Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Skopje Airport to support transatlantic flights

Skopje Alexander the Great Airport says it is ready to provide the "utmost support" to any airline which would consider introducing transatlantic flights from the Macedonian capital. It comes following talks earlier this year between the Macedonian government, Skopje Airport operator TAV and Turkish Airlines over the latter's possible services from Alexander the Great Airport to the United States and Canada. "As TAV Airports, we are actively promoting both Skopje and Ohrid airports in various fields in order to attract new airlines and expand the route network and passenger numbers. We have always established close relationships with our airline clients through our world-wide airport operations. This is also the case in Macedonia and we are ready to provide the utmost support to an airline which would consider flying transatlantic from Skopje. Skopje Airport is operationally capable to handle such transatlantic flights and ready to support carriers which would consider operating", the General Manager of TAV Macedonia, Alper Ersoy, told EX-YU Aviation News.

Mr Ersoy noted that the establishment of transatlantic services does carry with it certain risks. "First of all, a large passenger base with sufficient demand is needed to secure transatlantic flights from any destination. Transatlantic flights are costly since they require a wide-body aircraft to operate to Skopje. The operational need of a wide-body aircraft, which typically has about 300 seats on board, requires an even bigger market demand than a narrow-body operation", Mr Ersoy said. He added, "Macedonia is a relatively small country with a population estimated to be just over two million. There is a diaspora of about 200.000 Macedonians in the US and Canada each, yet the diaspora is not concentrated in one city or region over there, which makes the demand gathering to accommodate a regular 300-seater aircraft operation even more difficult. And what’s more, not all of the diaspora visits their home country regularly or frequently".

However, Skopje Airport believes that services to the United States or Canada could cater for the entire Balkan area and lead to better connectivity between the Macedonian capital and the rest of the region. "The Balkan region is still immature in terms of connectivity to US and Canadian destinations. Still, most of the passengers originating from the Balkan region must make at least one connection to fly transatlantic, which is a hassle. In this regard, if Skopje manages to serve a transatlantic flight in the future, this will be beneficial for the whole Balkan area. A nonstop flight to North America would lead to additional feeder flights from the Balkan region to Skopje. The airport would attract many passengers from surrounding countries", Mr Ersoy noted. Over 40.000 passengers originating from Skopje travelled to North American destinations in the last year by making at least one connection elsewhere. "Adding a non-stop transatlantic flight would increase the overall travelling comfort of these passengers originating from Skopje", Mr Ersoy concluded.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Winter 2017/18 - Air Serbia

The 2017/18 winter season begins in just over a month on Sunday October 29, with Air Serbia set to make cuts to its network. The Serbian carrier will be reducing its number of departures to multiple destinations, mostly by cutting one weekly flight to each from its schedule. As of October 29, the Serbian airline will no longer operate its daily service to Abu Dhabi, which was initially launched four times per week during the 2013/14 winter season. The decision was made to "allow Air Serbia to redeploy the A319 currently serving the market on shorter routes to maximise returns", the company said. The network-wide cuts also reflect the carrier's decision to lease out a single Airbus A319 aircraft until April 2018 and reduce costs.

Services from Belgrade to Banja Luka, Beirut, Berlin, Brussels, Bucharest, Paris, Rome, Stockholm and Tel Aviv will see a reduction of one weekly flight, with Zagreb cut by two weekly services to accommodate equipment for the newly launched Venice route, which will be maintained three times per week throughout the winter. Notably, flights to Larnaca will no longer operate throughout the season and will be run only during selected periods. On the other hand, the airline will add another weekly service to Zurich for a total of two flights per day. As was the case over the past three years, additional flights will run on services to Amsterdam, Athens, Beirut, Ljubljana, Moscow, Paris, Podgorica, Rome, Stockholm, Stuttgart and Thessaloniki during the busy holiday period between mid-December and mid-January. However, these seasonal increases are also down on last year.

The 2017/18 winter season runs until March 25, 2018. Please note that the changes listed below are preliminary and based on current availability in the GDS (Global Distribution System). Both frequencies and destinations are subject to change. Air Serbia is prone to making additional amendments to its scheduling mid-way through the season. Over the next month, EX-YU Aviation News will bring you all the winter season modifications each national carrier in the former Yugoslavia will be making to their winter operations.

Abu Dhabi70▼ 7-
Amsterdam77-8 flights from
DEC11 - JAN15
Athens77-10 flights from
DEC18 - JAN08
Banja Luka32▼ 13 flights from
Beirut43▼ 15 flights from
DEC07 - JAN20
Berlin76▼ 1-
Brussels54▼ 1-
Bucharest76▼ 1-
Copenhagen44-3 flights from
NOV25 - DEC15
Dusseldorf76▼ 1-
Istanbul70▼ 7-
Ljubljana1111-13 flights from
DEC19 - JAN09
London - Heathrow77--
Milan66 --
Moscow77 -10 flights from
DEC29 - JAN07
New York33-4 flights from
DEC15 - JAN12
Paris1312▼ 113 flights from
DEC22 - JAN13
Podgorica1818-20 flights from
Rome65▼ 16-7 flights from
DEC19 - JAN15
Stockholm43▼ 15 flights from
DEC15 - JAN15
Stuttgart44-6 flights from
DEC16 - JAN15
St. Petersburg22-seasonal
DEC20 - JAN14
Tel Aviv54▼ 1-
Tivat77-6 flights from
Thessaloniki44-5 flights from
DEC19 - JAN08
Venice03 3-
Zagreb1210▼ 2-
Zurich1314 1-

Belgrade handles four-millionth passenger


Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport handled its four-millionth passenger of the year last Friday, some three weeks ahead of 2016. Since the start of the year until September 22, the airport welcomed 4.010.965 travellers through its doors. So far in September (excluding the previous weekend), the airport registered 427.594 passengers. "Belgrade Airport has recorded fourteen months of consecutive passenger growth. We expect for our record of 4.92 million travellers handled last year to be surpassed by the end of November", the airport said in a statement.

Tivat Airport handles millionth passenger


Tivat Airport has welcomed its millionth passenger within the same year for the first time in its history. The milestone was achieved last Friday and marks the first time that at least eight airports in the former Yugoslavia will have handled over one million passengers in a single year, with Podgorica also likely to join the list by year's end. The millionth traveller at Tivat Airport arrived on a Montenegro Airlines flight from London. Tivat has already overtaken its 2016 end-of-year result when it saw 979.432 passengers pass through its doors.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Dubrovnik eyes Seoul service in 2018

The City of Dubrovnik expects for flights from Seoul to launch next summer season, following talks with South Korean authorities. The development comes as the number of Korean visitors to Croatia continues to grow. The head of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Nikola Dobroslavić, held talks with the Vice Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, Park Ju-seon, concerning the potential flights. "I am delighted that a large number of Korean tourists visit our country each year and this is precisely the reason we are trying to improve connectivity between the two with nonstop flights", Mr Dobroslavić said. Dubrovnik Mayor, Mato Franković, added, "More than 30.000 Korean guests have visited our city so far this year and we expect for the figure to surpass the 50.000 visitors from 2016. It is very important for us to improve connectivity with Korea. It is a big market and we could attract even more tourists".

Dubrovnik Airport has identified South Korea as a market which could sustain services to the coastal city. Speaking to EX-YU Aviation News, Dubrovnik Airport's Deputy Director General, Frano Luetić, recently said, "This far-away market is the most important for Dubrovnik. Korean tourists are most plentiful during the winter months". Assembly Vice Speaker Park noted, "We would like to see a greater number of Croats visiting our country. The Air Transport Agreement between Croatia and Korea has been signed, which will surely contribute to stronger air links between our two countries". The Bilateral Air Service Agreement between Croatia and South Korea allows for Korean Air to run up to seven weekly flights to Croatia and offers the potential for more codeshares between airlines operating out of both countries. "By concluding this agreement, the primary assumption is that regular nonstop flights between our two countries will be established”, the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said late last year.

The President of Korean Air, Won-Tae Cho, recently noted the company is looking into expanding its presence in Croatia in the coming years as it continues to take delivery of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. Last year, 377.779 Korean holidaymakers visited Croatia, which has become increasingly popular in the country after several reality shows were filmed in places such as Dubrovnik. A spokesman for Korea’s top travel agency, Hana Tour, said that Croatia is emerging as one of the most promising travel destinations for South Koreans who visit Europe. Korean Air is operating ten charter flights to Zagreb this summer season (between May and October) with its Airbus A330 aircraft, making it the most served destination in its European summer charter programme.