Low cost carrier Eurowings has held talks with TAV, the operator of Macedonia's two international airports, regarding the introduction of flights to the country. The Lufthansa subsidiary has expressed interest in launching services from Munich and Dusseldorf to Skopje. "The negotiations with Eurowings form part of our marketing activities, which we constantly undertake with the purpose of expanding our destination network from our two airports in Macedonia", the General Manager of TAV Macedonia, Alper Ersoy, said. He added, "We are currently discussing the introduction of services to primary airports in Dusseldorf and Munich with the German carrier. If the talks prove successful, passengers will not only benefit from new flights to Germany but also from intercontinental links, offered by parent company Lufthansa".
Eurowings would face no direct competition on its potential new services between Munich, Dusseldorf and Skopje. However, Wizz Air operates flights between the Macedonian capital and Memmingen, which serves as a low cost alternative to Munich. Furthermore, it maintains flights to several cities near Dusseldorf. Eurowings will expand its operations in the former Yugoslavia this summer, with its focus being primarily on the Croatian leisure market. In addition, the airline is currently in discussions over the introduction of flights between Stuttgart and Mostar and has expressed interest to launch operations to the Croatian island of Brač next year. Apart from Croatia, the carrier also serves Belgrade, Pristina and Sarajevo within the former Yugoslavia and will commence services to Tivat this summer as well. Germany is one of Macedonia's main country markets. Skopje Airport currently boasts flights to nine cities in Germany, including Berlin, Cologne, Dortmund, Friedrichshafen, Hahn, Hamburg, Hannover, Memmingen and Nuremberg. All of them are operated by Wizz Air.
Meanwhile, Skopje Airport has started the year off strongly by handling 122.521 passengers this January, representing an increase of 12.3% compared to 2016. TAV Macedonia expects for its passenger figures to continue growing in 2017 above both the European and regional average. "We will keep our strategy of route expansion and attracting new airlines to the Macedonian aviation market as the fundamental condition for our continued development. Aviation is a highly cyclical business and it is very sensitive to external factors. Therefore, we do not want to estimate how many passengers we will handle this year, 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", Mr Ersoy told EX-YU Aviation News last month.