|Skopje Airport puts focus on western European markets as numbers grow|
Skopje Alexander the Great Airport says it is “highly interested” in new market opportunities and has identified several unserved or underserved European countries as its focus point. Speaking to EX-YU Aviation News, the airport says, “In addition to the markets Skopje Airport is serving, we, of course, are highly interested in every single new market opportunity. In order to identify the route opportunities, we closely monitor the air traffic flow from/to Skopje on a regular basis. Following these analytical studies, we are then able to define the route potentials and approach airlines across Europe”. The airport has identified western European destinations as most appealing to potential passengers. “The latest studies show us that there are still many opportunities in the unserved or underserved markets of Germany, Denmark, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom in Europe. Hence, we can say that all markets are important for operator TAV Macedonia, however we are focusing now on those listed here the most”, the airport says.
Skopje Airport currently offers nonstop flights to 31 destinations, up from 26 last year. The arrival of new airlines and the addition of new routes have given Macedonian consumers a greater choice and have in turn boosted passenger numbers at the country’s two international airports - Skopje and Ohrid. “We at Skopje Airport have a healthy mix of airlines including budget carriers (such as Wizz Air, Pegasus and Flydubai) and legacy carriers (such as Turkish Airlines, Alitalia, Austrian, Croatia Airlines, Air Serbia and Adria Airways). We also have leisure airlines such as Germania, Jetairfly, Sunexpress and Edelweiss”, the airport says. Recently, Ryanair said it was in talks with the Macedonian government over the potential launch of flights to Skopje. In an update, Robin Kiely, Ryanair’s Head of Communications, told EX-YU Aviation News that talks with the government are still ongoing at this point.
During July, Macedonia’s two international airports saw impressive double digit growth, as Wizz Air launched five new routes from Skopje and its second route to Ohrid. During the month, the two airports handled 185.811 passengers, up 28% compared to the same month last year. Overall, the two welcomed 823.492 travellers during the first seven months of the year, an increase of 17% on 2014. “We expect the growth to continue”, operator TAV Macedonia says. Istanbul (both Ataturk Airport and Sabiha Gokcen Airport) was the busiest destinations during the January to July period, with a 14.9% market share, followed by Zurich at 9.1%, Vienna 7.1%, Malmo 6%, Basel 5.7% and London Luton at 5.4%. Zurich, Malmo and Memimingen reported the largest increase in passenger numbers compared to last year, while Rome continues to see significant improvement since Alitalia launched the route last year, with figures strengthening from month to month. Wizz Air carried the largest number of passengers so far this year (with a 50% market share), followed by Turkish Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Pegasus Airlines, Air Serbia, Croatia Airlines, Adria Airways and Alitalia.