Saturday, December 21, 2013

Skopje Airport’s record year under threat

Cancellations at Skopje Airport continue for a fourth day

Poor visibility caused by a combination of heavy fog and air pollution has forced authorities to close Skopje Alexander the Great Airport over the past few days, including today. The airport saw limited operations on Wednesday and Thursday while all flights were either cancelled or diverted to other cities yesterday. The ongoing weather situation has put at risk Skopje Airport achieving its best passenger result since 2000 and surpassing one million passengers in a single year. It comes in the lead up to the massive influx of ex-pats from Western Europe ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays. Skopje continues to experience problems today with most morning arrivals cancelled. Adria, Austrian and Helvetic have diverted their flights to Ohrid, while Pegasus and Turkish Airlines has cancelled their services.

On the other hand, Ohrid Airport will benefit on Skopje’s account. Yesterday, Turkish Airlines, Air Serbia, Adria Airways, Croatia Airlines and Helvetic Airways diverted their flights to Ohrid. In addition, Germania, which was to inaugurate flights from Berlin, was also forced to divert to Ohrid. Wizz Air rerouted its flights to its base in Sofia. Croatia Airlines’ second daily flight was diverted to Pristina while Pegasus, Austrian and Valahia Air cancelled their flights all together.

 Skopje from above, as seen yesterday

For more than a week, Skopje and three other Macedonian cities have been stifled by air pollution caused mainly by traffic and wood and oil burning heating systems in freezing temperatures. The government imposed emergency measures on Tuesday to protect the population, instructing private companies and state institutions in the four cities to let pregnant woman and employees over the age of sixty stay at home. Fog has been affecting other airports in the former Yugoslavia over the past few days as well, particularly Sarajevo and Tuzla. Wizz Air has diverted its Tuzla flights to Belgrade with passengers bussed between the two cities. In addition, Wizz diverted one of its flights to Banja Luka. Pristina Airport was also affected by fog on Thursday night with several flights cancelled. The airports in Skopje and Sarajevo operate with category one ILS equipment, disabling aircraft to either depart or land when visibility is less than 800 meters. Poor visibility rarely affects Skopje Airport while Sarajevo experiences major problems with mother nature each winter.

43 comments:

  1. wow the pic from the sky looks amazing

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    1. Interesting video.

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    2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WE-GmsRh32o&feature=youtu.be

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  2. It looks really bad in SKP this morning as well :/

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  3. Germanwings starts with Hamburg-Zagreb flights from July (1--4---).

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    1. Seasonal or yearround?

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    2. This is a minor thing, Talks are going with quite a few airlines and news will be coming of new lines and new airliners coming to Zagreb.


      The talks have been going on brining new airliners to Zagreb since August, but were came to an abrupt halt in mid October due to uncertainties.

      There should be ,loads of announcements coming from major new airlines and routes in first quarter of 2014 with 5 new airlines confirmed to start scheduled flights to Zagreb in 2014 (around 20 additional flights per week out of Zagreb) and by mid Marsh to early April we should know of few more airliners current management is holding talks with.


      2014 is shaping as good year for Zagreb airport and 8-9% growth should be expected.

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    3. {banghead}

      http://calloutsnola.com/images/smilies/BulletBangHeadR.gif

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    4. This guy should be banned from this blog on the grounds of madness.

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  4. JP again goes to OHD today. I tink fog in SKP.

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    1. Air Serbia is planning a flight as they have received a gate (A5) for Skopje. Now it remains to be seen if the flight will go to Ohrid or not.

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    2. It says so in the article

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  5. B&H Airlines introduces a new reward system, fly five times in a year with the airline and you get the sixth flight for free.

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  6. Now the weather in skopje it's not so bad.... We gonna see what will happen for few hours.... You will be informed soon!

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    1. I guess that Skopje is just not what many would like it to be...

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  7. After 3 days firs landing on SKP today at 12:46 from DUSSELDORF with VALAHIA AIR......

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  8. A Wizz aircraft from SOF just landed as well. It will operate the SKP-MLH flight.

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  9. What I find really stupid is the fact that W6 although having a base in Macedonia is operating flights from SOF instead of OHD now. Many facts speak against SOF: it's 300km away and not a single km is a highway, there's border.. This makes passengers to prefer flying other carriers cause they operate out of Ohrid (many pax. are actually from Western Macedonia and for them OHD is even better).
    I remember when we had MAT... Even when other carriers were canceling due to fog they were landing. So good pilots actually..

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    1. Quite simple: no crew in OHD.
      Operating a base with crew in SKP (instead of simply flying in and out like other carriers) is a different game. How on earth should the crew get to OHD on those sht roads within the allowabel duty time limits?

      MAT: good pilots are the ones taking you to the ground alive (worst case to an alternate airport) and not the ones pushing the limits and occasionally die.

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  10. Don't speculate when You don't have a sense what to write. The road to OHD is 100 times better than the road to SOF and from 170km 100 are a highway which is very good.
    About the crews: I understand it but the question is why couldn't they base few FA's in Ohrid these days to operate the flights.

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  11. And how about the other 70 kms??? It is still 2hrs whatever you say. And basing the crew n OHD is very useful when you can suddenly land in SKP like this morning and your crew is in OHD.
    No, Wizz does not pay enough crew to cover two bases in SKP the same time. That is one of the reasons it does not make losses like YM (or MAT).

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  12. Does anyone know how many passengers Jat Airways handled last December?

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    1. OT
      Anybody knows why Air Serbia flight from Athens is rerouted to BUD while othwer flights (even ATR from OTP) landed in Belgrade?

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    2. December 2012 : JAT handled 86.500 PAX

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    3. Thank you. So if they keep up this growth they should handle almost 110.000 this December. Not bad.

      Outside there is horrible fog. No wonder some flights were delayed.

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  13. Crew was only CAT I approved

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    1. sorry reason of diverting to BUD

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    2. This crew was from Etihad, so i don't think it was the reason....

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    3. Hmm maybe the one we have here in Belgrade are only CAT I certified. Then again it would be stupid since they were stationed in Belgrade which generally has problems with fog in winter time.

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    4. Where are Serbian pilots, lost in space??? Or still in Berlin.....so mysterious, YU-APA ( ex XA-VOT )is sitting in MUC and waiting Godo

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    5. Does anyone read the articles here? A few weeks ago in an article it said 60 crew members are coming on 27 December.

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    6. Why so late? Air Serbia was agreed in June... they should start to send them to Berlin than. In August it was huge promotion. Why they did not send them than. In October first flight. Even if they start them than they should fly today... something is very wrong here.

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    7. Yes, very wrong. In fact, the airline is about to be shut down any moment but there is a great state conspiracy to hide it from public. They also bribed the media with million dollars so far to cover up this unprecedented decision not to send out their pilots to training in the middle of the summer rush.

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    8. lx ...will they still get the cheap agricultural land though? ;)

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  14. Danas ceo dan kašnjenja i po ceo čas. Ali naveče haos. ATH via BUD otkazan, VIE via INI otkazan. Zašto DUS leti via Cologne već nekoliko dana i kasni nekoliko časova? PRG kasni preko dva časa.

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    1. For crying out loud there is heavy fog in BEG so one flight was diverted to INI and the other to BUD. Why don’t you ask Air Serbia to send you daily punctuality reports and stop spamming EVERY single thread here? I came to read comments about Skopje Airport not your CONSTANT rant about delays EVERY SINGLE DAY. No one cares except you and no one wants read what you found out on your daily monitoring BEG airport website. Maybe admin should start deleting these daily on time reports or open a special section for this member so he can report on flight times for all our airline. Or better yet open a website ex-Yu on-time performance news.

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    2. I find them quite interesting, there is so much off-toppings ( :) ) in the comments, that certain level of certainty is something nice. If they bother you, don't read them, simple as that. Moreover, the sentence "Fog has been affecting other airports in the former Yugoslavia over the past few days as well" makes it quite on-topic.

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  15. I just wonder is there a possibility to improve equipment so that days like these wont happen again for SKP. You say: "The airports in Skopje and Sarajevo operate with category one ILS equipment, disabling aircraft to either depart or land when visibility is less than 800 meters."

    Does anyone know if an upgrade is possible and why arent they upgrading, unless its very expensive and thus not really affordable for 1mio paxes airport? Does BEG have better equiptment?

    Thanks!!

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    1. Belgrade has better equipment but not all airlines have the pilots equipped for that kind of weather. Looking at the arrivals last night, it seems that Lufthansa and Aeroflot were the only ones. I am not sure about Air Serbia though.

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  16. In fact equipment on SKP cannot be upgrade.

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    1. Could anyone explain why?

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