|TAV anticipates new airport and further investment in Macedonia|
The operator of Skopje Alexander the Great Airport, Turkey’s TAV, is considering upgrading its facilities at Macedonia’s busiest airport four years after opening a brand new multi million euro terminal. The pace of the upgrades will depend on whether the concessionaire will build a cargo terminal in Štip, in Macedonia’s north-east as outlined in an agreement signed with the Macedonian government several years ago. Under the agreement, the cargo airport should be completed by 2020. TAV Holding CEO, Sani Sener, says the company is ready to start construction immediately after they receive the inspection results on air currents and wind directions.
The construction of the cargo airport has been delayed for several years because experts have not completed the meteorology study on wind currents in the Štip and Sveti Nikole region. This study should show what would be the ideal and safest location to build a runway and whether the region is suitable for such an airport. "We hope that Macedonian authorities will soon complete the inspections. If it proves that the selected location is suitable for building a cargo airport, we will build it there. If the results show otherwise, we will invest in something different, like upgrading Skopje Airport’s terminal, because we are certain that this airport needs to be further expanded", Mr. Sener said.
The TAV Holding President said the Turkish company has so far invested 120 million euros in both Skopje and Ohrid airports. Under the concession agreement, the construction of Štip Airport would cost an additional 60 million euros. "The annual income of both Macedonian airports amounts to around 18 million euros. Compared to the other airports in the world we operate, it is a very small amount. However, both airports are very important to us because Macedonia is a growing market with great potential. I really believe in Macedonia’s future and that is why we have decided to invest here. Last year, there was an 18% increase in passenger numbers. We achieved that thanks to strong government support, which is investing a great deal in this sector", Mr. Sener said. He added that TAV wants to extend its concession agreement with the Macedonian government once it expires.
The number of passengers using Skopje and Ohrid airports so far this has been growing significantly. Data shows passenger numbers grew 42% in April. Last year, the two airports in Macedonia served a combined total of over one million passengers, which is expected to further rise this year.