May 27, 2020 - The Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate informed Montenegro Airlines late yesterday afternoon that the right of the Montenegrin national airline to land at Belgrade's "Nikola Tesla" airport was suspended.
"Montenegro Airlines is about to fight for faster and better connection of Montenegro with airlines to all European destinations, and we will be committed to this task. The industry in which we operate should not depend on political decisions. Regardless of this unexpected decision of Belgrade, Serbia remains a part of our traffic plans, and we will try to contribute to the consequences of COVID-19, in the economic sense, being remedied as soon as possible, "said Montenegro Airlines.
The officials from the "Nikola Tesla" airport said yesterday that they did not have any official information that the Montenegrin national company's planes were forbidden to land. "We have not officially received anything, we have only seen in the media that the landing of Montenegro Airlines is prohibited," they stated.
The government in Podgorica announced on Monday that it had decided to reopen borders with some countries as of June 1st, but they remained closed to Serbia and Republika Srpska.
Montenegro Airlines announced yesterday that it is preparing for the renewal of commercial flights and that the first flights will be to Belgrade.
However, the Civil Aviation Directorate decided to deny permits to the Montenegrin airline. The explanation of the decision, they stated that the decision of the government in Podgorica violated the principle of reciprocity in the movement of passengers between the two countries.
It, as stated, directly affects the reciprocity in the operation of scheduled air transport referred to in Article 13, paragraph 1 of the Ordinance on the issuance of approval to foreign air carriers to operate international public air transport with the Republic of Serbia, to the detriment of registered airlines in Serbia.
Montenegro's decision on opening its borders with some countries, among which there's no Serbia, is not political but just related to the epidemic situation, said Montenegro's Prime Minister, Dusko Markovic, after the Prime Minister's Hour.
Montenegro's decision to keep its border with Serbia closed provoked sharp reactions from some Serbian officials. PM Markovic said that Montenegro wanted to act responsibly.
"There's no rational explanation for reactions from Belgrade. Serbia was the first one to close the border with Montenegro. It banned the export of medical equipment to Montenegro, the export of wheat as well. We never reacted to that. We thought such decisions were in the interest of their citizens", PM reminded, adding that the decision regarding borders is in the interest of Montenegrin citizens.
Commenting on Serbia's decision to ban Montenegro Airlines flights at Nikola Tesla Airport, PM Markovic said he would look for the alternatives.
"We think that the decision is not logical. We are going to look for alternatives, like for wheat. We are not going to ask for the explanation," Markovic said.
He pointed out that telephones "are in function and Serbian authorities can always call and ask anything regarding our decisions".
Source: CdM, B92.net