ToMontenegro Gears Up To Take Over From Failed Montenegro Airlines

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Montenegro Airlines, which the Montenegrin government had shut down last month due to large losses, is being replaced by “ToMontenegro”. This is a new legal entity that will replace the national airline of Montenegro, and it will take over some assets and employees from the old one, Montenegro Airlines.

Montenegro Airlines Embraer fleet
Montenegro Airlines has been replaced by ToMontenegro, but the government has also invited people to submit their ideas for what the name should be changed to. Photo: calflier001 via Wikimedia

From Montenegro Airlines to ToMontenegro

Milojko Spajić, the Minister of Finance of Montenegro, announced some “good news” last week on Twitter. In a series of tweets, he explained that his government has formed ToMontenegro, a legal entity to succeed Montenegro Airlines.

Montenegro Airlines was the national airline and flag carrier of Montenegro up until the government shut it down over excessive losses. The thread of tweets shows that the state of Montenegro has now given EUR 4,000,000 ($4.9 million) as startup capital for ToMontenegro.

In reply to his own original Tweet, Mr. Spajić clarified the rationale behind this:

We had to react quickly to salvage the maximum out of Montenegro Airlines, but the name, the logo, and the design are susceptible to change and so we invite everyone who takes this matter to heart to submit their proposals to 2montenegro@gov.me. We will present your proposals to the public which will have a final say.”

The exact mechanism through which the government will process whatever submissions it may receive is unclear. Furthermore, it is also unclear what the government of Montenegro wants to receive by way of suggestions. Still, signalling that ToMontenegro will closely resemble Montenegro Airlines, Mr. Spajić added:

A good portion of employees, particularly the best ones in Montenegro Airlines, will be engaged and employed in the new national airline. Happy New Year! We continue to work hard for our Montenegro.”

Montenegro Airlines Fokker 100 Frankfurt Airport
The government that is now urgently working on establishing ToMontenegro is the same government that abruptly shut down Montenegro Airlines. Photo: Tom Boon, Simple Flying

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Abrupt shutdown, then an urgent restart

Curiously, Mr. Spajić’s government was the one to shut down Montenegro Airlines to begin with, right in the middle of the holiday season. This had caused much disruption to passengers, primarily of the Montenegrin diaspora, who had arrived into Montenegro for the holiday period but were then left unable to return with Montenegro Airlines as per their original plans.

The first signs of a possible shutdown of the original national airline came in December, as Simple Flying reported at the time. Within two weeks, the government followed through on its warning and announced that it will shut down Montenegro Airlines as a result of “not having a single legal mechanism” with which it can keep the airline alive.

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Having realised the dire state that this shutdown has put the country in, given that Montenegro relied heavily on Montenegro Airlines to support its aviation industry, the government is now expressly trying to resolve the situation and stop Podgorica turning into the new Ljubljana of Slovenia.

What do you think of the Montenegro Government’s decision to shut down Montenegro Airlines abruptly and then urgently work to replace it with a new national airline? What do you think the brand name should be? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments.

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