|Montenegro Airlines mulling possible return to Niš|
Niš Constantine the Great Airport, in Serbia’s south-east, is in talks with Montenegro Airlines to resume services from Podgorica, following its suspension in October last year. The move has left Niš Airport without its only scheduled service. The airport now says it has resumed talks with the Montenegrin carrier, with the airline willing to commence flights from either Podgorica or Tivat without subsidies, unlike the last time around. Montenegro Airlines suspended its flights to Niš after the city was no longer able to pay subsidies and had accumulated debt towards the Montenegrin carrier. Initially, the airline launched flights from the Montenegrin capital to Niš in 2010. The service was vital for the airport, with the majority of passengers using the flights to transit through Podgorica and continue onwards to western Europe. Furthermore, the Mayor of Niš, Zoran Perišić, says the airport is in talks with a low cost airline to launch services to the city.
Meanwhile, the Mayor noted that Air Serbia will not be flying from Niš as it has rendered flights from the city as unprofitable, following recent talks with local authorities. Talks were held with the Serbian national carrier for the airline to launch a late night service from Belgrade to Niš with a return flight to be operated early in the morning, giving passengers the opportunity to transit onto flights towards western Europe.
Niš Airport has struggled to attract airlines since it reopened for commercial use in 2004. The low cost Italian airline, Wind Jet, operated flights from Forli to Niš in return for subsidies of 1.1 million euros and the purchase of fifty seats per flight by city authorities. Flights were suspended after the financial incentive dried up and an investigation has been launched in to why so much money was spent on the service. More recently, Darwin Airline from Switzerland ran flights from Zurich and Geneva but the pricey tickets failed to attract passengers. Jat Airways, which operated flights from Constantine the Great Airport to several cities suspended all services several years ago due to low profitability.