Monday, July 4, 2011

The end of Mat?

Another Mat ceases operations
EX-YU aviation news can reveal that Mat Airways, Macedonia’s largest airline, has suspended all services until further notice. Although it started operations only a year ago it seems the airline could have the same fate as its predecessor MAT Macedonian Airlines. Mat Airways is owned by Serbia’s largest tour operator – Kon Tiki Travel. However, the Belgrade based company has been experiencing financial difficulty of its own and wants to concentrate on its core business in Serbia rather than finance an airline in Macedonia.

Mat Airways’ Boeing 737-500 operated its last service on June 20 and has been grounded ever since. Macedonia’s other charter airline, Skywings International, which tied up with Mat due to both financial problems and problems with the Macedonian Civil Aviation Agency has managed to restart its own flights, offering services from Sarajevo to Dusseldorf with its Boeing 737-300. Mat managed to restart operations to most destinations once served by MAT Macedonian Airlines. Only 2 days after it ceased flights on June 20 it was to commence flights from Ohrid to Tel Aviv in Israel. The airline has not officially commented on the suspension of flights. Only several days ago Mat’s CEO said that the airline would commence scheduled flights from Skopje in September.

Macedonia hasn’t had much success with its own airlines. The country’s first national carrier ceased operations in 1996 after 5 years in service due to fledgling passenger numbers and finances. A new airline, MAT Macedonian Airlines, was set up in 1994 and became the country’s flag carrier in 2000. It suffered financial problems and due to building debt was banned from landing at several key airports. In 2009 the Civil Aviation Agency grounded the airline’s single aircraft due to safety concerns although politics and corruption is said to have been involved in the airline’s grounding.

Nevertheless, it’s the end of another Mat for now. The difference this time being that those travelling from Skopje and Ohrid have a much wider array of airlines to choose from.

28 comments:

  1. "fate" and not "faith"

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  2. That's what you get when you don't follow the initial idea... They could have made it if they were to do what they planned at the start But no, they chose to make a national airline instead, with one aircraft... Nice work MAT!

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  3. MAT operates like the entire Republic of Macedonia. bottom of bottom

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  4. Owned by Kon Tiki Serbia, says it all.

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  5. Not suprised at all, even their website was terrible as far as making a booking goes.

    Only fly an capable established airline to Macedonia like CSA, Austrian and Turkish.

    Is the Skywings International 737-300 still based in Skopje?

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  6. It is no surprise to me. Kon Tiki didn't thought twice about starting this airline. With the horrible web page, the awful logo and only 1 airplane?

    I hope carriers like WizzAir and Germanwings will be starting bases at Skopje Airport. Macedonia has no need for a national carrier.

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  7. that was so clear that this will happen... i knew it before they start flying one year ago...
    Macedonia just needs an airline which is set up by Lufthansa or Turkish Airlines and fly to destinations where the most Macedonians live and which are attractive for the Macedonians and where are the most potential tourits who want to travel to macedonia
    Routes just like Zurich, Amtserdam, Dussledorf, Solun, Antalya/Istanbul, Milano, London, Munich, Berlin, Warsaw, Brussel, Moscow...

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  8. @Phalanx

    but skoplje already has flights to most of those cities with already well established carriers. there is not enough potential and competition for macedonia to have national carrier.

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  9. @anonymous

    wrong there are only regular flights to istanbul, zurich and dusseldorf and maybe amsterdam... but not to milano berlin moscow munich warsaw solun....

    They also add kiev

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  10. milano berlin moscow munich warsaw solun


    i dont think interest is high enough for those flights, and also london - skoplje started... u said there are no routes there.... it is enough the flights that they have now to many cities, it is not like people are looking for much more

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  11. Well another sad story meets and end....

    Sky Wings International Macedonian??? Operating flights from Sarajevo. Talk about thinking outside of the square.

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  12. Jat could fly from Skopje to several destinations.....

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  13. @AirkoryoTU-204

    Those flights are only to be found @
    http://www.skywings.info/?lang=en.

    Nor dusseldorf airport, nor sarajevo airport mentions anything about these flights.

    Furthermore, most of the booking-websites haven't included the flights in their system either..

    Pozz,
    Bo

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  14. @anonymous

    i know that there are flights between skopje london ;) but they should start flights with smaller aircrafts to milano because in the region of milano life very much macedonians and they should start flights to moscow because there are many macedonians who travel to russia and there are also some potential tourists who could visit macedonia exactly cities like warsaw, kiev... And the reason why they should add solun is because there are many many many macedonians who travel to greece to spend their holidays there or for shopping...

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  15. CatPigeonsAnyone?July 4, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    Yeah, but what about BEG? Any BEG non-news, anyone? Aleks Nikolic?

    Haha... just putting the cat among the pigeons.

    re: MAT groundways

    This is a good piece of news. The earlier the Balkans is cleansed of these rubbish organisations and crooks that run Skywings/AirLift (it is just me or the latter brand reminds me of airlifting people stuck in war zones?) the better. The Macedonian Civil Aviation Authority should ban people behind these 'airlines' from getting involved in Macedonian aviation industry for the next 25 years or so. In doing so, if -- and this is a big if -- there is enough demand in Macedonia for a 'home' airline than someone more serious and professional (perhaps someone like Wizz Air) might set up a sustainable business. Otherwise, rebranding failures one after another will only lead to more 'ugliest livery in the world' awards.

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  16. @CatPigeons anyone?

    ok you make no sense. that makes no sense, beg - non news.. thats what MAT airways is about... and what do i have to do with this article? are you picking on me like a little girl does in grade school? fuck off :) not every article is about beg dumbass

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  17. OT:


    Germanwings to launch three weekly flights from Munich to Pristina International airport.

    4U5702 MUC1540 – 1735PRN 319 6
    4U5702 MUC1800 – 1955PRN 319 37

    4U5703 PRN1255 – 1500MUC 319 6
    4U5703 PRN1515 – 1720MUC 319 37

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  18. I really do think that connection to Zurich, Berlin and so, could be an option, but flights to Warsaw and Kiev, come on... The only airport that has direct flights to WAW is BEG, and actually 80% of the plane are passengers connecting to LOT flights to USA (flew that flight and I know), not even ZAG has them, and I believe that they are more needed then SKP-WAW route. Regarding SKP-KBP, do not see the potential, Adria has one flight per week LJU-KBP, and Aerosvit flew 4 times a week (actually Dniproavia), but suspended the route due to low interest (technical issues).
    SKP should concentrate on routes that cater the diaspora, like someone said Milan, Berlin, perhaps Moscow....

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  19. ''...and Aerosvit flew 4 times a week (actually Dniproavia), but suspended the route due to low interest (technical issues).''

    Actually their average loadfactor was 60% which is not that bad taking into consideration they withdrew from the market just before the visa removal between the two countries.

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  20. Macedonia is just too small for a national carrier. The airport ( TAV ) has to do everything to attract charter airlines since they are the key to succes for Skopje and Ohrid Airport. They have to attract airlines like WizzAir, EasyJet, RyanAir, Germanwings, Transavia etc.

    I hope the new terminal building will be attractive to airlines to commence flights to Skopje ( and perhaps Ohrid ).

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  21. why are you ass holes picking on aleks nikolic.... go blow some shit, see someone just made OFF TOPIC about Pristina, WHO DO YOU SEE GOING NUTS!??

    people gotta stop being jealous that BEG is bigger and has more going on. jebo vas onaj..

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  22. lol not to mention that I am Serbian which makes their claims even more pathetic :)

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  23. good news for Macedonia, we dont need MAT, skywings and any other not simular airline. If someone realy want to start an airline in Macedonia he/she should realy think about profesionalisam, good planes, good and on time service, etc. But in the Macedonian history profesionalisam was at the last place:)) everyone who try to open airiline company never mention anythink like good service and pass. rights, they just wanted with no or small investment and leased planes to make a lot of maney in short time period, starting from Aivoimpex, Palair Macedonia, MAT, SkyWing, and Mat Airways. in the hole history of Macedonian Aviation i didn't find any plane that was in property of any airline, even Mat's 735 acording to all informations that i find is leased from Wells Fargo Bank Northwest. I just whant to say: no money no company:)

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  24. What's the point of having a flag carrier in Macedonia, lets wait for Wizz Air to begin their full services ex-SKP then they can expand their operations out of SKP into a regional hub of some sort. Would be alot more profitable for the carrier and bettter for the people of Macedonia who would be able to fly abroad with decent aircraft are cheap fares. I think it would also be able to fly from SKP to Greece as the aircraft would be registerd not in Maceodnia, but that doesn't meant a Z3- aircraft can't land in Greece because they can it would only be a lot easier to gain rights etc if it was registered say in Hungary etc.

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  25. @Bo

    I think they have plans to launch services ex- Sarajevo because they have a Bosnian language page too.

    http://www.skywings.info/?lang=ba

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  26. I thought Bosnia was a mess, but seems Macedonia is even a bigger one :) All those ex YU countries look like a bunch of tribes always fighting while the rest of the world is laughing at their stupidity and incompetence.

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  27. Macedonia could be loosing on the Macedonian national airline front as it never managed to make it but it might be winning the airport front with a new larger airport and a top tier airport operator. If there are plenty of flights from the airports so much the better. I would hate to have a national airline that is expensive and does not provide destinations. JAT was the airline during EX YU, it was not strictly speaking a Macedonian, just a feeder network through Belgrade.

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  28. PRAGuc: flights to WAW are also from LJU, so a possible connection offered by JP!

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