Ryanair will discontinue flights between Zagreb and Podgorica, as well as a further two routes from the Montenegrin capital amid a hike in airport fees. The budget airline has confirmed that services from Podgorica to Zagreb, Barcelona and Manchester will be cancelled from October 29. “Due to Podgorica Airport’s decision to increase their fees, we are forced to discontinue flights from Podgorica to Barcelona, Manchester and Zagreb this winter. The fee hike makes Podgorica Airport completely uncompetitive compared to other European airports which reduce their fees to stimulate recovery and traffic growth. This will have a detrimental impact on Montenegro’s connectivity, tourism and the economy”, the low cost airline said.
Ryanair is Montenegro’s busiest low cost carrier handling 249.959 passengers on flights to and from Podgorica last year. The figure represents an increase of over 200% on 2021 and up 30.8% on the pre-pandemic 2019. Its average annual cabin load factor in Podgorica last year stood at 82.3%. During 2022, the carrier handled 28.745 passengers on the Zagreb route, which was initially launched in 2021, as well as 12.626 travellers on the Barcelona service, which commenced operations in 2019. Flights to Manchester were inaugurated last October. As a result of these terminations, Montenegro will no longer have any scheduled nonstop flights to Croatia or Spain.
The no frills carrier will continue to operate year-round flights from Podgorica to Berlin, Charleroi, Gdansk, Krakow and London Stansted, as well as seasonal services to Wroclaw. Podgorica Airport increased its passenger fee this year from 1.75 euros per departing passenger to 3.25 euros. The development also impacts Ryanair’s Zagreb base where the airline has also warned that a “ridiculous” fee hike, introduced this year, should be scrapped. The carrier is still finalising its winter network out of the Croatian capital, however, several routes are in limbo for the coming winter, among which is Manchester for which Ryanair has not applied for slots for its Zagreb operations, although such a decision can still be modified.