Thursday, August 18, 2016

Skopje Airport anticipates busy winter


Skopje Alexander the Great Airport, which is currently the former Yugoslavia's fastest growing capital city airport, expects to record yet another busy winter season with several airlines to boost their frequencies and offer additional new routes. Wizz Air plans to launch operations from Skopje to Hannover on October 31 and will double frequencies on its flights to Berlin from two to four per week. The service was inaugurated at the start of the summer season along with Bratislava, Copenhagen and Hamburg which will be maintained throughout the winter months. Furthermore, Wizz Air is expected to introduce services from Budapest to Skopje, after it was the only airline to apply for a four-year contract to maintain flights between the two capital cities. The route will be subsidised by the Hungarian government although the launch date is yet to be set.

Legacy carriers will also strengthen their operations in Skopje. Earlier this week ČSA Czech Airlines announced it would upgrade its seasonal summer service from Prague to the Macedonian capital to year-round operations. Flights will be operated twice per week with a mix of Boeing 737-500 and Airbus A319/320 aircraft. They will be timed so as to offer connections onto ČSA's European network. Swiss International Air Lines, which will considerably reduce its presence in the region this year after it suspends flights to Zagreb and Sarajevo in October, will see its subsidiary Edelweiss Air increase operations to Skopje. As a result, the airline will operate six weekly flights from Zurich during the winter, compared to last year's four. Qatar Airways, which was to introduce three weekly services to Skopje on October 2 has pushed back its launch to next year due to an ongoing fleet shortage. A new date is yet to be set.

Skopje Airport is expected to handle its one-millionth passenger of the year this August, which is a month ahead of last year. It welcomed 931.565 travellers through its doors during the January - July period, an increase of 20.5% on 2015. During this time, Istanbul maintained its position as the busiest route (operated by Turkish Airlines and Pegasus), accounting for 12.8% of all passengers passing through the airport. It was followed by Zurich (operated by Belair, Edelweiss, Helvetic Airways and Germania Flug on a charter basis), Vienna (run by Austrian), then Malmo, Basel and London (all maintained by Wizz Air).

89 comments:

  1. Great news! Well done SKopje :)

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  2. So I wonder what people who were saying that SKP was a balloon that would pop and would no longer have any passengers have to say.

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    1. It is still a balloon and it will deflate. And no one said it would have no passengers any longer.

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    2. lol neko se oseca prozvan

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    3. lol čovek je postavio pitanje i lepo mu je odgovoreno. Šta ti postavljaš osim sposobnosti da se smeješ kao lud na brašno?

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    4. Ma gluposti. Admin izgleda ceka na neki out of bounds komentar da bi izbrisao thread.

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  3. I'm still hoping that a second LCC airline arrives - either Ryanair or easy jet although it is looking increasingly unlikely.

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    1. Forget easyjet (its owned by Stelios Haji-Ioannou a greek conservative) They could have started BSL-SKP and GVA-SKP same time when they started PRN services from both cities.

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    2. Haha true didn't think of it that way :D

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    3. Nonsense, Stelios doesn't have that much say in the way U2 is run and for the record, he is a Cypriot from the UK so he doesn't really care about the whole name issue.

      Finally, U2 is not that strong in ex-YU so...

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    4. Easy has obviously focused on PRN and I think the ship has sailed for them to fly from Skopje. If they wanted to they would have applied for government subsidies like Wizz Air. I remember reading here in an interview that easy said that Skopje is not of interest to them.

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    5. ignoring a cash cow like BSL-SKP is epic (they had 2 years between their arrival at PRN and Wizz at SKP)

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    6. If it was such a cash-cow then they wouldn't have ignored it. It's obvious that SKP is W6's playground so U2 is smart to expand in PRN. Maybe that's why FR has been expanding so aggressively in INI.

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    7. Wizz was not present at SKP when EZY launched PRN services from Switzerland. SKP was nobodys playground back then.

      Now even OHD got its BSL year round flights.

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    8. Nemjee, re U2: it is, and they did. A major oversight.

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    9. So U2 is a SKP hater and that is why they chose not to fly there?

      LOL, the staff that is written in this blog!

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    10. the only SKP hater is obviously you. People are dicussing here about missed opportunities. It surely must hurt them since Basel is a U2 base.

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    11. Stelios was removed from position to decide several year ago. He still has biggest share of bonds bud he is not CEO or decision maker any more.

      If you remember it was nasty story with lot of dirty things during taking over Board, and after that Stelios get huge amount of money for using "Easy" name which was copyright registered on him personally.

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    12. Tranquilis but don't forget that DS' cost structure is much higher and there is a good chance they would have to operate the route with an A319. So one airline's cash cow is another's black pit.

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    13. On any other route the argument might have stood. There are a couple of markets key to W6/SKP success, and this is one of those. It's a golden goose really.

      Anyway, I'm glad they didn't, since the cost base argument still stands, both in the level of fares available and opportunities for development. The product would have eventually been inferior, strictly as a function of days per week.

      Just a note - DS, unlike the parent company, has a 50/50 split between A319 and A320.

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  4. Congrats to SKP, I'm wondering when will actually SKP hit the ceiling, do you guys think they can reach and maintain 2mil+ every year soon?

    Which other airlines can start flights to SKP? I doubt Lufthansa will, since OU and Adria are feeding their network. AF is codesharing with AZ and CZ. KLM might be distant wish.
    On the other side I'm seeing possibility for Aegean to start flights once the ball will be on the ground with the south neighbor. Aeroflot might be a possibility too if we continue the politics as we do now.
    SAS is another possible airline but I think W6 has covered that region good at this moment.
    Other than that, if for example Ryanair will start flying, not sure which destinations they can offer, will the airport management allow them to get in battle with W6 for same destinations?

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    1. Unfortunately the chances of KLM coming are low. I talked to one of their managers a month ago and they told me that they are not interested in the Balkans, especially ex-yu because it is a low yielding market and that they have left over the Balkans to Transavia if they are interested.

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    2. Also wondering when Skopje will hit its ceiling. I thought it would have happened a while ago but it didn't. Also very interesting if Wizz bases another plane there who knows where the numbers could go.

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    3. This years ceiling should be around 1.7 million, while my optimistic expectations are 2 millions in two years, with struggle to stabilize around 2.1 by 2020, which is half of the terminals capacity of 4.2 millions passengers per year.

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    4. Yeh, what happened with the Aegean rumors? ATH-SKP two weekly with Ryanair would be perfect (and no politics involved haha)

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    5. I'm not that well informed. Is there a lot of traffic between Macedonia and Greece given their relations? Do Macedonians go there or vice versa? I'm sorry my question may seem ignorant but just wondering and have no idea.

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    6. @anon 9.46 Yes,Greece is stil the No.1 holiday destination of the Macedonians plus weekends in Thessaloniki are popular troughout the year.Cheap fares to ATH could come in handy for exploring the south of Greece

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    7. Ties with the south of Greece are really weak. Olympic in its glory days in the late 90s used to operate SKP 4 p/w but most of pax were transfer to Australia and North America.
      I don't see a real demand for ATH. Nothing to do with the politic.

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    8. ok i agree somewhere with the "week ties" but lowcost travel can open markets where you didnt expect it, just look at SKP-BCN

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    9. Ties with the North of Greece are important, business and trade links, tourism (especially Macedonians going to Greece on as little as daily basis), the port of Thessaloniki and family links (the ones from mixed marriages).

      The ties with the rest of Greece are weaker, the region of Attica (Athens) is at around 700km from Skopje.

      However, I do believe there is a potential in the tourist market, if there are flights to ATH, at say, prices around 50-60€ per return flight, I think there is a room for 3 or 4 weekly SKP-ATH flight. Athenians are less sensitive to the political aspect of the relations between both countries, so there could be a market.

      Sadly, I don't see much more possibilities in trade and scheduled air traffic, the name issue being important, but the most important reason being the weak state of the Greek economy.

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  5. I'm happy that legacy carriers are strengthening their presence. Still hoping for LH or KL. We are still missing direct flights to FRA, LHR or AMS!!

    Btw. Results are great!! Congrats ��

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  6. ZAG-BEG upravo sada 18.8.216. 10.05 JU ATR 72

    37/66 = 56%

    Purger

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  7. Maintaining these figures will be quite tough. Also, reaching 2 million pax is another story. If LJU relies heavily on JP then SKP definitely does on W6. The sole solution will be a 4th W6 a/c or a couple of FR destinations which I doubt after the launch of so many in INI and SOF.
    OS need to launch more flights to VIE and LH starting MUC!
    QR we might see by Q3 2017.
    JU need to add more flights to BEG
    OU need to add more flights to ZAG
    SKP needs to apply the PRN and TIA model - having an excellent mix of LCC + main cities.

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    1. -1 (JU,OU and OS have enough rotations from SKP)

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  8. People seem to be forgetting that Croatia Airlines is opening a base in Skopje next year which will surely drive passenger numbers.

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    1. Do you have any more details about that? Since the initial announcement nothing else has been said? How many planes? Which destinations?

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    2. I'm not so sure that OU's arrival in Skopje is a done deal.

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    3. Wishful thinking, a.k.a. Jatovanje.

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    4. Or Cro-vanje

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  9. Great to see Berlin increasing in winter and in such a short time. Must be doing really well.

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    1. Where you see Wizz will double Berlin...they are 2 per week all winter ?

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    2. They will add flights on Tuesday and Saturday afternoon @ 18.15.

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  10. Really happy that SKP is continuing to develop. Great news.

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  11. We will see what will happen when EU ends investigation into subsidies.

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    1. *yawn this must be the director of PRN

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  12. SKP will very soon become third busiest airport in ex-Yu with an excellent chance to havelong haul flights, at least seasonal in the next couple years.

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    1. Hopefully Qantas will consider flights to Sydney as well

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    2. well said, tourism is booming, I am hoping for Cathay or Singapore Airlines.

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    3. Are you serious o.O

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    4. United Airlines to LAX is a real possibility too.
      I heard that they bought 787-9s specifically for routes like that.

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    5. much better is New Jearsey:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macedonian_Americans

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  13. Potencial for Skopje

    Ryanair:
    SKP-STN (hub)
    SKP-Weeze
    SKP-Baden-Baden
    SKP-Athens
    SKP-Warshaw (unique in the region)
    SKP-Lissabon (unique in the region)
    SKP-Zadar (seasonal)
    SKP-Podgorica (seasonal)

    Pobeda:
    SKP to Moskow

    Legacy:
    LH to FRA
    LH to MUC
    AF to CDG
    KLM to AMS
    BT to LHR

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    1. What do you mean under unique in the region?

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    2. it means that there is in 400km distance no direct fly!!!

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    3. Not so sure about the demand to/from the Croatian coast. Last year Croatia Airlines started seasonal flights from Split. I think they only operated 1 or 2 flights since the demand was low.

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    4. Croatian sold expensive tickets (i wanted to buy by myself), to rarely (at least twice per week is a MUST), with a turbo-prop and the advertisement wasn't very good. A LCC could make it much better!

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    5. SKP - Portugal seasonal will work for sure

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    6. ^ I agree. I'm really surprised how well Skopje - Barcelona worked out. Thought it would be cancelled quickly but has turned out very successful.

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    7. SKP-SPU direct was 250-300€ (pa nisu normalni) no surprise they called it off after two weeks

      add SKP-CFU(Corfu) and OHD-IST/SAW to the list

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    8. Lot flies to SOF which is in SKP's region and there are also seasonal flights between Thessaloniki and Modlin on FR.

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    9. I would like for Pobeda to stark flights from Moscow. I know last year, there was a comment from someone in Pobeda (it was either the CEO, or some kind of manager), that they would like to start flights to the Balkans. I dont believe they would go for BEG, as Aeroflot already flights there, so in my opinion SKP and INI are the logical. I hope that they will choose SKP. However, it might be a long shot, as there have not been any developments regarding this route for quite a while.

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    10. Both aren't unique. There are direct flights from SOF to both of them even WAW is double-daily. And Sofia is only 200 km from Skopje.
      SKP-Warshaw (unique in the region)
      SKP-Lissabon (unique in the region)

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  14. I hope Ryan will come to Skopje. It is much more important than Croatian or Qatar.

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    1. I absolutely agree with you.

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    2. My information from Ryanair told me today that they have no plan to come to Skopje.

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  15. OT: Ryanair to add ten aircrafts to the italian market and 44 new routes from summer 2017. Do you maybe know if they got more planes and if they'll open new routs from the Balkans? Ljubljana, Zagreb, Serbia, Skopje...?

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    1. Sooner or later they will fly to all those cities! +PRN

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    2. From the Balkans or to the Balkans?

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  16. OT: MA sign today codeshare with ASL on routes to JFK, AHU, OTP, ZAG and others. Director Kostic say that 20% passengers from flights JFK-BEG have final destination Montenegro.
    http://www.cdm.me/ekonomija/ma-danas-potpisuje-ugovor-sa-air-serbia-preko-beograda-do-njujorka

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    1. Montenegro is a nice niche market for JU. How big is the drop of pax to Montenegro in winter in general?

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  17. Good work Skopje. Which year could we expect 2 million passengers?

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  18. If we add the increase of the number of passenger till July 2016 to the number of passengers for 2015, SKP is standing at 1 610 878 passengers. Expecting the solid growth in the following months, I would say that SKP will easily reach at least 1.7 million.

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  19. By the time SKP reaches 2 million, then PRN and TIA will also be ahead. Not to mention INI next year and during the upcoming ones, they will be heading the 200 thousand mark and why not half a million?
    BEG will reach 5 million but not more.

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  20. SKP will reach 2 Mio. mark next year - don't doubt and hate!
    When the new airport was built everyone was asking how will it reach 1 Mio. This proved to be very wrong estimation led by some people here.

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  21. Pobeda is really interested for establishing MOW-SKP flight, but they don't want to make it at only their own risk. As i've talked with TAV heads, Pobeda already confirmed that they will come to Skopje, if one touristic agency from Macedonia and one touristic agency from Russia, make an agreement for cooperation with Pobeda, which will participate on the market together.

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    1. I really hope that what you're saying is true and that Pobeda will find partners for this route. However, Ryanair were in advanced talks with SKP, but nothing has happened as of yet.

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  22. What are the chances of W6 opening SKP - SKG? Skopje- Thessaloniki is indeed a popular route year round. I doubt A320 could be filled in for daily, but 3 pw could easily work with super-low prices. Maybe OU could consider that if they open a base in SKP.. Just speaking my mind hear, don't really know if it could work, especially since OU is only flying to ATH in Greece. Also, OU's A320 on the evening rotation to SKP could also fly summer charters to the Greek islands which is exactly what CSA is doing atm from Skopje. But OU obviously thinks their birds need a beauty sleep on the Skopje tarmac :)

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    1. cute, why would they fly to SKG for "super-low" prices when they can use the a/c on other more profitable routes for them :)

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    2. True dat dawg.

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    3. I don't quite get why Croatia didn't bid for the summer charters to Heraclion, etc that are now operated by CSA- they do have large a/c stationed overnight at SKP during summer months

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  23. Odlicno je da su se osatle legacy carriers i ASL dobro snasli i pored W6.
    INN-NS

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  24. OMG. A friend of mine just bought a ticket JFK-BEG-JFK-SDQ on Air Serbia and Jetblue and paid 370 DOLLARS! In the middle of September! That's a crazy price!!

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    1. I find that very hard to believe.

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    2. Yes. It's error fare. I've just checked it... :) Good for your (JU500) friend!

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    3. Will JU keep the fare or will they cancel it like United or Emirates do?

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