Tuesday, September 14, 2010

No low cost flights to Macedonia

New look Skopje Airport
Last December the European Union approved visa free travel to most Schengen Zone countries within the European Union for Macedonian, Serbian and Montenegrin passport holders. As a result, airports in the region have recorded an increase in passenger numbers, aircraft movement and profits. However, both Skopje and Ohrid airports in Macedonia have recorded a minimal passenger increase and no low cost airline has begun operations to and from the country.

Since the visa liberalisation and TAV’s takeover of Skopje and Ohrid airports, the number of flights from Macedonia has increased 10%, even though the management projected an increase of around 30 to 40%, the ”Utrinski Vesnik” newspaper reports. There are still no low cost flights to and from the country either, and Macedonians find it cheaper to travel to Belgrade, Sofia, Priština or Thessaloniki, from where they can use no frills airlines. The publication cites examples of ticket prices from Skopje to some destinations in Western Europe and compares them to the prices of budget airlines in the region. For example, a return ticket from Skopje to Vienna costs around 400 Euros, while from Sofia, it is only around 70 Euros. A return ticket from Skopje to Vienna on Austrian Airlines amounts to approximately 259 Euro. On the other hand, a return ticket between Montenegro’s capital Podgorica and Vienna amounts to approximately 100 Euros.

Experts believe that low cost airlines will commence flights to Skopje after the new terminal at Alexander the Great Airport in Skopje is completed. Construction of the terminal building began 3 months ago and it is that it will be completed by the end of next year. Another reason for the absence of low cost airlines on the Macedonian market is that it is too small, the newspaper noted.

Skopje Airport is currently served by nine scheduled airlines. B&H Airlines will commence flights to the Macedonian capital in November.


  1. I really do hope that they get more low cost flihgts at Skopje Airport! Such a shame that they are the only ones left in the dark!
    I think Wizzair might actually start flights, after Sofia and Belgrade Skopje isn't that far :)

  2. Contrary to common belief, LCC actually needs a rather well-off customer base to support its operation. For now, Macedonians are limited to the resorts in Ohrid and Bulgaria only. Ordinary Macedonians would still regard Paris/Brussels as an expensive holiday destination. I am not convinced that this notion is going to change any time soon.

    If that's the case, how can you expect Ryanair to start CRL/NYO-SKP? The southerly location of Macedonia, hence higher fuel burn, is also prohibiting LCCs to possess a significant price advantage as well.

    With Wizz having two bases in BEG and SOF already, I don't see them bothering with SKP in the short run either...

  3. OHD is summer destination with poor catchment area. CA of SKP is similar to INI which might become good LCC alternative to SKP in few years time.

  4. I think it is shame, especially OHD in summer, it is beautiful and great place to visit, I think it is markteing what OHD/SKP and Macedonia need.

  5. germanwings were flying to Skopje with a ridiculous pricing, no lowcost at all, so i am actually happy they're not ripping off people anymore

    however i see a big potential for german, swiss and north italian destinations, as many macedonians are leaving there

    what Skopje really needs at the moment is Lufthansa, British Airways and Alitalia

    OHD is a perfect summer low cost destinations, but i feel that will definitely spoil the place , haha

  6. @Anonymous

    Regarding German Wings, I took two flights with them, and they had reasonable prices for round trip, 120 euros for round trip in February, and 220 euros for round trip in July. I bought the tickets some 2 months in advance, maybe thats one of the reasons why I had good prices. The loads were pretty good too, more then 85% both times, and here are some photos:


    Enjoy! :)

  7. Germanwings don't rip people off, they just charge prices according to supply and demand. If you wanted a good price book in good time hwen flights come on sale!

  8. You guys are always talking about summer this, summer that... What do you do in winter then? Sell the plane and shut down the airline? Lord.

  9. comparing with what they (germanwings) charge for other destinations the prices for Skopje
    were a joke.

  10. ^

    You charge what it costs either to operate the plane, or you know your pax will pay. There is a happy medium. Also in the case of germanwings, there is no LH service on the route...

    SKP may see more flights in the future, but starting services tomorrow isn't going to guarantee instant success.


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