Sunday, August 26, 2012

Skopje anticipates US flights

US and Macedonia in Open Skies deal
The United States and Macedonia ratified an Open Skies air services agreement that will formalise the liberalisation of their bilateral aviation relationship. US Deputy Assistant Secretary, Philip Reeker, and the Macedonian Minister for Transport, Mile Janakieski, signed the pact in Skopje on Thursday. The Agreement will enter into force in thirty days. The Open Skies agreements permits unrestricted air service by the airlines of both countries between and beyond the other's territory, eliminating restrictions on how often the carriers fly, the kind of aircraft they use and the prices they charge.

In a press release the US State Department said, "This agreement will strengthen and expand our strong trade and tourism links with Macedonia, benefiting US and Macedonian businesses and travellers by expanding opportunities for air services and encouraging vigorous price competition by airlines, while preserving our commitments to aviation safety and security”. With bureaucracy out of the way, Skopje Airport hopes to attract an airline to operate direct flights between the two countries. Janakieski says he will lobby airlines and point out the advantages of direct flights.

However, services between Macedonia and the United States are highly unlikely at this point in time. Experts note that the market is not big enough to maintain year long scheduled flights between the two countries. Services between cities in the United States and Skopje would be highly seasonal, catering almost exclusively for the Macedonian diaspora living in the states. Priština was the last city to have direct flights with to the United States in the former Yugoslavia, back in 2006.

14 comments:

  1. At this moment, when US carriers are cancelling flights to Athens and Budapest due to non-profitability, sugggesting that SKP could maintain a direct link with the US is beyond ridiculous.

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  2. OT: Exciting observation... Russians just landed at ZAG using their Boeing 767-300ER on a daily fight from Moscow. I was just there spotting planes and stayed in shock as I haven't checked flightradar24 beforehand. To my knowledge this has never happend before.
    This summer they increased the use of their A321s (as opposed to the A320s that they used the most on this route) noticeably - something like 4 or 5x a week you could see A321s this August.

    But 767-300... I hope this wasn't an exception... :)

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    1. Congratulations to Zagreb and Aeroflot. Aeroflot offers good connections to Asia at affordable prices so that can be one of reasons why they have good LF.

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  3. I like that Macedonia has this in mind. But if Belgrade cannot start such flights then the chances of any other Ex-Yu country doing it are virtually impossible

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  4. I don't see any Ex-Yu country getting such flights but the best bet would have to be Belgrade. Especially when they overtake Sofia, that would signal a largely expanding market that does have need for flights to the US. With a fair amount of diaspora and American businesses increasing their FDI in Serbia, such flights could go all year round. It would not be so frequent, but the flights could survive

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    1. transporters will be invented first.

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  5. I agree with both of the previous posts. But don't count out Croatia. Even though they are peaking in terms of their tourist industry, they have a chance to maintain flights for a while before their tourist potential decreases. Belgrade needs to continue being the Ex-Yu hub and try to compete with Budapest and Athens if it wants to maintain such flights. Serbia's only chance is to make Belgrade a regional NYC and still keep diaspora interested in visiting. But really though Belgrade has the best chance to start North American flights. Don't forget Canada!!!

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    1. I'd like to argue against your point. I firmly believe that airline traffic is underdeveloped across the entire ex-yu region. If there hadn't been a war during the 90s, today we'd see around 20-25 mil. pax across all airports in the region with top airports Beg, Zag, Dubrovnik, Ljubljana standing at 5 mil, 3.5 mil, and 2 mil. respectively with others also handing much more thatn they are handling today.

      For instance Croatia still hasn't reached its 1987 record of number of overnights (68 mil. in 1987 vs. 60 mil. in 2011), although it did reach the number of tourists (11,4 in 2011 vs. 10,5 in 1987).
      Belgrade and Dubrovnik airports will also break their 1987 records in 2012. 2012 people... that's a loss of full 25 yrs.
      25 yrs. ago Heathrow had around 40 mil. pax while today it has 69 mil. And this is the busiest airport in Europe. Others grew even faster...during these 25 yrs.

      In terms of hotels...
      Croatia still has bunch of hotel buildings that are ruined and out of function. And there's also lots of room to build new ones too...

      And I am sure other places in this region experienced a similar kind of aftermath.

      Given all that, I don't think anyone here in ex yu is near their real peak, including Croatia.

      This whole region should have been kicking butt and being failry close to Austria in terms of tourist numbers.
      That's at least how it was before the war. Both countries handled around 13-14 mil. tourists in total. Today, we are around the same level, while Austria has over 20 mil. tourists.

      Today, we are all lagging behind and that simply has to change. No one is near their peak here. Just to re-inerate that... :)

      Cheers from Zagreb

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  6. Stupidity beyond borders.

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  7. Screw Skp , when Zagreb when Zagreb lol

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  8. Lets hope that Turkish Airlines will start flying Istambul-Skopje-Newark and vice versa with its A330-200/300.

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  9. hahahaha thats is funny.
    real chance for flights to USA from Balkans have Belgrade or Sofia

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