Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Skopje boom expected in 2011

Skopje’s new terminal under construction
In 2011 Macedonia will fully implement the European Free Sky agreement, which allow airlines to begin flights to Macedonia with ease. The sky liberalisation should coincide with the opening of Skopje Airport’s new terminal. The airport’s management believes that in 2011 passengers travelling from Macedonia will see more carriers, including low cost airlines.

Zoran Krstevski, the head of Macedonia’s Civil Aviation Agency notes that the full implementation of the Free Sky agreement is an important step for the country’s aviation industry. He believes that, as a result, Macedonia will become a more competitive market and passengers can expect new flights to the Middle East. Turkish Airlines is particularly interested in exploiting the mostly underserved Macedonian market, he states.

Several months ago, Skopje Airport’s management said they were negotiating with several low cost airlines to commence flights to the city. New flights have already been scheduled from Ohrid to Amsterdam and Helsinki in 2011. Both airports have seen their number of handled passenger increase this year, although most passengers are using charter instead of scheduled flights. Recently, the Macedonian based charter airline Air Lift Service, which served the bulk of passengers from Macedonia, terminated flights, leaving yet another void in the market on top of MAT’s demise in 2009.

15 comments:

  1. underserved definitely, towards Germany for example, but certainly not the Middle East ( "new flights to the midle east" that sounds like a joke).

    I dont expect much new routes to be honest, just more passangers on the existing ones

    dont understand how TK is trying to exploit the Macedonian market. Flying to West Europe via Istanbul is not only time consuming but quite expensive as well (twice the price MALEV is currently offering)

    AirLift is still flying though ( just check the Skopje airport page)

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  2. I agree with you 'SKP'.

    We can only hope!

    Being an Australian how great will it be for an Emirates or Etihad direct service, with only one connection through Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Australia. Beats having to change aircraft more than twice as most do when flying from Australia to Macedonia.

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  3. I do not think anyone from the Middle-East could operate profitably into SKP for two reasons. First, there isn't enough market and second, Turkish Airlines has a relatively firm grip on the Balkan-Middle East market.
    However if some airline like Qatar, whose primary interest is NOT to make a profit then we might see links from SKP to the Middle-East.

    As for SKP, I think we might see Cimber Sterling operating twice a week from Copenhagen. There is a considerable minority living there and i think these flights could work, at least in summer.
    Naturally we will see some additional flights from Germany, the Mecca of all ex-Yugoslavia!

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  4. Coming from Australia too… I would like to see Emirates or Ethiad or Qatar Airways in SKP as well, but lets be realistic , even if it’s happen, first will be Belgrade or Zagreb.
    How Turks will exploit Macedonian Market, interesting question too, I hope Turkish Airways will change their mind and they will start their route IST-SYD directly with B777200LR not via CGK, on that way they will kill EK and EY or QR, they will get all Balkan expats on that route , on similar way like OS used to fly few years back via KUL and VIE. Finally we will have Europe – Australia non stop, I don’t know if they can get slot in SYD , but MEL is open 24/7 which shouldn’t be any problem for after-midnight take off or landing , like EY , EK and QR does. If Macedonia has well established airline, I don’t see any problem for Middle East flights, at least once a week, no matter which one is DXB or AUH will work.

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  5. I flew once Dubai-Belgrade (via Larnaca) and the flights was full of people continuing to Skopje and Ohrid on Jat.
    Naturally that was in summer when Jat flies also in the afternoon to Skopje.
    If Turkish Airlines begins those Australian flights it will be a problem firstly for Emirates as for the time being they get most of the Balkan passengers. Second of all, I think their reaction would be to launch new Balkan routes with FlyDubai and try fighting off TK.
    I do not know how strong the O&D market is between Dubai and Zagreb/Skopje/Sarajevo but I know it is relatively strong with Belgrade so Jat's service to Dubai might not be completely destroyed by TKs future plans.

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  6. Mate… The Balkan is very competitive market; the problem is how you will establish there. If TK has prices like OS used to have, they will be full of Balkan passengers. Another problem for TK to not start non stop flight to Australia is, the low cost airline JQ – Jet Star which is sub company of Qantas is planning to fly to Europe from 2011, on the market first is ATH and FCO via SIN , they are planning to introduce RT ticket for $1200aud, that’s the rumors in Australia, so not sure how TK and the others will compete each other, EY already code share with OA between SOF and SKG , so the price is not that bad, you can get for $1650aud sometimes, but if JQ fly for around $1200aud they will kill everyone. I wrote once, and I will write again, EK to get well established Balkan market they need to do only one change for beginning: they don’t need to have direct route to BEG , they can use like transit city.
    The route DXB- VCE Marco Polo has to go twice a week via BEG or SKP or ZAG. They don’t have such a big number of passengers traveling to VCE from Dubai, the load factor is around 60%-70% on A343 so it is very easy to get additional 25% from EXYU if the plane stop BEG for at least 1.5 hour, also they can get extra out bound traffic to Italy, and will compete on the current low cost airlines.

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  7. Montenegro Airlines and MAT-Kontiki still negotiate...

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  8. Good morning everyone!
    The news is amazing, great job Skopje! May this terminal attract a lot of new carriers!
    However, I think this is extremly embarassing for Croatia and Zagreb. Skopje is much poorer than Zagreb and Croatia is far from a poor country and it is unacceptable that now ALL ex-Yu states have had their terminals expanded or upgreaded with the exception of Zagreb!
    Grrr

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  9. No middle east airline will begin flights to SKP.

    We will only see both the Macedonian airports better connected with European destinations and possibly Northern African/Medditeranean.

    We can only wait for a Macedonian airline to begin flights to the middle east and outside the comfort zone of Europe.

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  10. To anonymous who stated Skopje is much poorer than Zagreb, yes Macedonia is poorer but not much poorer so it's not embarrasing that Skopje will have a modern airport ahead of Zagreb.

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  11. what did anonymous mean, montenegro airlines and mat kontiki are still negotiating? what for?

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  12. Skopje + Boom? Well it wouldn't be hard to experiance a boom when your figures are so damn dull. But all jokes aside, all the best of Skopje Airport and Ohrid, all they need is a stern domestic carrier to fly routes to Western Europe and a small selection of flights to Eastern Europea i.e. Russia, Czech Rep.

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  13. Macedonia definetly needs to a major home based airline with a proper name such as Air Macedonia, Macedonian Airways etc with a decent fleet, however in reality can we expect any airline based in Macedonia to be relaibale.

    Unfortunatley there does not seem to be any ethusisam from Macedonia to have such a venture established..I hope I am wrong as I have been hoping for a good relaibale carrier to be established since the eary 1990's and Macedonia does not seem to be moving forward in this area. Also not only have the airlines had old fleets with bad management, the names have been awful:

    Avioimpex, Airlift, Meta etc, now there is the awful named airline Mat Airways and possibly Aeromak
    etc, however the defunt Macedonian Airlines had the right name and right livery, pitty that that the wrong people had control of this airline.

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  14. There will never be profitable airline in Macedonia. As Macedonians are known for traveling 5-6 hours to Sofia to travel 20-30$ cheaper. PRN and SKG took the rest. Every single travel agency in Macedonia or dealing with Macedonian immigration will tell you the same.

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  15. Thessaloniki draws alot of traffic from Macedonia (Republic), Bulgaria and even Southern Albania to be exact.

    Sofia draws pax from Eastern Macedonia (republic). The North West regions draw to Pristina (since they are quite populated by Albanians in general they use PRN)

    SKP has a little market that is 100% ruled by connecting airlines ie. Adria, JAT, Croatia, Montenegro, Turkish, Malev, Czech etc.

    Very little room to accomodate for a Macedonian flag carrier, maybe a lowcost carrier to have a small base diffrent story!

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