|Regulator sees greater potential in Canada flights over US|
The Macedonian Civil Aviation Agency says the country is continuing to study the possibility of introducing transatlantic services to and from Skopje. It comes two years after the Agency's former head, Dejan Mojsoski, announced that two airlines from North America have shown interest in flying to the Macedonian capital. However, the regulator now claims that long haul flights from Skopje are still some way off. "Direct flights from Macedonia to North America have long been discussed. However, there is still no reliable evidence that such a service could be viable. Canada has more potential than the United States because there is a bigger Macedonian diaspora. However, this argument is still not strong enough to begin procedures for the introduction of flights", the Director General of the Macedonian Civil Aviation Agency, Goran Jandreoski, says.
Macedonia has been in contact with the United States' Federal Aviation Administration, which is responsible for the advancement, safety and regulation of civil aviation in the US, and the two countries have signed an Open Skies Agreement. This allows for unrestricted access by airlines from each side to fly to, from and beyond the other’s territory, without restriction on how often they fly, the kind of aircraft they use and the prices they charge. "Recently, we have been in contact with the FAA's office in Moscow, which oversees the Balkans. They want to help us prepare for transatlantic flights, so, if there is interest in the future, we can be ready to undergo checks and inspections", Mr Jandreoski says. He adds, "Last year, both Serbia and Air Serbia underwent these checks. However, it remains to be seen whether these flights [Belgrade - New York] will be sustainable".
The Macedonian Civil Aviation Agency first expressed hope for the introduction of services to the United States back in 2011. Two years later, Mr Mojsoski, who now serves as the Pan European Coordinator at Eurocontrol in Brussels, said two airlines, one from the United States and the other from Canada, were interested in launching transatlantic flights to Skopje. “Two companies have shown interest and they are not typical low budget airlines, instead, they offer a mixed product. Their initial interest is a good indicator for us”, Mr Mojsoski said at the time. Furthermore, Skopje Airport's operator, TAV, as well as the Macedonian government, were to carry out a feasibility study into the potential of transatlantic flights to the Macedonian capital.