One mistake too manyDespite multi million euro losses, debt, conflict of interest and corruption allegations, Zoran Djurišić has managed to maintain his position as the CEO of Montenegro Airlines for the past 18 years.
Questions whether Djurišić is competent enough to head the national carrier have been raised after the full amount of debt owed by Montenegro Airlines was revealed. The airline owes 1.6 million euros to its fuel provider Jugopetrol, 9.7 million to Airports of Montenegro, four million to the Serbia and Montenegro Air Services Agency and 634.000 to Belgrade Airport. However, the list goes on. Eurocontrol is waiting for 386.000 euros from the carrier while Fokker is also expecting 364.000 for servicing the Montenegro fleet. The flag carrier is also in debt to GE Capital Aviation Servicing to the tune of 553.000 euros while a further three million are owed to various other providers. There has also been descent amongst the carrier’s pilots with some supporting Djurišić while others have written to the government to voice their dissatisfaction with the CEO.
On top of its financial woes, Montenegro Airlines’ management is also being investigated for the way it set up its planned Serbian subsidiary, Master Airways, in Niš in 2006. In addition, the company is being scrutinised for the lease of a Fokker F100 to the now defunct Albatros Airways from Albania several years ago. Late last year police seized documents from the national carrier’s head office in Podgorica in an ongoing corruption investigation. The seized documents relate to the way Montenegro Airlines has debited airport taxes since 1994 until 2009.
However, Djurišić is unlikely to face any consequences as he has a good standing within the governing Democratic Party of Socialists. Djurišić’s wife, Milica Pejanović Djurišić, the former Montenegrin Ambassador to France is now serving as the Minister of Defence. She is a high ranking member of the Democratic Socialists which has dominated Montenegrin politics for the past 22 years. The Montenegrin government recently announced measures to write off debt and pump millions into the national carrier. It has ordered the country’s airports to lower fees only to its main customer. Up until now no one has been held accountable for the state in which the carrier has found itself in.