Monday, December 28, 2015

Macedonia in talks with "world-renowned" airlines

Several carriers plan to launch Macedonia flights

The head of the Macedonian Civil Aviation Agency, Goran Jandreoski, says his country is negotiating with "several larger world-renowned airlines" over potential flights to Skopje and Ohrid. Mr Jandreoski notes that the arrival of these carriers, anticipated for next year, will further boost passenger numbers and have a positive impact on the local economy, which will, in turn, improve Macedonia's image. However, he stopped short of naming the airlines considering services to the country. Both Ryanair and Qatar Airways have confirmed discussions with the Macedonian government. In reference to the Irish budget carrier, Macedonia's Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, said, “We are negotiating with one of the most prominent low cost airlines in the world to launch a range of services which will connect Skopje and Ohrid with various destinations in Europe and beyond”. On the other hand, Qatar Airways has stated, "We hope that next year we will introduce direct flights to Skopje, which will represent an excellent opportunity to building bridges between our two countries. We see potential investment opportunities in Macedonia, primarily as a country that can develop tourism".

The Russian low cost airline Pobeda is reportedly looking to include Skopje to its network, after introducing its first international flights from Moscow to Bratislava and Bergamo last week. Furthermore, Montenegro Airlines has said it is considering resuming services to the Macedonian capital in 2016. "Before we make a final decision on launching flights, we have to conduct a feasibility study to determine whether the service would be profitable and whether the Macedonian government is prepared to subsidise part of the expenses”, the Montenegrin carrier said in a statement. It added, “The launch of this service would benefit both regional and business ties. In addition, Macedonian passengers would have the ability to connect onto other flights through Montenegrin airports”. Montenegro Airlines suspended its daily service from Podgorica to Skopje Alexander the Great Airport in February 2011, without prior notice, when it was revealed the carrier had several thousands of euros in unpaid debt towards Macedonia’s busiest airport. This year, the airline settled its outstanding payments.

Wizz Air, which now handles half of all passengers using Skopje Airport, has already announced the introduction of three new route from the Macedonian capital next year - Berlin, Bratislava and Copenhagen. Furthermore, Czech Airlines will launch seasonal flights from Prague next summer. Earlier this year, the operator of Macedonia's two international airports, TAV, said, "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". Mr Jandreoski believes that stimulating foreign airlines has paid off. "I have to emphasise that the government's strategy to subsidise certain flights to Macedonia has generated outstanding results. On the one hand, it significantly increased the number of people travelling from and to the country, and, on the other, it increased mobility amongst Macedonian citizens", Mr Jandreoski concludes.

72 comments:

  1. Fantastic news but I'm kind of concerned that these Ryanair flights won't happen. I have would assumed that they would be selling tickets by now for next summer.

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  2. Qatar's arrival would kill off Fly Dubai. They will fly only 2x per week next summer and this route has been struggling for some time.

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    1. I agree they will be hurt. Doha - Skopje would be nonstop as it is more likely that SKP would be a stop to some other destination (my guess is Sarajevo)

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    2. Could something like DOH-SKP-TIA work better? I am sure they would get the rights to sell tickets between the two cities.

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    3. yes TIA and TGD are the other possibilities

      or as a tag on on one of their 3 daily flights to ATH: DOH-ATH-SKP-ATH-DOH. Could they ever get local rights for this?

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    4. Not if A3 is interested in flying that route.
      maybe if there was a DOH-SKG-SKP flight would be easier to get approved.

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    5. I really doubt QR will consider flights to SKP, after all the boom is mainly thanks to Wizzair and the market is still very small. QR will be launching 4 weekly non-stop flights to Doha next spring. They currently serve OTP & SOF on a daily basis.

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    6. Wait are you saying they are or are not considering SKP because first you write they are not and then you say it will be 4 weekly...

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    7. He was maybe referring to BEG?

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    8. I don't think so. Fly Dubai's market is focused on many Macedonian workers there and Dubai as a tourist destination. Doha's case is slightly different. It might damage Turkish's connection flights to far east more.

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  3. More regular airlines with flights to actual hubs please.

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  4. I'm surprised Pegasus doesn't fly to Skopje

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    1. Or Zagreb! They are sorely missed but I am sure they will come sooner rather than later.

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    2. It might be a bilateral issue? At least with the Macedonia flights

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    3. Pegasus does fly to Macedonia... For years mean while

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    4. Yeah Pegasus has been flying to Skopje for some time.

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    5. Pegasus fly to Skopje x4 from Istanbul

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    6. ok sorry. For some reason I thought it didn't.

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    7. It's fine, that's why there is the comments section. To discuss and to ask questions. :)

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  5. Aegean are also reconsidering SKP, we will know shortly of their decision...

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    1. wow that would be great!

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    2. oh wow keep us updated on that one

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    3. SKP and ZAG from Α3 make perfect sense and should have happened already.

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    4. Yes, A3 is considering flying ATH SKP, they already asked for slots from the authorities, and recently A3 and OA became members of BSP Macedonia

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  6. Skopje should be connected to major European cities by a legacy carrier. SKP doesn't have flights to airports like FRA, LHR, CDG, AMS... It is one thing to have connections to low cost airports and a whole another to have connections to major airports.

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    1. +1. That's why Macedonia did poorly on the hub connectivity report. They ranked better than before the Wizz Air boom

      http://www.exyuaviation.com/2015/09/ex-yu-airports-lag-in-connectivity.html

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    2. For as long as there are flights to LTN you can forget about flights to LHR. For as long as there are flights to BVA you can forget about flights to CDG... Go figure!

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    3. Samo do pre dve godine cokalije nisu mogle skoro nigde da lete osim Stambola zato su i LTN i BVA premija za njih cutite i pokrijte se po usima. Sada imaju i Berlin i Kopenhagen. Samo im nacionalna aviokompanija fali da im pravi gubitke.

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    4. Anon 10:39 AM, you should have quoted your comment, it was posted here some weeks ago on a similar article.

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  7. If they can agree Ryanair, Aegean and Qatar to start flying to SKP, it will be "premija". I would imagine SKP will go to 2+ mil pax next year if they'll start flying. I can't see how some legacy airline such as Lufthansa, Air France, BA or KLM can start flying to SKP because of the "deal" the authorities have with W6 and because some of their alliance partners already fly to SKP.

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  8. Does anyone know what is the net profit of SKP?

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  9. Why would anyone want RYR in SKP? Will they open a base there? Will they hire local cabin crew? Will they fly to primary airports from SKP? Will they operate connecting flights?

    W6 is paying more fees for based aircraft that other LCC companies would if they wouldn't have base, since you have to clean toilets, refill water, clean the cabin, etc.

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    1. plan is/was for them to open a base and start new unserved routes form Skopje (otherwise they wont receive any subsidies)

      RYR might end only as a rumor

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  10. Opet kazem bolje da su doveli bilo koju kompaniju umesto W6 trebaju se potruditi da dovedu HV ili DY.
    INN-NS

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  11. I've noticed Air Serbia is increasing frequencies to regional destinations next summer - Sofia, Tirana, Bucharest etc but there don't seem to be any additional flights to Skopje, which is kind of odd.

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    1. Skopje flights will operate twice a day from 13JUN.

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    2. Are the times the same as last year? Could give us an insight into when those JFK flights are scheduled for.

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    3. Beograd - Skopje:

      JU 166 D BEG SKP 0025 0135 13JUN16 11SEP16 AT7 1:10
      JU 162 1356 BEG SKP 1320 1430 28MAR16 29OCT16 AT7 1:10
      JU 162 247 BEG SKP 1325 1425 27MAR16 27OCT16 319 1:00

      Skopje - Beograd:

      JU 167 D SKP BEG 0425 0535 13JUN16 11SEP16 AT7 1:10
      JU 163 1356 SKP BEG 1500 1610 28MAR16 29OCT16 AT7 1:10
      JU 163 247 SKP BEG 1510 1605 27MAR16 27OCT16 319 0:55

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    4. And does Air Serbia plans to increase Sarajevo?

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    5. That airport has those stupid morning hours.

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  12. A thought to share. Having SKP and PRN that close to each other, and having the Kosavars constructing a highway to Skopje, expecting that the travel time from Pristina to SKP would be less than a 1.5h, would it be more practical to close PRN and to concentrate on SKP. Today's numbers show that these airports together handle about 3 mil. passengers. Concentrating this number on one airport gives the opportunities for better performance, major destinations and increasing the number of connecting flights.

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    1. Da li si normalan? Zasto bi iko isao na aerodrom koji ne radi dobar deo decembra i januara?

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    2. @anon 1.28 PRN has also problems with fog. the airport is more or less closed for the last 3 days. SKP is packed at the moment because of the nova godina charters that got diverted from PRN

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    3. PRN is having the same problem. Dozens of flights originally scheduled to PRN were rescheduled to SKP (that is only for today, not including the diverted flights from PRN the last few days). The problem would be solved if SKP (TAV or the government, or both of them together) would invest in a CAT III. Why that is not the case, I have no idea...

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    4. Anon @ 1:15
      Your comment is provacationary. Be careful.

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  13. Why would they close PRN and not SKP in that case? After all PRN is bigger.

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    1. PRN is very seasonal. Skopje's potential is bigger as it is a capital to a real country.

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    2. PRN is also a capital city.

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    3. LOL. That should be the IATA code for BKPR.

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  14. Fantastic news!
    But it would be bad news for Air Serbia if SKP connects better with major European and Middle Eastern capitals.
    A lot less use of ASL flights when there would be the option of flying direct!
    This expansion would be great for the development of the local economy.

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    1. Think it's even worse news for Croatia Airlines and their dwindling SKP flights. They will probably suspend it next sumner. Split - Skopje seasonal was a disaster this summer. Got suspended very quickly.

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    2. Air Serbia is the only ex-Yu airline to record passenger growth from Skopje last year and it was significant. Under your theory every legacy carrier will be affected by others starting flights because there is no single legacy airline in Skopje that relies on point to point passengers. They all rely on transits.

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    3. Do you have the numbers please?

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    4. From 0 to 1 is always 100%

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    5. Numbers

      http://www.exyuaviation.com/2015/01/wizz-growth-hits-competition-in-skopje.html

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  15. OT: What happened to Kraljevo Airport please? They forgot about it totally!

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    1. Latest update is that it will open in mid-2016 like it was written here but even that is not sure. The airport should be transferred from military to public (state) use in some 2 weeks.

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    2. of course it will open mid-2016, precisely June 2, 2016, immediately after the elections, and the same day when 330 starts JFK flights, hahahahahahahahaha

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    3. No it's not planned to open on June 2 and I believe the mid-2016 date will be delayed again. As for JFK flights they will launch on June 2. As for elections, none have been scheduled. Pusa.

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    4. Shame about LYKV.

      Austrian would be a natural fit there (good P2P demand + great connections to the rest of Europe) starting with 2 flights per week (for example Thu, Sun). Some of the demand would inevitably come at the expense of BEG, but I can imagine that big chunk would come from bus passengers and entirely new/incremental passengers.

      In an ideal situation LYKV would be connected to IST (and potentially MUC) completing the connectivity to pretty much the entire world.
      I'm sure there are potential LCC destinations as well.

      Can someone advise the estimated total operating cost of a flight from LYKV to VIE (~300nm) with Q400?

      LYKV-LCY

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  16. well done Macedonia..

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  17. QR8202 AMS-DOH diverted to Belgrade, pending further information.

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    1. Aircraft in question A7-BFE, 77L, currently parked at B6.

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    2. left BEG 10 min ago

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    3. Haha the only way BEG can see a widebody is if there is a diversion. XD

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    4. Wonder why they didn't divert to Zagreb? Uops! Let me remind you that from next year BEG will have two widebodies based there. Tough luck.

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  18. Has anyone noticed that Etihad has been sending their A320 quite often to BEG these days? I hope it becomes a regular.

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    1. This is because the new year and all the travellers going to exotic vacations :)

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    2. This week TK is sending fully packed A321s from IST to BEG. JU's A319s are also full - I was on board today and there were also passengers in business class.

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