Soon in Skopje?
A high ranking delegation from Qatar will visit Macedonia in March, during which the country’s national carrier is set to announce flights between Doha and Skopje. Macedonian press reports that Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker, will be part of the delegation which will be sizing up potential investments in the country. The airline is believed to be planning to launch flights to Skopje at the end of the year. Qatar Airways is hoping to attract transit passengers from the Macedonian capital which would connect onto its flights to Australia, the Far East and South Africa.
Qatar Airways’ potential arrival into Skopje could shake up Flydubai’s operations to the city. Last October the low cost carrier launched two weekly flights between Dubai and Skopje. The service will increase to three times per week during the 2013 summer season. However, the majority of Flydubai’s passengers on the service connect onto Emirates’ flights to Australia. Qatar could also pose as added competition to Turkish Airlines which also depends on large amounts of transit passengers on its flights from the Macedonian capital. The airline will operate two daily flights between Istanbul and Skopje this summer.
Qatar Airways launched flights to Zagreb via Budapest earlier in 2012 and inaugurated services to Belgrade via Ankara in November last year. The airline does not hold fifth freedom rights on the Ankara - Belgrade - Ankara sector. On the other hand, it has been granted rights to sell tickets between Zagreb and Budapest. Whether Skopje will become the carrier’s third destination in the former Yugoslavia will be answered in March.