Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Macedonia revistis national airline project


The new Macedonian government is considering launching a national carrier after the previous administration gave up on the idea last year. The Macedonian Minister for Transport and Communications, Goran Sugareski, said, "Macedonia absolutely needs a national airline. In order for this project to be realised, we might have to consider a public private partnership, similar to the ones employed by our neighbours. In any case, we will consider all options and find the best possible solution". Despite the necessity for a new national carrier, Mr Sugareski also indicated that the government would continue subsidising low cost carriers, a policy which has attracted the likes of Wizz Air, and generated strong passenger growth in Macedonia. "We are looking at various options, such as Ohrid St Paul the Apostle Airport being served exclusively by low cost airlines. Everything that was successfully implemented [by the previous government], and is in the people's interest, will be maintained".

Last year, the Macedonian Civil Aviation Agency, and the operator of the country's two international airports, TAV, said that the establishment of a planned new national carrier would be unsustainable and that conditions have not been met for its set-up. The comments came over a year after the Macedonian government tasked the Dutch-based InterVistas Consulting Group to compile a detailed traffic forecast, as well as a financial feasibility study, and give its recommendations on whether a new national airline is required. "The initial analysis made by the consultant showed that it is unviable to establish a national airline under current market conditions. The consultant was asked to assess whether it would be sustainable for Macedonia to create a new airline, keeping in mind the cost of hiring staff, fleet investment and licensing", the head of the aviation regulator, Goran Jandreoski, said at the time. He also added that a new study would be conducted in 2017 and that a flag carrier could be set up only if there was a significant surge in the number of people travelling by plane to and from the country.

Macedonia has witnessed some of the most robust passenger growth in Europe over the last few years, with numbers expected to continue rising in 2017 above the European average. However, TAV, previously conceded that the lack of a flag carrier has made it more difficult to establish flights to a number of markets, particularly those that are bounded by rigid bilateral air agreements. "We have invested in airports and Macedonia should invest in its own carrier. Every country should have an airline. I'm sure it will happen soon and, with it, the number of passengers will rise significantly”, the co-founder and CEO of Turkey’s TAV Airports Holding, Sani Sener, said. Neighbouring Albania recently tasked Turkish Airlines to assists in the establishment of a new national carrier in the country, while the Macedonian government has held talks with the Turkish airline over the possible introduction of transatlantic flights via Skopje.

117 comments:

  1. They need to wake up. If the Croatian government didn't find a buyer for OU (despite ALL of their attempts) then no one will be interesting in setting up a semi-government business in a country where Wizz Air is slowly building a monopoly.

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    1. They could operated flights not offered by W6 or that can't be operated by W6 because of the bilaterals that require the airline must be registered in Macedonia. They could have flown to Moscow, Istanbul and Tel Aviv for example.

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    2. If the demand was so great then wouldn't we already have some airline flying between these? Also, if W6 is so committed to their SKP base then why not register one aircraft down there to operate these routes?

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    3. its more about taking the risk then no demand . look at Wizz 90% LF on SKP-BCN

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    4. AnonymousJuly 18, 2017 at 9:12 AM:

      It's not about registering the aircraft, you need to open a separate company, apply for an operating licence, etc. All of which takes time, resources and more importantly - money. Incompatible with LCC philosophy.

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    5. Ok so have the government renegotiate these agreements to allow other airlines to operate routes.

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    6. The bilaterals has no meaning for Wizz Air. Wizz Air is flying from SKP 7th freedom traffic rights which are granted by the national regulations of the countries where they fly to and not by bilateral agreements.

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  2. I think there is enough room for a national airline. LCC attract a completely different market. If they took out two regional jets I think a new national airline could work.

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    1. Define "could work," please.
      Sell seats, but lose money does not = "could work" in my books.

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  3. Wizz Air already handles double what MAT did in its time and is not funded by tax payers.

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    1. First of all it is funded by tax payers in form of subsidise. Second MAT went bankrupt in 2009 - 8 years ago! It was a completely different era when there were visa restrictions and many other things.

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    2. lol "funded" . even me as wizz nay-sayer must say this is pushing it over the top.

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    3. Love it when people from the Balkans start talking about taxes and their tax money.

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    4. Anon 09.24

      What's wrong with that? Aren't they allowed to be angry when their tax money is being misplaced?

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    5. Their tax money is being misplaced every single day in much more spectacular fashion and several orders of magnitude above the total cost of any aviation-related investments. So no, they shouldn't be angry.

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    6. And how do you know they are not angry at those as well? I mean there is no reason for them to complain about non-aviation spending on an aviation portal. Talking about those issues would be a massive OT so your comment was out of order.

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  4. If Turkish is interested in setting up something with a professional management then why not. If it comes down to government running the airline than it would be waste of time and money.

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    1. Why should TK care? If they wanted to expand into Europe then they have SunExpress to do it.

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    2. Turkish influence in Macedonia is huge. Also airport is managed by Turks. This is another way for them to extend their influence. Same way Turkish went for B&H Airlines.

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    3. Yeah and we all remember how well the Bosnian scenario turned out to be.
      TK already has the Turkish government meddling in its business, it sure doesn't need the Macedonian one doing the same.

      Small countries such as these don't need a national carrier. Wizz Air is doing a mighty fine job.

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    4. I would say Turkish influence peaked and is on a decline.

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    5. @9:11

      +1,000

      Couldn't agree more.

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    6. @9.36
      The "Remember 15th of July" billboards with Erdogan image all over city does not agree with you.

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    7. @9.44 but these are paid.

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  5. Macedonia invested nothing in MAT as it was practically a private airline given a contract to act as a national carrier for 10 years (until 2010). Had they invested 50% of the money they gave to Wizz Air it could have developed into a respectable company. It had a decent route network and service. Unfortunately most will remember them by their last few months of operations which were hectic to say the least. Now the government wants to invest in a new airline + keep giving out subsidies to low costers (which the EU commission has warned them about and will probably have to end sooner or later). Makes me wonder why the Macedonia CAA was MAT's biggest enemy and why they were so eager to shut them down over night.

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    1. it was political im afraid. you are right about the hectic in the end

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    2. "Had they invested 50% of the money they gave to Wizz Air it could have developed into a respectable company."

      BS.

      "..+ keep giving out subsidies to low costers (which the EU commission has warned them about and will probably have to end sooner or later)."

      BS.

      We're all very sorry you couldn't do it on your own. You should learn to accept reality and stop spinning half-truths in order to push an obvious failure through for personal gains.

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    3. Ok Anon we know you are Wizz employee.

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    4. When arguments fail you, turn to the (incorrect) ad hominem attack. Shows why you are where you are..

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    5. And which "arguments" exactly was presented by you Anon? BS is not argument.

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    6. The statements presented are faulty. To spell it out:

      For the first one there is no precedent in practice, and in addition no theory to prove it is a viable option. Quite the contrary, there are numerous arguments why the contrary is true, some of them being economies of scale and inability to cover overhead, less efficient aircraft and high commercial risk due to thin domestic demand. The burden of proof lies with the narrator in this case. As far as 'respectable' goes, perhaps they meant by West Balkan standards, if you catch my drift.

      The second one is an outright lie and spin bordering on PRN management's one.

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  6. Anyone else worried by the minister's idea to make Ohrid exclusively LCC??? It shows to me that they are thinking of restricting any other LCCs from coming to SKP and forcing them to use Ohrid instead.

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    1. Perfect situation for Wizz because they would never force them to move to Ohrid. They lecture all other airlines and airports about competition but try to chase away anyone when there is a prospect that their monopoly may come to an end. Example: Ryanair in Skopje.

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    2. nice try. only vmro-bots are worried. NObody said "forced"

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  7. So many European countries don't have national airlines and they are doing absolutely fine. Why would we need one?

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    1. So Skopje can continue growing its passenger numbers.

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    2. It does that without a national airline.

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    3. That growth will stop at one point. And then what? Also Wizz can get up and leave whenever it wants to. I'm not saying it's going to do that but it's not like they are tied to SKP. So if they leave what do you do then?

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    4. Ryanair will be more than happy to take its place with current list prices, the one Wizz is already paying, since it's obvious there is a good market and minimal risk. The hard part was developing all this network, and that's pretty much done.

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  8. set up a Macedonian-Slovenian company with one of Adria Airways planes and that is enough. use the Adria Airways brand as it stil has a good reputation in Macedonia

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    1. Agree. I always say Adria missed a big opportunity in Macedonia. They had something like that planned in 2010 but they never made good on those plans.

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  9. Always a pleasure seeing the MAT livery. It was very classy. Designed by the same people who did JAT's 90s wing/flame livery.

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    1. Yes! I loved MAT livery, Macedonian flag looked good on both B737 and CRJ900 tail.

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  10. Does anyone knows yesterday QR load % to and from skp , and possible to which countries they had tickets?

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  11. I think we are stuck with Wizz.

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    1. lol unfortunately

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    2. "stuck" - please you just kill me with this words.... Да не беше Wizz Air 70% од македонците немаше да знаат што е авиопревоз, затоа молчи си!

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    3. Ja ziveam vo Svajcarija i do pred 3 godini nikoj od rodbini nedojde da ne vidi. A sega site bile, po nekoj i poveke pati. Fala Wizzair. Samo sepak sakam da dojde barem uste eden od tie poznati Lowcosteri (Ryan, Easyjet...) samo da imame malce konkurencija.

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    4. Топло ми е околу срцето кога ќе прочитам ваков коментар. (10:12)

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  12. "We have invested in airports and Macedonia should invest in its own carrier. Every country should have an airline."

    What a stupid statement. Have you put it as a clause into the concession agreement Mr ceo?

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    1. If Mr. Sener is so clever, he should take some money and establish TAV Airline of Macedonia. We don't need such experiments.

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  13. I don't think Macedonia needs a national airline but it would be interesting. The government would throw huge amounts of cash at it just like Serbia into Air Serbia.

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    1. People talk a lot about some Air Serbia monopoly in Belgrade but fail to realise that Wizz Air has a bigger share in Skopje then Air Serbia has in Belgrade. I don't think the government's idea is bad. They don't want to put all their eggs in one basket BUT it is very expensive.

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    2. THEY SAID AIR SERBIS HAD 60K PASSENGERS TLL KNOW FOR NEW YORK,,MAN THEYRE 50K PLUS ALBANIAN TOTAL FORM MACEDONIA KOSOVA AND ALBANIA TRAVEL FROM MAY TO SEPTEMBER IN EUROPE IN SUMMER TIME ONLY,,,I THINK AIR SERBIS SHOULD WENT 2 FLIGHTS A WEEK AND WITER TIME 1 TIMES A WEEK,OTHER WISE THEY NEED 100K PASSENGER A YEAR TO MAINTAIN THIS FLIGHT,IS NOT ANYMORE JUGOSLAVIA JAT AIRLINES WHEN ALL JUGOSLAVIA USED TO GO BELGRADE AND FLY TO USA 100K PLUS OR 150KPUS A YEAR,,,I THINK AIR SERBIS SHOULD FIX WAITING SCHEDULES TO OHRID AND SKOPJE WHICH LOT OF MACEDONIANS AND ALBANIANS FROM MACEDONIA FLY TO USA JFK,U HAVE TO WAIT 6 OR 7 HOURS TO BELGRADE WHEN U WAIT FOR ONGOING TO JFK,THATS CRAZY TO MUCH I NEVER WANT TO FLY FROM SKOPJE TO NEW YORK AND WAIT IN BELGRADE 7 HOURS AND 30 MIN OR MORE,,IT SHOULD E 2 HOURS THATS IT OR 3

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  14. I agree that Macedonia might not need a national carrier, but it certainly does need better connections to important hubs such as Frankfurt, London, Paris without the extra step of transferring through ZAG, LJU, BEG or VIE.

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    1. +1

      Agreed. The questions is how.

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    2. I don't know. It's odd that there aren't more European airlines (legacies) flying to Skopje. TAV gives nice incentives for new routes, the market exists... Maybe Qatar Airways launching flights will give a good signal to others.

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    3. "TAV gives nice incentives for new routes"

      :))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

      Please.

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    4. Don't they? I think they have an incentive scheme like other airports. Even the CEO of SKP said something like that a few months ago.

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    5. Yeah, they are quite comparable to PRN incentives, which I find equally laughable. "The CEO of SKP" is a key TAV employee.

      Listen, if it were up to TAV, SKP would've had less than half of what Wizz is flying today, and if it weren't for their stinginess, we would've also had Ryanair there. You are free to think otherwise and agree with their PR machinery.

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    6. Just asking :) I don't know much about the situation.

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  15. I am afraid of Turkish Airlines as a Partner when u take a look at BiH Airlines what happened to them...

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    1. That was more the fault of Bosnian government then Turkish. While Turkish was running the show they got new planes and expanded the network.

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  16. Can someone that actually knows about the topic tell me is Wizz still receiving some form of benefits from the Macedonian government? Thank you.

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    1. I think they won a three year tender for some support but I think that is ending soon. I don't think the new government will make any similar tenders.

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    2. .. and that tender only covers new route support.

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    3. Do you know how many years are left for this? Or is it expiring soon?

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    4. 5 mounts till end of Jan. but is valid only for new routs(or in case of based airplane)

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    5. Well, as the company bases one aircraft every year, that means they receive support since the launch of their operations. But why do some people consistently deny there are subsidies? Is it something to be ashamed?

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    6. As it frequently happens, it can be spun to misrepresent the subsidies' amount (whether in absolute terms or using inappropriate comparatives) and purpose.

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  17. Macedonia definitely does not needs a state carrier.

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  18. new government, new plans, repeating old mistakes...
    sad! (trump voice)

    it is this old fashioned way of not understanding the commercial aviation as a transport business, but as a dick measuring competition.

    LCs are crating decent connectivity, bring tourists, are good for gastarbeiters to come more often and improve their spending in macedonia... why play with that? on the other hand, yes TAV wants more connectivity so for sure there is some lobbying, and there is unused potential with some markets, but the price to reach that (forming an entire airline) is just to much

    "we must have a national flag carrier!"
    sure, it will sound nice for macedonian voters, but what will happen after first annual financial report? more subsidies tricks and start of painful several year process until the carrier is put to sleep?
    this national airline, flag carrier type of thing really ticks me off. everybody is in this to make money, nothing else matters. even vučić is slowly realising that, so now you have massive cost cuts in JU and sadly, layoffs.

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    1. Always enjoy reading your comments Petar :)

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  19. Please NO national carrier. Instead of that new subsidies for new routes with LCC. Wizzair shouldn't be granted with this benefits because of the monopoly-danger.

    I like Wizzair, and I fly most with them (at least once per month), but Skopje just need an other player who bases plane/s in the city (Ryan, Easy, Vueling, Eurowings or Transavia).

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  20. How do they plan to finance Wizz Air and a national airline at the same time?

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  21. There we go again with the national carrier obsession. Please, this is 2017 not 1960. Wizz is already connecting well Macedonia to the rest of Europe.

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    1. +1000.

      Even UK doesn't have a government-owned national carrier. And compare their economy to the ones of the ex-yu countries.

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  22. What would they call it?

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    1. Air Alexander :D

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    2. Alexander the Great Airlines.

      Their slogan can be: Ride the Alexander.

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    3. Antique Airlines and they will play "Opa Opa" on departure & arrival :D

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    4. Alexander the Great Air System

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  23. If they do set a airline it should be with a foreign partner with a 49% share. That would be a completely different ball game then to that of MAT.

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  24. Does anyone know when we might expect EK to place its code on FZ flights to the ex-YU region?

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    1. We also wonder here, when FZ will place its code on EK flights :)

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    2. Here as in where?

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  25. Would love to see a Macedonian carrier in the sky again

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  26. I think that this will be a nice idea. Macedonia needs a legacy carrier. Hope that the government will take that decision. I belive that the best thing is to create a joint venture with another small airline from the region (Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenja or Bulgaria).

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    1. Would say Bulgaria where they already have a fully private airline and there will be no need for the tax-payers to support the project.

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    2. Only that the private-owned national carrier owes 25 mio EUR to airport (government-owned) in charges that will not be repaid until at least 2021.

      https://www.ch-aviation.com/portal/news/47615-sofia-airport-confirms-ryanair-claims-about-bulgaria-air

      Indirectly subsidized by taxpayers.

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  27. This whole idea is ridiculous.

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    1. Sugareski does not like this.

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    2. Yes, today again he repeated the same thing about the national airline. He said they are doing studies.

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    3. yet Mile mi tekna liked it

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  28. Good luck Macedonia :)

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  29. Does anyone know approximately how well is Skopje ranked by the number of Wizz air destinations in the entire network? They have 25 destinations now?

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    1. Skopje has 27 destinations by WIZZ + Venice , so thats 28 destinations.I think wizz should go more to Ohrid while a new Macedonian Airline goes to SKP.

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  30. I think that all they can get is "Wizz Air Macedonia"

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  31. f Macedonia is not able to establish a proper and safe airline then she should stay out of it. There are other countries in Europe and the world who do not have their national carrier and they do OK without it. Not to mention that national carrier is an expensive toy that can be quite a burden.

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  32. I am Macedonian and I think it is very stupid idea. Even a feasibility study is kinky.As mentioned above, the only positive thing is employment of partisans-and maybe secret agreements with TAV.

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  33. Does any one know if the Skopje/Ohrid TAV deal with the Macedonia government is somewhere available to be read? please show url if this deal exists online.

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  34. They really need to give up on this idea.

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    1. Why? Because we should invest in a Hungarian airline that loves us so much they don't want to even create a Macedonian registered subsidiary so they can avoid any taxes.

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    2. No, we just should not invest in any airline

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    3. Hey bro, they don't even pay taxes in Hungary. Research a bit, hate less.

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  35. A flag carrier in Macedonia would be as profitable as Montenegro's or Bosnia's flag carriers are/were. So not at all.

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    1. The same goes for Serbia's, Croatia's and Slovenian's carriers

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    2. Those three actually can be profitable

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  36. In other news, Sukhoi pitches its SSJ aircraft to the Macedonian government.

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  37. Meanwhile, W6 announced that they will upgrade 2/3 BUD-SKP flights to A321 from S18.

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  38. Macedonia is very low people and size don't needed another airlines. Why pay for national airlines and tax people money when Croatia airlines flies there and it is very good.

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