August 24, 2020 - Since the opening of borders with the countries of the region on August 14, at three land border crossings to Montenegro in Herceg Novi - Debeli Brijeg, Sitnica, and Kobila, traffic has been about 20% of that for the comparable period last year.
Contrary to expectations, most traffic was at the Sitnica border crossing with Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially during the weekend. There were no significant traffic oscillations at the busiest crossing with Croatia, Debeli Brijeg, and the smaller Kobila crossing - with more than 22,500 passengers and almost 8,000 vehicles last weekend.
Since the opening of the borders, 33,626 passengers and 11,634 vehicles have crossed the Sitnica border crossing, 40% of traffic figures compared to last year. This border crossing is predominantly used by the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, while the verification of documents and tests, depending on the number of vehicles, passengers, and time of day, takes between ten minutes to an hour or more.
As of August 15, 33,090 persons and 12,633 vehicles were registered at the Debeli Brijeg border crossing, which generated 20% of the turnover compared to the same period last year.
The least used was the Kobila border crossing, where 1,465 people and 671 vehicles entered/exited Montenegro, 90% lower than the same period last year.
According to the Border Police Department, passengers generally have the correct tests for COVID-19, so an unknown number of people have been turned back from the border crossings, not having been allowed to enter.
It is not pleasant to wait in a line of traffic in the heat, but if it is comforting, on many borders in the region and Europe, there is a wait of several hours. There are long queues at the Karavanke tunnel on the Slovenian border with Austria. Waiting to cross the border is from 6 am to 1 pm in vehicles, without food and water. This wait has been caused by the new regulation related to Covid-19, according to which every car entering Austria must be inspected.
Spource: Radio Jadran
August 21, 2020 - Montenegro has resolved to restart the Bar-Bari route, on which it ceased operating in 2016. The procurement of a roll-on/roll-off passenger ship to run from Bar to Bari is on the unique list of priority infrastructure projects in the area of maritime transport and would allow Montenegro to restart its operations on the service, which is currently run by Croatian company Jadrolinija, Dnevne Novine writes.
The ferry connection with Italy started operating on 18th June 1965, and has run regularly ever since, except during sanctions. However, four years ago, Montenegro was left without the ship Sveti Stefan II, which had its classification removed by inspection company Bureau Veritas. The line was taken over by Croatia, whose Jadrolinija transports passengers on the route Bar-Dubrovnik-Bari.
However, as the Strategy for the Development of the Maritime Economy for the period from 2020 to 2030 states, Montenegro is planning to procure a new passenger ship in 2022.
"The Strategy for the Development of the Maritime Economy envisages support for the procurement of a "ro-ro" passenger ship for international maritime traffic and direct regular transport of goods and passengers between Montenegro and other countries in the region. The activity is part of the Action Plan and is foreseen for delivery in 2022," the strategy explains.
August 15, 2020 - Director of Tivat Airport Radovan Marić expects that if Aeroflot cancels flights to Tivat, it will redirect its Montenegro flights to one of its low cost companies.
He said that in the past 30 days, 899 passengers travelled by light aircraft between Belgrade and Tivat, of which the majority, around 750, travelled to Montenegro.
During this period, 246 passengers travelled by light aircraft between Russia and Tivat, most of whom were also arriving in Montenegro.
"I believe, although I have no confirmation, that traffic between Russia and Montenegro will be redirected through one of the subsidiaries of the Russian national airline, i.e. one of Aeroflot’s low cost companies, most likely Pobeda, which would take over flights to Tivat," said Marić.
He stated that the establishment of the route between Montenegro and Russia also depends on the political relations between Montenegro and Russia.
"In general, I think that the traffic between Montenegro and Russia could be feasible," Marić said.
Some media outlets, after the NKT’s decision to open the borders for Russia, claimed that Aeroflot had completely cancelled all flights on the route from Moscow to Tivat for this year, which had been suspended since mid-March when NKT closed the borders for Russian citizens. This was denied yesterday by the Russian airline’s office in Belgrade.
"The Russian market is extremely well-disposed towards us. People from Russia have both small and larger businesses in Montenegro, and there is a long-standing tradition of coming from Russia to Montenegro. The Russians have certainly not forgotten Montenegro," Marić said.
August 6, 2020 - Montenegro opened its borders to Russian citizens two days ago, with the company Airports of Montenegro sending welcome messages on social networks, and the media announcing that the first planes from Moscow will fly to Tivat on August 10 - "Vijesti" writes.
On July 27, the Government of Russia passed a decision on the re-establishment of international air traffic, establishing the conditions for entry for foreigners onto the territory of the country. The first official information regarding flights to Turkey and Great Britain has been published. Although there is no official information, the media also write that airline tickets from Moscow to Tivat are on offer, starting on August 10. Judging by these data, Montenegro could expect the first guests from Russia in less than a week - unless they are deterred from visiting Montenegro by the obligation to have a PCR test when they return home.
The National Coordination Body for Infectious Diseases (NKT) decided to open the borders and allow entry to Montenegro without additional conditions for citizens of the Russian Federation and Azerbaijan at its session on Monday. After the meeting, just before midnight, they announced that the tourist economy's operational headquarters proposed those countries for the "green list," which means that their residents can enter Montenegro without additional conditions.
"Considering the epidemiological situation in the countries around us, the reliability and relevance of available data, as well as the needs of our tourism economy and the national interests of Montenegro, the NKT assessed that there are no obstacles to liberalizing entry for Russian and Azerbaijani citizens," the NKT said after the session.
Yesterday, the Institute of Public Health (IPH) did not respond to "Vijesti" regarding the criteria for opening the borders for Russia and Azerbaijan, and why the Republic of Serbia is not yet on the yellow or green list. According to the data from those countries, Russia has 127.2 active cases of coronavirus per 100,000 inhabitants, Azerbaijan 40.49, while in Serbia, the rate is 138.91. For comparison, there are 228.41 infected people per 100,000 inhabitants in Montenegro.
Reporting that Montenegro had opened its borders to Russian citizens, and that they could enter Montenegro without having to meet any conditions, the portal mir-da.ru stated that "the only obstacle is the lack of flights that were canceled at the end of March due to the COVID-19 pandemic."
"However, flight connections could be re-established in the coming days. As announced on August 1, the Russian government is considering lifting the flight ban for all international destinations within ten days, and Aeroflot is already selling tickets to Tivat from August 10," mir-da.ru announced.
Flights from Russia have not been confirmed at airports in Podgorica and Tivat, and there is no official information regarding the flights on the website of Airports of Montenegro.
Source: Vijesti, mir-da.ru