Podgorica Airport (Montenegrin: Аеродром Подгорица / Aerodrom Podgorica, pronounced [pɔ̌dɡɔrit͡sa]) (IATA: TGD, ICAO: LYPG) is an international airport serving Montenegrin capital of Podgorica and the surrounding region.
The airport is situated 11 km (6.8 mi) south of central Podgorica, in the Zeta Plain, one of the few flat areas of Montenegro suitable for a large airport. The airport is locally known as Golubovci Airport, as it is located within the administrative boundaries of the town of Golubovci.
The IATA code of the airport is still TGD because Podgorica was named Titograd (after Josip Broz Tito) from 1946 to 1992, during which time the airport opened. It is the main hub for Montenegro Airlines and Di Air.
It is one of two international airports in Montenegro, the other being Tivat Airport. Both are operated by the state-owned company Airports of Montenegro (Аеродроми Црне Горе, Aerodromi Crne Gore). Airports Council International awarded Podgorica the best airport under 1 million passengers in 2007.
History of civil aviation in Podgorica began on May 26, 1928, when Aeroput Potez 29/2 landed on the Podgorica airfield, a small airfield with grass runway, located near the site of today’s Podgorica Rail Station. The plane was on experimental line Belgrade-Skopje-Podgorica-Mostar-Sarajevo-Belgrade line, organized to examine the possibilities of linking Belgrade with southern parts of Yugoslavia. On May 5, 1930, scheduled passenger flights began on Belgrade-Sarajevo-Podgorica line. Aeroput used Farman F.300 aircraft on this line.
World War II brought an end to passenger traffic at the airfield. In 1943 and 1944, airfield was used by Luftwaffe in then German-occupied Montenegro. It was frequent target in the infamous bombing of Podgorica, resulting in significant German losses.
After the war, passenger service resumed on April 8, 1947, with newly formed JAT flight to Belgrade on a Douglas C-47 converted for passenger use. A cargo line to Belgrade was established in 1957.
Airport was moved to the south of the city, on its present location, in 1961. It featured 2500 x 45m asphalt runway. It was modernized and refurbished in 1977. The majority of traffic in this period consisted of scheduled flights to Belgrade, mostly with McDonnell Douglas DC-9 aircraft.
The airport was frequent target during 1999 NATO bombing, when numerous Podgorica Airbase facilities and underground fuel tanks were destroyed. However, no significant damage on the passenger terminal or runway and taxiway systems was inflicted.
On April 23, 2003, the ownership of the airport was transferred from Jat Airways to Airports of Montenegro Public Company, owned byGovernment of Montenegro. Along with formation and growth of Montenegro Airlines, this contributed to diversification of services from the airport. Decades long practice of Podgorica Airport being the feeder airport for Belgrade Airport was dropped in favor of more branched out network of scheduled passenger flights.
A major renovation and expansion took place in 2006, with a refurbishment and extension of the apron and improvements to the taxiways system, airfield lighting system and power supply. Entirely new passenger terminal was opened on May 14, 2006, while the old passenger terminal underwent reconstruction and refurbishment in 2009.
The improved taxiway system allowed for wide-body aircraft to be serviced at the airport. Thus, the airport began servicing Il-86s and first Boeing 747 freighter paid visit to the airport in April 2008.
Airport is located in Zeta Plain, near the town of Golubovci. It is surrounded on three sides by vast Plantaže vineyards.
The airport has ICAO classification 4E ILS Cat I. However, ILS landing is possible only on runway 36, as northern approach to runway 18 is visual only, possible under perfect VMC. This is due to proximity of Dinaric Alps in the north.
Standard runway 36 approach includes spectacular 200° low level steep turn over Lake Skadar to align with the runway, only 524 metres (1,719 ft) above the water surface.
As air traffic in Montenegro saw a rapid increase in traffic in 2000s, the old passenger terminal, a small, cobblestone building, had been retired except for duties with small-volume charter flights after the new terminal was built in 2006. The new passenger terminal (5,500 m²) opened on May 14, 2006. It has eight departure and two arrival gates, and is able to handle up to 1 million passengers annually. The terminal does not feature jetways, as passenger flow at the airport does not impose the need for ones.
The main (new) terminal building is a modern aluminium and glass structure, featuring contemporary architectural solutions such as indirect lighting throughout the building. Since its opening, it features Costa Coffee outlet, two newspaper stalls, a duty-free shop, rent-a-car posts, and CKB bank outlet. Although the airport is considered a low-risk one, security screening has been visibly increased since the introduction of the new terminal. Security measures and monitoring that are standard for European airports are applied on the terminal.
The old terminal building was completely renovated and opened on September 15, 2009 and is now intended for VIP use and general aviation.
Damage done to Podgorica Airport after 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia
Main article: Podgorica Airbase
Podgorica Airport is a public international airport, but shares the main runway with Podgorica’s military airbase.
Military facilities include a 200-acre airbase area adjacent to the main runway, as well as Šipčanik complex.
Šipčanik complex consisted of an underground aircraft shelter tunneled into the eponymous hill, and adjacent narrow 08/26 runway, which could be used to scramble the jets stored in the shelter. This runway is connected to the main airport complex via 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) long taxiway cut through the vineyards. The complex was seriously damaged during the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, and was subsequently converted into a wine cave by the Plantaže company.
In early December 1999, the airport was briefly seized by the Army of Yugoslavia in a standoff between the Milošević regime and the Federal Yugoslav Republic of Montenegro after Montenegro tried to control the airport independently from Belgrade.
With Montenegro’s independence on June 3, 2006, the newly formed Military of Montenegro announced that it will not maintain a combat air force. Nine G-4 Super Galebs are currently sitting unused at the base and it is not known whether any of the planes will be handed over to Serbia.
Airlines and destinations
Scheduled airlines and the destinations they serve from Podgorica according to the Airports of Montenegro Authority are:
Airlines and the destinations they serve from Podgorica on a seasonal basis are:
The map includes destinations in Europe served from Podgorica Airport.
Podgorica Airport Passengers (in thousands)
Podgorica Airport is accessible by Podgorica - Bar road (E65/E80), via short detour. A stretch of this road, from Podgorica to the airport, has been upgraded to expressway standard. A drive from the city center to the airport usually takes less than 15 minutes.
With the construction of Sozina tunnel, the airport is some 40 km away from Bar, Montenegro’s main port, and so the airport increasingly caters to needs of cities on southern part of Montenegrin coast.
Public transportation to and from airport is covered by buses and taxis. The Airport train station on the Belgrade–Bar railway is located 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi) away from the passenger terminal, but is seldom used as a link to the city, due to the inconvenient location and train schedule.
The content above was published at Airports-Worldwide.com in 2014.
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