Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mat Airways?

Still grounded
MAT Macedonian Airlines is still grounded by the Macedonian Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and is unable to use its only aircraft due to safety concerns that the CAA has expressed. One of MAT’s owners, Živko Grueski, recently told the Macedonian press that the CAA has set out to destroy the national carrier of Macedonia and that this grand scheme has been in the making for the past few years. Gruevski said that the head of the Civil Aviation Agency, Zoran Krstevski “pursues a mega project to destroy MAT”. During a press conference in Skopje, Gruevski said this project kicked off long before the CAA ordered an overhaul of MAT's Boeing B737-500 aircraft. He further says that the CAA has made moves to discredit the company's reputation. Gruevski told reporters that the authorities are pressing ahead with the theory that Macedonia doesn't need a national carrier and that other companies should be given priority to carry out flights. Such a theory, according to Gruevski, aims to push the country back into the early 1990s when Macedonia’s aviation sector was in chaos.

Meanwhile, Jat Airways, Serbia’s national carrier has proposed for MAT Macedonian Airlines to change its name and reregister as a new airline called Mat Airways. The name change would also finally settle a dispute between Greece and Macedonia in terms of air service. Greek authorities have banned MAT from flying to Greek airports due to the fact that the airline holds in its name the words “Macedonian Airlines”, which, according to Greece, displays territorial advances. The Greek government has been pushing Eurocontrol to pressure MAT into changing its name. Gruevski did not directly comment about the name change and a future with Jat, saying only that the management’s top priority is to rescue the existing company.

The Macedonian CAA has grounded MAT’s Boeing B737-500 for safety reasons until further notice although the aircraft seems to have been safe enough to transport Antonio Milošoski, Macedonia’s minister for foreign affairs to Corfu yesterday. Despite airlines from Macedonia being banned from Greece, the flight received special permission to land in Corfu as Milošoski was attending a special meeting by the OSCE.

9 comments:

  1. I think that there shouldn't be any 'Mat Airways or blah blah blah....' If the company is going to be owned by the same people, then it IS NOT going to succeed! A new airline company with a fresh and new look and start, OWNED BY DIFFERENT PEOPLE AND PRIVATISED by Jat Airways would be perfect to represent the Republic of Macedonia :)

    ....and let me say that some funny things happen in that country! LOL

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  2. ^
    Macedonia (and most other small countries in Europe and around the world) DO NOT need a 'national airline'.

    If they're smart, they'll open up their market to whomever wants to fly there and effectively remove any bilateral agreement restrictions - allowing the likes of Wizz and whomever else to operate. This would be a huge boost to the economy, ranging from tourism to lowering the cost for citizens and the diaspora to travel to and from Macedonia.

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  3. @ anonymous

    I don't agree, every country needs a national airline to represent themselves and is used for people to fly to and from the country. If they open up their economy to other airlines, then the other airlines dont need to exist as well, just as the airlines from the smaller countries. A good example is Adria Airways, with a good route network and definitely from a 'small' country. These airlines can succeed, they just need the right people to guide them through.

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  4. I agree with Bosnian, I believe every country should have its own airline because it is money drained away from a nation to large corporations. Small airlines can be profitable if they are run appropriately.

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  5. The name of MAT isn't the issue - sadly, it's the people running the airline and the CAA who are heading in two very different directions. Both parties running their mouths to the media doesn't solve issues but as neither of them are mature enough to sit down and actually sort through their issues the stalemate will continue.

    You'd love to know who was actually behind the second start-up airline to replace MAT, and the connections to those in the CAA (perhaps another story to follow up exYU?)


    @ Anonymous

    It is impossible and completely flawed that your beloved Wizz (or some similar airline) would have enough to be a psuedo-national airline in any country. It's like assuming that U2 could take over from BA... and more importantly, these low-cost airlines don't adequately provide for business or state purposes which account for a significant portion of any flag carrier airline's revenues.

    Also you need to rethink your strategy that small airlines shouldn't exist - it's like the theory that there should be no small grocery shops and that everyone should be forced to use a supermarket because they buy in bulk. Purely absurd...

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  6. @ frequentflyer

    You're right!

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  7. ^
    If British Airways were as poorly run and unprofitable as many (all) of the ex-YU flag carriers, then yes, they would be dead and easyJet would effectively serve Britains interests (easyJet already have a much higher share of domestic traffic than BA does and have revolutionised travel and brought people together who would have never been connected before)

    The 'flag carrier' concept is dying - and the analogy to small grocery shops is a poor one.

    It's like saying every country has to produce it's own cars - RUBBISH!

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  8. I agree with the thesis in this text. I just have to say it is not true that minister Milososki traveled to Corfu with MAT's plane. Where did you get this information?

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