Montenegro to put airports up for concession

The Montenegrin government has adopted plans to put its two international airports in Podgorica and Tivat up for concession. A public call for the expression of interest is expected to be issued soon. The Montenegrin Minister for Transportation and Maritime Affairs, Osman Nurković, said the two airports will be offered up for a concession ranging between 25 and thirty years. Turkey’s TAV Airports Holding, which has become a global brand in airport construction projects and operations, held talks with Mr Nurković on two different occasions late last year in order to examine suitable concession models.

The Prime Minister of Montenegro, Duško Marković, previously said, «Several well established companies have already shown serious interest for the airports. The concession is vital in order for Tivat Airport to follow through with its plans to build a new passenger terminal, extend its runway and overhaul its taxiways». Last year, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) was set to approve a fifty million euro loan for the development of Tivat Airport, however, it requested for the Montenegrin government to guarantee the airport would remain in state hands over a period of ten years following the completion of the expansion project. Mr Marković’s administration was unable to agree to such terms.

Montenegro’s opposition parties have slammed the government’s concession plans, noting that operator Airports of Montenegro is one of the country’s most profitable public enterprises. It recorded profit before tax of 5.2 million euros last year. Montenegro’s two airports handled a combined total of 1.3 million passengers during the January – July period. Last month alone, the two welcomed 422.220 travellers through their doors. Last Sunday, Tivat Airport broke its 24-hour record by handling 11.233 passengers, while Podgorica saw its busiest day in a decade on July 22 with 7.670 travellers.

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