|Montenegro Airlines introducing Vienna - Tuzla service from December 21|
Montenegro Airlines will introduce flights from Tuzla to Vienna next month, in line with the carrier's plans to expand its operations within the region. The route, which will operate twice per week, will be officially presented at a press conference in Tuzla today, which will be attended by the CEO of Montenegro Airlines, Daliborka Pejović, representatives from Tuzla Airport, as well as the Prime Minister of the Tuzla Canton, Bego Gutić. The new service will commence on December 21 and operate twice per week, each Monday and Wednesday. Montenegro Airlines will not connect its hubs in Podgorica and Tivat with Bosnia and Herzegovina's third largest city as it plans to operate the flights with the following routeing: Podgorica - Vienna - Tuzla - Vienna - Podgorica.
The new service to the Austrian capital marks the first agreement made between Tuzla and a commercial carrier other than Wizz Air in more than two years and the tenth destination to be served from the airport. A significant Bosnian diaspora resides in Austria, with the new flights to commence just in time for the Christmas and New Year holiday period. Tuzla Airport has struggled to attract airlines and passengers since it opened its doors for commercial use in 1998. However, its fortunes turned in 2013 when Wizz Air launched its first service from Malmo. Flights quickly proved popular and the no frills airline expanded its network. In 2014, the airport handled 151.353 passengers, a notable 146% increase on the year before. The airport welcomed more passengers last year than it did for the three previous years combined. During the first ten months of 2015, Tuzla Airport continued to see its passenger numbers grow with 219.185 travellers handled, an increase of 74.7% compared to the same period last year. It has already overtaken 2014's end-of-year result. The airport initially planned to handle some 200.000 travellers this year, although this figure has now been surpassed.
In September, Montenegro Airlines said it was looking to expand regionally and forge closer ties with carriers within the former Yugoslavia. The airline noted its plans to establish flights to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo and Macedonia over the next year. Within the former Yugoslavia, the carrier currently runs services only to Ljubljana and Belgrade. Recently, it was announced that it would operate charters to Zadar to cater for Chinese tourists visiting Montenegro, however these services have yet to materialise. Last week, the airline signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Strategic Commercial Cooperation with Etihad Airways. The deal gives Montenegro Airlines access to Etihad’s global network of destinations and will allow the airline to use the Emirati carrier’s resources in order to improve fleet utilisation during the slow winter months.
Montenegro Airlines maintains three weekly flights from Podgorica to Vienna this winter season and boasts a codeshare agreement with Austrian Airlines on the route. Further details for the new Vienna - Tuzla service can be found here.
At today's press conference, Montenegro Airlines said it anticipates for the new service between Vienna and Tuzla to become a success. Initially, the airline will operate a total of forty flights, until the start of the 2016 summer season in late March next year. The carrier's CEO, Daliborka Pejović, said, "We are delighted that Montenegro Airlines will have a role in developing air travel in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is in our interest for this new route to become a success. We hope that today marks the start of a successful partnership, which will result in improved regional connectivity. I honestly hope that we will help Tuzla Airport become even recognisable in the region".