The flag carrier and largest airline of Montenegro, Montenegro Airlines (YM / MGX) has stopped all operations from December 26. The carrier was founded just over 26 years ago, on October 24, 1994, bringing to a close over two decades of Montenegro’s status of having a national airline.
When announcing the closure, Montenegro Airlines thanked passengers for “the years of trust, travel and friendship,” while also apologizing for the sudden stoppage of flights. At the time of closure, the carrier operated a fleet of four aircraft, including three Embraer E195s and one Fokker 100. It operated flights to 21 destinations around Europe.
The airline was estimated to have a debt of 150 million euros before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which ballooned once the summer tourist season was effectively canceled and passenger numbers took a sharp turn for the worse. The reason for the closure was a complete halt in government funding, as the country’s newly elected conservative government promised to stop pouring cash into the failing airlines the carrier stated that the “decision to shut down our company will have a negative impact on the entire aviation sector in the country.”
The carrier’s final flight operated from Belgrade to Podgorica, Montenegro’s capital city, on Christmas day. During the final flight, the pilots drew a heart shape in the sky with the plane’s flight path as a final farewell gesture to the carrier. “It was pure emotion triggered by the tears and huge love for our company by the crew and all its employees,” stated the flight’s captain, Nikola Pavicevic.