Swiss International Air Lines will discontinue services between Geneva and Skopje at the end of the 2016 summer season. It will become the fourth route in the former Yugoslavia to be terminated by the carrier this year. Swiss' spokesperson, Meikke Fuhlrott, confirmed to EX-YU Aviation News that the service will be discontinued as the airline struggles to turn a profit at its Geneva base. The last flight between the two cities is scheduled to operate on Saturday, October 29. While tickets for the route can still be purchased, the flights are to be removed from booking engines soon. Swiss launched two weekly operations between Geneva and Skopje in May 2015. At the time, the airline said, "Skopje is increasingly becoming a travel destination, along with Ohrid, and, as such, we anticipate on bringing Macedonia closer to Switzerland".
Belgrade and Pristina will remain the only two cities in the former Yugoslavia to be served by Swiss on a year-long basis. It comes after the carrier suspended operations to Ljubljana in January, which is to be followed by Zagreb, Sarajevo and Skopje this October. Swiss' subsidiary, Edelweiss Air, will continue to maintain flights between Zurich and the Macedonian capital. During 2015, Swiss handled 7.192 passengers on its services between Geneva and Skopje since the route was inaugurated in early April. Switzerland is one of Macedonia's biggest markets with Belair, Edelweiss, Germania Flug and Helvetic Airways all operating flights between the two countries.
It has emerged Swiss' parent company Lufthansa has put pressure on the carrier to improve its performance in Geneva, which will likely result in the suspension of up to ten routes from the city as part of a market turnaround plan, dubbed “Geneva Reloaded”. The two-year plan, which runs until 2018, is aimed at improving the profitability of the carrier’s Geneva hub operations. Unless the plan pays off and Swiss’ regional European operations are able to generate a profit, then the airport could be turned over to the group’s budget carrier, Eurowings. As a result, Eurowings has now been tasked with devising its own business plan for a possible Geneva market entry. Lufthansa Group insiders have said the company expects to make a decision on the future of its Geneva operations in mid-2017.