Air Astana, the flag carrier of Kazakhstan, intends to launch flights to Montenegro. The airline also expressed an interest in cooperating with Montenegro’s new national airline, ToMontenegro, which hopes to begin flying by this summer.
Air Astana interested in flying to Montenegro
Montenegro’s state secretary for tourism, Ivana Đurović, has been in Moscow this week for the International Travel and Tourism Exhibition. As part of this exhibition, she spoke to Ismail Sekerbekov, the sales director of Air Astana. Ms Đurović spoke to Montenegrin media yesterday about Air Astana’s plans for Montenegro that Mr Sekerbekov told her about.
She revealed that Air Astana intends to launch flights to both of Montenegro’s airports, Podgorica and Tivat, in the near future. Some in Montenegro have speculated that this could be as soon as April this year, linked to an imminent visa relaxation scheme.
In a press release, the Montenegrin Ministry of economic development also stated that Air Astana had expressed an interest in cooperating with Montenegro’s new national airline, ToMontenegro. However, ToMontenegro is not flying yet, and it probably will not be for a while.
Air Astana is doing well right now
Despite the pandemic and having had a tough 2020, Air Astana has seen a strong start to 2021. As Simple Flying reported earlier this month, the airline’s CEO said the following:
“Air Astana is estimating financial performance for the combined months of January and February 2021 at its highest level since 2017.”
Like many airlines, Air Astana received a financial boost from cargo last year. It converted a Boeing 767-300 into a freighter aircraft to capitalize on the new demand. It also consolidated its fleet. It retired a pair of twenty-year-old Boeing 757-200s and a handful of Embraer ERJ-190s. Now, Air Astana operates Boeing 767-300s and Airbus A321LRs on its long-haul international routes.
Air Astana hopes to cooperate with ToMontenegro
Meanwhile, in Montenegro, the national airline and flag carrier, Montenegro Airlines, was shut down. The Montenegrin government is now working on ToMontenegro, a new national airline, which it hopes will be ready to start flying by this summer. Montenegro is the European country most heavily reliant on income from tourism to support its economy.
Air Astana has expressed an interest in cooperating with ToMontenegro, though the exact form that this cooperation would take is not known yet. The two airlines might establish a codeshare partnership so that ToMontenegro and Air Astana could both sell flights from Kazakhstan to Serbia, for example, on a single ticket.
Air Astana has also expressed an interest in linking Montenegro with Uzbekistan, so it will be interesting to see how this cooperation develops in the future.
Do you think flights between Kazakhstan and Tivat or Podgorica are likely to happen? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.