Montenegro Airlines Falls Deeper into the Red

State-owned national carrier Montenegro airlines on Tuesday admitted a net loss of 9.5 million euro in 2014, blaming the economic crisis for its poor financial performance.

The company said losses in 2014 came as a result of the lease of three Embaraer jets, an increase in handling fees at Belgrade Airport, currency fluctuations and its inability to secure a license to operate charter flights to Azerbaijan, media reported.

"Some 2.5 million of the total loss can be attributed to negative exchange rate differences as a result of the strengthening of the US dollar, as renting, purchasing and maintenance of the fleet is paid for in dollars," the daily Vijesti quoted the company's representatives as saying.

The airline's 2014 financial report also shows that Montenegro Airlines has become the least profitable airline in the former Yugoslavia.  

Air Serbia notched up a profit of 2.7 million euro profit in 2014. Croatia Airlines recorded a small profit of 921,000 euros profit while Adria Airways made a net gain of 900,000 euro.

Bosnia's national carrier, B&H Airlines, also made major losses in 2014, which amounted  to 6.5 million euro.

Continuing the practice of covering the debts of troubled state companies, Montenegro's government took over 3.7 million euro of the airline's debts in December last year

Opposition parties and civil society group criticized the decision saying it was an abuse of tax payers, covering the costly debts of state-owned loss-makers.

In January, the Council for Privatisation, chaired by Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, announced plans to sell off the national air whose total debt is estimated at over 68 million euro.

But the government admitted there was...

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