Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Macedonian airports eye above average growth


TAV Macedonia, the operator of Macedonia's two international airports, Skopje and Ohrid, expects for its passenger figures to continue growing in 2017 above both the European and regional average, following a record year. The Deputy General Manager of TAV Macedonia, Alper Ersoy, told EX-YU Aviation News, "If we look at the last four to five years, passenger numbers at Macedonia's two airports have doubled - from 729.297 in 2010, to 1.560.381 travellers in 2015. The intensity of the passenger growth was notably enhanced in the last two years through the opening of new routes at both airports". He added, "Between January and November 2016, the annual passenger growth rate was 16%, reaching 1.661.010 passengers during the eleven-month period. At the same time, the number of flights increased by 10%". Asked to forecast passenger growth for 2017, the Deputy General Manager noted, "Aviation is a highly cyclical business and it is very sensitive to external factors. Therefore, we do not want to state a specific number, but instead, we can say that according to our projections we expect an increase bigger than the European Union average and greater than the region’s average".

Outlining future plans for Macedonia's two airports, Mr Ersoy said, "We will keep our strategy of route expansion and attracting new airlines to the Macedonian aviation market as the fundamental condition for its continued development. As previously announced, we have two new routes planned from Skopje Airport for now. This includes Qatar Airways, which will start flying from Doha from the 2017 summer season, and Wizz Air, which will commence operating to Budapest as of April 2, a route which has not been served in four years. There will also be novelties at Ohrid Airport. As of the 2017 summer season, in cooperation with the biggest Polish tour operator, we will introduce new charter flights from Warsaw and Katowice to Ohrid".

During 2016, a total of five new routes were launched out of Skopje, including four by Wizz Air (Berlin, Copenhagen, Bratislava and Hannover), as well as Czech Airlines from Prague. On the other hand, Europe's largest tour operator, Thomas Cook, commenced services between Brussels and Ohrid, while Air Serbia and Arkia Israeli Airlines launched flights from Belgrade and Tel Aviv respectively. "Regarding airport facilities, at Skopje Airport we redesigned the departure security control area and relocated the ATU duty free shop and food and beverages units, in order to provide higher quality services and better passenger flow", Mr Ersoy said.

During last month's Southeast European Aviation Summit, the General Manager of TAV Macedonia, Zoran Krstevski, said, "In 2016 we will handle over 1.7 million passengers in Skopje and 135.000 in Ohrid. That means we have overtaken an airport such as Ljubljana which was well ahead of us only a few years ago. In the future, we expect to continue growing". He added, "Everything we have done so far has given results in a relatively short period of time and helped create a market. Now that we are approaching two million passengers, interest from carriers will be even greater. We have a smart policy of balancing between low cost and legacy carriers. As a part of TAV, we offer an incentives program for each scheduled carrier, including those for new routes, frequency increases and so on. This is generating good results".

105 comments:

  1. If we look at the past five years have BEG and SKP recorded the biggest overall growth in terms of additional passengers?

    Not counting airports like INI.

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    1. Yes. But if you look at the last ten years it is Skopje, Tivat, Belgrade, Podgorica, Split and then Sarajevo.

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    2. Anyone know why all these airports added so many passengers but ZAG and LJU are lagging behind? ZAG should be close to BEG in terms of growth. Is it a lack of LCCs?

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    3. That plus high fees plus they didn't have a reborn airline like JU.

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    4. True but BEG's rapid growth started long before JU was reborn. I think it's stupid that ZAG is refusing to negotiate a deal with LCCs, a similar one BEG has.

      Wizz was forced to pay normal fees and they accepted it. Also ZAG doesn't need a bse right away, maybe two flights from LTN and DTM.

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    5. Zagreb should be close to Belgrade in terms of growth? Ummm...actually Zagreb is ahead of Belgrade currently and starting with this year it'll only speed up that growth, possibly rapidly. Additionally, considering that Zagreb has two airports in Croatia with over 2 million passengers to compete with, this management has been doing an amazing job, with each of their 3 years finishing as all time record. So lagging behindm...are you living in some alternative reality?? lol

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    6. ZAG is not competing witg DBV & SPU. They are after different passengers and yes, in the last five years BEG has grown more than ZAG. Check the numbers.

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    7. But for sure at least 6 other airports (Split, Zadar, Rijeka, Osijek, Dubrovnik, Pula) take some potential passengers from Zagreb. If there would be less direct flights to those airports (like ih Serbia) more passengers would use Zagreb connections, and 5 of those airports (Zadar, Pula, Split, Rijeka, Osijek) are far away from Zagreb as Niš, Ponikve and Morava are from Belgrade and have just symbolic or no traffic at all.

      If situation in Croatia would be similar to Serbia (just one more small airport in country with just 120.000 passengers) Zagreb would have much more number of passengers than Belgrade.

      But here we have decentralization (unlike in Serbia) and try to make all airports living and prospering.

      Of course it is normal for tourist country (which Serbia is not), but to have 4 more airports in range of 280 km from Zagreb (Pula, Rijeka, Osijek, Zadar) which have more than 1 million passengers for sure is limit to Zagreb, which Belgrade does not have.

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    8. ZAG is competing with DBV exactly the same way BEG is comepting with SKG.

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    9. Your reasoning os flawed because you forgot TZL, TSR, BUD...which all steal pax from BEG.

      Also INI will serve over 300,000 next year which is not symbolic.

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    10. I wouldn't be so sure ZAG would benefit from hypothetical closure of coastal airports in Croatia. Perhaps a very small percentage of pax, outbound Croatian passangers, would continue onto ZAG and fly from there. Vast majority - holidaymakers during summer - would either skip Croatia entirely for a different destination with air connections or arrive by car or coach. Winter season paints a clear picture how much coastal airports actually "take" from ZAG.

      So, I would argue that this "decentralization" is a must for Croatia. Additionaly, the very shape of the country requires it. While countries like Slovenia, Serbia or Macedonia hardly require more than 2 airports due to geographical location of their main airport and road connections - and their sheer size - Croatia is a different animal. One can easily drive for 1,000+ km and stay within Croatian borders, while something like that is impossible in Serbia, even though it's a bigger country in terms of total land area...

      How long does it take to drive from ZAG to DBV, not to mention OSI? From Belgrade, any town in Serbia is reachable by car in 3.5 hours. Perhaps with some minor exceptions in the Southwest, where it would take up to 4.5 hours. In Slovenia and Macedonia, that's hour tops.

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    11. If DBV was to close TIV would get all the traffic.

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    12. As I said in comment DBV is not an object here. But other airports that are just 2 hours driving (OSI, ZAD, PUY, RJK) and SPU in 3 hours driving for sure is. ZAG easily could attract tourists from PUY, RJK, ZAD area, and from Osijek (and mostly it is even with airport in OSI).

      Now we are speaking about competition here, not that it is clever from side of tourism and country. For same reason Serbia should force Niš, Ponikve and Morava to make more routes and passengers (just see Niš example for which we read here for years that there are no demand).

      Also Zagreb has much more airports that steal passengers. Belgrade has 3 big (BUD, INI, ZAG) and 4 small (INI, TSR, TZL, OSI).

      But Zagreb has 7 big (BEG, BUD, VIE, VCE, TSF, BUD, SPU) and 10 small (TRS, BTS, GRZ, LJU, MBX, PUY, RJK, SPU, OSI, SOB)

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    13. Aren't Trieste and Venice closer to PUY than ZAG is?

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    14. According to your logic BEG has SJJ & SOF as well. ;)

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    15. BEG and SJJ? You are joking, right?
      SJJ is same distance to BEG as to ZAG but for sure is not any competition at all concerning the fact that you need 6-7 hours by car to come there. SOF partly is concerning the fact that part of potential passengers from South and East Serbia can use SOF. BEG-SOF is 6 hours driving (part of that route is without highway and you have one border to pass), and on that way Munchen, Milano, Salzburg, Linz, Klagenfurt (inside 6 hours)... are Zagreb competition.

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    16. People in Belgrade don't need to go elsewhere to travel, unlike Zagreb. However, the south and south-eastern Serbia gravitates between BEG and SOF and from recently INI. Same with northern Serbia which is devided between BEG, TSR,TZL &BUD. So Belgrade itself might not be super competitive but its catchment area is.

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    17. I agree, ZAG needs more connections and destinations but it won't happen until they lower the fees!

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    18. All of you have some good points, but I specifically responded the guy so shocked about Zagreb "lagging". When in fact it is currently growing faster than Belgrade and it's about to grow even faster for sure. While Belgrade will never again experience the kind of growth it had between 2013 and 2015. So what lagging?? That's just ridiculous. Most experts in fact expect for the difference between Zagreb and Belgrade to keep on dropping. It's quite possible forit to drop below 2 mill pax this year already.

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    19. Michael, my friend... let's look at the numbers:

      ZAG
      2010: 2.071.561
      2015: 2.587.798
      2016: 2.700.000

      BEG
      2010: 2.698.738
      2015: 4.776.164
      2016: 4.924.000

      Do you see what I am talking about? Next year BEG will get Transavia, second A320 by W6 and I am sure a few more capacity increases. What exactly is Zagreb getting? Higher charges making air travel even less affordable.

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    20. I would use the "never again" phrase very carefully. Actually, I would bet serious money that BEG will see similar growth patterns (in percentage) in the next 15 years.

      So many airports around the world saw crazy increases in numbers of pax. This whole region is poor and has so much untapped potential - both in business and leisure travel. Several years of steady economic growth is all that is needed to start seeing many new pax flying, and changing the habits of the majority who fly once or twice a year.

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    21. Just to clarify, not every year, but at some point in the next 15 years, we will see a strong growth lasting 3-4 years similar to the one from 2010 to 2015.

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    22. What would be the reason for such strong growth? Competition between Ryan and Wizz similar to what is happening now in Sofia?

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    23. Well there will be two main growth factors:

      1. Air Serbia
      2. improved living standards so people can travel more often. Wizz Air is basing a second a/c because there is demand. They are responding to both JU and FR.

      My prediction for BEG in 2017 is that it will welcome 5.400.000 passengers, ZAG around 2.900.000.

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    24. @Last Anon
      By what logic ZAG would rise only 100k next year?

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    25. @anon 12:10AM My friend...your numbers are first incorrect, since Zag ended 2016. on at least 2,75 mill. And even as they are they disprove your own point, since Zagrebu is growing 6,6%. How about Belgrade? See now where your math wrong?

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    26. @anon at 8:45 One can only laugh at your prediction. Zagreb would have to grow at a slower rate than 2 years ago to reach only 2,9 million this year. With the new terminal. LOL!!!
      And Belgrade...if it reaches 5,1 mill. you can open a bottle of expensive champaign. The time of Belgrade's super growth is done. Now it's time for Zagreb, Skopje, Pristina...etc. As numbers are showing at any rate.

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    27. http://www.croatiaweek.com/video-first-downtown-zagreb-ski-race-takes-place/
      This is how you attract passengers to a city,and not by political decisions introducing stupid, pointless routes. Just a thought.

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  2. Well done Skopje and Ohrid. It's great SKP is attracting more and more passengers from the region.

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  3. Congrats SKP and OHD! Wizzair has definitely made an impact. Let's see what other route they could open from SKP this year besides Budapest.

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    1. That would probably mean basing a 4th aircraft in Skopje.

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  4. I would love to see some airlines other than Wizz Air opening flights from Skopje but this is a great result. Congratulations.

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    1. I agree. There are still a lot of legacies that could give Skopje a try.

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    2. This year wasn't the best in terms of legacies. CSA, Swiss and Alitalia all left.

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    3. CSA and Swiss are seasonal and will return this summer. Alitalia left because they are falling apart. They left Istanbul as well and will suspend two daily Bucharest flights in February too.

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    4. @9.11 I think there is also room for more LCCs. For example Easy jet, Eurowings and Transavia.

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    5. Pobeda from Moscow would also be a good addition. They could fly to Ohrid via Skopje. Similar to what TUI used to do a couple of year ago, just the other way round.

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    6. Everybody is hoping for flights to Moscow. Will they materialise is a completely different matter. I dont know if there is enough demand for SKP-MOW flights.

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    7. The market is not that big and its best served via BEG, VIE and IST.

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    8. Are you even remotely serious? Why would Pobeda fly to Skopje before serving SOF or OTP?

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    9. Because, Russians doesn't need a visa for entry in Macedonia, and they will also be interested to go for holidays in Ohrid, if the tickets are cheap, too. Actually Moscow-Ohrid-Thessaloniki can be great combination.

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    10. Alen Šćuric PurgerJanuary 3, 2017 at 11:51 PM

      Why on earth would some company fly Moscow-Ohrid-Thessaloniki? Double costs, longer flight time, passengers who hate 1stop????

      It is much better to make 1 flight to Ohrid and separate flight to Thessaloniki than to make it triangle or 1stop with 2 frequencies.

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  5. Whatever happened with Ryanair's interest in flying to SKP?

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    1. Something definitely went wrong there and I think Ryan moved to Nis as a result.

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    2. "Something" meaning TAV happened. Which is also why they are the least qualified to be quoted in regards to any positive traffic development in SKP.

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    3. ^ haha are you serious? You realize they manage the airport and all this growth happened under their watch?

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    4. Yes, and I know for a fact they did nothing to support new routes and airlines nor helping out the ones in trouble, actually quite the contrary, they have been the least flexible part of the equation. The only thing they do is self-PR and lobbying for a Turkish 'Macedonian' national carrier.

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    5. FR can only come to SKP with even bigger subsides then W6

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    6. It is easy for TAV to brag around when Macedonian government fits the LCC subsidies bill. They will ultimately chase away all non-Turkish legacies. I guess that was the point. But it is very stupid and self-defeating.

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  6. I'm really glad for Skopje knowing how many passengers they had only 5 years ago. But I agree with others, I just wish there was a bit more variety at the airport other than Wizz.

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  7. And some people were predicting doom and gloom scenarios where growth would slow and numbers would detract.

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    1. one has to wonder what is the ceiling of SKP.

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    2. Soon or latter normal generic growth will begin. But anyway SKP is a success story in its won right. Congrats!

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  8. They surpassed Ljubljana in 2015. In 2017 I expect them to overtake Pristina. It will be interesting competition.

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    1. I'm not sure whather they will manage to overtake Pristina. PRN is yet to peek. They already have a few new routes lined up for 2017. I think Pristina will manage to stay ahead of SKP.

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  9. So what is the prediction for Skopje and Ohrid in 2017? What should the numbers look like at the end of the year?

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    Replies
    1. I hope SKP comes close to 2 million. It's not unrealistic.

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    2. I think they will be around 1,9 million this year.

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  10. well done Macedonia...bravo

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  11. Once Qatar starts flying in 2017, along with the planned base for Croatia Airlines plus possible Ryanair arrival, SKP will become third busiest airport in ex-Yu.

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    Replies
    1. Neither is FR coming and neither is OU opening bases.

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    2. It's funny that people still believe OU will set up a base anywhere outside of Croatia and maybe (and that's a big maybe) Sarajevo.

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  12. Alen Šćuric PurgerJanuary 3, 2017 at 10:24 AM

    Qatar will come, but one can not say when, as they postpone starting for so long, and now we don't have any information on possible dates.

    Wizz new route is just 2pw to Budapest.

    In same time they lost 7pw Alitalia, ČSA becomes seasonal, and I don't think Swiss will come back as it cancel route on beginning of summer.

    So, I really don't know on what they predict this grow which should be better than region. Maybe they know something they did not want to say now (4th Wizzair plane, Rayanair to base plane, some other airlines to come), but with this what we know there is no change for huge increase of passengers.

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    1. Or maybe airports in the ex-Yu are not the best source of information for new routes and traffic development.

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    2. According to the business ethics, airports should not announce new routes or new airlines, unless the airlines decide to go public. Unfortunately it works quite the opposite in this part of the world.

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    3. Anon 10.35

      Ai agree, remember when Purger announced LX to INI and they got angry and postponed the announcement.

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    4. Alen Šćuric PurgerJanuary 3, 2017 at 12:40 PM

      Absolutely agree, they should not. But still management should say "there would be some more routes in 2017 which will accumulate grow" or at least "we are in final stage of negotiations..." But with those 5 flights pw (Qatar and Wizz) and 10+ less (Alitalia, Swiss, CSA part of year) for sure they will not have lot of grow, especially not best in region like last years.

      INI was not that mad. We had meeting in Belgrade and this "angry postponed announcement" was not "angry" at all. Of course they did not like that first information did not come from them as surprise and with much bigger marketing effect than this way. About reason of postponed I would not discuss here, but trust me it is not what you think. My relationship with INI management is very good.

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    5. Doha - Skopje, four times weekly starting from 17th July 2017, it is confirmed and it has been a while now.

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  13. We will probably see growth of around 4-5% this year. Exception will probably be January/February with larger growth. Skopje's real growth was seen around August and September last year when it was about 2%.

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    1. Are you forgetting that Wizz is starting Budapest and Qatar is starting Doha?

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    2. QR is still uncertain, they are facing a lack of aircraft and it's not like they are rushing to launch SKP. Their current priority is ZAG where they are performing the best and they are going to send their Dreamliner in summer.

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    3. Yeah ZAG is the most important destination in their network. There is no dreamliner scheduled to operate during the summer to Zagreb. Their Dreamliner fleet is limited and dedicated for particular routes. Both Skopje and Sarajevo were featured in Qatar's end of year press release as new destinations being launched this year, so it will definitely go ahead.

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    4. ZAG is definitely their top destination in the region, look at the number of flights. ;) In summer it will be 14 more than SKP. lol

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    5. How is QR doing in the wider region? So not only BEG and ZAG, but also SOF, BUD and OTP

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    6. My partner is supposed to fly standby this weekend to ZAG from KL with QR and was told that the loads are very high and that Sunday flights have 10 seats or less available from Doha to Zagreb.

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    7. Loads are 'very high' from KUL or to ZAG? Big difference.

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  14. SKP will have a great chance to overtake PRN. It would be excellent to see FR start flights. Possible destinations could be Madrid and maybe Larnaca. I'm also hoping for Moscow soon.

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    1. Pobeda was considering flights to Skopje last year then they decided against flying there. Hopefully they review their plans. There is really a strong case for flights between Moscow and Skopje.

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  15. Only legacy airlines now left in Skopje are Adria, Air Serbia, Austrian, Turkish and Croatia Airlines.

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    1. Wizz Air killing all competition.

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    2. I would not be surprised if the only airline serving Skopje in a few years is Wizz Air :D joking. SKP is doing great. If you take a better look there is no direct competition between any LCC and legacy on flights from Skopje.

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    3. Last week, 28/12 i flew Skopje to Vienna on fokker 70. Only 19 passagers

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    4. Light load but it depends when you traveled really considering it was the holidays.

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    5. It is ridiculously light load, and especially so for holidays.
      And by the way, the holidays in Macedonia did not start yet at that moment.

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    6. It seems that there could be a farewell for Austrian in SKP too. Nice, more traffic for IST.

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    7. Maybe SKP will get Eurowings from Vienna. I can't imagine them suspending the route.

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    8. I am sure TAV will try its best to drive away both Austrian and Adria, Croatian and force as many passengers as it can to travel abroad via Istanbul.
      It would like for JU to also leave but this market is too big to do so.

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    9. Erm, guys, SKP-XYZ direction gets filled only after Jan 1st. Literally anyone with access to load figures would know this. Funny how you get your pitchforks out and ready for the wrong things..

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    10. @1.47: Why do you have a problem with TAV? Was the previous management at Skopje Airport doing a better job? I don't think so.

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    11. @2:13: He's got a point. MK gov't is footing the bill for WZZ development, and TAV isn't moving a finger to help. They'd be super happy to push for their Turkish buddies to base an aircraft and a so-called 'national airline'. Guess who'd pay for that too. With that kind of govt financial support, literally anyone could sit there and be glorified facility managers, which in all honesty is what TAV actually are.

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    12. If you read the article you would see that TAV offers incentives to all airlines.

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    13. @2:25 It's not whether, it's how much. Slim, as in miniscule or peanuts. Very similar in effectiveness to PRN's "incentive" plan. I also know of a case where they backed out of a promised incentive for a pretty large sum of money involved. You wanna go on?

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    14. Wait... who backed out, PRN or SKP?

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    15. SKP, i.e. TAV.

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  16. SKP's growth model is unfortunately not sustainable. There'll be a time where Wizz requests more financial support to maintain the ops, and the government refuses. Until that time, let the party continue.

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    1. Most of the incentives have expired already and Wizz is maintaining service on their own.

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    2. Yeah, they "expired". European Commission recently criticized their continuation and recent renewal.

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    3. Keep on spamming with lies, they might eventually turn out to be true.. in your local kafana.

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  17. I takodje bi bilo da se potrude oko dolaska jos nekih legacy kompanija sto bi im takodje donelo plus za Aerodrom.
    INN-NS

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  18. Me as a macedonian can say the growth rate is not sustainable. We need legacy carriers not more lcc's!!

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