Đurišić: Half of the loss of MA due to high invoices of the Airport, paid 24 euros per passenger

“Although there were objective problems that the crisis brought with it, the national carrier did not find the understanding of the Government, let alone the Airport. During the crisis, three new aircraft were procured, which the company financed itself “, stated Đurišić

Đurišić, Photo: Savo Prelević

Montenegro Airlines (MA) has accumulated a loss of 19.2m euros in 20 years of operation, from 1994 to 2013, half of which relates to unrealistically high invoices from Montenegro Airport, said former airline president Zoran Djurisic.

He believes that the request for the Agency for Protection of Competition (KPA) to declare itself on the issue of potential distortion of competition, by giving subsidies to low-budget carriers, should get another dimension.

“Namely, during the period when I was the head of MA, the national carrier was under a lot of pressure from the Airport. The invoices issued by the airport company to MA were unrealistically high in relation to low-budget carriers. More precisely, for the service of servicing aircraft and passengers, MA was invoiced at an average level of 24 euros per passenger, “Đurišić told the Mina-business agency.

He reminded that MA entered the global economic crisis in 2009 with five aircraft.

“Although there were objective problems that the crisis brought with it, the national carrier did not find the understanding of the Government, let alone the Airport. During the crisis, three new aircraft were procured, which the company financed itself, “stated Đurišić.

He added that MA, despite the fact that during the summer tourist season it realized up to 200 flights per week, was treated as a company that performed only five weekly flights.

“Taking into account market and commercial principles, it was logical that MA, which transports 600 thousand passengers a year, has better conditions than low-budget companies. However, it was the other way around. MA continued to receive invoices that amounted to about 24 euros per passenger, “said Đurišić.

He said that in the last years of his mandate, the then Minister of Transport put pressure on him every Friday to make a payment based on seven-day traffic, and that MA, although affected by the crisis, serviced those obligations.

Đurišić explained that MA had stopped paying any obligations to the Airports since June 2013, after his dismissal, and that he did not suffer any pressure because of that.

“Ultimately, during the global economic crisis, MA transferred funds in the amount of about nine million euros to the Airport’s account, which is about 11 euros per departing passenger, while due to unrealistically high invoices, a debt of about 9.5 million euros arose. “I think that, for the sake of comparison, it is necessary to disclose the conditions that were given to low-budget carriers, especially if we take into account that Ryan Air transported only 15,000 passengers in the first year of traffic,” said Đurišić.

He said that it should not be forgotten that MA, above all, played a significant role in the transition of ownership of the Airport, when they came into the possession of the state of Montenegro.