Macedonia eyes Turkish AirlinesAccording to the Macedonian newspaper “Utrinski Vesnik”, TAV, the Turkish operator of Macedonia’s airports, is lobbying for Turkish Airlines to become the national carrier of Macedonia. TAV has said that Macedonia urgently needs a national carrier in order for its airports to become competitive in the region. TAV representatives in Macedonia did not wish to comment on the news. The Macedonian Civil Aviation Directorate told the newspaper that they would be pleased if Turkish Airlines were to apply for a national carrier permit. They believe that Turkish Airlines would easily receive it.
Zoran Kristevski, the director of the Directorate said that, “Turkish Airlines would have to apply for a permit. They would have to submit a business plan and choose whether they would want to be a charter or scheduled carrier. Turkish already operates services to Macedonia and is a renowned world carrier. They have a strong presence in the region as well”. Kristevski also said that if Turkish Airlines were to apply for national carrier status, the Directorate would follow European Union regulations and procedures. He added that changes to the Macedonian aviation law will see the enforcement of the open sky policy. It would also allow the Government to subsidise routes and as a result entice airlines to operate flights to both Skopje and Ohrid. The law could also introduce relaxed rules on airline ownership which would pave the way for Turkish Airlines to become Macedonia’s national carrier.
Turkish Airlines owns a 49% stake in B&H Airlines. It is currently holding talks with Jat Airways about possible future ownership. Last year, rumours circulated that Turkish Airlines was close to becoming the national carrier of Macedonian. However, in the end, the carrier itself denied these rumours.
Meanwhile, TAV announced that the main construction work at Skopje and Ohrid Airport will commence in a month and a half.