Thursday, June 9, 2016

EU launches Macedonia airline subsidy probe

NEWS FLASH


The European Commission (EC) has launched an investigation into the Macedonian government's financial incentives for low cost airlines operating out of Skopje Airport. EC spokesperson for regional policy and transport, Jakub Adamowicz, says Brussels is aware of concerns expressed by some airlines and airports in the Balkans regarding subsidies, noting that the European Commission is in contact with competent authorities in the country. "Aviation regulations between the EU and Macedonia are governed by the European Common Aviation Area and in that context we are not aware of airlines seeking commission investigations regarding the financial incentives that the Macedonian government might be giving to airlines operating from Skopje Airport. However, we are aware of concerns raised about financial incentive schemes granted by the government in Skopje since 2012 to airlines willing to serve the airport", Mr Adamowicz told a press conference. There is a possibility, he added, of competition distortion that might arise between Skopje Airport and other airports in the region, as well as other airlines flying into these airports. "We are now in contact with competent authorities in Skopje and we are gathering information to further examine the matter, maybe just to put this issue of fair and transparent market conditions into context. There is also the EU aviation strategy we launched last December. One of the key elements is to strengthen the competitiveness of the European aviation sector in general and also reinforce its global positioning", he noted.

Pristina Airport has said it had requested for the European Commission to investigate the matter. Pristina Airport's General Manager, Haldun Fırat Kokturk, previously said, "We, as an airport operator, can compete with another airport operator - competition is normal, it is good. But we cannot compete with a government. If the European Commission tells the Macedonian government that these incentives are permitted then we will approach the Kosovo government to say, if the Macedonian government is doing this - can we do the same?” The Macedonian government launched a three-year subsidy scheme in 2012. It has proved successful with Wizz Air opening a base at Skopje Airport, which has in turn led to significant passenger and traffic growth. The government provided fresh subsidies in 2015 which led to Wizz Air’s decision to base a third aircraft in the Macedonian capital, launch a handful of new routes and introduce services from Ohrid as well.

13 comments:

  1. Bad news for MAC.

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    Replies
    1. but, potentially, good news for INI, as W6 might move there

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    2. Yes and in about 2-3 years time the EU commission will look into INI subsidies and the airlines will move back to SKP.
      2-3 later the EU will again in Mac. subsidies and the airlines will move again to INI and on, and on. :D

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    3. I hope for growth in Skopje and in Nis. Don't blame others to be hater!

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    4. Anonymous June 9, 2016 at 3:09 PM

      +1.000.000

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  2. They are just playing like they are taking some measures, maybe because of Austrian's rep's tears shed at the celebration for their 10-th VIE-SKP anniversary.Even bigger paradox, BTS is not financialy aided by MK's government.
    Nothing serious is gonna change.BTW, let's not hope some other's fall for succes - it's the same for INI/SKP/you name it - non EU airport, in aspect of the way they see us.
    They are just trying to protect their interests - but hey, what happens if any ex-yu/non-EU country tries to change some of their decisions?
    Hypocrits!

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    Replies
    1. Well, they can ban flights from Skopje for starting. Would they do that? Oh, yes they would. They start negotiation about "new deal" with Turkey, Qatar, UEA and Kuwait with goal to make better condition for EU companies, and to make possibility for EU companies to fly to Middle and Far East. If they can do that to those influence and reach companies which buy hundreds of Airbus planes think what they can do to little and unsignificant Macedonia.

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  3. SKP didn't break any laws, and PRN can go suck it! Nothing will come of this. Not to mention that MK is not in the EU so why would they be concerned with what's going on in SKP? On top of that PRN has started their own subsidy scheme... ironic?

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  4. About time!
    Governments cannot be allowed to distort the market, I believe in level playing field, fair to all the competition!

    Incentives should not equate to subsidies!

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    Replies
    1. Incentives ARE the subsidy:

      a: 15 eur passenger airport fee and 500k eur incentive to the airline = subsidy

      b: 3 eur per passenger airport fee and no incentive to the airline = subsidy

      Same thing, different packaging

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    2. You do know that the incentives offered to Wizzair were also available to ANY other European carrier. LH, AF, BA, or JU for that matter could all have applied for and received the incentives if they were willing to fly the routes. How is that an unfair playing field?

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  5. It's like knocking at open door. The Macedonian government subsides were/are time limited (3 year) and most of them expired. But Wizz is still present in MK because, once lured by subsides, they discovered good business here.

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