|Ryanair to stay in Montenegro during the winter|
Europe’s largest low cost airline, Ryanair, will turn its seasonal summer service from London Stansted Airport to Podgorica to year long flights. The news comes less than a month after the no frills airline launched the route. Ryanair’s flights between the British and Montenegrin capitals complement its existing seasonal service from Charleroi to Podgorica, inaugurated in the summer of 2013. In a statement, the Montenegrin Ministry for Tourism and Sustainable Development said, “We are pleased that Ryanair is the first low cost airline to have launched flights to our country, since we consider it to be one of the pioneers of low cost travel in Europe”.
Ryanair will operate flights to Montenegro until at least 2016 according to an agreement signed between the low cost airline and the government in 2013. The airline has offered to operate up to fourteen destinations during the three year period from both Podgorica and Tivat. According to the ministry, Ryanair has not received any subsidies or incentives and is paying full landing and handling fees in Podgorica. In addition, the ministry says, “In 2013 Ryanair operated flights between Charleroi and Podgorica and after four months of operations recorded an average cabin load factor of 82.2%, with 11.500 passengers handled. Furthermore, Podgorica Airport has been declared as the busiest in Ryanair’s airport network for the month of October”.
Ryanair’s arrival has had an impact on Montenegro Airlines. The country’s national carrier has suspended its seasonal flights from Podgorica to London (operated to Gatwick Airport) this year in face of competition from the low cost giant. However, Montenegro Airlines maintains a two weekly summer service from Tivat to the British capital. The airline has previously expressed its anger over the government’s decision to grant permits to Ryanair to operate flights to the Montenegrin capital. On the other hand, Ryanair has previously said, “Montenegrin visitors and consumers can now beat the recession and travel on Ryanair’s ultra low fares with no fuel surcharge guaranteed and Ryanair’s new Podgorica route will deliver over 10.000 passengers per annum with further growth planned”.