Friday, July 14, 2017

Wizz Air begins Skopje expansion


Low cost airline Wizz Air has based a fourth aircraft, an Airbus A320, in Skopje today and is to open three new routes, reaffirming its dominance on the Macedonian market, where its passenger share among budget carriers stands at a whopping 89.5%. As a result, Wizz will launch year-round flights from Skopje to Rome Ciampino, Malta and Vaxjo in Sweden today. All of the new routes will operate twice per week. Furthermore, the airline will boost frequencies on existing services to Basel, Bratislava, Charleroi, Copenhagen, Eindhoven, Gothenburg, Malmo and Memmingen. In addition, an extra weekly flight will be added between Ohrid and Basel, for a total of four. Earlier this year, the carrier introduced a new two-weekly service between Budapest and the Macedonian capital, which will increase to three per week from late October.


Wizz Air will hold a press conference this morning at Skopje Alexander the Great Airport to mark the occasion. It will be attended by the Macedonian Minister for Transport and Communications, Goran Sugareski, the General Manager of Skopje Airport's operator TAV Macedonia, Alper Ersoy, and Wizz Air's Corporate Communications Manager, Sorina Ratz. Wizz Air's Chief Corporate Officer, Owain Jones, said, "This further underlines our commitment to Macedonia and Wizz's dedication to bringing lowest-fare travel opportunities for our customers, coupled with Wizz's great on board service on one of the youngest fleets operating in Europe. Our investment into the Skopje base with an additional aircraft, three new routes and increased frequencies on existing flights means more jobs in Macedonia with both Wizz and our business partners and will further stimulate the tourism and hospitality industries and strengthen Macedonia’s business relations". The fourth aircraft joining Wizz's Skopje fleet represents a further investment of 99 million euros by the airline in Macedonia, creating 36 additional direct jobs and taking the total to over 150 direct jobs with Wizz in the country. Speaking today, Mr Ersoy said, "I would like to express our appreciation for the decision of Wizz Air to base its 4th aircraft at Skopje Alexander the Great Airport, which is an important decision since the investment is huge and it shows that Macedonian aviation is still developing and stable. With basing 4th aircraft the airline will add three more new destinations and increase the frequencies of some of the existing routes. TAV Macedonia will continue to work on opening new routes and expanding the frequencies of the existing ones, for which we closely cooperate with Ministry of transport, and all competent governmental institutions".


Wizz Air handled a record 903.856 passengers at Skopje Airport during 2016, maintaining its position as Macedonia's leading airline. The figure represents growth of 23% compared to the previous year. As a result, the airline carried 54.8% of all passengers flying in and out of the Macedonian capital last year. During 2016, Wizz launched four new routes from Skopje. The airline played an instrumental role in boosting Macedonia's overall available seat capacity by 14.8% in 2016, making it the fastest growing market in the former Yugoslavia based on the number of available seats for sale. The low cost airline commenced operations from Macedonia in 2011 and has since welcomed over three million passengers to and from the country. During the first half of 2017, Skopje Airport welcomed 802.621 travellers through its doors, an improvement of 5.9% on 2016.

114 comments:

  1. Congrats Skopje

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    1. The gamble has really paid off with Wizz Air. In time, more airlines will start poking around to see why they've grown the base so much, which will hopefully lead to more competition and destinations.

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  2. SKP will reach 2 million passengers this year easy.

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  3. How exactly are they investing €99 million in SKP?!

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    1. Yearly cost of operating the aircraft.

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    2. Kada je stigao drugi avion na BEG imali su slično saopštenje: "Uvođenjem ovog aviona u beogradsku bazu predstvalja direktnu investiciju ovog low-cost prevoznika u Srbiju od 98 miliona dolara, što će omogućiti otvaranje 36 radnih mesta u okviru avio-kompanije."
      Avion je naravno u madjarskom registru.

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    3. It's not yearly cost. It's the list price of new aircraft from Airbus.

      What Wizz Air forgets to add is they order the aircraft at a reduced price due to volume, and that they sell the aircraft immediately to the leasing company and then lease it. So it doesn't even cost them 99 million EUR in the end, let alone that they are investing it anywhere.

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    4. Very sneaky and misleading PR from them.

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  4. very good news for Skopje. But I would like Ryan or Easy to come, just for a bit competition.

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  5. Anyone know the loads on the new routes?

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    1. You can easily figure it out by trying to buy a ticket and getting to the seat reservation map.

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    2. That's not how it works Anon

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    3. Ok but I was wondering what were the loads for the first flights. Can't get that info anymore.

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    4. exactly i never reserve a seat (and sometimes they dont assign u seats before online check in)

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    5. Because those open seats are open so that passengers are distributed evenly.

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  6. So this July SKP getd 4 new destinations, these 3 from W6 and Qatar to Doha, not bad. Plus an increase in frequencies for some of the current routes.

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  7. Good news, but SKP must attract some legacy carriers. The demand is there for Frankfurt, Moscow, Munich and Amsterdam which are being covered by Croatia and Adria through Zagreb and Ljubljana.

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    1. Or by Air Serbia through Belgrade.

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    2. Especially in summer when JU sends its A319

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    3. Munich - Skopje

      Starting at the End of October this year with Eurowings. If you bord a Eurowings flight you are allowed to connect onto Lufthansa flights.

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  8. This year SKP will become the fourth busiest airport in ex-YU. It's a much deserved position for an airport that has recorded such spectacular transformation over the years.

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    1. They will overtake PRN?

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    2. Don't count your chicken until they're hatched :))

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    3. It is very likely that Wizz will launch a base in PRN so it might be difficult for Skopje to overtake.

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    4. PRN is still refusing to give in so there won't be a base anytime soon. There are more chances of a W6 base at KVO

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  9. No surprise, I would be expanding like crazy if I had privileged status, no competition and assistance for new routes. They also chased out Ryanair the first second it looked like they could get some actual competition.

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    1. And what's the alternative?

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    2. Open market and competition? Wizz starting to act like MAT.

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    3. It's an open market and competition .. with a prohibitive cost to entry, a significant business risk, a very limited number of players and even fewer successful players out there. If you don't keep the above in mind it's very easy to make the mental shortcut to conspiracy theories.

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    4. The second Ryanair announced plans to start flights from SKP, Wizz expressly opened new routes that Ryan would have opened. I have no doubt they got info from government which they probably bribed.

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  10. Budapest-Skopje must be performing really well because on top of increasing to 3x weekly this winter they also upgauged equipment to A321 on peak summer weeks.

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    1. Yes loads on that route have been fantastic.

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  11. So new government will continue support for Wizz?

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    1. Yes, there should be some support for new routes from Ohrid. As far as Skopje is concerned the focus is elsewhere..

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    2. They would be mad not to.

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    3. @Anon, do you know which routes are they looking at from OHD?

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    4. Also what do you mean by focus is elsewhere in Skopje? From government or Wizz?

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    5. Gov obviously. They might resurrect the national carrier story. Hilarious.

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    6. Oh wow. Thanks

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    7. @Anon 9:32AM
      No one from the new government said anything about resurrecting a national carrier, from where did you get that BS?

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    8. Goran Sugarevski statement. You should pay more attention ;)

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    9. @Anon 9:50AM I haven't heard anything about that, if you have some link pls share. I apologies if that's true indeed. Thanks

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    10. Check the end.

      http://press24.mk/goran-sugareski-prethodnata-vlada-znaela-za-problemite-so-novite-patishta

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    11. Given the source, press24 which is portal sponsored by the previous government, I have some doubts about all the answers, but nevertheless I hope they will not ruin too much of what happened in the Macedonian airspace. One thing which the previous government did ok was bringing W6 in, no matter what they offered to them, I think the Macedonian ppl are much better connected to the world now then it was few years ago when W6 was not in the game.

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  12. Plans for 5th plane? How many planes does Wizz have stationed at its biggest bases outside of Budapest?

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    1. They just based their 4th plane in SKP, I think it's too early to talk about fifth plane.

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  13. So now they fly to 28 destinations from SKP?

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  14. Great news for Macedonian consumers again.

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  15. One interesting detail about the flight from/to Malta is that it overflies Greek airspace. https://www.flightradar24.com/WZZ2HA/e15ae14

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    1. Isn't that normal?

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    2. Any reason why it shouldn't?

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    3. I thought planes flying from/to SKP are not allowed in the Greek airspace

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    4. aircraft is not mk-registered.

      btw there is a greek pilot for Wizz (based in SKP?) who is the most friendliest of them all and i love his announcements. i doubt hes reading this but pozdrav

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    5. They are allowed. You might have mixed it up with Serbia/Kosovo situation although I think Serbia now allows planes to fly over Kosovo at high altitude?

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    6. Macedonian registered planes are allowed to fly over Greece but often MAT was not barred because of the name of the company.

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    7. I meant MAT was barred.

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  16. INI is next. By 2020 both airports will be neck to neck.

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    1. And they will both surpass BEG. :)))

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    2. Naaah BEG is way ahead of all others. :)

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    3. not sure for SKP, but INI can definitely surpass BEG and VIE and FRA...and SIN

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    4. You all made fun of INI a couple of years ago and now, it started from scratch. By year end it will reach 15% of SKP capacity and the figure will growth. INI is unofficially the second Serbian capital.

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    5. Second Serbian capital???

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    6. Nish's catchment area is huge on top of that it is surrounded by airports which can't be considered cheap: SOF, PRN and SKP.
      Naturally, no one can compete with INI as far as costs go since it is basically a glorified shack with a restaurant and a few gates- that's ok as it's what the local market wants/needs.

      They will keep on growing and as long as they can keep their charges low while increasing their ancillary revenue their future will be bright.

      I am sure FR or W6 will eventually open a base there. Both airlines have been growing so it's still uncertain which one it will be in the end. Personally, I would love for it to be FR to create some tough competition for Wizz in both SKP and BEG.

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    7. Comparing INI to SKP is like comparing SKP to BEG or SOF.

      So no.

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  17. I'm particularly interested how the route to the Swedish village of Vaxjo will perform since W6 already flies to Skavsta, GOT and Malmo.

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    1. On first flights

      Skopje-Vaxjo 64/180
      Vaxjo-Skopje 137/180

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    2. Is this route really going to work out? I know W6 usually study well the route but still..64 pax is crazy low

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    3. Not correct
      Skopje-Vaxjo 76/180
      Vaxjo-Skopje 176/180

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    4. Actually both of you could be correct. The first is the actual load while the second is the booked one.

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    5. Nope. The first one is from a few days ago. The second one is the latest available.

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    6. Do you guys have the inaugural flight LF for Rome and Malta as well? Thx

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    7. Yup the first one was 1 week ago and was posted by me on one forum.The correct one is posted at 2:43pm

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    8. For Rome both ways was around 170pax,and same for Malta +-5pax

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  18. Wizz Air will add another 25 aircraft to their fleet this year. Expansion is inevitable and they are targeting underserved regions, such as ex-Yu.

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    1. It's 14. Don't know where you got 25.

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    2. They expanded agressively in SOF, OTP, BUD, WAW, KBP. I think the next moves will be:
      BEG - 3 a/c
      INI - base
      SKP - 5 a/c
      TZL - 3 a/c
      LJU - base
      VAR - 2 a/c

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    3. This is bad news for JU

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  19. Have no idea why is everyone so excited about Wizz's new routes. They are one of the worst airlines.

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    1. I flew with them couple times from SKP, Their planes are new. Yes, the seats are a bit narrow but instead of everyone talking trash about W6, we should be a bit grateful compared to what was for example, SKP before and after W6.

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  20. SKP needs more flights to Madrid, Lisboa, Birmingham, Kiev, Mallorca, TEL AVIV!, Warsaw.

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    1. povtorno ti!

      svaka cast za Birmingham

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    2. I think you should take this list and go straight to Ryanair. See what they say. :)

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  21. I hate that all low cost options from Skopje are with Wizz.

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    1. There is also Pegasus and Fly dubai. From October Eurowings as well.

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  22. This is fantastic news for Skopje. Growth will be huge in July.

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  23. Ant predictions how many passengers Skopje could hit this year?

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    1. My guess is between 1.9M and 1.95M

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    2. I also think around 1,95 this year. Next year 2 million.

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    3. Yeah but if the government stops subsidizing Wizz then their growth might slow down, even considerably

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  24. And Wizz will have over 1 million passengers from Skopje.

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    1. wow. That is now getting on par with national airlines in ex-yu!

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    2. It's actually more than Montenegro Airlines handles in a year with 5 planes from Podgorica and Tivat!

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    3. That just goes to show how inneffective these national airlines are.

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    4. Truth be told, MNE is two times smaller than Macedonia so the market potential is much smaller.

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    5. Yes, but Montenegro is a tourist country with a lot of people coming there for holiday.

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  25. I hope that next will be SOF, TLV and IEV

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    1. Dream-on, dream-on...

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  26. Love them or hate them, they have done wonders for Skopje.

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  27. And how much are these new routes costing Macedonian tax payers?

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    1. I think they still have a subsidy agreement for new routes.

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    2. Are the subsidies still running? Why is the government still tolerating this?

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    3. Yeah, what is this madness of supporting new routes???

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    4. I wish people would educated themselves how "subsidies" work before they comment.

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  28. This is fake growth. The moment subsidies go away, so will these flights.

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