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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Impact of Turkish carrier Pegasus entry: Montenegro’s national airline reports losses

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Montenegro’s national airline, To Montenegro, has reported a multimillion-euro loss following the entry of Turkish low-cost carrier Pegasus onto its flight routes, according to Tihomir Dragaš, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the company.

Speaking in an interview with Television Vijesti, Dragaš noted that this development resulted in a slightly weaker performance in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year. However, initial estimates suggest a profit of around €250,000.

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Last year, the national airline concluded with a profit of €3.5 million, as reported by Vijesti Portal.

Dragaš highlighted that in 2021, the airline completed 3,532 flights, transporting 475,000 passengers and generating a profit of approximately €3.5 million.

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He emphasized that while it is early to present the first-quarter results of this year, Air Montenegro executed 739 flights and transported approximately 52,000 passengers during this period.

In terms of comparison, Dragaš noted that in 2021, the airline conducted 769 flights, ferrying around 54,500 passengers. He attributed the decline in passenger numbers this year to flights to Turkish destinations.

Although flights on routes such as Podgorica-Zurich and Podgorica-Rome were operational this year, profitability projections for the first quarter indicate a profit of about €240,000. Dragaš also highlighted the airline’s strong liquidity and a first-quarter free cash flow of around €3.2 million.

Looking ahead, Dragaš announced plans for substantial passenger growth this year.

In terms of background, he mentioned a memorandum of understanding signed between Montenegro’s Ministry of Capital Investments and Turkish aviation authorities last year, resulting in an open-sky policy. Dragaš deemed this memorandum illegal and emphasized their efforts to annul it.

Regarding compensation for the airline’s losses, Dragaš stated that, upon Pegasus’ entry, an agreement was reached for Pegasus to pay €10 per transported passenger to the national airline, significantly less than the potential earnings if the airline had transported those passengers.

He clarified that discussions about compensation are not a priority at this moment, as their main focus is to revoke the memorandum and have it nullified.

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