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Air Montenegro To Launch Inaugural Flight on June 10
Just six months after the demise of Montenegro Airlines in December 2020, the country has a new national carrier ready to fly: Air Montenegro. Incorporated as “ToMontenegro,” but marketed as Air Montenegro, the airline secured €4,000,000 ($4.9 million) for startup costs back in January. Now, after a speedy setup, the airline has four flights on sale and will launch its inaugural flight from the Montenegro capital of Podgorica to the Serbian capital of Belgrade on June 10.
Four Routes by the End of June
After only half of a year of planning, Air Montenegro will launch two flights on June 10. A route from Podgorica to Belgrade will see daily flights departing at 7:05 AM and arriving at 7:50 AM. The return flight will have a rotating schedule.
Flights between Tivat and Belgrade will operate twice daily: the first departs at 10:00 AM and lands at 10:50 AM, and the second operating on a rotating schedule. The 50-minute return flights will depart at 8:30 AM and 11:30 AM. On Thursdays, only one flight will operate – a 10:00 AM outbound and an 8:30 AM return.
Since December 2020, Air Serbia has stepped up to fill the gaps between its capital and the Montegrenian cities; however, Air Montenegro hopes to fuel competition with its own service.
In addition to flights to Serbia, Air Montenegro is reviving two routes initially flown by Montenegro Airlines. The following flights are set to launch on June 27.
Tivat to Ljubljana will operate thrice weekly with rotating departure times for both the outbound and return. Tivat to Banja Luka will see twice-weekly service departing at 16:30 and arriving at 17:20, while the return will depart at 18:00 and arrive at 18:50.
Aviation publication EX-YU Aviation News reported roundtrip economy fares to the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana will start at EUR 129 ($158), and return fares to Banja Luka in Bosnia and Herzegovina will start at EUR 89 ($109).
“Due to market demand and significant interest expressed by travellers from Banja Luka and Ljubljana to fly to Montenegro, the company’s management has decided to launch these two routes,” said airline CEO Predrag Todorović
Before Montenegro Airlines’ demise, Podgorica to Ljubljana was its fourth busiest route, with 55,758 passengers shuttled between the two capital cities in 2019.
Air Montenegro’s ambition to begin operations just six months after its predecessor’s fall is interesting, but whether it will succeed is the question. Based on comments under EX-YU Aviation News’ article, the public is excited about the airline and expects good things, but some feel it may have been rushed. Moreover, the carrier’s fares to Belgrade during the week are actually higher than Air Serbia’s, so it may be harder than expected to sway passenger loyalty.
Nevertheless, the company is eager to expand its network. Todorović said, “We expect the introduction of additional new routes in the coming period.”
According to EX-YU Aviation News, Montenegro State Secretary Zoran Radunović said the airline plans to launch flights to Frankfurt and is also considering Istanbul.
Fleet and Fare Types
By the end of June, Air Montenegro’s fleet will consist of two Embraer 195 jets acquired from defunct Montenegro Airlines which will be painted all white. According to CEO Predrag Todorović, when planning for a summer launch, the airline had not yet decided on a corporate identity. Therefore, to get the aircraft flying as soon as possible, the company and the Montenergian Government opted to keep the planes bare for now. However, the CEO said that the original livery was “fantastic” and will be used for Air Montenegro’s aircraft.
The branding will be rolled out in phases beginning in October, so passengers should expect to see both Embraer jets sporting the corporate livery later this year or in early 2022.
As far as the product, Air Montenegro will operate as a full-service carrier, although it initially planned to run a low-cost business model. Passengers can book economy or business class, both of which only have one fare type as of now. Economy fares including one 23kg checked bag and free date changes up to one day before departure, while business class includes two free 23kg checked bags, free date changes and refunds.
While the first commercial Air Montenegro flight will be June 10, its actual inaugural flight was June 1. The company chartered the Montenegrin national football team to Sarajevo for a friendly game against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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