The European country of Montenegro banned all flights from Northern Italy into its two airports, Podgorica and Tivat, from today through to April. Let’s take a look at what impact this will have.
Details of the ban
Cafe del Montenegro reports that the Montenegrin Ministry of Health has issued a ban for all travel between Montenegro and Northern Italy, and vice versa. The directorate for public health within the Ministry of Health provided the following statement (translated):
“Due to the current epidemiological situation taking place in the North of Italy, the Ministry of Health has, upon recommendation from the Institute for public health, issued a directive about a temporary suspension of travel to and from Montenegro to the North of Italy.”
The directorate also added:
“This directive is for the purpose of containing the inflow of contagious diseases into Montenegro.”
The contagious disease they are referring to is, of course, the novel coronavirus. As Simple Flying recently covered, coronavirus is responsible for over 200,000 flight cancellations, and counting.
Wizz Air and Ryanair affected
Wizz Air operates flights between Milan Malpensa and Podgorica twice weekly, on Wednesdays and Sundays while Ryanair flies between Podgorica and Bologna on Mondays and Fridays.
Both airlines have suspended ticket sales on their routes to Montenegro until the first week of April.
What if the ban is extended?
If the ban is extended to cover a wider area of Italy, more airlines flying into Montenegro will be affected. The same will be true if the ban remains in place for the same geographical area, but its duration is extended.
Alitalia flies from its base in Rome Fiumicino to Podgorica year-round, as does the national airline of Montenegro, Montenegro Airlines. Rome is one of the busiest routes out of Podgorica.
Both Alitalia and Montenegro Airlines are financially struggling airlines, and such bans would not help their respective financial situations. This is especially true as we near the Easter holiday season, when demand for air travel is traditionally much higher than it is throughout either March or May.
Another airport in Montenegro would be affected as well. Tivat Airport, which Simple Flying recently named an “up and coming aviation destination”, would certainly experience a drop in traffic. The airport exists primarily to serve tourists arriving into Montenegro, which makes it susceptible to fluctuations in passenger traffic.
From Tivat, easyJet is launching a new route to Milan Malpensa this June. That launch is now in jeopardy, though easyJet is still selling tickets for the route.
Both Tivat and Podgorica Airports rely strongly on tourism to drive passenger numbers. Thus, even if the flight ban is not extended, the global drop in demand for air travel resulting from the outbreak of coronavirus will have an impact on Montenegro.
Have you been affected by a flight ban due to coronavirus? Let us know in the comments below!