Low cost airline apply for subsidised flightThe Macedonian government has announced an open call for all low cost airlines willing to launch flights from Skopje to six new destinations in Europe. The services will be subsidised over the next three years by the Macedonian government. The tender outlines that the six new routes must include at least one city in Spain, Italy, Scandinavia, the Benelux region as well as central Europe. The new routes are expected to be launched by the end of the year. “The introduction of new flights is important for both tourism and business but also to those living abroad which have to change several aircraft, increasing expenses”, Nikola Gruevski, the Macedonian Prime Minister, said yesterday.
Wizz Air is being tipped as a favourite to apply for the subsidies. The airline already operates flights from Treviso and London to the Macedonian capital. However, low cost airlines from Turkey are likely contenders as well. The move to subsidise flights from Macedonia came after the Turkish operator of Skopje Airport, TAV, was unable to find an airline willing to base an aircraft in the Macedonian capital. EX-YU aviation news can now reveal that in 2011 talks were held with both Jat Airways and Turkish Airlines to base an aircraft in Skopje. Flights to Rome, Zurich and Amsterdam were in play for both airlines. However, in the end, both declined.
Despite not having a home carrier, both Skopje and Ohrid airports have seen a boom in traffic this year. In the first four months of 2012, the two welcomed a total of 239.364 passengers, an increase of 20% compared to the same period last year. In April alone the two airports handled 68.343 passengers, up 19% on April 2011. Earlier last month it was revealed that the low cost Middle Eastern airline Fly Dubai is considering launching flights to Skopje by the end of the year