Monday, December 28, 2009

Mat secures aircraft

Mat Airways will be using former MAT B737-500
The new MAT under the name Mat Airways, headed by the Serbian tour operator Kontiki Travel, will be using the Boeing B737-500 previously operated by Macedonia’s grounded national carrier. Since the airline’s demise the aircraft has been in Belgrade and is now being repainted. The news was revealed last week at the opening of the first Kontiki Travel office in Skopje. Its Macedonian branch is named Kontiki Sky. The initial investment Kontiki has made in Macedonia amounts to 5 million dollars. For the time being, anyone who wishes to travel with this agency from Macedonia will receive free transportation to Belgrade and from there will travel to their desired destination. This will change in late March when Mat Arways is expected to be launched from Skopje. However, the airline must first be granted a license by Macedonia’s Civil Aviation Directorate (ACV). Ironically, the Boeing the new Mat will be using was grounded by the ACV due to security reasons and even after repairs in Belgrade was not given authorisation to fly. Without any new repairs done to the aircraft in the meantime, it will be interesting to see whether the ACV looks the other way.

Mat Arways will not only be taking over the MAT brand and employees but also former CEO Živko Gruevski, who is heading the project from the shadows. Mat Airways will at first offer charter flights to popular holiday destinations in Egypt and Spain. Later it will introduce scheduled flights.

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