The Government’s decision to shut down Montenegro Airlines is scandalous, to say the least. By shutting down the company, a Montenegrin brand, whose planes used to reach all European destinations, abolished is the best advertisement that Montenegro had ever had. Such a move cannot but give rise to a suspicion that the new government has begun abolishing everything containing the word Montenegro in its name. This is supported by the annulment of the decision of the Capital’s Assembly on the allocation of land for the construction of a facility for the worshipers of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church, says Mr Refik Radončić, a successful businessman in the USA, originating from Montenegro, in an interview for Dnevne Novine.
Asked if he believes that behind the announced shut-down of MA there are some other reasons than merely economic ones, Mr Radončić says that instead of shutting down a recognizable brand, under the excuse of establishing a new one, they should have provided continuity in the recognizability of Montenegro in the international framework. He added that he cannot find any other explanation than this being done due to the airline’s name.
His answer to the question of is the timeframe of several months for establishing a new airline feasible, and is it possible that it would not cost anything, was that serious time is needed for such serious things. He says that he would not be surprised should it be found out that the Government works secretly with Air Serbia and that maybe they make a “generous” offer that cannot be refused, such as Serbia promising not to charge anything if we provide them with our market, or, slots, as it is called in the aviation industry.
How important a national flag-carrier is for a tourist destination, was CdM’s question. “Immense”, Mr Radončić said, “as other carriers will take care of the profit only… whereas Montenegro Airlines operated to some not so lucrative destinations just to promote Montenegro… as being connected to the rest of the world is the only way for a tourist destination to be successful.”
Mr Radončić also said that diaspora will most badly be affected by the Montenegro Airlines’ disappearance from the world’s airports and that the current pandemic showed how important a national airline is for a state and its citizens during crisis times.
Asked about whether US air carriers are provided state support to survive the corona crisis, Mr Radončić says that it is widely known that airlines around the world are facing hard times. However, they are not being shut down. He believes that it would be justifiable to see why an airline with so few aircraft has 300 employees, and reshape the organizational scheme as well as find a way to minimize losses to a reasonable level. On no condition shutting down should have been an option.
As one of the organizers of the Movement for the Montenegrin independence among the diaspora, Mr Radončić was asked how he now sees Montenegro whose government does not have representatives of national minorities. He says that he always believed that it was not the question of what will your country give to you, but on the opposite, what will you do for your country. His dream of Montenegro as a civic state with equal chances for everyone and with an established rule of law has not come true yet. Little has been done on developing a sense of belonging to Montenegro, which resulted in the Government made of Apostles, i.e. the Serb Government… He is worried because our patriots are asleep. This is the time for us all, he says, to show what we can do for our country.