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.