Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Macedonia offers fresh airline subsidies

Macedonia hopes to attract more low cost airlines with incentive scheme

The Macedonian government will this year offer new subsidies for low cost airlines in order for them to launch flights to the country or increase frequencies on existing services. The news comes two years after the government first launched its subsidy program. Back then it offered 1.4 million euros for low fare carriers to set up services to and from Skopje, a move which proved successful as Wizz Air opened a base in the Macedonian capital shortly after and is now the country’s busiest airline. This time around the government will be upping the stakes, offering 4.9 million euros in subsidies. Airlines will be offered a one-off 40.000 euro cash injection for each new route launched for the first six destinations. Each subsequent route launch will receive a 30.000 euro subsidy from the government.

Airlines signing up to the new subsidy scheme will also be rewarded for the number of passenger they carry. The government will subsidies carriers for each passenger flown with nine euros in the first year of operations, eight euros in the second year and seven in the third. As the new incentive scheme is initiated, unconfirmed reports state a low cost airline is planning to launch three new routes to the Macedonian capital with easyJet being tipped as a possible contender. The head of the Macedonian Civil Aviation Agency, Dejan Mojsoski, says, “Interest from airlines to operate flights to Macedonia is growing, which indicates we are on the right path to creating a fast, efficient, safe and reliable air transport network, accessible to the general public”.

Only last week Pristina Airport revealed its own incentive scheme for airlines, which is to come into effect this Sunday. Macedonia’s two international airports are anticipating a busy 2014 summer season with more flights and destinations than last year. A total of fourteen airlines will operate scheduled flights to Skopje Alexander the Great Airport while four airlines, mostly from Turkey, will run summer charters. Belgium’s Jetairfly will resume its seasonal flights from Brussels to Ohrid from May 11, while the Macedonian lakeside town will also see Arkefly operate charters from Amsterdam starting May 12 and Corendon Airlines with flights from Antalya launching on June 17.

27 comments:

  1. This doesnt make much sense, why do this NOW and why such high subsidies?? ... 5 million a year? Skopje was growing at a fantastic rate as it was, this seems out of the blue, very peculiar...

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    1. Just like last time they were fixing the subsidies for Wizz Air, this time they are probably doing it for someone new that will come. Easy jet probably.

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    2. Well at least with wizz air they got a massive bang for the buck (considering where SKP was 5 years ago and today). I just don't see anything near that return happening in this case. Very weird....

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  2. OT Turkish A330F will be a regular guest in Belgrade: IST-BEG-MAD-BEG-IST.

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  3. They either have poor economists or they're extremely corrupted.

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    1. Why? Being connected with the rest of the world by air is very important. The country invests in in road and rail network, why should they not invest in the air network? In my opinion, the Macedonians are being smart, and unlike all the shady corruption of the other Ex-Yu airlines, they are avoiding all of it.

      Five million euros really isn't that much, considering the hundreds of millions of euros that were sunk into B&H airlines, Croatia airlines, JAT, Montenegro airlines, and Adria. Nearly every year, all these airlines post a huge loss, much more than the one time investment that Macedonia will make. Montenegro Airlines is 70 million Euros in debt. Five million euros is nothing compared to that. The Macedonians are smart, unlike the rest!

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    2. Alexandar is quite right on this.
      Today, SKP has never been better connected with the rest of the Europe, primarily thanks to wizz and the new terminal.
      From the consumer point of view, I am quite happy to fly SKP-LTN (London Luton) for less than 100 Euros return - who wouldn't like that.
      5 Years ago the only way to get to SKP was transiting VIE, BEG, LJU or ZAG, or if you want to travel cheap, you would go to SKG or SOF. This is now history and pax. numbers are increasing for more than 40+% in this period.
      It was around the 6-700K mark and this year SKP will reach over a mill. Wo does not want this.
      Is the price high (5 mill in subsidies)? as Aleksandar points this is a small cost for such a jump.

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    3. @coachera

      Except "the jump" has already happened with the wizz air subsidies (~ €1.5m/year), they have been extremely effective in terms of transforming SKP and theres no sign of slowing down , so you have to ask what specifically you'd be getting for 3 times that amount?

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    4. As today most of Zagreb passengers fly from BUD, BTS, VIE, GRZ, SXB, LNZ, LJU, TRS, VCE, TSF, MPX, BLQ, BEG, ZAD, PUY, SPU, for sure it would be good idea to spend just 5 million EUR and to motivate those passengers to fly from ZAG. It is much cheaper, and money stays in Zagreb even after subvention.

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    5. Hope OU goes bust, and I'm a Croat, I think we had enough of their sh..

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    6. @AnonymousMarch 26, 2014 at 8:30 PM

      If you're a Croat, I am a Pope Francis!

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  4. This is totally againist the concession agreement between TAV and Macedona state. State is unfairly donating the airlines to reduce the concession fee and losing money. This is also againist EU regulations. The opposition in Macedonia shall apply to court for unfairly donation of airport operator. .

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    1. LOL

      TAV could be only happy about this

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    2. The bidders which participated in Skopje project shall apply to court. this is totally unfairness to them.

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    3. There does seem to be something fishy about this, though i guess the government could always say we would've been stimulating the sector regardless of the concessionaire...

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    4. Against the EU regulations? Since when is EU interested in Macedonia? At the doorstep of EU for years? Give them a break on that one. At least they have the luxury of making decisions that are not OK with Brussels. The subsidy for flights if you don't have a national air carrier are a great idea. Very cheap way to improve traffic and it pays great dividend. This is maybe the model most ex-yu governments and airports should have gone. The price of having a national flag carrier is too steep now days. Let's see how the experiment goes in the next few years. If it works, get rid of the domestic airlines and start subsidizing whoever wants to fly to the ex-yu region.

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  5. Many things don't make sense in Macedonia, starting from Skopje 2014 onwards. Aren't there elections coming up there?

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  6. OT: BA and AF are back to BEG this summer!

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    1. Source?
      Glade if it is like that.

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    2. lol... yeah right, it's more like wishful thinking.

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    3. His source is skyscrapercity forum I guess.

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  7. Elections are coming in a month in Macedonia so the government spends money heavily this period as always. That is the main reason.
    However I don't mind it. Better to bring more flights that spending that money on monuments or getting 'lost' in some corrupt projects :)

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  8. OT:

    So exactly when is JU going to return to IST? Never?

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    1. I'd say so..
      And on the other hand Turkish will operate up to 5 daily flights out of BEG - on Saturdays: 1 cargo flight, 1 charter to AYT and 3 scheduled to IST. Hilarious.

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  9. If this is true thats great news for SKP airport, but I would like to see OHD getting some traffic as well. I would like to see more Ryanair but more reasonable is EasyJet to start operating. I'm not sure though how the legacy carriers are responding to these decisions...

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  10. Elections coming, but Macedonians are stuck. There is no single media outlet that will dare criticise the government. Everything is 'subsidised' over there unfortunately.

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  11. Everything seems to be focused on SKP SKP SKP. All these extra flight to OHD. which extra flights Jat (Air Serbia) has pulled out even though all there flights were full. Adria thought to fly but pulled out aswell. Remember Low cost airlines are running all the full service carriers into the ground. I wonder how are they coping with regular service and maintenance. Considering most passengers are interline passengers returning home and all of them except people around SKP prefer OHD as a landing option.

    But no offering subsidies instead of looking at opening there own national airline which would only need to fly to two major capitals i.e.ZRH and FRA is to much to ask.

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