Flydubai has confirmed it will commence services to Montenegro during the first half of next year, although the hybrid carrier is yet to decide whether flights will operate to Podgorica or Tivat. It comes days after the airline chartered a promotional flight to Tivat carrying media, tour operator representatives, business leaders and airline executives. Flydubai’s CEO, Ghaith Al Ghaith, said, “We brought with us 150 of the most influential members of the press and tour operators so we could explore the possibility of launching services to Montenegro. This has been a very successful trip. That is why I can confirm with all certainty that we will launch flights. In the near future we will release all details relating to our planned operations to Montenegro”.
Initially, Flydubai was to launch two weekly services from Dubai to Podgorica this July, however, those plans were put on hold. Porto Montenegro, a luxury yacht marina and adjacent waterfront development owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai is pushing for the carrier to start services to Tivat instead of Podgorica. The resort is located in the vicinity of the airport. Following talks with Mr Al Ghaith, the Montenegrin Minister for Sustainable Development and Tourism, Branimir Gvozdenović, said, “I am certain that this important air service will further strengthen the Montenegrin tourism sector, as well as business ties between our two countries”. The head of one of Montenegro's largest hotels and a key player in the local tourism industry, Roko Palmić, said, “Montenegro will become more accessible to tourists from Dubai, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Persian Gulf thanks to these new flights”.
Flydubai launched operations to the former Yugoslavia in late 2011 with services to Belgrade. They were followed with the introduction of flights to Skopje, Sarajevo and Zagreb. However, operations to the Croatian capital will be discontinued at the end of the month. Furthermore, Ljubljana Airport has held talks with the carrier over potential services to the city. Montenegro abolished visa requirements for UAE citizens last year. Following the opening of the Montenegrin embassy in Abu Dhabi in 2014, the government has focused on strengthening bilateral relations between the two nations, most notably in the transport and tourism sectors. There are currently no flights between Montenegro and the Middle East. The majority of passengers heading to the region are handled by Turkish Airlines and Air Serbia via their respective hubs.