July 2, 2020 - The national company Montenegro Airlines will once again be flying to Paris from July 4. At the weekend, charter flights will resume to the south of Italy, and most likely from August 1 to Israel, according to Executive Director Vlastimir Ristic, speaking to Radio Montenegro. He notes that for now, there are no indications as to when traffic with Belgrade will resume.
According to the RTCG portal, Ristic expects that the Law on Investment and Consolidation will soon enter into force. It will oblige the domestic airline to pay its debts for taxes and contributions to the state and the Airports of Montenegro, a total of 60 million euros.
"Montenegro Airlines has shown social responsibility, and by connecting the routes in complex conditions, it has connected Montenegro with Europe and the world," Ristic said.
He announced that the company's planes would fly to Paris again from July 4, but not every day as is usually the case in the earlier period for the summer months of July and August.
"That decision is limited to 14 days. That means that the epidemiological situation in our country must remain within the framework required by the EU so that after those two weeks, we will be able to continue flying," Ristic said.
This weekend, he stated, charter flights to the south of Italy-Bari and Naples will be re-established, and in the second half of July to Rome, but not with Lisbon, which was previously planned. A charter flight to Tel Aviv is also arranged.
"We have serious interest, and we can deliver on it, we hope, from August 1. This will be important for us. It is a long-distane connection that affects our operation. It is highly preferable to have charters that are so far away and are reliable partners," said Ristic.
According to Ristic, the restarting of flights to Russia is also of interest. He is optimistic that this could happen in August and then extend to the post-season.
"It is not realistic to expect Russia to be within our sights in the peak season. I hope, however, if the weather conditions help us to move the season to the post-season we will be able to benefit from the market there," stated the Head of MA.
The ban on landing Montenegro Airlines planes at Belgrade Airport is still in force. They are in communication with the Nikola Tesla Airport and with Air Serbia, but Ristic notes, there is no concrete agreement yet.
"We cannot rush into things. We must be patient and wait for the epidemiological situation to stabilize and then start moving. This is the one we're waiting for, because it is the most important regional line for us and Air Serbia," Ristic said.
For now, says Ristic, the flights, which were established with Ljubljana, Vienna, Frankfurt, Munich, and Copenhagen are not profitable.
"There is a low factor of 30, 45 or 50 percent at some points. And that is not profitable, but we are now in a situation where we need to be socially responsible, so profitability takes second place," stated the Executive Director of Montenegro Airlines.
The suspension of air traffic caused severe losses to the company of up to 90 percent, although we did run some flights in March. There were also flights paid by the government in April, says Ristic. However, as he says, it is not enough for losses not to accumulate.
For now, the implementation of the Law on Investment and Consolidation of the national airline has been postponed, which provided for a state investment of 155 million over six years. Ristic hopes that, as he says, the law will be applied swiftly and that the money wil cover the obligations towards paying the taxes and contributions as well as the debt to Montenegro's Airports.
"When the two are added up, it is 60 million. And that is a large part of the package that is built into that law. However, the money must end up in the hands of the state company and the budget," said Ristic.
He also mentioned that the Law on Consolidation and Investment would enable the purchase of new planes and, as he concluded, now is the right moment for this, as the price of planes has dropped due to coronavirus.