Sunday, October 4, 2009

Turkish strikes again

Truly Macedonian
Turkish Airlines is close to becoming the designated national carrier of Macedonia, just a year after it bought 49% of shares from Bosnia’s B&H Airlines. The news comes as Macedonia’s ministry for transportation endorsed the idea. The ministry has now left the issue up to the Macedonian government. Talks between the ministry of transportation and Turkish Airlines have been ongoing for a few months. Turkish Airlines did not wish to comment on the news.

Turkish Airlines is one of the rare European carriers which has managed to report substantial growth this year, despite the global recession and the difficult situation airlines are finding themselves in. The airline is in constant expansion and took over Bosnia and Herzegovina’s national carrier B&H Airlines last year. Turkish Airlines currently operates daily flights from Istanbul to Skopje. Last year, the Turkish airport operator TAV won the right to manage Macedonia’s airports. However, it hasn’t been a smooth ride with TAV constantly delaying investment and expansion projects for Skopje and Ohrid airports. The airport operator now promises that these projects will begin in March, 2010. Macedonia’s national carrier MAT has been grounded since early this year, although it is still to officially declare bankruptcy. There has been news of a planned relaunched under the name Mat Airways.


  1. It would be interesting to see what will happen. To me, I think TK could do a better job with JA, and should focus on bringing JA to its max potential before thinking on another project, in this case, creating another Macedonian airline.


    JA is not the only company that TK has acquired lately. If I remember correctly they are in the process (or already have) acquired parts of Kirgyz national carrier. So this seems to be strategy. As they are well capitalized and are showing good numbers integrating MAT shouldnt be that hard. After all both MAT and JA are tiny, tiny companies.

    For the Macedonians, TK purchasing MAT is probably good thing as there is better to have carrier based in the country than not having any. However due to proximity of Skopje to Istanbul there is a risk that MAT starts mainly acting as feeder to TK.

    Sarajevo is sufficiently far away from Istanbul so there is no risk of JA acting as feeder. (altough you will never ever see connection from Sarajevo to the Asia )

    When it comes to full potentical of JA, Turkish needs to work on two things:

    1) Airport fees at Butmir are very high. Bosnian newspapers reported that German Wings is paying 3 times more at Butmir than on Stuttgart airport. Airport is defending itself by claiming that usage of the airport is at 23% of its capacity which requires more money which is bullshit. As JA/TK have the 50% share of traffic at Butmir these fees are mainly affecting them.

    2) Infrastracture in and around Sarajevo sucks. If you need 2,5 hours to get to the airport from Mostar or 3,5 hours from Tuzla you will offcourse not use it. Highway which has almost reached Zenica has partly solved the problem for that area. This is hardly something that TK can influence however there are no busses/tram connection to Airport from the rest of the city.

  3. I could see JA becoming the flag carrier of Macedonia too with both airlines integrated to save costs - it would solve the fleet overcapacity problem that JA is facing...

    And yes, this is all about TK making IST a superhub!!

  4. @ frequentflyer

    I don't think that JA should become a carrier for Macedonia, the Macedonians would be probably be happier with their own national airline rather than Bosnia and Herzegovina's. Besides, that company has many more problems to be solved.

    Bosnia and Herzegovina should seriously get cracking with reforms as that would help with infrastructure problems. If the management at Sarajevo airport want to use the airport to 100% rather than '23%,' than they should lower the fees! What idiots! I don't know but there might be many more airlines wanting to fly to Sarajevo (and the rest of the country) but can't because of the fees.

    TK should be more careful with what it is doing to B&H Airlines, as their current expansion program with the current Boeing 737-400 is to me a 'unsuccessful experiment.' The Boeing is too large for now and there should be smaller aircraft, instead of a Boeing.

  5. @ Zrak

    TK have got a few other lil airlines as well, if im not mistaken. They seem to be disposing their B734's to these airlines once they have newer replacements. I agree 110% with your comments on the airport fees. BEG also has high airport fees. It must be a Balkan tradition to welcome tourists with high airport fees and bad, if any service.

    @ frequentflyer

    for TK to make IST into a proper hub, significant upgrades to IST would need to take place.

    Speaking of IST, a JAT B737 skidded off the runway at Ataturk Airport yesterday while landing in heavy rain. Intresting how the news hasnt made it onto the forum. No people are injured. The JAT flight isnt the only flight to skid off the runway at IST, with an Ariana flight from the top of my head also skidding off the runway. Apprently the runway is in need of resurfacing if i remember correctly.


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