|Skopje Airport records busiest year in history|
Skopje Alexander the Great Airport has welcomed its millionth passenger for the first time in fourteen years and for only the second time in its history. Macedonia’s busiest airport saw its millionth passenger, Jana Ivanovska, arrive yesterday on a Wizz Air flight from Eindhoven. Ms. Ivanovska was awarded a weekend trip for two to Istanbul, with the passenger visibly surprised upon her arrival. Skopje Airport, which has recorded average growth of 21% so far in 2014, has already handled more passengers than it did for the whole of last year. In addition, the airport is set to see a 14% increase in travellers in October when compared to 2013. The substantial growth has been primarily driven by Wizz Air, which launched four new destinations this year, as well as Alitalia’s arrival to Skopje.
However, the achievement comes at a price. TAV Airports Holding, which runs Skopje Alexander the Great Airport, will pay the Macedonian government significantly less for its twenty year concession since it has handled over a million passengers this year. Under the agreement signed with the Macedonian government, TAV’s fees are reduced based on the airport’s performance. Once the airport handles over one million passengers, fees are reduced from 15% of gross income to 2% of the airport’s turnover. As a result, the Turkish operator will provide the government only between 350.000 to 700.000 euros this year compared to 2.7 million in previous years. TAV’s concession fee will no longer cover the subsidies the Macedonian government provides to low cost airlines, such as Wizz Air, to operate flights to Skopje.
Under the concession agreement with Turkey’s TAV, the company will manage both Skopje and Ohrid airports until 2030 and has already invested 120 million euros in the construction of a new terminal in Skopje and the overhaul of Ohrid Airport’s passenger terminal. The concession agreement also requires TAV to build a cargo terminal in Štip, which has been delayed until 2020. Nevertheless, it has been a very successful year for Skopje Airport, which was named the best in Europe handling under two million passengers by Airports Council International (ACI) earlier in 2014. Passenger numbers are expected to continue to grow next year as the government mulls the establishment of a national airline and maintains subsides for low cost airlines. TAV estimates Skopje will handle up to five million passengers in the coming years.
Below you can review the five busiest years at Skopje Airport. The former Yugoslavia will now have six airports to have handled over one million passengers in a single year.