes most to the airports in Podgorica and Tivat - up to 12.8 million euros, followed by 12.7 million to the Serbia and Montenegro Air Traffic Services Agency. The decision to privatise Montenegro Airlines comes at a time when both Croatia Airlines and Adria Airways are seeking a strategic partner as well. Late last year, Serbia’s Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić said, “There is an idea to acquire some airlines in the region after we bring in new planes. All airlines in the region have many problems. They are facing great challenges and will face them in the future”. Commenting on possible regional acquisitions, Air Serbia’s CEO Dane Kondić said, “I think any business is always going to look at opportunities for growth. At the moment we have our own goals, ambitions and plans, which is to bring into service ten of these new aircraft, build a route structure, get some sustainability and then we can look at other sorts of investments that may or may not involve acquisitions around the region”.


  1. Anonymous09:43

    If no one wanted Croatia Airlines, why would they want Montenegro Airlines? I fear that this airline is hopeless.

    1. Anonymous09:57

      Agree (specially for 49% stake if the buyer comes outside of EU). Though the game changes if airports are included...

    2. Anonymous10:04

      Yeah but the two airports handle a million passengers together so it's not like there is a massive market out there.
      Unfortunately I see Montenegro Airlines going bankrupt first, especially since they have a fleet which is just too large for their needs, especially during winter time.

    3. Anonymous11:38

      Montenegro has more Arab friends than Croatia, maybe the Government pulls off something, but YM - an airline of such a small country and with continuously strengthening competition will find it harder and harder to survive under Government leadership. Privatization too will not mean it will survive in the long run. I feel that a different business model is required...

    4. Anonymous13:12

      Anonymous January 28,2014 at 10:04

      Airports of Montenegro handled over 1,5 million passangers in 2013. For a small country like Montenegro that is a lot.

    5. Anonymous13:48

      My whole point is that this market can be served from the outside, there is no need for a local carrier. Not to mention that this rather modest number of passengers is split between two airports.

    6. Anonymous16:56

      Croatian Airlines wasn't really for sale to start with, Croatian Government never really attempted to sell OU, it was all political game, real sale should be attempted in 2015, not before, OU must have 5 solid quarters of profits before sale is attempted, so far OU has done well in 2013, but this has to be repeated in 2014 for good offers to start pouring in, Government knows that, not sure why Linic (finance minister) is even pushing sale of OU, its not even plausible and any offers at this point would be a peanuts in comparison what Croatian state could get in 2015 if they wait.

      As to Montenegrin airlines @AnonymousJanuary 28, 2014 at 10:04 AM

      Why would Montenegro Airlines be too large, its the perfect size it has to be, problem its not in a size of the airline but offers and destinations, keeping schedules and maintaining good quality of service.

      Problem why montenegro airlines has loads of issues as it lacks the commitment and management that can run an airline.

      BTW I think MA plans to retire 5 Fokker 100s,

  2. Anonymous11:29

    JU and SMATSA could jointly buy stake at YM (well, convert debt to SMATSA into ownership stake). F100s can be used for charters or given on a lease to other companies, while E95s can be used on some of JU's routes, maybe even out of INI

  3. Air Serbia should base itself in Podgorica and finish off this sad story with YM. Buying it of is a bit risky.

    Whats the story with airports in Montenegro, btw, that were owned by JAT? How did that finish? Did Serbia get the pay out?

    1. Nikola12:44

      TIV was owned by JU, but they had to hand it over to Government of Montenegro because of debt that was amounted back in '03

    2. Anonymous12:56

      One more reason for Serbia to impound Montenegro Airlines' aircraft in order to repay their debt.

    3. Still think basing AS in Podgorica would be better idea than buying that corrupted company.

  4. Anonymous12:57

    Wow, 6 comments, the most unpopular news so far.

    1. Anonymous13:29

      Actually it's really nice to read a constructive and ontopic discussion in the comments for once.

    2. Anonymous13:37

      Yes, for now there isn't a single off-topic. Except of your stupid comment.

  5. Anonymous13:03

    I'm sure that they will not privatise YM. Yesterday on the news they announced 50 companies in Montenegro to be sold. I specifically remember them saying if they ,,like'' an offer that they will accept it.

  6. Nikola13:09

    speaking of YM. TGD has 8 flights today: 2 JU, 1 TK, 1 OS and 4 YM (2x BEG, CDG and FCO). TIV has 4 flights today: 1 JU, 1 GH and 2 YM (all four of them are to DME and BEG). in fact, 37 out of 38 flights out of TIV are to DME (17) and BEG (20). that one weekly is U6 to LED on day 7.
    to sum up, YM has 6 flights today with 8 planes. for a whole week they have 32 flights out of TGD (of which 14 are to BEG) and 11 out of TIV (of which 9 are to BEG), which means 43 flight per week (23 are to BEG) with 8 planes, which makes 5,4 flights per week per plane. are they serious? why don't they retire F100, since they obviously don't need them. all 3 E95s are enough for YM's traffic. it's no wonder that they are bleeding money, because each of their planes is unutilized at least one day per week

    1. Anonymous13:15

      That's even worse plane utilization than B&H Airlines

    2. Anonymous13:19

      I dont know where are YM's fokkers. F100 is only utilized to LJU and to BEG(from TIV and sometimes rarely from TGD)

    3. Anonymous13:24

      They need their Fokkers for summer because they are increasing frequencies for many flights in the season.

    4. Anonymous13:28

      Most of the Fokkers are grounded during the summer. One Fokker is completely out of use and being used for spare parts. It will never fly again. The problem is the Fokkers, like JU's Boeings, are extremely old. Over 20 years, If I remember correctly Ex-Yu recently wrote that they are the second oldest in the world.

    5. Anonymous13:54

      Yesterday when I was at the airport there was a Montenegro Airlines Fokker 100 parked at the B stand for a few hours. After that it was moved to the A gate and it departed. What was up with that? Do they really have such long turnaround times? Maybe they give their crew some time to go around Belgrade and visit some family. lol

    6. Anonymous13:56

      I'm wondering that too because I saw that in October last year. Their plane was at B stand for hours and then was moved to the gate. At first I thought their plane must have had a technical glitch but obviously its being done on a regular basis.

    7. Anonymous13:58

      I remember that time when they attempted to create a hub in Podgorica and they used to offer connections from Belgrade. Their 'night' arrival used to take place at 18.40 and the flight would not depart until early next morning. Brilliant fleet utilization.

    8. Anonymous14:05

      YM is supposed to get another jet this spring?

    9. Anonymous14:06

      That fokker leaves TIV early in the morning and returnes at 16:00.

    10. Any reason for such a schedule? The plane spends more time parked at Belgrade airport than inflight. Parking an aircraft at a foreign airport is not cheap.

    11. Anonymous14:10

      YM is getting a EMB-190 in April but i think i've read that the arrival is delayed so it will come in June.

    12. Anonymous14:16

      @ Nemjee

      Well YM has like 4 flights per day so i suppose they don't need it. And scedule like this offers conections at BEG, but i always use JU flight at 15:45.

    13. Anonymous14:18

      Paying pilots for 8 hours of work but they actually fly 90 minutes. Awesome job!

    14. Nikola14:22

      @ Anon 1:24

      well, they don't. they could only use them for charters, if they get licence for BEG-AQJ like previous years. last year they had 85 fpw, 37 for BEG, 12 for DME, 7 for FRA and ZRH, 6 for CDG and 5 for VIE. other destinations were served less then 3 fpw. they are to receive new E90 in April, so if we take their schedule from last year, 85 fpw makes 12 fpd, whis is 3 fpd per plane (still great unutilization, taking into account that most flights are less the 3 hrs per direction). but, if they utilize one Embraer on TIV-BEG and TGD-BEG route, other planes could have good utilization (16 fpd, of which at least 2 are to DME). of course, it all depends on their daily schedule, but by my opinion, with 3 E90s they could have good utilization (eg. WZZ has 25 fpw with 2 planes out of BEG, and most of their routes are 2+ hrs)

    15. AnonymousJanuary 28, 2014 at 2:16 PM

      When talking of connections, do you mean from a Montenegro Airlines flight onto an Air Serbia one or..?

    16. Anonymous14:36

      Yes but its too expensive as i sad i always use JU. I mentioned conections because i couldn't fing another reasonable reason for such a schedule

    17. Anonymous14:40

      There's no code share between JU and YM. Connections from some other code share?

    18. Anonymous14:42

      @ Nikola

      YM doesn't have many charters. Baku,Yarevan,Naples and Bari are their only ones and they ar once per week. Baku and Yarevan are on wednesday and thursdays i think and Naples,Bari on sundays.(they use F100 on these charters)

  7. Anonymous13:14

    Considering Milo Djukanovic and Aca Vucic are now cousins after Vucic’s recent marriage I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a deal around Montenegro Airlines :D

  8. Anonymous14:07

    Personally, as a Serb I do not see why should Air Serbia invest in them. The only assistance they should be given is to die faster. They are a tumour that's way beyond salvation.
    For years before their independence they have been milking the Serbian market so now when the shoe is on the other foot they want to talk. They deserve the same attitude Adria got. Serbia finally has a professional and well-run airline and the last thing we need are these relics of a past era.
    We gave up on Jat Airways, it was a painful move for all of us here but you can't march on towards the future while being overburdened by the past.

    Cheers from Belgrade

    1. Anonymous14:44

      Why such a hate? Jat Airways was just f***ed up. Good for Serbia that managed to get someone to TRY take serbian airline into order. Etihad is not stupid so it was awarded with 5 years year management contract for the Serbian national airline. They will for sure act in accordance with the market law. So if they would see an opprtunity in Montenegro they will not consider natioanl or even nationalistic reasons to do so.

      "nije teško tudjim k***em po koprivama mlatiti"

      Cheers from Ljubljana

    2. Anonymous14:55

      There is not hate and I would like to remind you that the Serbian government is still the majority owner of the airline which means that even though Kondic is calling all the shots the government still pays more for all this than Etihad does. So it's not like Serbia is not cashing out, quite the contrary. Like with everything else, you first need to invest into a project before it keeps on bearing fruit.

      When Jat was weak and down on its knees neither Adria nor Montenegro Airlines wanted to cooperate. All they wanted was to maximize their gains at the expense of JU. Today, when JU is dominating and posing as a threat these same airlines, their foes until yesterday, are calling on to cooperate. No thank you. I am glad that JU ignored JP and that it's doing to it what it has done to JU for years now when it pushed it out of LJU.

  9. Anonymous14:27

    From 30 March 2014 Air Serbia will increase its Belgrade-Stuttgart route from current five weekly to daily.

    JU 340/1 07.40-09.25 // 10.10-11.50

    JU 344/5 18.25-20.10 // 21.05-22.45

    Not only is this schedule good for connecting passengers but it's also convenient for O&D travellers from both Belgrade and beyond.

  10. Don’t forget that Milo is much better friend with Arabs than Vucic ever was. I read somewhere that all this investment started when Milo recommended to his buddy sheikh to take a look at Serbia for investments. So, who knows, maybe Etihad does something similar to what they did in Serbia and buys YM if the government pays off debt and gives them share of the airports (something that might be the case or already is in BEG as well)as well. Or they do it through JU. Weirder things have happened; who could predict everything that happened with JU a year ago?

    In the same time and slightly OT question for people that follow JU:

    I was checking JU’s SSJ-TIV flights in the summer. Price €250 euro and up, only one flight BEG-TIV in the system currently. I presume there is going to be more BEG-TIV flights in summer and also SJJ-BEG portion I heard here at this forum might get a boost. Do you think it’s worth it to wait a little bit here.

    1. Anonymous14:49

      It's true. Milo did reccomend something to sheik( i dont know what's his name)

      As for SJJ-TIV yes you should wait. BEG-TIV flights in summer are approx. 6-7 daily.

    2. Anonymous14:56

      JU flying double daily to TIV this summer with A72.

    3. Anonymous14:58

      Am I missing something here? If Milo was really such a close friend of the Sheikh then how come there is not more UAE investment there?
      Also, if the Arabs really wanted to invest into YM wouldn't it have happened by now?

      Ok, they did invest into Jat Airways but its home base is incomparably bigger and there is a much larger market to be served, not to mention that BEG has a better geographical location.

    4. @anon 2:49 and 2:56

      thank you for the advice, I'll wait until they summer schedule is complete and in the system

      @ anon 2:58

      Who knows, I think they did invest in some hotels but who knows. Maybe except tourism they didn't find much to invest in.
      I think Vucic stated this in one of the interviews before Milo's visit to Belgrade.

  11. Purger15:00

    I thing that buying Montenegro by Air Serbia makes lot of sense.

    1. Sell those F100 immediately.
    2. Put those old 737-300 for charters in Montenegro, they are good for charters (even that old, but they are not so used) and they are much better than F100 which plane is really not good for charters.
    3. Leave all Embraer fleet in TGD but use them in BEG for some flights like TGD-BEG-MUC-BEG-TGD. In waves BEG has now that can be done easily TGD-BEG-MUC-BEG-TGD-BEG-MUC-BEG-TGD + TIV-BEG-FRA-BEG-TIV-BEG-FRA-BEG-TIV. They will have 3 E-195 and 1 E-190 in fleet and basically they need just one of them for direct flights from TGD and TIV that are not BEG and charters (737-300). So one Embraer should be based in BEG and every second day you change them in BEG rotation to go to homebase for maintenance.
    4. Montenegro is most logical market for Air Serbia to develop, and if the really plan to buy any companies Montenegro should be their first choice.

  12. Anonymous15:01

    Aviokarta reported that Air Serbia will keep three B737-300 for summer charter flights while the fourth one will be kept as a spare. I am really curious to see where he got this information as here in Air Serbia no one knows anything about it. The airline has not yet made an official decision nor are the employees prepared for these birds to remain in service.
    Maybe he should have waited before posting similar information, at least until the airline confirms them.

    1. Anonymous15:10

      Maybe you should read carefully. It's a quote and this is what deputy minister said: "Razgovarali smo sa Air Serbijom i dogovorili smo se da do Nove godine odgovore da li će raditi čarter ili ne i oni su odgovorili da hoće. Imaće tri aviona B737 i jedan u rezervi. Oni su dali cene i u fazi su razgovora sa turističkim agencijama i mi smo se dogovorili da sa njima da i drugim prevoznicima damo dozvole u skladu sa bilateralnim sporazumima koji imamo", rekao je Milutin Popović, pomoćnik ministra za vazdušni saobraćaj.

    2. Anonymous15:30

      Yes, that's the ministry and I work for the airline. The decision has not been made yet so we will have to wait and see.

    3. Anonymous15:34

      That man from ministry of transportation is a joke.

  13. Anonymous16:50

    OT: Purger, what's up with OU and their financial report that was supposed to be revealed at the beginning of the year? When will the government try to sell OU for the second time?

    Btw., I wish good luck to Montenegro Airlines but agree with Purger, if Air Serbia wants to buy another company, YM should be their first choice!

    1. Anonymous17:16

      OU most likely won't be sold this year, finical report won't be out before April, but last 3 quarters OU made a profit, so far its hard to gage exactly how much, but pre-tax profit for 2013 is estimated at 64 million kuna, after tax it might be around 30-35 million kuna.

      If OU performs really well in 2014, this should be a good indicator to any investor that OU is a great investment. 49% steak is on offer of 75% if US based investors (State will maintain 25% or 51% share depending on investors).

      First there was no attempt to sale OU the fist time, what government did was to indicate to any potential investors that OU is for sale and that offers would be considered, no offers came in.

      A proper sale will be attempted in late 2014 or most likely in mid 2015, depending on how OU performs.

  14. Why doesn't SMATSA impound some of YM's aircraft?

  15. Eight19:10

    In my mind, the survival of MGX is entirely in the hands of Montenegrin officials. They should worry about the airline as they are the ones who received all benefits from the current situation. (Nepotism, family employment and whatnot...)

    Air Serbia should stay away from any involvement in MGX, no investment, no codesharing, nothing. JU should fly to TGD and TIV with frequency that suits JU`s needs and not a single flight more. The fate of MGX should not be connected to anyone in Belgrade in any way. MGX is to pay all dues to BEG and similarly JU should pay all dues to TGD and TIV, pure business interest, nothing more.

    Similarily, Air Serbia should stay away from purchasing in the region. The national pride in Balkan countries is stil way too powerful, burdening relations between nations as it is.

    Eventhough Purgers idea makes sense, I dont think Air Serbia should have an additional brand to worry about, additional aircraft type, additional everything. JU management should remained focused on JU operations.

    Should something go wrong with YM while JU is in charge, everyone would instantly forget these years of „YM prosperous business operations“ and immediately point fingers to Belgrade, again. Why should anyone go down that road? Tax-payers of Montenegro should hold their own political/economic leaders accountable and no one else.

    However, should JU decide to step in and I am afraid they might... they could have several new ATRs painted in YM and JA colours and to fly them from TGD, TIV and SJJ to regional destination, something a la Etihad Regional, ATRs are economical enough for those hops... but I doubt something like this will ever happen. There is no political support for moves like these and the hostility in PG and SA towards Belgrade remains high.

  16. Anonymous20:12

    Totally agree!
    Air Serbia should avoid involvement withYM under all circumstances.
    Air Serbia is a nonEU-member and thus can buy no more than 49% of YM.
    Adria and OU as EU-members could even buy 100%.
    Isnt that a weird and tragicomical situation?!

    1. Is >49% allowed to EU members only or to all signatories of ECAA?

    2. Anonymous00:37

      ^ EU-members only.

  17. Purger21:25

    New company on Croatian sky. AIR CROATIA. They start to fly on June, twice a week from Gothenburg to Split, and once a week to Zagreb and to Dubrovnik. They plan to fly also from Stockholm to Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik.

    1. Anonymous22:07


    2. Season or year-long?

    3. Purger01:44

      For now seasonal.

    4. Anonymous01:50


      Impossible, Croatian Airlines owns rights to Air Croatia, Croatian Airways, Croatian Air, and few other versions,

      State has registered all these as a trademark of Croatian Airlines.

    5. AnonymousJanuary 29, 2014 at 1:50 AM

      How is that even possible?

    6. Anonymous18:33

      @NemjeeJanuary 29, 2014 at 10:37 AM

      they registerd it as a trademark of Croatia and Croatian Airlines, if Croatian airlines goes bust at some point they can just start a fresh with a new name alredy registered and trademarked. What I suspect this is a charter airline that is using Air Croatia as a marketing ploy, with Croatian Government and Croatian Airlines approval.

  18. Anonymous08:40

    What kind of airline can exist on weekly flights to three cities? Air Croatia is not an airline, just a Scandinavian travel agency specialized for Croatia. But we can expect more to hear from Libertas Air soon


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