Montenegro Airlines will be shut down, the government of Montenegro announced in a press conference today. The capital investments minister of the country, Mladen Bojanić, said that his government does not have a single legal mechanism with which it can keep the airline alive. Thus, the minister stated that a grounding of all Montenegro Airlines aircraft is now imminent.
Montenegro Airlines to shut down
In a press conference delivered today, the capital investments minister of the Montenegrin government, Mr Mladen Bojanić, stated:
“This Government does not have a problem with making decisions. But, in this case, we cannot make any decisions in favour of Montenegro Airlines.”
“We have called in companies [for advice] and we spoke to European consultants. In the end, we have concluded that we cannot make a single decision in favour of Montenegro Airlines that is lawful.”
Adding to the decisive atmosphere of the moment, the finance minister of Montenegro, Mr. Milojko Spajić, stated that a new national airline would be formed as soon as possible, using government funds as starting capital.
Mr. Spajić said that this is a “difficult situation”, in particular for the Montenegro Airlines employees who are about to lose their jobs. But he also added that the government of Montenegro has already formed a working party to create a new national airline.
A new national airline for Montenegro
In fact, the government of Montenegro intends for the new carrier to be fully operational in time for the start of the tourist season in the country this upcoming year. That presumably means April or May 2021, though the proposed timescale is so tight that the realization of this plan seems unlikely.
In the conference, Mr. Spajić explained:
“I do not want to discuss the exact budget for now, but we have already decided to set aside finances for this project. A working party will start analysing the previous business model of Montenegro Airlines. We will make sure that the new airline and its future business operations are sustainable, and that it works in the interests of our country.”
Montenegro Airlines was in a very poor state for a long time
Revealing the extent of the financial difficulty that Montenegro Airlines is in, the following details also emerged at the conference today:
- Wages for Montenegro Airlines’ employees are two to three months late
- There are payments to suppliers that are long overdue and that Montenegro Airlines has no means to pay
- The total cost to the government of Montenegro of shutting down Montenegro Airlines will be €50 million
However, speaking about the additional expenses that Montenegro will have to incur to set up a new national airline, the finance minister, Mr. Spajić, said that “the founding capital should bear fruit” and thus pay itself back.
As for what the government can gain from shutting down Montenegro Airlines, Mr. Spajić said that there are practically no assets in the carrier at all.
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