A small regional airline based in Podgorica Airport, Montenegro Airlines, has folded after the country’s government decided to pull the plug.
The chronically money-losing airline was founded when Montenegro was still part of Yugoslavia in 1994. The country plans to launch a new national airline in late 2021.
Here’s an excerpt from the Balkan Times:
Despite opposition warnings of the economic impact, Montenegro’s new government on Thursday ordered the closure of national airline Montenegro Airlines, citing debts racked up under previous governments.
Capital Investments Minister Mladen Bojanic said it would cost 50 million euros to close the flag carrier and take up to nine months to create a new one.
“We plan to establish a new company with founding capital from the government,” he said. “We are well aware of what it means to shut down a company for this tourist season because it will take six to nine months to establish a new one.”
Montenegro has applied to become a member of the European Union, and the process may be completed sometime in the late 2020s.
Ryanair has complained about the state aid that Montenegro Airlines had received (it could have been one of the obstacles to joining), and the country decided to fold the airline and start one on a clean slate
Slovenia’s, one of the former Yugoslavian states, flag carrier Adria Airways collapsed in late 2019 and was not relaunch.
Let’s see what Montenegro eventually does. It could be a lose-lose proposition to start an airline in the current environment.