|Nikšić Airport to open for commercial use this year|
Montenegro is preparing to open its third international airport next year year, in the town of Nikšić, in the country’s west. Over 1.6 million euros have been invested in the airport’s redevelopment since work began in 2012. Local authorities have contributed several thousand euros for the construction of two taxiways (TWY A and TWY C) and two aprons (AP2 and AP3), while 85% of the finances were provided by the European Union Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance. The airport’s runway, which is 1.450 meters long, can accommodate smaller general aviation aircraft, as well as regional planes such as the ATR, with the capacity to seat around sixty passengers. Currently, work is being carried out on the final stage of the project which includes the construction of a control tower, lighting system and a small terminal building.
The country’s two international airports, Podgorica and Tivat, are operated by the state-run company Airports of Montenegro. However, Nikšić Airport will not fall under its jurisdiction. Local authorities hope to operate the airport jointly with a private enterprise through a public-private partnership agreement. “One of the requests is to extend the runway. There is a possibility to do so during this final phase, which would allow larger aircraft to land, especially since low cost airlines have shown interest”, Nikšić’s Mayor, Veselin Grbović, says. He adds, “This is a good project and I believe we will complete it on time”. The final phase of the project is scheduled for completion in September.
Nikšić is the second largest city in Montenegro, while the Municipality of Nikšić is the largest in the country, covering an area of 2.065 square kilometers, which presents 14.9% of Montenegro’s territory. It counts more than 70.000 inhabitants. The airport, locally known as Kapino Polje, is only three kilometers from the city centre. It was built seventy years ago and was used primarily for pilot training. Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, the airport fell into disuse. Prior to its redevelopment, the airport already featured a single taxiway as well as a hangar. Montenegro’s two international airports handled just over 1.6 million passengers last year. The European Union is supporting Nikšić Airport's redevelopment project as part of the Cross-border Air Networking initiative, which aims to strengthen and integrate existing infrastructure of small airports in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Italy.