Monday, August 22, 2016

Croatia Airlines sets April 2017 for base opening


Croatia Airlines is preparing for the opening of several bases in south-eastern Europe, primarily in the former Yugoslavia. The carrier has previously announced its intention to commence flights from Sarajevo, Pristina, Skopje and Tirana to several European destinations in 2017. "Market research data has shown that there is a potential for the successful opening of additional bases in the south-eastern European region and Croatia Airlines, as a European Union community carrier, has recognised its business interest in this", the airline told EX-YU Aviation News recently. It added, "The prerequisite for this is to purchase four to six new aircraft and extensive preparations are underway. Only after would it be possible to define all the details and possibly open additional bases".

The first of the bases is set to open at the start of the 2017 summer season in April, however, the exact city and the destinations to be served are yet to be announced. Croatia Airlines' CEO, Krešimir Kučko, previously said that the company has calculated its planned regional expansion and decided on its route network. "Everything should be defined by the end of the year and implemented from April 1, 2017", Mr Kučko said. "The pace at which each base will be launched will depend on the arrival of new aircraft", he added. The opening of new bases should ease Croatia Airlines' dependence on its highly seasonal home market. Since it is a European Union-based carrier, the airline will be able to offer flights from points in the former Yugoslavia to EU-member states, as those outside the bloc are often subject to bilateral air agreements. The Croatian carrier is focusing on countries that do not have their own national carriers.

Sarajevo

Sarajevo Airport is best suited for Croatia Airlines' future plans. The airport still lacks connections to major European hubs, including London, Paris and Amsterdam. Sarajevo is also one of the few European capital city airports without direct links to Brussels. This could change with the arrival of Wizz Air, however, the carrier's renewed talks with Sarajevo Airport have been ongoing for months. The airport itself was quick to note that negotiations are still at an early stage. Croatia Airlines is currently the sixth largest airline in Sarajevo in terms of capacity. In 2015, it handled 59.497 passengers on its flights between Zagreb and Sarajevo. During the 2016/17 winter season, the carrier plans to maintain thirteen weekly services to the Bosnian capital, the same as last year.

Busiest airlineTurkish Airlines
Busiest routeIstanbul
Busiest route (EU)Vienna

Pristina

Although it lacks a home carrier, Pristina Airport serves as a base to Adria Airways, which operates flights to Germany's two busiest airports - Frankfurt and Munich. However, there is still room for another player. The busiest unserved destinations from the airport include Helsinki, London Heathrow, Oslo and Brussels. Pristina offers attractive incentives for airlines that base aircraft at the airport. As a result, Croatia Airlines would receive a 100% discount on parking fees and a 100% discount on office space at Pristina Airport for a two-year period. Depending on its results, the carrier would also be eligible for a number of other incentives. Croatia Airlines handled 7.126 passengers between Pristina and Zagreb last year. It will suspend flights between the two cities this winter season.

Busiest airlineGermania
Busiest routeZurich
Busiest route (EU)Dusseldorf

Skopje

Skopje could prove the most challenging future base for Croatia Airlines. Although Macedonia does not have a national carrier, Wizz Air boasts an extensive network from the city, linking it with western, northern and southern Europe. However, the Croatian carrier could position itself as a legacy alternative, offering extras such as free baggage and providing passengers with better options to connect via major European hubs onwards to far-away destinations through its Star Alliance partners. Croatia Airlines handled 46.809 passengers between Skopje and Zagreb last year, making it the eighth busiest airline at Macedonia's largest airport. The carrier attempted to operate seasonal services between Split and Skopje last summer, however, the flights were cancelled.

Busiest airlineWizz Air
Busiest routeIstanbul
Busiest route (EU)Vienna

* 2015 data

104 comments:

  1. Does anyone else thinking SJJ management is purposely prolonging talks with Wizz Air until Croatia Airlines opens its base?

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    1. Let's hope not because W6 is a much better fit for SJJ than OU is. For one, OU could never offer the same fares and I doubt they would base anything larger than a Q400.

      Also, Adria already tried this model and it didn't work out for them. I don't see why OU thinks it will be any different for them.

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    2. Of course they are. Until recently the CEO of Sarajevo Airport was also a Croatia Airlines employee.

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    3. Nemjee don't worry. Kucko successfully threw a sop to politicians and "aviation fans" in order to redirect the attention and keep them busy with these rumors. There won't be additional bases for OU.

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    4. But if they continue to wonder aimlessly like this then soon it might be too late for them to change, to become more competitive.

      We have already seen that ZAG management will not tolerate their incompetence.

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    5. I've no idea why people in this blog have huge expectations, maybe because of Air Serbia experience. In my humble opinion OU is doing very good; recovered from bankruptcy, successfully completed restructuring process and turned into profit. Compared to country's GDP (which was negative for several years and turned into minor positive recently), OU's growth rate seems reasonable. I agree that they should have more SMART goals but how many companies in the region do have corporate vision and mission?

      I believe the company is ok for now, and can survive for several years if they don't give up the cost control mechanism. But the risk is always there if it stays as a state owned company.

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    6. How can you say that they are doing well when the management say that all their routes are not profitable in winter. This is catastrophic.

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    7. Its not the only airline that is not profitable in winter season (its actually quite common, just need to check results for other airlines). The difference is that they dont have Kucko to announce that officially which is hillarious!!!!!!!!!

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    8. Gosh. 95-99% of European airlines are not profitable during half a year which is called "winter"!

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    9. That is lie. I hope Mr. Kučko read CAF where he can find fresh data with all companies that were profitable during last winter. Most of European companies were.

      Croatia profitable? Sure, when they at the end of year sell plane, or engine, or Pleso prijevoz, or slot in LHR, or maintenance... like they did last 2 years. But what will happened when there would be no things to sell? That we will be in position like Adria. This management is unreasonable because they don't care of future and if Croatia will be on in 10 years.

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    10. LOL!! Waiting for your list with proves that can be verified about majority of European airlines being profitable in winter...

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    11. As I said you have those result in CAF on almost daily bases. You can check it there. I don't have time to copy it out of all annual, half year and quartal data. But here is profit just for Q1 2015:

      266 million EUR Air France
      155 million EUR IAG

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    12. Q1 2016 not 2015.

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    13. A) you wrote that MOST of the European airlines were profitable
      B) e.g. according to http://news.klm.com/air-france-klm-financial-year-2016-first-quarter-results the operating result of the AF Group was negative with -99 million euros
      C) only in last winter were results relatively good, not in other years
      D) you are comparing apples and oranges - 2 of the 3 by far largest airline groups of the continent in contrast to a regional airline of a country with approximately 4 mill inhabitants

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  2. Sarajevo is definitely the best choice, although I also think there is a market for them in Skopje. Wonder what the situation is like in Tirana?

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    1. In Tirana, Italy is by far the busiest market but the airport is also underserved. Lacks connections to almost all European airports outside Italy and Germany. That's why airlines like Air Serbia do well there, because they have a huge chunk of transfer passengers.

      The mistake is that Croatia Airlines is not already flying ZAG-TIA-ZAG.

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    2. The thing with OU is that even if they end up launching ZAG-TIA, they won't have that many connections to offer, they won't be competitive. How could they compete with JU, OS or AZ?
      Launching regional routes only makes sense if you have a strong hub.

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    3. That's true Nemjee, plus my guess is airlines like JU and others would actually be cheaper than OU, especially for transfer passengers.

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    4. Indeed but imagine also a scenario where they invest a lot of money in these bases and then ZAG strikes a deal with one of the bigger lowcost airlines like U2, FR or W6.

      What will OU do then? Will they stay and fight while struggling to make ends meet in PRN or TIA or will they, once more, try to copy Adria by reallocating to Poland? lol

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  3. I also think Sarajevo would be an ideal choice for OU!

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  4. For SKP, if eventually OU will start flying from there I'm seeing these destinations as possibility:

    Amsterdam
    Frankfurt
    Munich
    Long shots: Athens, Tel Aviv

    Other then those I'm not seeing anything else which might work efficiently.

    What are your thoughts?

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    1. Those sound most reasonable and likely routes.

      I found an article here from last year "Skopje Airport eyes new markets" where airport officials say "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".

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    2. Where are you seeing this?

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    3. FRA + MUC an absolute priority for SKP; AMS, BRU, CDG moderate priority; CPH, LHR among others would be a plus, although I do think it's better to get AF and KL as there will be more concurrence between *A and SkyTeam.

      LIS, ATH, TLV, alongside with SPU and DBV, seasonal at best, could definitely work.

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    4. OU would have no rights to fly SKP-TLV, only EU

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    5. If they do come in SKP, then I believe that the first routes they will open are either MUC or FRA (So they can feed passengers to LH).

      But I never understood why didn't LH Cityline start these routes, especially FRA?

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  5. Ending flights to Pristina 6 months before opening a base there is ludicrous. What was their rational behind this decision?

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    1. They cut an unprofitable route.

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    2. Ok I get that but how are you going to make a base out of an airport where you could not make the route between ZAG-PRN work.

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    3. Goes to show that this whole 'basing a plane' in these south east European cities is a scam. A diversion for Kučko to make it look like he is actually doing something. In fact he is wasting the time and resources of OU.

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    4. Anon 9:18, on one side it is true. But on the other side it is wrong.

      Just because ZAG-PRN is not sustainable, what makes you think that there is no other destination that OU could serve from PRN that makes sense commercially?

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    5. I believe that OU will open bases, but only in SJJ and SKP. (BTW, they should either open a base in SKP or PRN, not both)

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  6. This whole plan seems a bit odd. And opening so many bases at the same time is also odd and risky in my opinion.

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    1. Not at the same time but as aircraft are delivered. I'm guessing max 2 aircraft per year so it would probably be one base every at least 6 months to a year.

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    2. I would not be surprised they open 1 foreign base per year - no more.

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  7. Bolje je da pojacaju postojece linije za ex-yu gradove iz Zagreba i uvedu nove odnosno povecaju sadasnje linije kako bi imali vise p2p putnika. S druge strane OU je suvise skup, posebice s time da je usluga gotovo nikakva, pa nisam bas siguran tko bi u Skopju placao tako skupe cijene OU kada imaju brdo linija s lowcost kompanijama.
    Slicno je i za Pristinu, koja pogotovo ima intetese prvenstveno za Njemacko i Svicarsko trziste koje je prekriveno s brdo linijama prema istim i vecina kompanija koja ih povezuje su lowcost, cak nema niti Lufthanse. Ne vjerujem da bi se OU posrecila s Pristinom.
    A vec kad bi otvarali novu bazu meni se isto cini kako bi Sarajevo bila najbolja opcija, jer iz Sarajeva cak nema direktno do Frankfurta i ostalih navedenih linija u clanku. Mada Austrian i Turkish vec i ovako uzimaju dosta putnika i salju ih prema nekim od njima vaznih destinacija.

    Bilo bi poprilicno glupo i bez veze da eskpanzija OU ne zahvati Zagreb, jer se ionako cekalo da se izvuku iz problema usprskos tomu sto su Francuski koncesionari htjeli dovesti lowcost kompanije kako bi se povecao broj putnika. Ako se to i dogodi, te jos k tome uvodenje novih aviokompanija i povecavanje frekvencija vec postojecih, OU ce u potpunosti izgubiti Zagreb.

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    1. I ja se slažem da bi se prvo trebali posvetiti Zagrebu, pa onda ajde eventualno Sarajevo.

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    2. FYI, 2 friends visiting Vienna chose to fly with Croatia via Zagreb over flying with Wizz to Bratislava.
      The Prices in August were similar and the image of OU as a legacy carrier is better than Wizz Air.

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  8. Interesting how the busiest route from Skopje is not served by the busiest airline :)

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    1. I think they include both Ataturk and Sabiha in that stat.

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    2. Neither the busiest route inside EU :D

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    3. 1.Wizz has no rights to fly Macedonia-Turkey
      2.Wizz just opened Bratislava

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    4. TK and OS are two good options with legacy cariers from SKP thatswhy

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    5. @ Anon 10:50 AM, I know. Just found it interesting considering Wizz has a market share of some 52% :) Will be interesting to see how Austrian performs this year with Wizz competition in Bratislava.

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    6. Austrian has already shown some decline this year but not necessarily because of Bratislava.(ZRH is expected to take over VIE as second busiest route)

      Have in mind that 70% of Wizz-pax from SKP have never entered an airplane in pre-Wizz times and will only (can afford only to) fly Wizz. On the other side the vast majority of Austrian pax are transfer pax (80% if not even more). Austrian could probably see a further decline of 10% on its SKP route.

      More hurting then Bratislava would be if other airlines open new routes where pax now transfer through VIE

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    7. To be honest, I dont Austrian is doing bad at SKP. They are the best option for tranfer pax (their transfer time is the shortest of any airline) and their prices are through the roof. For example, they can be twice as expensive as Air Serbia, and eight now ASL's prices are pretty expensive as well.

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    8. Isn't OS regularly sending A320s and sometimes even A321s to SKP - several times a day? How can they do badly then? They could send Dash, F70, F100, E95, A319 but they send their largest med haul birds.

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    9. OS is stupidly expensive out of BEG. However they tend to be quite cheap if you book them via lh.com

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    10. OS has 2 daily flights out of SKP. The first one is at approx. 5am and the second one is shortly after noon.
      OS uses either F70 or A320 to their rotations to and out of SKP

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    11. I checked 1 week back and on every single rotation to SKP at least an A320 was used.

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  9. Is Skopje - Sofia to close for an air link? After all Macedonians and Bulgarians have close ties.

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    1. +1
      Their languages are very similar and can understand each other fine.
      But Skopje and Sofia are very close and people prefer to travel by road.

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    2. 3 hrs by car - I dont think anyone would take a plane...

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    3. A lot of people would take a plane if there was one...

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    4. If it is really 3h by car, it does not make much sense. 30 min to the airport, arriving an hour before the flight, 45 min flight, 15 min passport check/luggage, 30 min from the airport. (30+60+45+15+30 = 3 hours).

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  10. The best solution:
    Start with Sarajevo since it is the most promising. Base one A319 since they already have that in the fleet.

    Routes:
    London
    Paris
    Brussels
    Frankfurt

    Plus whatever other route that might work. Also increase ZAG-SJJ to offer more connections.

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    Replies
    1. The plane was to base CRJ900 there which would come to fleet in 2017.

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    2. + Amsterdam
      + Zürich

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. I am asking myself how come that OU does't take care about it's huge potential in turism. Not sure but I think that they have non charter flights like Adria, Air Malta, Aegean, etc. Most turists flight by many other airliners...Lost money and promotion

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    Replies
    1. OU is doing charters, mostly incoming charters in summer. Hardly outgoing ones and almost none in winter.

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  13. This will either be the beginning of a new future for OU or the beginning of the end.

    I'm not liking (sorry to offend) the complete focus of low yielding markets here. I would rather see some diversity to where they plan to open a base. They should consider a charter focused carrier based somewhere in Western Europe where they can shift aircraft to during the winter for example.

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    1. Or maybe they could create a daughter company that will have the same business model as Dubrovnik Airline. That could be an easy way to increase their cash flow.

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    2. Charter division may be Good during summer period but it for sure cannot ease the bad situation during winter. In fact it will make things worse.

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    3. Agree with Anon 10:27. Companies should focus on one business model, not try to catch all opportunities, as these opportunities always come with unexpected costs.

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    4. But from what I understood Dubrovnik Airline didn't go bankrupt because it was based on the coast, they went under because of unfavorable leases on their A320s, no?

      OU could base their upcoming regional fleet in ZAG while some A319s and A320s could be in SPU and DBV. I am sure they could make much more money there than by flying passengers for LH to ZRH, MUC and FRA.
      They've missed a unique opportunity with all this growth on the coast.

      The thing is that easyJet is slowly but surely taking over the Croatian coast. OU simply can't compete with them.

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    5. Nemjee, we understand your point. But those airbusses would be in use between May and September (5 months a year).
      What do they do with the metal the rest of the year?
      During season, OU can and does already use that capacity for scheduled flights in their network for frequency increases in summer and all their seasonal routes plus some charters. In summer they can also fill airbusses from ZAG to several destinations, plus they already use A319+A320 from SPU+DBV nowadays.

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    6. I know but there is something else we need to consider and that's what kind of overall yield they would have on the coast compared to the one they have in ZAG. Sure, some routes like BRU, CDG, LHR and AMS have good enough yields but I don't think that's the case with VIE, MUC or FRA.

      Then again, I don't think OU will ever try to become a dominant player on the coast. That ship has long sailed.

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  14. OU should consider SJJ and TIA and drop the other two that don't seem to commercially make sense.

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    Replies
    1. Albania has no ties with Croatia. OU basing an aircraft there would be the most challening one

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    2. Ref TIA: I was under the impression there is a whole bunch of (particularly Italian) destinations not served from TIA anymore after the demise of several airlines during the last few years. I was surprised when I just checked the connections from TIA that with Blu Express and Mistral Air entering the market now even every secondary airport in Italy is being served or will be served from winter onwards. Those are the routes which are short and could have been easily served by OU's Dash planes. Now it seems it is too late for OU in TIA.

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  15. I really can't get it why no one did before (e.g other EU airline) something like Croatia airlines is planning to do in Sarajevo now.
    Sarajevo currently has such a potential.
    Anyone knows?

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    1. Maybe the airport just did not have the initiative. They didn't want to keep the airport open over night for CSA this summer and lost a customer.

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    2. They wanted. For a price. But CSA did not like that price.

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  16. This whole plan seems to collide with the french managment in ZAG which wants OU to grow there.

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  17. what happened this AM at BEG ... air traffic schedule was a horror!! ... even JFK departure was late by more than 2 hrs!!...

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    1. Massive storm.

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    2. So the W6 (5.10am) departed before the massive storme. We had just to wait until 5 planes landed. I was on board and the light-show was beautiful. Greez

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    3. LH to FRA and JU to CDG and DUS managed to depart with some delay. The rest had to be grounded due to a new round of storm.

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  18. OT:What is happening in Albania/Montenegro/Macedonia all ASL flights delayed by at least half hour.JU162(from SKP) circling around neard Vranje,some storm or.Adria CR900 didnt even departed Sofia not good day for ASL...

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    Replies
    1. Read the comments above. Bad weather conditions/storms. When OU cancelled flights from Split 2 weeks ago because of storms no one seemed to care here.

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    2. JU234 BEG-ZAG is already nearly 2 hours late and weather conditions are good on the route.

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    3. You do realise that there were severe thunderstorms this morning causing all flights to be delayed 3 hours which is difficult to make up for during the day, so the entire daily schedule will be messed up. Or you think they should have refueled aircraft during thunderstorms against international rules. I'm sure you would be the first to point that out.

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    4. YU-ALT was diverted back to Belgrade after unsuccessful landing at Skopje airport and now it is waiting for take-off to Zagreb for more than two hours. Anyone know maybe why ?

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    5. Bad weather

      https://scontent-vie1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/14055132_10157284983070291_5950582095925541631_n.jpg?oh=e8d8cca2e058e31fb2b99f2853ef8197&oe=585AD405

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    6. And I sggest this link for anyone that wants to track live thunder

      http://en.blitzortung.org/live_lightning_maps.php

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  19. Off topic: Not sure how the airline prices are created but I'm looking for SKP - FCO flights for two, and the price in economy is 978 euros for two persons for 1 hour flight. :O :O :O

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    1. the later you try to book (or closer to your desired flight day) the higher the Price... its actually nothing new

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  20. OT Siniša Mali wants Air Serbia to fly to Kazakhstan, quote from todays papers.

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    1. Is he building an apartment complex there?

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    2. That's a very intelligent idea, long overdue.

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    3. Ovo su dobre vesti posto bi dobili dosta transfernih putnika.
      INN-NS

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    4. Kako da ne. A tek da lete za Majmar, Svaziland, Trinidad i Tobago. O St. Nevis and Kitts da i ne spominjemo. Tamo moraju već ove zime da krenu da lete.

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    5. Није Ст Невис и Китс него обрнуто, Ст Китс (скраћено од Кристофер) и Невис. Кад већ цепидлачим, могу да лете до Ст Китса али неће моћи до Невиса јер је писта на NEV само 1200м што није довољно за А330 до Београда. Причам из прве руке, био сам и гледао полетања са SKB пре недељу дана.

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    6. 3 puta dnevno!

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  22. Sarajevo absolutely. I'd be surprised if it doesn't happen, that's such a great opportunity.

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