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PODGORICA (Montenegro), November 18 (SeeNews) - The government will allocate 21 million euro ($23 million) next year to help the consolidation of flag carrier Montenegro Airlines, finance minister Darko Radunovic said.
"We will create all preconditions for Montenegro Airlines' consolidation," Radunovic said in a statement on Friday without providing details of the planned consolidation.
He said that the government is trying not to jeopardise the state aid law but needs to acknowledge the significance of companies which operate in public interest and contribute to the state budget.
"When the question is about Montenegro Airlines, with all its significant problems, they have direct revenue of some 70 million euro annually. More than 400 people work there," Radunovic said, adding that indirectly, the annual income of the airline reaches some 250 million euro.
He pointed out that over 2.5 million people travel to Montenegro by air, with 30% of them using the services of the state-owned airline company.
In July, the government adopted a strategy for the development of the transport sector until 2035, saying it plans to invest 20 million euro in a project for the restructuring of Montenegro Airlines and resolving its financial loss and indebtedness. According to the strategy, the restructuring of the company was expected to be launched this year, possibly involving privatisation to ensure investments in the company and to improve its services.
In April, the airline's executive director Zivko Banjevic said the company narrowed its loss to 1.97 million euro last year.
Earlier this month, Montenegro Airlines announced it handled record-high 593,939 passengers in the first ten months of 2019, up 3% on the year.