Monday, April 3, 2017

Turkish eyes transatlantic flights from Skopje


Turkish Airlines is considering introducing transatlantic services from Skopje Alexander the Great Airport, the Macedonian Ministry for Transport and Communication has said following talks with the company's management in Istanbul last week. The Macedonian Minister for Transport and Communication, Vlado Misajlovski, discussed the possible introduction of flights from Skopje to the United States and Canada with Turkish Airlines' CEO Bilal Eksi, as well as the management of the Turkish operator TAV Airports Holding, which runs Skopje Airport. According to Mr Misajlovski, there is demand for flights from Macedonia to the US, which would, in turn, lead to passenger growth at Skopje Airport, thus allowing it to become a "leading regional hub".

Macedonia and Turkey have an Open Skies Agreement in place with both the United States and Canada, which permits for a Turkish carrier to be issued fifth freedom rights by regulators from all parties involved. This gives Turkish Airlines the freedom to carry traffic between two foreign countries on a flight that either originated in or is destined for the carrier's home country. It also enables the airline to carry passengers from its home country to another intermediate country and then fly on to a third country with the right to pick passengers in the intermediate country. However, the process could be long and Skopje Airport itself would still need to undergo audits by US authorities. On the other hand, flights from Macedonia to the US could also cater for the plentiful Albanian diaspora in the States, as well as those from Kosovo. New York is the top unserved destination from Pristina, while Air Serbia has seen a significant number of passengers from Tirana use its transatlantic service to New York via Belgrade.

The Macedonian Civil Aviation Agency said last year it was studying the possibility for the introduction of transatlantic services to and from Skopje. However, at the time, the regulator conceded that long haul flights were still some way off. "Direct flights from Macedonia to North America have long been discussed. However, there is still no reliable evidence to suggest that such a service could be viable. Canada has more potential than the United States because there is a bigger Macedonian diaspora. However, this argument is still not strong enough to begin procedures for the introduction of flights", the Director General of the Macedonian Civil Aviation Agency, Goran Jandreoski, said in 2016. He added, "Recently, we have been in contact with the FAA's [US regulator] office in Moscow, which oversees the Balkans. They want to help us prepare for transatlantic flights, so, if there is interest in the future, we can be ready to undergo checks and inspections".

107 comments:

  1. wow this would be very interesting.

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  2. There we go again, the Balkan obsession with the transatlantic flights to North America. Imagine if a much bigger BEG can sustain 3 weekly JFK flights then how the hell will this work out with SKP. Of course, subsidies is another story.

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    1. If BEG has flights to JFK, no one else can? Please, don't be ridiculous!

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    2. He didn't say that at all.

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    3. Almost everything that we heard about Skopje Airport became true in the past years.

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    4. Ryanair became true ^^

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  3. Seems everyone wants to have flights to the US all of a sudden.

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  4. But who do they plan to carry the transfer traffic from Skopje to other places. Wizz Air?

    It is interesting nonetheless.

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  5. So SKP will have North American flights before ZAG. Sad.

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    1. So what? This is great, if it happens!

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    2. "Eyeing" doesn't mean it will happen.

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    3. Yeah but we all know the airport is owned by the Turks so if a Turkish airline is eyeing flights then it will most likely happen.

      Congratulations to SKP.

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    4. Sorry to say but Zagreb does have flights to North America. Air Transat flies seasonally to Toronto. Sorry but Toronto is in North America.

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    5. It's a seasonal route by a random carrier everyone loves to hate. Here we have a premium, 5 star carrier interested in flying.

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    6. @AnonymousApril 3, 2017 at 9:09 AM

      If and when it happens, come back.

      Zagreb has direct connection with Toronto, on a seasonal basis, better than nothing at this point.

      450 000 US and Canadian visitors visited Croatia in 2016, 500 000+ are expected in 2017, only matter of time before we have a weekly service to NYC and Toronto.

      Air Canada or any of its subsidiaries might come soon enough, Delta is also potential carrier that might come to Zagreb.

      Zagreb was served by Pan Am for many years, it proved a success for Pan Am, no reason some north american carrier can do it again. Air Canada flew to Zagreb as well.

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    7. It was mentioned on here that ZAG might be linked with LAX, could it be Delta?

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    8. Still negotiating, probably next year, but I'm not sure it will be Delta or LAX, probably New York.

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    9. LAX for sure not, the trip costs are too high for this route - regarding the possible yield.

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    10. What alliance partner could Delta connect to at ZAG to take passengers down to Adriatic? Absolutely no one. Star Alliance would be very upset if OU offers to codeshare with DL on ZAG to coastal airports. Delta is not the ideal carrier for ZAG.

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    11. Alen Šćuric PurgerApril 3, 2017 at 11:34 PM

      But still Adria had code-share with Air France and Aeroflot, and Croatia with Air France and KLM!

      Did that upset Star Alliance?

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    12. Alitalia is expanding along the Adriatic coast. Delta flies to AZ's main hub, Rome, so all passengers will be funneled through there.

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  6. We don't have direct flights to a few major airports in Europe like London Heathrow and Charles de Gaule. Maybe government should focus on that first.

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    1. There is Luton and Beauvais. They secured you flights to London and Paris.

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    2. Do you know where Beauvais is compared to Paris?

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    3. It's closer to Paris than Baden-Baden or Charleroi are.

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  7. Never say never :D a few years ago it was unthinkable that Qatar Airways would fly anywhere in the ex-Yu and now they are going to be flying to four cities.

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  8. Ok I don't think there is a chance of it happening but Skopje could serve Albanian and Kosovo passengers too and that market is quite big.

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  9. US3 will be pissed off if they allow TK to fly IST-SKP-JFK (or for example Emirates DXB-SKP-JFK).

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    1. Would they really care that much? There are no links whatsoever between Skopje and any American city. I'm not sure if any US airline even has a codeshare on another airline to SKP.

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    2. yes United (UA 9834) codeshares with the morning OS flight with
      (Delta had a codeshare with Alitalia)

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  10. Haha, yet another delusional management which aims to have it's little and rather inessential airport connected to the US/Canada. And of course, none of it would have worked haven't they mentioned the famous Balkan concept of "a leading regional hub". If Belgrade (ASL) is having hard times filling it's A330 to New York, how the hell is this supposed to work?

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    1. Air Serbia doesn't have such a problem filling its A330 to New York (loads are actually quite ok), they have a problem making money off it, which is much more important.

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    2. The usual condescending drivel. Welcome to the 21st century.

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  11. Long day ahead today...comments wise :D

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  12. First connect with europe then connect with North America.

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  13. There have been plenty of examples of things that didn't make sense to experts who make comments here actually happening.... and working out.

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  14. I remember in some haze that Skopje used to have charters to Toronto. Can anyone remember that?

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    1. Skyservice? They used to fly to Belgrade and Zagreb before they went bankrupt. Not sure if they flew to Skopje.

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    2. I don't remember there being flights between Toronto and Skopje. When was this?

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    3. JAT use to have summer charters to Skopje in the early 80 s from Toronto. It was through Yugotours. Do not know if there were cjarters from JFK.

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    4. Actually SKP used to have JAT Jugoslovenski Aerotransport B707 landing in SKP and proceeding to BEG after coming on scheduled flights from Sydney-Singapore-Kuwait back in 1970's and 1980's. And for a short period of time it was DC10 serving the route as well, due to high numbers of Macedonian immigrants in Australia. Also, later, all departing and arriving Australian flights had immediate continuation to/from both SKP and OHD on B727/DC9, with same Australia flight's flight numbers. And yes, there were summer charters as well to Toronto from SKP by JAT, not to mention ZAG, LJU and DBV being connected to North America, SJJ to Tripoli and Baghdad, ZAG to Cairo, LJU to Tunis and so on and so on, but such an airline, stronger and better than Turkish or Austrian at the time, was so very bad according to some fanboys and cheerleaders here.

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    5. some day dinosaurs used to work on face of the earth...

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    6. Those were the days, my friend...

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    7. They operated in a much bigger country with many airports at a time without ME3, LCCs etc. Can not compare.

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    8. Skyservice flew charters from YYZ to OHD almost 10 years ago.Then they went bancrupt and no one tried those charters.
      Actually, there were total of six flights during the summer od 2007.First flight 85 pax, second flight 120 etc.
      No more info than this (but it's not saved i guess)
      http://www.build.mk/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=21&PID=19710&SID=87d948ef425azc19c12bee5afzd844b9#19710

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  15. Good that they have the initiative.

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  16. Well if they are looking to invest there money, better that they spend it on this then on some national airline project.

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    1. I disagree. Through a national airline you would actually hire local staff and with it affect a number of other suppliers.

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  17. What could be the possible frequency for these flights?

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    1. in our wettest dreams: 2 weekly Toronto may-sept

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  18. Good luck to Skopje and the creative ways of promoting aviation in the country, which I fully support.

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  19. It's an interesting concept for TK. Skopje seems like a natural choice considering IST is the busiest route and they are the busiest airline there (after Wizz). It is questionable whether there is enough demand but with flights originating from Turkey the plane would probably be full.

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    1. Does TK fly to the US via any other city?

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    2. Don't think so

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  20. Anonymous April 3, 2017 at 9:28 AM
    First connect with europe then connect with North America.

    Bravo! The GOLDEN comment, +1 million!
    I just don´t understand how a regional LCC airport will constantly feed this super competitive and expensive route.
    I am not saying BEG must be the only one, but apart from ATH - there are currently no direct flights from the neighbouring bigger cities such as OTP, SOF, SKG. Even much bigger BUD!

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  21. Im sorry to stop the party here, but the word "considering" is way too optimisticaly used here. They were only discussing the possibility TK to start those flights (triggered from the macedonian side) but yet nobody is "considering" anything here

    Personally I would be very very surprised if something comes out of there.. pozdrav

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  22. This would be amazing but I have a hard time believing it will happen.

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  23. Can gates in SKP accomodate a wide body?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, a TK A333 is a regular.

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    2. regular means twice a year during Hajj ^^

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  24. Typical politician making irresponsible statements.

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  25. OT - does anyone know what fueled such large cargo growth at BEG last month? It went up by 62%!

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    Replies
    1. Pablo escobar is living in serbia.

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  26. OT: Croatia airlines increasing Barcelona and Lisbon from 3 to 4pw from Zagreb, starting May 20th!

    Also, numbers for Zadar airport for March:

    2.271 / 8.187
    +260,5%
    +5.916

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    1. This is nothing new. It was already reported in the summer timetable changes.

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    2. Sorry, didn't know it was already posted. Still, great news, sales are obviously going great. I'm also glad for Zadar, nice numbers in March!

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    3. I am more interested in knowing why the sudden surge in passenger numbers?

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    4. Suppose there are much more tourists than last year, Dalmatia is packed which is unusual in March, the season has obviously started earlier!

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    5. guys, is this accurate?

      https://seenews.com/news/croatian-airports-2016-passenger-traffic-rises-13-table-557655

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  27. Some people here think they come from Sweden! Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro is all the same s..t! There is no big difference as someone is trying to make it look. Its good for all the airports to grow and there is nothing wrong with the hope and actions towards success! Skopje is almost as big as Zagreb and is the only airport in the country, there is big MKD diaspora so there is space for growth! I hope SKP, Zagreb and Belgrade and all other ex yu airports grow and it is stupid not to!

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    1. I would add that there not only Macedonian but there is also big MKD Albanian diaspora and albanians fly allot! So there is big space for growth for SKP

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    2. Amen to that.

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    3. Skopje is almost same as Zagreb? Just 50% of growing is missing? Zagreb had 500.000 in 1971, that was 46 years ago.

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    4. In 1971 Skopje had 300.000 inhabitants, so they also need 46 years to grow 200.000.

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  28. Sorry but there are more important projects needed to be finished that are crucial to Macedonia and its infrastructure not fantasy such as USA flights.

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  29. I don't think there is an airport in ex-Yu that has not declared itself a "regional hub".

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  30. With 0,5 macedonian diaspora in US and Canada, and about 2000 macedonian students that travel every year to USA i think there is enough pass. for Summer flights to USA.

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    1. Its not that far fetched especially in this sort of arrangement with Turkish Airlines.

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  31. I wish TAV Holdings all the very best i truly hope Skopje could become like Vienna where Serbs Bulgarians Albanians Turks and Greeks could use this airport as a transit point.

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    1. Also from Thailand, Australia, New Zeland and China lol

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  32. TK was looking to start LUX-JFK in the past but I guess that never became concrete

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  33. Ok let's say this goes ahead, what city in the US would make the most sense to fly to?

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    1. It's still a low probability, but "if" it were to happen, it would be summer seasonal and most probably to Toronto. I would place Detroit as a close second.

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    2. I forgot to add, Toronto is a Star Alliance hub so they would have feed on that end, which increases the chances of success. Again, it's great that they are looking into this, but I don't think the airport/region is ready for this in the next 5 years. Also, I don't understand all of the negative feedback and hating going on on this site. It's not a competition (don't act like you own your local airport.)

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  34. So far only BEG has published its phenomenal performance in March. Have any other airports done the same? ZAG? LJU? INI?

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    1. Sarajevo
      March 2017: 57,381 PAX +7.37% (3,943 more PAX)

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    2. Solid growth for SJJ. I guess most of this growth was fuelled by Arabs?

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    3. 16% aviooperacija i 7% porast broja putnika, može to bolje.

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  35. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macedonian_Americans

    it says only 60 tsd Macedonian Americans. Is this true?

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    1. @dennis
      yeah 60 tsd looks like americans with mcd passports, reading the history in the link, there have been some waves of emmigration, if you add it up it is more than 60. But do this people go back to Macedonia…I mean Trump doesn't visit Germany to see the village of his ancestors...?

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  36. They count ppl with Macedonian passports, not Macedonians with Bulgarian passports and not their kids and so on....

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  37. No airport in ex-YU overestimates its importance more than SKP does. :/

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    1. agree about INI
      +100000000

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    2. Zagreb does, it's only at 2.5 million

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    3. It is not, it is on 2,8 million

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    4. oh wow, that changes everything!

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    5. The point was to mention airports that HAVEN'T claimed the title and ZAG has on multiple occasions.

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    6. Sorry I misread the initial comment.

      It's still too early to comment on INI. Let's see how they perform in the last quarter of 2017. However, their year-round links are making the situation quite promising.

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