Sunday, August 2, 2009

British eyes Macedonia

Soon in Skopje?
Britain's national carrier, British Airways, wants to establish services to Macedonia, according to Zoran Kristevski, the head of the Macedonian Civil Aviation Agency. Talks between British Airways and Macedonian officials began this Wednesday and the government is hoping to wow the British carrier into returning to the Macedonian market. The Minister of Transportation and Communication, Mile Jankieski, presented the advantages of operating in Macedonia as well as plans to modernise the airport system through the project of giving Macedonian Airports under concession. British Airways representatives, who are currently attending the talks in Skopje, are said to be interested as Macedonia currently lacks a national carrier. From January 1, 2010 Macedonian citizens will no longer need visas to travel to European countries (although this excludes the United Kingdom) and therefore an increase in passengers in expected. The British Airways representatives have said that if the airline begins services to Skopje it would do so from March 2010, at the beginning of the 2010 summer season.

British Airways began services from London to Skopje in 1999 however discontinued all services in 2001. The airline cited a lack of passengers as the reason for its withdrawal however it is believed that the airline’s true reasons was the political instability and war which took place in the country that year.

6 comments:

  1. What aircraft are they going to fly to Skopje? Is British Airways planning to replace their Boeing fleet with Airbus aircraft?

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  2. What aircraft they fly will depend on whether the flights are from Heathrow or Gatwick. If Heathrow, they'll be A319s, if Gatwick, Boeing 737-400s. As BA's Gatwick base has become largely leisure destinations serving point to point traffic (as they've completely abandoned long haul from Gatick), Heathrow would make more sense as a lot of the potential would be connecting traffic to BA's long haul network and of course the US and Canadian network. However, slots may be an issue, as always at Heathrow!

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  3. @ Anonymous

    It would have to be Gatwick, and likely twice or thrice weekly. Though I can't see this being more successful than the recent venture to SJJ (which was stopped due to escalating fuel prices). And somehow I can't see that service returning...

    Incidentally, given Oneworld partner Malev's frequency to SKP is already twice-daily, would they lose passengers because of this?

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  4. @ anonymous

    Why Airbus 319 from Heathrow and a Boeing from Gatwick?

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  5. @ frequentflyer:

    I very much doubt BA would both with 2x/3x per week. There is little point offering a 'scheduled' service with such poor frequency. If you can't offer 5x weekly, BA likely won't bother.

    @ Bosnian:
    BA's 737 fleet are all based at Gatwick, and all of the A319s are based at Heathrow, that is why.

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