August 13, 2020 - The Russian national airline Aeroflot announced yesterday that it would be cancelling all regular traffic on its routes from Moscow to Tivat this year. The flights had been suspended since mid-March, following a temporary ban by the National Coordination Body on regular air traffic at Montenegrin airports.
Even after the opening of airports in Tivat and Podgorica at the end of May, air traffic with Russia continued to be suspended, in spite of the fact that the NKT had recently placed Russia on its non-quarantine list.
Aeroflot's decision to cancel the entirety of its planned traffic from Moscow to Tivat for this year came yesterday as an additional "cold shower" on the hopes of Montenegrin tourist envoys that in August and during the post-season in September and October, something could be saved from this year's catastrophically bad tourist season.
According to unofficial information received by "Vijesti" from sources close to the management of the Airport of Montenegro, Russian airlines had hinted to them recently that due to a ban from the Government in Moscow, none of them would be flying to Montenegro at all in the foreseeable future.
On the other hand, the Russian government is ready to allow Montenegro Airlines to fly on routes from Tivat to Moscow and St. Petersburg, even though neither of the companies will in fact operate between the two countries. This "final word" provides little solace for Montenegrin tourism, considering the Russian market is by far the largest in terms of numbers. Russians have so far come to Montenegro almost exclusively by plane.
Aeroflot, alongside Montenegro Airlines, was the only so-called legacy carrier (national airline) flying to Tivat throughout the year. The company was one of the leading business partners of Montenegro's Airports in terms of the number of passengers transported and the operations of its planes at local airports. The Russian national airline officially announced that it would restart the Moscow-Tivat route only at the beginning of the next IATA season at the end of March next year. However, it is uncertain whether Aeroflot will return to Tivat at all. The company intends to focus on the premium long-haul market as part of its extensive restructuring program due to the coronavirus crisis. In contrast, part of its medium-haul lines and corresponding fleet will be left to its subsidiary Rossiya Airlines and low-cost carrier Pobeda.
Text by Siniša Luković