Sunday, January 10, 2016

Record year for Macedonian airports

Skopje Airport becoming point of origin for travellers from neighbouring countries

Macedonia's two international airports have seen record passenger numbers in 2015, with the two handling a combined total of 1.560.381 travellers. The figure represents growth of 22% compared to 2014, with Skopje Alexander the Great Airport positioning itself as one of the fastest growing in the former Yugoslavia. Alper Ersoy, TAV Macedonia's Deputy General Manager for Operations, tells EX-YU Aviation News that the addition of six new routes from Skopje and two from Ohrid fuelled growth in 2015. "Indeed 2015 was a successful year for us especially in terms of traffic figures at both Skopje and Ohrid airports. We have noted a significant traffic increase at both, which is much higher than the European average. This is the result of our marketing activities, know-how and networking. This record number of transported passengers comes also as a result of new routes that have been introduced over the past few years", Mr Ersoy says. During 2015, Swiss International Air Lines launched services from Geneva to the Macedonian capital, while Wizz Air introduced an additional five new routes and based its third aircraft in the city. Furthermore, the budget airline inaugurated flights from Ohrid to Basel and London.

Skopje Airport is increasingly drawing passengers from neighbouring countries, with Wizz Air's growing network from the Macedonian capital becoming an appealing alternative for many travellers in the region. "An important highlight in 2015 was that the number of passengers coming from neighbouring countries, or the so-called catchment area, increased dramatically. This confirms our aim for Skopje Airport to become a main traffic hub in the region", Mr Ersoy notes. In 2016, TAV Macedonia plans to further boost passenger numbers and improve service quality by extending the list of non-aviation related services offered at its two airports, such as free wireless Internet launched last year for passengers at Skopje Airport.

In 2016 Wizz Air will launch three new routes out of Skopje (Bratislava, Berlin and Copenhagen), while Czech Airlines will introduce services from Prague. Recently, the Macedonian Civil Aviation Agency noted that talks were taking place with several "world-renowned" carriers over possible flights to the country. Mr Ersoy confirms that while TAV Macedonia is constantly in talks with airlines, it takes time to "convince" these carriers. "For the time being there are no official announcements. We are constantly communicating with airlines and tour operators to attract them to Macedonia, but, as you would appreciate, it takes some time to convince them. Once a final decision is made by the carrier, we will gladly announce it", the Deputy General Manager for Operations says. He adds, "Nevertheless, we would like to point out that one of the biggest tour operators in Europe, Thomas Cook, will launch charter flights to Ohrid during the 2016 summer season. Furthermore, a novelty for Ohrid Airport are the announced charter flights from Israel, which, along with traditional flights from the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Austria, will contribute to a greater influx of tourists".

87 comments:

  1. Well done Skopje and Ohrid. It's great SKP is attracting more and more passengers from the region.

    "Mr Ersoy confirms that while TAV Macedonia is constantly in talks with airlines, it takes time to "convince" these carriers. "For the time being there are no official announcements." My guess is that they are still negotiating with Ryanair.

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  2. I would love to see some airlines other than Wizz Air opening flights from Skopje but this is a great result. Congratulations.

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    1. Well there are. This year there will be CSA (Montenegro Airlines and Qatar are also possible). Last year there was Swiss with Geneva, the year before Alitalia....

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  3. Congrats SKP and OHD! Wizzair has definitely made an impact.
    First destinations in 2016: 3 from Budapest: Ibiza, Reykjavik & Liverpool (total 46)
    1 from Sofia: Birmingham (total 27) surpassing Bulgaria Air.
    SKP needs connections to primary destinations: AMS, CDG, MAD!

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    1. Well, they are getting a CPH link which is a start.

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  4. Interesting development.

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    1. very interesting....well done

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  5. I'm really glad for Skopje knowing how many passengers they had only 5 years ago. But I agree with others, I just wish there was a bit more variety at the airport other than Wizz.

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  6. How long does it usually take for airports and airlines (and other parties if they are involved) to reach an agreement on opening new hub/routes? My point being, the negotiations with FR have dragged on for too long, and I dont know if this is a regular occurrence in the airline world or Fr has lost interest in SKP.

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    1. Something must have gone wrong in the talks. The Macedonian PM was talking up Skopje Airport's results a few days ago and said how these four new routes (Wizz + CSA) will be launched in 2016. He made no mention of Ryanair which was interesting since it was him who was talking about this half a year ago.

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    2. Maybe Wizz Air wasn't so happy about getting competition ;)

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    3. @anon 11:31
      I am aware of that "interview", and the PM said that for now there are 4 new routes (which will definitely be realized) and most likely until the end of the year there will be another airline (or new routes, cant remember the exact words). Now, that's a very big timeframe, and if you read between the lines, he is saying that there will be no new airlines/routes for the upcoming summer season. So basically, if FR comes it will come starting OCT or NOV, and in that case the negotiations would last for around 1.5 years and (as I said earlier) I dont know if it is a common practice in the airline world.

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    4. @anon 11:32
      Ofc wizz are not happy. They are opening three new routes, of which two are FR's hubs (Bratislava and Berlin Schonefeld) and in Copenhagen they already have around 10 routes. Furthermore in BTS and CPH Skopje is Wizz's only route, in SXF it will be a first of two (the second one being Cluj). So I think its more than obvious that Wizz are not happy.

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    5. BTS is not but CPH it is.

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    6. @anon 12:08
      Elaborate

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  7. I hope this puts to rest the fantasy that SKP growth is all domestic. It's been pretty clear from the beginning that the growth has been been driven in large part from the neighbouring countries. Not that it matters that much in the end. Good job on attracting Wizzair despite the taxpayers footing the bill and subsidizing the plane tickets of foreigners. Road networks don't make money directly yet people don't have a problem with the govt spending money on them. No reason why air travel shouldn't be treated the same. As a result of the subsidies and travellers from neighbouring countries, SKP now has links to places that it could never sustain on its own on a purely market economy. So kudos to TAV and the Macedonian authorities on the deal with Wizzair. For their sake, they better not ruin it all with this talk of a new local carrier.

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    1. Huh? The road network makes quite a lot of money!

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    2. What money? Do all roads have tolls that cover all costs? If we are talking of indirect benefits, then I can also point to the indirect benefits of air transport.

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    3. "large parts"

      its rather your own fantasy

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    4. @anon 2:26

      +1 it seems that fantasy will be harder to get rid of...

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  8. Talking about Wizz...it got only 4* for safety, does it mean it is relatively unsafe?

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  9. Thanks to Wizzair we from Tirana are flying from Skopje just for 9.99 euro total price!

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    1. And not only with Wizzair. There agencies that organize tours to UAE with FlyDubai through SKP with the Albania-SKP leg done by bus.

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  10. OT:
    TK is increasing LJU by 4 weekly in summer, i.e. 2 daily A319 ops.

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  11. The most likely scenario is SKP being a predominantely low-cost airline focus city such as BTS. FR are likely to appear too, so together with W6 they will dominate the market.
    Also, it's important to mention there are already 2 big cities located less than 250km namely SKG and SOF.

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    1. I highly doubt anyone from SKG or SOF is using SKP. If anyone is then it's people from southern Serbia (Kosovo included) and Albania.

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    2. I was on a Gea tours minibus from Belgrade to Skopje in November and there were a few people who were going to Skopje Airport to fly out

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    3. @ Anon January 10, 2016 at 1:38 PM,
      +1

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    4. I've read some time ago, a guy from Sofia saying that he is flying with Wizz from Skopje to Nuremberg I think, because Wizz doesn't fly to Nuremberg from Sofia, even though they fly to a lot of places from there.

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    5. @Anonymus January 10, 2016 at 1:38 PM, There are some people (they are quite few actually) predominantly from northern Greece and western Bulgaria that use SKP. Last time when I was flying to Luebeck next to me was a couple from Sofia and behind me 3 guys from Greece.

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    6. @anon 1:38
      I dont think you can compare SKP and BTS. Bts has only 5-6 airlines serving it, while SKP has around 3 times of that (althoush that is still far from a big number). The main problem of BTS is that it has Vienna very close to it which is one of the bigger airports in Europe.

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  12. What happened to the ATH rumours ???

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    1. Not rumors, A3 was seriously examining SKP. My guess, if they decide for it, till end of January flights will open up for bookings.

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    2. The official response from earlier this week is:

      "We have not taken the decision to start SKP."

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    3. Thx . keep us updated on this one

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  13. OT: Turkish Airlines changes (increases) a lot of frequencies to many short/medium-haul destinations, among others destinations in Ex-Yu: http://bit.ly/1PlPp8Z

    ---
    Could anyone tell me what a terminator service is, as written in that link?

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    1. maybe a flight that returns in the morning the following day?

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    2. or a flight A-B-C is now changed to A-B-A and A-C-A

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    3. Koliko ja znam linija ce biti spojena znaci AAL via BLL.
      Kao´sto lete za CPT ali sa stopom u JNB a linija od JNB se zove terminator service samo sa drugim brojem leta
      INN-NS

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    4. BEG should have been three daily by now but it can't because of protectionism.

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    5. No, it can't because of a bilateral agreement which Turkey signed itself.

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    6. The agreement was up for negotiations and mind you, TK is already breaking the laws because they operate double the frequencies that JU has. So.. the bilateral is not an issue to that extent.

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    7. So what protectionism you are talking about, if Turkish carriers already now operate IST-BEG nearly 3 times as much as Serbian carriers operate BEG-IST?

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    8. Manji problem je to sto TK ima 7 pw letova veci problem je sto ASL nema nameru da uspostavi nove letove prema Kavkazu, Ukrajini i pogotovu prema bliskom Istoku sto mi nije jasno posto bi to bio pun pogodak.
      INN-NS

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    9. "ASL nema nameru da uspostavi nove letove prema Kavkazu, Ukrajini i pogotovu prema bliskom Istoku sto mi nije jasno posto bi to bio pun pogodak."
      Well said, never thought you would have said it.

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    10. Protekcionizam jer Srbija odbija da potpise sporazum o otvorenom nebu sa Turskom. Isto tako, na zahtev JU, TK je bio primoran da suspenduje svoja tri nedeljna leta tokom ranog popodneva.

      Eto, tako je protekcionizam.

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    11. Uništiće vas ta neizmerna i nekontrolisana mržnja, to je sve što mogu da vam kažem.

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    12. @ 7:27PM
      Nisam ni ja mislio ali mi stvarno nije jasno sto nema volje za otvaranje neke od ovih destinacija i mislim da bi to bio pun pogodak pred buduce JFK letove.
      INN-NS

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    13. @7:52 potpuna je laž da je Srbija ta koja odbija da potpiše sporazum sa Turskom. Legitimno brani svoje interese.

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    14. Brani interese Er Srbije, ne interese gradjana koji ih finansiraju i xa koje tehnicki rade

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    15. A u Air Serbiji ne rade građani Srbije nego vanzemaljci?

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    16. A sta to treba da znaci? Da nam treba protekcionizam kako bi nesposobni zadrzali posao? Konkurencija i otvoreno trziste su kljuc uspeha, mislim da je to postalo ocigledno. Na kraju krajeva i Wizz Air zaposljava Srbe pa nemaju nikakvih privilegija.

      Era nacionalnih avioprevoznika je odavno prosla, mislim da je to vise nego ocigledno.

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    17. Ugh why shouldnt we protect Air Serbia? 2000 employees are so more important than 7 million citizens of Serbia!
      I just wonder why is Kondic paid €25 thousand per months then.

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    18. @6:26 I 8:46 Aleksandar StojanovicJanuary 11, 2016 at 2:28 AM
      Direct+Indirect employment in the civil aviation sector in Serbia accounted for 68.000 jobs in 2013, according to CAPA.

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    19. It can be one million but what's the point if the 'engine' isn't properly working?
      Without JU being strong, competitive and profitable this is like dancing on thin ice. It's time for Serbs to look at things in long-term.

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    20. Also, I doubt this number was much smaller back when we had Jat. After all, the fleet and the number of employees is about the same, so...

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    21. @9:14 Pa naravno da motor radi kao nikad pre. Ako to ne vidis, to je vec tvoj problem.. Mozda ti je onaj raspad ranije vise odgovarao.

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    22. Motor radi neuporedivo slabije nego sto bi trebao, ako to ne vidis onda je to tvoj problem. Ja ne radim u avio industriji tako da mene bas briga, ja hocu sto jeftinije karte sto se nece desiti dokle god je protekcionizam na snazi.

      Mozda tebi ovaj zamaskirani haos vise odgovara.

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  14. I guess Skopje is close to Ljubljana in passenger numbers for 2015. I guess next year is possible to surpass both Ljubljana and Prishtina, unless they have a growth like SKP. I think SKP in 2015 handled something around 1.44 million. So my guess is that it will easily grow to 1.6 million this year.

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    1. My opinion is that 1.7mil will be achieved next year. But one has to wonder what is the ceiling of SKP.

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  15. Amazing news for Skopje and Ohrid.

    I hope ryan air will start flying out of SKP soon, so they can become a low cost hub for the region. I don't see the need of a national carrier when almost everybody can only buy LCC tickets.

    Also Ohrid would be a great summer season destination for passengers from Russia (mainly Moscow & St. Petersburg) after turkey has been imposed with sanctions. So some charters wouldn't be a bad idea.

    But I'm still missing some airlines like Lufthansa, Aeroflot or British Airways connecting macedonia with the major european hubs.

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    1. British is not happening any time soon, cuz even for just transiting you need visa. However, the Russian charters to Ohrid, to me at least, make a lot of sense. Why they havent materialized, I have no idea..

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  16. Anyone know how the Croatian water polo delegation arrived to Belgrade? I suppose the Montenegrans came on YM. I saw that Slovaks flew on JU from VIE.

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    1. The most logical way, in my opinion, for HR waterpolo team was to take bus from DBV (they had trainings there before going to BEG) to TIV (about one hour trip), and then fly to BEG, either on YM or JU. However it's not impossible that they had charter on Croatia Airlines, Trade Air, Limitless Airways, or some other airline directly form DBV to BEG,maybe even YM

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    2. Naah there were no charters from DBV so you are right, they most likely flew from TIV.
      Thanks!

      Looking forward to a good match tonight!

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  17. We still do not know the pax figures solely for SKP.... Always put together with OHD....

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    1. 1.446.000 pax in SKP with a 20% growth.

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  18. well done Macedonia...bravo

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  19. ovo je dokaz kako treba se raditi bravo

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    1. Subvencijama LC aviokompanija? Koliko je vlada MK ulozila u ovaj rast putnika?

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    2. sigurno puno manje nego vlada Srbije u ASL s malom razlikom sto za pare koje placa makedonska vlada lete uglavnom makedonski drzavljani a za pare koje placa vlada Srbije lete uglavnom stranci preko BEG-a

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    3. milsim da komentar je suvisan....vlada MK je dala malo novca za 3 god. a ima duplo vice putnika,vlada SRB,CRO,BIH Montenegro dali min. 5 puta vice novca do svojih aviokompanije a ko ima duplo vice putnika za posledne 2-3 godine

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    4. .. samo ste zaboravili da u Srbiji 10.000 ljudi zivi od ASL i Aerodroma.

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    5. Direct+Indirect employment in the civil aviation sector in Serbia accounted for 68.000 jobs in 2013, according to CAPA.

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    6. "Total Impact, the report finds that combining the direct, indirect, induced and catalytic impacts airports in Europe generate or facilitate over 12.3 million jobs earning a total of EUR356.4 billion and EUR675 billion in GDP, equal to 4.1% of GDP of Europe."

      Investing in civil aviation is a very wise thing to do. The only thing I wish I saw more of in Serbia were accountability and transparency. Civil aviation must be an engine for economic and social gain, not a toy for the political elites.

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    7. Many people also depended on Jat Airways, they also used local products and employed local population. Many seem to forget that.

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    8. There is just no comparison between the kinds of global connectivity offered at BEG/ZAG/LJU (all major Euro hubs covered, global alliances, etc) to that at SKP (low-cost P2P to secondary airports mostly). If you want to fly to North America or Australia or really anywhere other than Europe all those low-cost ops are basically worthless. So, it is laudable that MKD government spent much less money than others in the Balkans, but the result is just not comparable even if raw pax numbers are.

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  20. OT: flew today JP 306 to ZRH A319
    almost full flt. On Air works perfect. Just needs more articles and lit bit more detailled flight information. Flight chat works, games as well.

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  21. OT: OU flight from ZAG to BRU diverts to MUC
    http://www.jutarnji.hr/prekinut-let-za-bruxelles-zrakoplov-croatia-airlinesa-morao-sletjeti-u-najblizu-zracnu-luku-jer-su-instrumenti-signalizirali-kvar-na-avionu/1494899/

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    1. A Croatia Airlines de Havilland Dash 8-400, registration 9A-CQD performing flight OU-4456 from Zagreb (Croatia) to Brussels (Belgium), was enroute at FL240 about 40nm north of Munich (Germany) when the crew reported problems with the left hand hydraulics system and decided to divert to Munich. The crew performed a low aproach to have the gear checked from the ground, burned off fuel and landed safely about 65 minutes after leaving FL240. The aircraft vacated the runway, stopped and shut down on the adjacent taxiway and was towed to the apron.

      The remainder of the flight as well as the return flight were cancelled.

      Source: http://www.avherald.com/h?article=4922a392&opt=0

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  22. Does anyone know what happened to yesterday's (today's) Pegasus flight from SAW to CGN. It got diverted to BEG shortly after midnight (was over Hungarian airspace when it diverted to BEG). It continued it's journey some 16 hours later. Any insights?

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  23. Congrats to Macedonia, another really strong year! Have to admit i said here on this blog last January that growth would be single digit for 2015, so to see it is not only double digit but starts with a 2 in front is quite surprising.

    So there is nothing left but to predict again that growth will be single digit this year, lol. Hope im wrong again but its gotta slow down at some point.

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