Airports have always been in the spotlight of many discussions in Montenegro, and their destiny was questionable from time to time. The aero infrastructure is not developed and usually very problematic for the country with over 2 million tourists each year. The idea of privatisation has always encountered resistance from Social-Democrats whose support in the Parliament of Montenegro secures the majority for the Democratic Party of Socialists.
In December 2017, Prime Minister Dusko Markovic said that Government does not think about selling airports, but that their valorisation is required. In that time, the Government and International Finance Corporation started with a series of analyses to create a sustainable plan for the future development of airports.
Airports in Montenegro are a tempting subject for many foreign investors. One of them, TAV Airports Holding, expressed interest to be involved in managing airports in Podgorica and Tivat. TAV manages airports in Macedonia and Croatia as well, and as the company operates with over 17 airports, it seems to be an ideal partner for developing both airports in Montenegro. With a good capital injection and reconstruction in management, Airports could become one of the most potent generators for future economic development.
Montenegro, according to The Statistical Office, was visited by over 2 million tourists last year, which is an enormous increase. But, the majority of those tourists are coming from nearby countries, the Russian Federation or Ukraine. The reason is that aero infrastructure is not developed and airline tickets for many tourists outside of the mentioned group are expensive. Tourists who visit Montenegro from Western countries are mostly those who visit Dubrovnik and decided to take a one-day trip to Montenegro. Stronger airports could bring prosperity and more tourists from different countries, but also more investments and global opportunities. If privatisation is not possible at this moment, the Government should go with the realisation of the public-private partnership through this stock exchange model or look at the neighbours in Serbia who issued a concession to a French company for Airport Nikola Tesla, which is a significant aero hub in the Western Balkans region.