|TAV calls for new "Macedonian Airlines"|
TAV Airports Holding, which runs both of Macedonia’s international airports, has said the country is in need of a national carrier which will help develop its aviation industry. Speaking at a recent meeting in Istanbul, the co-founder and CEO of Turkey’s TAV Airports Holding, Sani Sener, said Macedonia is in need of a national airline, hotels and investment in tourism, which would complement the country’s geographical importance. “What is lacking is a national airline. ”Macedonian Airlines" must be established. We have invested in airports and Macedonia should invest in its own airline", Mr. Sener said. He added, "Every country should have an airline. I'm sure it will happen soon and, with it, the number of passengers will rise significantly”.
Over the past twenty years, Macedonia had two national carriers, both of which subsequently declared bankruptcy. Palair Macedonian Airlines was founded in 1991 and became the country’s national carrier but was hit by local competition with the creation of MAT Macedonian Airlines in 1994. As a result, it ceased flying in 1996. MAT was formed in cooperation between JAT Yugoslav Airlines and local businessmen. In 2000, the Macedonian government declared MAT the country’s national carrier owned by two private stakeholders. However, mounting debts as well as political wrangling saw MAT cease operation in September 2009. MAT’s demise was followed by an attempt to relaunch the carrier as Mat Airways several years later, however, it too failed.
|Palair - Macedonia's first national airlines|
Wizz Air is currently Macedonia’s busiest airline with two aircraft based in Skopje. However, Mr. Sener believes Macedonia has great potential and a national carrier would help further develop the country’s two airports. “We operate two airports in Macedonia which are very important to us because Macedonia and Turkey have deep historical ties and Macedonia is located in the middle of Europe. It is the door to the Balkans. I can surely say that Macedonia will soon join the European Union, even before Turkey. Macedonia's membership in the EU is very important, not only from a social point of view but also from an economic point of view, which means that we believe in the future of Macedonia”. The CEO says TAV’s aim is to significantly boost passenger numbers by the end of the year, adding that Skopje Airport is estimated to handle some 1.2 million passengers by the end 2014.