On the verge of presidential elections in Montenegro, Russia makes a drastic decision, cancelling all Montenegro Airlines direct flights to Moscow for the approaching summer. The decision is revenge for Montenegrin Western policy and evidence of the decreasing Russian influence in the country. Moscow intends to damage financially what they could not do through their secret services. According to B92, this decision will drastically decrease the number of Russian tourists in Montenegro. Russian media speak of an increased number in Turkey, Greece and Albania, instead.
The Montenegrin tourist authorities had planned to have 5 flights to Moscow from the small Tivat airport, 4 times a week, starting from 25 April.
They have already been hiring planes, due to the high request during summer months, in which there are direct flights to Moscow and Belgrade every day. For the period June – July, it was foreseen to have 3,396 flights, to transport 324 thousand passengers.
The Montenegrin government has already approved visa liberalization for Russian citizens from 15 April to 31 October as well.
The decision to interrupt direct flights to Moscow will surely be a heavy blow on Montenegrin businesses. Albania is seen as a possible substitute destination for Russian tourists, who prefer Montenegro, due to the short distance to Russia and cheaper prices. The travel agencies are already working on the new plan.