Alitalia returning to Skopje after six years
The Italian national carrier Alitalia will launch services from Rome to Skopje starting May 1. The new service will operate on a daily basis and marks Alitalia’s return to the Macedonian capital for the first time since it suspended daily flights from Milan on January 8, 2008 citing low profitability. The flights will be operated by Alitalia’s subsidiary Alitalia CityLiner on the 88 seat Embraer E175 jet. Further details on the new service can be found here. Tickets are already on sale through the airline’s website. The news comes after the indebted Italian national carrier, which is negotiating a cash injection from Etihad Airways in return for shares, said late last year it was considering launching services from Rome to Skopje, Pristina, Zagreb and Sarajevo, to be implemented between 2013 and 2016.
Alitalia will face direct competition on its Rome route from Italian airline Livingston which launched flights to Skopje last December, stepping in to replace replace the bankrupt Belle Air Europe. Alitalia has a limited presence in the region. It operates flights to Belgrade and last year launched a new service from Rome to Podgorica which has proved sucsesfull. Besides Skopje, the airline once flew to Sarajevo and Zagreb and operated seasonal summer flights to Dubrovnik and Split as well. It is tipped the airline’s next destination in the former Yugoslavia will be Zagreb to which it once operated up to two daily flights prior to its financial problems in late 2008.
The arrival of Alitalia to Skopje is expected to further boost passenger numbers at Macedonia’s busiest airport. During the summer Wizz Air will base a second Airbus A320 in Skopje and launch flights to Charleroi, Beauvais, Cologne and Hahn. In addition, starting this summer, Wizz Air will boost frequencies on its flights to Basel Mulhouse, Dortmund, Eindhoven, Gothenburg, Malmo and Memmingen thanks to the new jet.