The start-up airline Air Montenegro has decided on the launch day of its operations. The state-backed air carrier, which is expected to take up the role of the now-defunct Montenegro Airlines, plans to conduct its very first flight on June 10, 2021.
The new airline will use at least two former Montenegro Airlines Embraer E195 aircraft, which the Montenegrin government acquired from the Irish-American lessor GECAS. As for the launch network, Air Montenegro intends to offer daily services from its base at Podgorica Airport (TGC) to Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport (BEG), Serbia as well as twice-daily operations between Tivat (TIV) and Belgrade (BEG).
In addition to the BEG route, the air carrier also seeks to start two-weekly operations from Tivat (TIV) to Banja Luka International Airport (BNX), Bosnia from June 27, 2021, as well as regular three-times-weekly flights to Ljubljana Airport (LJU), Slovenia starting from June 29, 2021.
The Montenegrin government liquidated Air Montenegro’s predecessor company, Montenegro Airlines, in December 2020, after the debt-ridden flag carrier failed to overcome the financial challenges. The state attempted to keep the 26-year-old company afloat multiple times, but the air carrier had accumulated over €150 million in debt which continued to grow due to the sharp decline in air travel demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Montenegro Airlines had operated a small fleet of Embraer 195s and Fokker 100s while serving several European capital cities.
A new air carrier was established in late December 2020, immediately after the shutdown of Montenegro Airlines. The start-up airline was initially called To Montenegro, but in April 2021, the branding was changed into Air Montenegro while keeping To Montenegro as the legal name of the new company.
According to local media, to prepare for the highly anticipated launch, Air Montenegro has already received a government-backed financial injection of €20 million.