Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Skopje grows

Skopje’s new terminal under construction (right)
Construction of a new terminal at Skopje Alexander the Great Airport is ongoing. The airport’s operator, TAV Airport Holdings, has plans to turn Skopje into a regional leader and holds high hopes that Turkish Airlines will set up an airline in Macedonia, a move rumoured since the demise of MAT Macedonian Airlines. Alp Er Tunga Ersoy, the Deputy Manager of TAV in Macedonia, told the Southeast European Times portal, "Our goal is to make Skopje a popular regional hub by using its advantageous geographical location. Thanks to this investment, Macedonia will have state of the art airport facilities and Skopje's Alexander the Great Airport will be one of the main drivers of economic growth in the region”. After work on the new terminal is complete, Skopje's airport will be nearly double the size of those in Belgrade and Sofia, according to officials. The airport runaway is being extended by 500 meters to handle wide body aircraft for long haul flights.

TAV claims that without a national carrier growth at Macedonia’s airports will be blocked. The Turkish airport operator hopes that Turkish Airlines will set up a national carrier in Macedonia. However, they also hope that some of Turkey’s 10 million strong diaspora will reroute via Skopje on their way to their homeland. Work on Skopje’s new terminal is expected to be complete in time for the 2011/2012 winter season in October.

Renovations are also under way at Ohrid's St. Paul the Apostle Airport, and plans are going ahead for the construction of the Philip II cargo airport, to be located in Štip in Eastern Macedonia.


  1. Regional hub, really?

  2. @Peter

    Well it's the Balkans, everyone has to advertize themselves as the future regional hub.
    However in this particular case maybe they shold start advertizing as a country with a national airlne first.

  3. nearly double the size of beg and sof???? are they nuts?
    only T2 at beg has capacity of 5 million passengers per year plus the capacity of T1, now used by lc carriers. Nearly double the size is much more than 10 million passengers per year, or more than 15 jetways attached to the aiprort building...
    i mean it's nice to dream, but even dreams should have some reality

  4. As far as I know the capacity of Skopje will be 6 Million passengers.

  5. How many passengers does the airport have now?

  6. according to the official website statistics, the last data published reffers to 2008. the airport handled 652000 passengers. If I remember well i read somewhere that during 2009 the airport noted huge downfall in passeneger numbers, something around 500000 passenegers. i haven't seen any data regarding 2010, except official information about 10% increase as compared to the year before.

  7. With all respect, I can`t imagine someone from region will fly through SKP anywhere to western Europe or Middle East.
    Just can`t imagine would should happen this to come true.

  8. even myself i had to LOL when i read its gonna be the double size of
    BEG and SOF

    its getting all a bit crazy isnt it?

    Welcome to Skopje, haters

  9. Anyone who understands macedonian can read this. http://vest.com.mk/?ItemID=3D6EDE3773837842AA9EA1AE9D9684C5

    Wizz-Air Skopje London?

  10. haha yeah A380 is gona fly from Macedonia to every city in the world! And soon the colonies on the moon and outter space! hhahah They need to stop dreaming. Get a grip of reality. This is a HUGE waste of money. Regional leader? Belgrade has already set itself up for that. Macedonia cannot take their place , maybe in their dreams... but in reality, no lol.

  11. @last anonymous

    nothing is confirmed yet #wizz

  12. The philosophy seems to be "Build them and they will come," which is what Dubai did in the 1990s. There are no guarantees that it will fail ;)

    Best of luck to our eastern neighbours.

  13. Of course SKP will not be regional leader. But you must know that TAV is very very serious partner with huge influence in air traffic. They did not invest if they would not make money from it. That means they will attract lines and companies. “Regional leader” is just funny marketing for local inhabitants. Also unreal is transit hub. But be sure that you will see two digit increase of pax. in SKP.

  14. I like the fact that Skopje is rebuilding itself to compete with BEG, ZAG, and Ljubljana. But to become a regional leader is very unlikely. Macedonia's population is shrinking as we speak, with more of them leaving to USA or Bulgaria.

    As for attracting Turkish diaspora, this is also very unlikely. Turkey has excellent connections everywhere and going through Macedonia is not a viable transit.

    As for the terminal...I think it is a very naive thing to build a huge terminal. As I said before, Macedonia's population is decreasing, and BEG and ZAG are going to start international flights, which will bring lots of tourists and diaspora. I am sure that Macedonians will go to Skopje via BEG or ZAG, which will make those airports transit airports and Skopje a final destination. It is unwise to throw out all this money and then have the terminal not even 1/4 full. But any investment is a good investment.

    But I do agree that a national carrier needs to be set up. And I am suer that Turkish will do it.

  15. @VisitKosovo

    Correction: Macedonia is south of the Kosovo province. :)

  16. @Jeebusman

    who is leaving for Bulgaria? HAHAHAH

    the next pointless post from you.

  17. @Jeebusman
    "BEG and ZAG are going to start international flights..."
    No shit?

    No one in their right mind will fly charter flights with Anonymous Airlines to ZAG or BEG on old aircraft with poor service and no air miles programs and then catch a non-connecting flight to their final destination. One would only begin to consider such flights if they are scheduled, connecting flights with top quality service and air miles rewards. Fancy collecting your luggage from the US at ZAG/BEG leaving the airport than having to check-in again (possibly spend a night at an airport hotel)? How about paying twice for all your excess luggage? Not me. Thanks but no thanks.

  18. Nezavisna Repunlika SrpskaFebruary 15, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    @ whats your IQ

    The majority of People from the balkans and infact Europe arent milionares, they will not pay a fortune for top class services,plus with the exception of us aviation enthusiasts most people dont give a damn with what aircraft they fly with and would therefore probably go LCC or with JAT or Croatia, unless they are somone like Stanko Subotic or Boris Tadic who have their own aircraft

  19. Ryan International or any other charter company will have just point-to-point passengers! Those lines are regulary much more expensive than regular line via FRA, MUC, LHR, AMS, CDG, ZRH... And conention to them are expensive, unsecure (risk of delay and loose conection without compensation). So, do not dream of conection pax in any charter intercontinental flights.

  20. i think that Regional hub for Balkan is Vienna. Maybe BEG, ZAG, TGD, or LJU have some conection from Skopje, Nis, Pristina, ... but most of the passenger for western Europe, USA, australia... travel via Vienna. and if i'm wrong then why there is 124 flight's to Vienna per week only from ex-yu coutries.
    so I don't think that any airport from ex-yu can be a regional-hub without direct scheduled flight to USA and Australia.

  21. @What'sYourIQ

    I was referring to the fact that Skopje cannot be a regional leader. It may have the largest terminal...but that doesn't mean regional leader. Also, Macedonian diaspora have a faster service from North America to Macedonia through ZAG and BEG. That was what I meant by including the fact that INTERCONTINENTAL flights were taking place. Thank you for correcting me though. And do not underestimate these flights. There are many diaspora who would settle for decent comfort for a shorter flight to Serbia/Croatia. And in this economy, you better believe that saving money is the first thing on people's minds.


    But you are forgetting two things. 1) Ryan International is a charter. They are cheaper than flights from big-name companies that include service and everything. I am sure that these flights will be priced decently. I know that in Zagreb's case, they are paying for all empty seats, so they will rely heavily on the prices Ryan offers. Not to mention the pressure Lufthansa will exert on them because of these flights...
    But for the rest of the Ex-Yu and some Balkan countries, they could use ZAG and BEG as transit routes. Tickets form BEG are still very cheap and for Macedonians, this is a perfect scenario. Chicago/Toronto-BEG-SKP

  22. "However, they also hope that some of Turkey’s 10 million strong diaspora will reroute via Skopje on their way to their homeland."

    Why would they do that?

  23. great news thta Wizz Air is so close to Macedonia:)
    for SKP is enough but i prefer that they come to my near home town OHD :)

    and for all [people who comments bulshit for SKP ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
    first of all thsat turkish guy is not Macedonian representative or politician, he is only manager of TAV they own the airports and they need to tell story!
    i think SKP and OHD to have about 1,5 or 2 minllion pax's is possible and very reacheable!

    talking about regional hub there will be not in Balkan or Ex Yu
    VIE is regional hub!

    greetings for everyone
    dont be so angry on each others :)

  24. what macedonia realy need is Direct flight to AMS and FRA, and more charters to OHD via summer but with LCC. with those flights SKP and OHD will have pass number increase. and hub... noo way only VIE

  25. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  26. Novi Sad has a better chance of being a regional hub than Skopje. Geographically Skopje puts most flying to the ex-Yu further from their destination and forces them to back track.

  27. First of all what are these new nationalistic nicknames? Seriously people, get a life or just get laid.

    Vienna can not be a Balkan hub simply because Vienna is NOT located in the Balkans! It's the airport with the greatest connecting possibilities to the Balkans but it's not IN THE Balkans.
    The main Balkan hubs are Istanbul Ataturk, Athens and then the rest.
    Don't forget that according to some Romania is not in the Balkans, even if they think they are.

    So it would be a bit refreshing if certain people would use their brains here and thought for a minute in stead of just jumping to nationalistic conclusions!

    As for Skopje, they can just dream of becoming a regional hub. First of all they need an airline to become that.
    So TAV probably needs a reality check above everything.

  28. Does anybody know which airline has "ZY" iata-code?

    I googled it but there are only two airlines and none of them seems reasonable. Defunct Albanian airline "Ada Air" (with only one Embraer ac) and Mongolian airline "Eznis Airways" (with four Saab340).
    The unknown airline had one charter from Antalya to Dusseldorf via Belgrade yesterday and one more charter from/to Antalya few days ago, and both flights were operated with A321.
    Any clue? :)

  29. the 3 leading airports in the region are Belgrade, Zagreb, and Pristina. Skopje is no where close to these airports!!!

  30. Depends what you consider the region because one could argue that in the region main airports are Budapest, Bucharest and Belgrade. However if you are referring to the Ex-Yugoslav region then I suppose it's Belgrade, Ljubljana and Zagreb.
    The only reason why I think that Ljubljana should be placed ahead of Zagreb is because the airport itself is simply better managed.

  31. Cargo airport? Really? Is this a joke or somthing?

  32. I am reading some comments and and when I see some nicknames here it is just unreal. Big elephant will NEVER leave the Balkans, NEVER! Whatever is said here by Admin people start arguing, abusing taking the piss, etc about each each other. Makes me so sad! I think Admin should simply delete these comments(in about this post there is plenty of them) and some people who do such things on a regular basis to not let them talk crap!

    I genuinely hope Macedonia will get a national carrier and one of the LCC will start flying to/from SKP & OHD.


  33. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  34. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  35. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  36. To Anonymous who uses the absurd name of FYROM when referring to Macedonia... You well know that there is no country called that...

    Stop your insults and I would appreciate if the moderators make it strictly clear that politics and offensive names this person has used should not be allowed as this is what that nation below Macedonia uses to which is extremely offensive for Macedonians.

  37. @EX-YU

    agree with the last anonymous
    enough is enough

  38. I do not understand why is there such a fuss over this. Macedonia can get up to 2-3 million pax in both Ohrid and Skopje. However, filling up a 6 million pax terminal may never happen. And this does not make Skopje a regional leader.
    To answer someone's question, both ZAG and BEG are starting US flights, and BEG is even starting Canada flights as well. There are also rumors that a Chinese company is looking into starting Shanghai or Beijing operations in the future (not in the next 5 years of course). Vienna may be the most-developed, bust most Balkan pax go through London and Germany to get to North America, not Vienna.
    And why are Macedonians getting mad at this? They have a decreasing population, little money, government is shit, little purchasing power, can't budge in European institutions, and they do not have a key resource. The fact that such an investment is taking place should be enough...now they want more???

  39. I think any comments with nationalist overtones or using nationalist names should be deleted. Nezavisna anything is not aviation related unless you are talking about an airline purchasing back stocks. Arguing whether any part of the region is a country, province, or canton is not aviation related. FYROM does not need to be used just as Republika Hrvatska does not need to be used. We all know what Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, etc. are without bringing in political names, full names, or the baggage associated with that.

    The major problem with the ex-yu aviation industry is choosing politics over business sense, passenger interest, and employee interest.

  40. Firstly, TAV is a private holding company and as a such they are allowed to invest in the 60 mil terminal if they like it.
    And secondly, BEG and ZAG are not competing between themselves for their share of air passengers flying from former SFRJ republics any more than MUC, VIA, BUD or MXP.
    For example, I've clocked quite a few flights from SJJ to Europe since 1996 and used ZAG as a stopover only once, BEG never. It was always VIE/MUC, or MXP while flights existed.


  41. Whats the problem with you people ? TAV is investing and that is their job. If they want they can invest 1 billion dollars right ? Personally I think Skopje had more chance to be hub but for the flights from Asia or Australia.
    One other thing for the guy who said Macedonians go to live in Bulgaria ? From where did you get that info ? nonsense