|Wizz Air to introduce six new routes from Macedonia next year|
Wizz Air has won an international tender to introduce new state-subsidised flights from Skopje and Ohrid next year. The budget carrier was the only one to apply for the benefits despite another four - Ryanair, easyJet, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Pegasus Airlines - all eligible to take part. According to local media, Wizz Air will launch five new routes from the Macedonian capital and will add year-long flights from Ohrid. The airline will operate services from Skopje to Sandefjord, Barcelona, Nuremberg, Lubeck (near Hamburg) and another destination in Germany, which is yet to be named. In addition, the budget carrier will inaugurate flights from Ohrid to Basel. Services will begin in June, with an official announcement expected tomorrow. According to the tender conditions, all of the newly launched destinations must be served at least twice per week.
The financial support for the new flights includes a lump sum of 40.000 euros for each new destination launched and an additional thirteen euros for each departing passenger in the first year of operations, twelve euros in the second and eleven euros in the third year of operations. According to the Macedonian Ministry for Transport and Communication, “Financial support is being provided in order to cater for the rapid development in air transport”. It adds, “Competitive and affordable prices result in more available direct flights for Macedonian citizens. We will again provide subsidies to the amount of five million euros over the next three years. This should result in more flights and better options for travellers, and at the same time increase passenger numbers”.
Wizz Air will operate flights from the Macedonian capital to a total of nineteen destinations next summer. Its passenger numbers at Skopje Airport have soared this year after basing a second aircraft in the city and introducing four new routes. The low cost carrier handled 469.227 passengers on its flights to and from Macedonia during the first ten months of the year, up over 40% on 2013. Skopje Airport has already overtaken last year’s passenger numbers and has registered its busiest year on record. The fresh subsidies and new routes will help insure even further traffic and passenger growth in 2015.