Saturday, October 3, 2015

Skopje Airport pulls strong interest at World Routes

Foreign carriers eye Skopje flights

Skopje Alexander the Great Airport attracted strong interest at last week's World Route Development Forum in Durban, where the most senior representatives from airlines, airports and tourism authorities met, planned and discussed new and existing global air services. TAV, which operates fourteen airports, among which are Skopje and Ohrid, says the two are becoming increasingly appealing to foreign carriers. "We’ve held numerous productive meetings with airline representatives from more than fifty airline companies during the event", TAV Airports Marketing Director, Aslıhan Çörtük, told EX-YU Aviation News. She added, "Airlines’ interest in all fourteen airports we operate remain high. However, Skopje Airport, with its significant traffic development over recent years, arises strong interest on behalf of airlines".

Skopje Airport recently said it was “highly interested” in new market opportunities and has identified several unserved or underserved European countries as its focus point. “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 said. Skopje Airport currently offers nonstop flights to 31 destinations, up from 26 last year but the majority of its passengers use services provided by low cost carriers, with Wizz Air holding a 50% market share. Several airlines recently independently confirmed their intent to fly to Skopje in the future including Montenegro Airlines, Ryanair and Express Airways, which plans to run services from Maribor next year.

Ms Çörtük notes, "Route Development events are always crucial, in order to observe the latest global trends in the aviation sector, as well as to scale airlines’ interest in operating to our airports. The World Route Development Forum held in Durban was very beneficial in this view". She added, "We work diligently to promote Macedonian airports and we are very happy to see that Skopje and Ohrid are becoming more attractive markets for airlines. We are very confident that Macedonian aviation will continue its strong growth into the future, too ". In 2014, Skopje Airport added almost 224.000 passengers and recorded growth of in excess of 22%. The airport is on course for another record year, with its current annual growth rate at almost 17%.

Skopje Airport ad World Routes 2015

37 comments:

  1. I think SKP really has to focus on attracting legacy carriers. Like it was discussed in last week's connectivity report, Skopje had more legacy airlines 10 yrs ago then today. Its great that Wizz is there but LCC generally attract different types of passengers.

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    1. I agree. There was Aegean, Malev, CSA, British Airways, Olympic and even Aeroflot. Now we have Wizz Air, Wizz Air and Wizz Air operating to towns like Friedrichshafen.

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    2. Yeah but that's why the numbers skyrocketed since Wizz Air entered the market.

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    3. The question to pose is: is there any potential for more legacy carriers at SKP?
      For the time being I don't see it -the only theoretical possibility would be to make SKP a sort of a regional Hub- otherwise the country is just too small for many legacy carriers when theres Wizz to take people 2 many destinations for relatively little money.

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    4. The numbers skyrocketed since the government started paying airlines to fly to Skopje.

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    5. You gotta spend money to make money.

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    6. Then they should spend money to attract flights to major cities, no just Friedrichshafen and Torp.

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  2. It is nice that Skopje atracts interest, however I did not read anything new. Ryanair interest is months old and Montenegro airline is one of the worst airlines in Europe. I would like to see some serious airlines in Skopje, like Aeroflot, British or Lufthansa.

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  3. This is the advantage of being part of a major airport conglomerate. I think this is vital for BEG's and SJJ's development too.

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    1. I have to disagree with you. Since TAV overtook the airport they only brought Alitalia and flyDubai. Wizzair, which is the major driving force behind the recent passenger surge, was brought thanks to the government's subsidies.

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    2. They also brought Swiss.

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    3. +1 AnonymousOctober 3, 2015 at 9:56 AM

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    4. you mean tookover the airport.

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  4. What I don't understand is how they are undeserved from western Europe? To me they are most undeserved from Eastern Europe and also very few flights to Scandinavia.

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    1. Yes I think flights to Russia would be good.

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    2. Honestly guys, who is going to fly from Eastern Europe to Skope?

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    3. Let's not forget how small the country is. The market is rather limited and bringing in Wizz Air was the best thing to happen. For years and years Skopje was in a desperate need of a decent link with Copenhagen. No airline showed interest until Wizz Air came around and launched flights.

      I think the number of legacy carriers is quite realistic. We can't expect many more to come, maybe one or two.

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    4. The Russian market is in a very bad shape and it is going to get a lot worse unfortunately.

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  5. I've taken a 5 weeks holidays traveling through Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia, visiting Sarajevo, Mostar, Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, Plitvice, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Maribor and Varazdin. Wasn't on my own, with 2 Aussies, 1 kiwi, 2 Germans and 1 Brit, 3 German girls joined us only for Croatian part and Ljubljana. I can tell you this, there is a big interest in traveling through Balkans by Aussie and Kiwi backpackers, many would look to get direct link to Macedonia or Belgrade and visit every part of Balkans. Australians, Japanese, Korean, New Zealanders, Canadians and American travelers are doing this to avoid EU 3 months visa limit, 3 months in, 3 months out of Schengen. Zagreb is normally their base but with Croatian entrance in to Schengen next year, many backpackers will either move to Belgrade, Sofia or Skopje as an alternative.


    I think Skopje should really start to work on getting legacy carriers in, Lufthansa, Austrian, Swiss, Turkish, Agean, Air France, Alitalia, are must.

    FYI, Turkey has 60$ visa entrance for Aussie and Kiwi travelers, perhaps Canuck and Yanks too.


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    1. The thing is that backpackers are not the ideal tourists.
      They spend very little money on a place and always book the absolute cheapest possible tickets.

      Instead they should focus on getting tourists who stay in hotels, eat at restaurants and taverns and buy souvenirs from shops.

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    2. Typical Balkan mentality. How about you try to attract ANY tourists before you try to cherry-pick?

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    3. The main thing that attracts backpackers are really, really, really cheap prices and tickets.
      You cant chase after that "market", you need to attract people who would spend 10€ a day minimum.

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    4. The main thing that attracts high spenders are luxury chain hotels, top-quality restaurants and world-renowned attractions. How many of these does Skopje have?

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    5. Croatia in Schengen? With the current migrants crisis, I don't think there will be any enlargement of the Schengen Zone at least in the next 4-5 years.

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    6. "...Zagreb is normally their base but with Croatian entrance in to Schengen next year, many backpackers will either move to Belgrade, Sofia or Skopje as an alternative."

      Croatia won't become part of Schengen so soon, besides, you think Croatia (Zagreb, Split, Istria, Dubrovnik) are mostly popular because they are in a country that's not part of Schengen? Seriously?

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    7. After the fiasco with the immigrants, I think Croatia won't be entering the Schengen zone any time soon, especially if Hungary decides to keep on vetoing them.

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    8. @AnonymousOctober 3, 2015 at 11:55 AM


      such a rotten attitude, I can tell you many save for years to afford once in a lifetime European holiday, most Aussies and kiwis can only afford one long holiday before they need to return to real life, save $5000 for this trip, and spend it all. Sure they won't spend $500 per night on hotels but at least they spend some money, in Croatia I spent $800 and in Bosnia and Slovenia another 250$, now that might not be a lot to you, but for me I had to save this money for 3-4 months, deny myself going outs and spending on some extras.

      Your attitude is quite wrong, also they might be backpackers but they spend weeks in one country spending $300 per week, I can tell you that's a lot more than what most locals spend.

      @AnonymousOctober 3, 2015 at 2:35 PM

      Totally lost me, Croatia is entering Schengen next year on July 1st as per EU rules, as to the country being only popular, where did I say that, I said many backers use it as a base cause it is still outside Schengen, once it is in it won't be possible for most non EU backpackers to remain in Croatia for obvious reasons (visa restrictions).

      Croatia had best tourist season ever this year, and I can tell you Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar were packed with tourists. Zagreb as well, Zagreb had many festivals going all summer long, in September when I was there Zagreb hosted 3 weeks of festivals, every hostel in the city was packed and you could barely get a place. Anyhow.

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    9. There is no rule for Croatia entering Schengen. Inform yourself.

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  6. It will be nice Skopje-Prague flight !

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  7. Forget the legacy carrier for Skopje. I love the government strategy attracting low-cost-carrier LCC. Indeed this would bring more backpackers but generally backbackers are students, and so future high-educated people which will be potential investors and trading partners and if not so, they will talk about Skopje in their homeland. Anyway, we have as little tourists that everyone is welcome. And for the domestic traveller are the prices for the tickets the most important thing. I fly often to Skopje even I am going to visit Serbia (it's cheaper). Very good move, I just hope that Ryanair will come.

    My wish, besides the existing legacy carrier routes (Istanbul, Vienna, Zurich, Rome, Belgrad, Zagreb and Ljubljana) are daily flights to:
    SKP-Frankfurt FRA
    SKP-London LHR
    SKP-Paris CDG

    and LCC (not daily, as much as needed (some seasonal), and maybe not the main airports):
    SKP-Moskow
    SKP-Prague
    SKP-Warsaw
    SKP-Bratislava
    SKP-Budapest
    SKP-Madrid
    SKP-Lissabon
    SKP-Nizza
    SKP-Manchester
    SKP-Dublin
    SKP-Linz
    SKP-Berlin
    SKP-Amsterdam
    SKP-Helsinki
    SKP-Dubai
    SKP-Tivat/Podgorica (summer)
    SKP-Burgas/Varna (summer)
    SKP-Skiathos/Corfu (summer)
    SKP-Split/Pula (summer)
    SKP-Antalya/Bodrum (summer)
    SKP-Hurgada/Sham-el-Sheik (summer)
    SKP-Innsbruck/Poprad (winter)

    Ryanair and Easyjet welcome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. What bout Sofia? Strange there is no connection to a 2 million city just on your edge.

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    2. No need, it's a 3h car drive to Sofia, same like Solun. A connection to Tirana would be probably profitable because of the Albanians.
      I would like a connection to Stuttgart :)

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    3. i would like to see Stuttgart atm too :)

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    4. 3 hours drive in these days is a lot of time. BTW to Sofia takes at least 4 hours due to the mountanious road.

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  8. I am glad that Sk airport is rising. Thanks to Wizz air and other low cost carriers, I hope it wil be more to come. traveled to barcelona last summer, very cheap and comfortable.

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