Thursday, August 24, 2017

Skopje Airport aims for two million passengers


The operator of Macedonia's two international airports, TAV, anticipates expanding Skopje's capacity within the next five to ten years to cater for its growing passengers numbers, which it says could reach up to two million travellers this year. The co-founder and CEO of Turkey’s TAV Airports Holding, Sani Sener, said in an interview to the "Kanal 5" network, "I am sure that the passenger increase will continue in the coming five to ten years and I'm sure we will need an expansion at Skopje Airport. Macedonian airports are booming. This happened after a successful privatisation. Airports are not only infrastructure providers anymore, they are commercial businesses. Commercial businesses have to be managed by a private entity". He added, "We had 700.000 passengers in Skopje and only 30.000 passengers in Ohrid before. Now in Ohrid we have 150.000 passengers annually and in Skopje this year we expect to have two million passengers".

During the January - July period, Skopje Airport welcomed 1.004.112 travellers through its doors, representing an increase of 7.8% on 2016, or an additional 72.547 passengers. The airport is expected to continue to post strong growth in August, as well as the upcoming winter season with additional flights from Wizz Air, Flydubai, and new services by Qatar Airways and Eurowings. The airport itself has not given an estimate as to how many passengers it could handle this year, noting only that its growth will be above the European average. Skopje Airport has been locked in a tight race with its traditionally busier counterpart in Pristina with just 52.689 passengers setting the two apart so far in 2017.

Skopje and Pristina airports passenger performance in 2017 (click to enlarge)

Skopje Airport has the capacity to handle four million passengers per year, with some 110 million euros invested in the construction of its terminal building which opened in 2011. "The Macedonian government made a great move in privatising the airports. Because airports are places where foreigners get the first impression when they arrive. When they leave the country they get the last impression. They show the operational and financial capabilities of a country. Skopje Airport is one of the best airports of its size in Europe", Mr Sener noted. Skopje Airport held the title for the fastest growing capital city airport in the former Yugoslavia for two years, in 2013 and 2015, before it was overtaken by Podgorica Airport last year.

120 comments:

  1. In 2015 Skopje surpassed Ljubljana and this year I believe they will overtake Pristina. It will be interesting competition 'till the end.

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    1. Wonder what the numbers would be for Pristina had Skopje not got its act together. I have a feeling its steeling a lot more passengers from Kosovo then the other way around.

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    2. That's true SKP is steeling passengers from Kosovo due to Wizzair low cost tickets.

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    3. INI is also advertising itself in Pristina, that's bad news for SKP

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  2. I think 2 million is a bit of stretch this year. 1,8 million is more likely in my opinion.

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

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    2. I'm quite sure SKP will get to 2 million this year.

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  3. I'm waiting for the guy to say how Nis will overtake Skopje.

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    1. INI surprised us all this year.

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    2. Not only that, the Serbian government didn't have to spend a single Euro on attracting new airlines while Macedonia gave millions to Wizz Air.

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    3. 9:15

      Rolling on the floor laughing.

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    4. I guess he/she hasn't seen the line subsidies in INI's financial report ?
      Not against it in principal, but need to be honest

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    5. I think he meant that the government didn't pay any airline to fly out of Nis. In SKP the government is basically not earning anything from the concession on top of which it's keeping W6 on lifesupport.

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    6. lol @last anon wizz business is self sustainable

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    7. Hasn't paid directly, but indirectly via low passenger fees

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    8. Of course it has paid directly. Do you think it costs EUR3 per pax (all in) to handle and turnaround aircraft ?

      The airport is owned by the govt, so the difference between what it costs and what it earns, is directly bourne by taxpayers

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    9. EUR3 is available for all, SKP subsidies were exclusive to Wizz.

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  4. I'm really interested to know how Qatar Airways is performing on its Skopje flights. Anyone have some loads?

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    1. Photo from yesterday flight SKP - DOH https://www.dropbox.com/s/rst1zx7mqixeton/Screenshot_20170824-090840.png?dl=0

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    2. ^What was the load?

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    3. Not sure, this is from instagram story of a player of handball club Vardar

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    4. lot of empty seats, I doubt LF was more than 70%

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    5. thats not bad

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    6. haha, 70% is actually rather ok, especially for a new route; but it is admirable how you come up with SF estimation based on a photo showing really limited part of A/C...who knows, maybe it was still boarding time. Jumping to conclusions is I think favourite discipline in ex YU area :)

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  5. 1.9 mil at most. The SuperCup was just a couple of days worth of extra traffic, nothing special in the grand scheme of things.

    Of course, the statements from this article are pure TAV PR and nothing more. Gov made the push at the right time, both for the concession and the subsidies to cover Wizz Air's initial risk. In reality if it weren't for TAV Wizz Air would've based an aircraft even earlier and we would've had Ryanair already.

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    1. What? How did TAV coming impact on Wizz basing a plane later?

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    2. IF Wizz bases another plane then we can talk.

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    3. Their new route / aircraft base incentive scheme was (is) worse than PRN's, and they remained stubborn cause they realized the gov was super eager and would blink first and spill extra cash. This went on for a few years. They succeeded in pocketing all of the subsidies without taking any of the heat. Rinse and repeat for Ryanair.

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    4. Do you think there is a chance W6 will base a plane in PRN?

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    5. PRN are doing just fine without W6 even with all the premium yield and appropriate charges. I imagine it's been more profitable for years now and the pax race is mostly for PR and ego-boost. Air Prishtina and the likes reign supreme and unless they or some of their partners go belly up I don't expect Wizz to base an aircraft.

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    6. Thank you. And what do you think are the chances for 5th plane based in SKP? Anytime soon?

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    7. Sure, if they find a way to operate some new OHD routes on it. I am somewhat skeptical regarding W6's competencies on further development though.

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    8. I think its more realistic to switch one A320 with A321 on the Malmo/London routes then basing 5th plane in SKP

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    9. 9:48

      Yeah, me too. That's not how it works operationally unfortunately. It's only possible (and actually already done) for BUD since that's where the A321 is based. :/

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    10. I also think that is the more likely option.

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    11. @Anon 9:51
      I've seen few A321 flights from SOF as well.

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    12. There's an A321 based in SOF.

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    13. @ Anon August 24, 2017 at 10:36 AM
      In SOF there are 3 A321 based...

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  6. It's turning out to be another great year for Skopje. 2 new airlines - Qatar Airways and Eurowings and new routes by airlines already operating flights.

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  7. What's up with the old terminal? What is it being used for?

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  8. Wizz will have a passenger share of 60% in SKP this year.

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    1. That's massive!

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    2. It's a share ex-Yu airlines (who are always criticized here) could only dream of in their base.

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    3. Air Serbia had a 53% share in BEG for 2016. Right now Wizz has 54% in SKP. It feels as though somebody couldn't have waited fo the % to finally get higher in SKP to make this kind of statement.

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  9. I think there is more room for some LCCs outside of the major 3. Someone like Eurowings, Transavia, Vueling.

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    1. If you take a better look there is no direct competition between any LCC and legacy carriers on flights from Skopje. So a lot more room for LCCs to expand.

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    2. I think that's the airport's general policy. For the two not to overlap.

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    3. The airport has zero say in what gets operated.

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  10. Don't know what's happening with Wizz but some of the last few ex-yu routes they launched have not really worked out. They will reduce frequencies on some Skopje routes this winter. Skopje-Malta down to 1 p/w.

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    1. They ran out of intelligence budget. :)))))))

      (Whoever's been reading Serbian or Macedonian newspapers since Monday will know what I'm on about)

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    2. why i am not surprised with Malta. its a seasonal warm water destination. (dont start with the gastos again)

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    3. It's great that they kept it year round. I would have thought Malta would be a seasonal route.

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  11. Well done Macedonia.

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  12. 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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    1. You can't really blame the others for not having much belief in this market. Even on this blog there was ever only a handful of people who believed even one based aircraft is viable.

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    2. Well they are working on it - 2 new non-Wizz airlines this year.

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    3. ... and another 4 new Wizz

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  13. I guess the haters who were predicting that the airport's "bubble" would burst will have to wait.

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  14. So if they overtake PRN they would be the fourth busiest in ex-Yu right?

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    1. Yes, after Dubrovnik.

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    2. That would be 5th busiest. If it's after Dubrovnik.

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    3. This year most likely traffic at all major airport in the region. Top 12.

      1. Beograd - 5.3 million
      2. Zagreb - 3.1 million
      3. Split - 2.8 million
      4. Dubrovnik - 2.3 million
      5. Skopje - 1.85 million
      6. Pristina - 1.8 million
      7. Ljubljana - 1.7 million
      8. Tivat - 1.2 million
      9. Podgorica - 1.1 million
      10. Sarajevo - 920 000
      11. Pula - 720 000
      12. Zadar - 640 000

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    4. Anon, based on what calculations did you come to BEG handling 5.3 million?
      Even if they have zero growth from today to the end of the year (including August) they will finish the year with 5.2 million.

      With Wizz Air, Hainan, extra flights from Qatar, Lufthansa and flydubai, Belgrade is more likely to handle 5.6 than 5.3 million.

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  15. Even if Skopje overtakes Pristina, Pristina will climb back the second an LCC opens a base there and there is talk Wizz will do that with 4-5 new routes.

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    1. Why would Wizz create competition for itself in Skopje by opening a base in Pristina?

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  16. Maybe in 2018 we get Istanbul-Skopje-New York flights. That would be fantastic.

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    1. First we need flights to London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle before we even think about TATL.

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    2. Sydney-Skopje-Rio de Janeiro even better.

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    3. Skopje got flights to Doha before it got to CDG.

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    4. And we all though having Qatar Airways in Skopje was impossible and a dream.

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    5. forget about CDG, even Wizz is struggling with BVA

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    6. OMG, all you talking about Qatar that is "impossible and a dream", please stop. Arabs nowadays is flying almost everywhere, and in future they will fly to more destinations than now... for sure they will fly to Priština, ljubljana, Dubrovnik or Split (not important).
      Just please stop... QR flight is not dream at all!

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    7. Yeah, and hindsight is 20/20.

      Just mention Macedonia and snide comments are aplenty. Nauseating really.

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    8. sydney-skoplje-rio is a good idea. all first/business class wide-body jet pls

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  17. Iberia A346 in SKP for the Super Cup https://image.ibb.co/cVkcuv/FB_IMG_1502231916262.jpg

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    1. Skopje demonstrated it can easily handle wide body aircraft

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  18. EX-YU airlines are really losing ground in Skopje. What could they do to increase their passenger numbers?

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    1. i wont say they are losing, they are just not progressing. JU has the same schedule for years, OU has a weird schedule rarely suitable for transfer pax, JP is back on track

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    2. Why is OU weird?

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    3. @AnonymousAugust 24, 2017 at 7:57 PM

      Too few aircraft, in summer months priorities lay elsewhere. OU flies to 37/8 destination with a fleet of 14 aircraft, two wet-leased.

      OU wants to fly to 40-42 destinations but has no money for new aircraft, and leasing new aircraft only for summer months isn't ideal.

      In short, poor management and bad leadership.

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    4. But doesn't their SKP flights departs in the evening and return in the morning?

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  19. Impressive figures! Just wondering if Wizz will launch new destinations or increase current popular routes using their A321s like they did with their bigger bases.
    That said, lets see how INI performs next year...

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  20. I think 2018 will be much more interesting and we will have three way competition between Skopje, Pristina and Ljubljana.

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  21. So if they expect to expand the airport in 5-10 years then that is when they expect to hit 4 million passengers.

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  22. Congratulations to SKP, their transformation has been phenomenal.

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    1. It sure has. Between 2006 and 2016 their growth has been 200%!

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  23. So what's the European airport growth average this year?

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  24. Anyone have any predictions for August? With the UEFA match and Wizz new routes I think the growth will be very impressive.

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    1. My prediction is around 250,000 passengers.

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    2. I agree but it is getting very busy at certain times even though capacity is 4 million.

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    3. Sorry my last comment was meant as a reply for the one underneath.

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  25. SKP is really the ex-YU star. It has a nice modern terminal which isn't congested, competent management and new routes are being added all the time.

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  26. I had the chance to fly to Skopje recently and saw the terminal for the first time. It is a really efficient building. Check in is quick and there are good stores. They even have a Burger King which I think is the only global fast food chain at any ex-Yu airport. Plus from what I saw they seem to have left space to further add retail areas. Also the last gate are from which my plane was leaving is huge. It could easily accommodate passengers going flying on a widebody.

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  27. Nice result for Macedonia.

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  28. Good work Skopje. What is happening with Stip?

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  29. Fantastic photo. Great to see the airport so busy!

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    1. That was during UEFA super cup.

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    2. this pic is a regular pic. tonight there were 8 machines "overnight" or operateat SKP. the 4 wizz machines then JP,OU, JU and OS. add two additional charters to Antalya by Sunexpress and Pegasus (2am-3am) making it 10

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  30. Skopje was a smart investment which payed off.

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  31. Growth would be even greater if Macedonia has a national carrier.

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    1. It had one and passenger numbers were lower at the time.

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    2. It had a few, with as many disasters, both operational and financial.

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  32. How about a second runway and a perpendicular extension to the terminal, including extension of the apron in the same direction?

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    1. Is a second runway really needed? But I do wonder on which side they will eventually expand the terminal.

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    2. @AnonymousAugust 24, 2017 at 4:20 PM

      Are you seriously asking that question??? Knock down old terminal, and old control tower first, clear the land all the way. Build new control tower as part of terminal expansion. You have so much free land to expand along the current apron, no need to go in any other direction, 1.5km of empty land on both sides of the terminal.

      No need for 2nd runway till airport hits 20 million pax, unless you need 2nd runway for air force exclusive use.

      However, 3km runway isn't cheap, it costs around €30 million to build it, and another 10 million to bring signalization to CAT IIIb standard. Land issues not included in that price tag, which in case of Skopje airport shouldn't be a lot as it is mostly agricultural land, so another €30-40 million for the land.

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    3. Air force? :D

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    4. A new runway mostly because of the fog and terrain issue, as a possible solution leading to an upgrade of the CAT. Maybe 03-21?

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    5. "AnonymousAugust 24, 2017 at 7:55 PM
      Air force? :D"

      I was looking at google earth and to me aircraft to north-north-west of new terminal seems to be some sort of air force aircraft. 2 Mil 24 Hinds, 1 Su-25 and 2 Mil 8 Hips. I presume Macedonia has an air force ?


      ps, i know you were being sarcastic.

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  33. Why haven't W6 updated their SKP summer 2018 timetable yet? Or they have started with the bigger bases first? I see loaded flights from OTP, BUD, SOF, WAW or are they preparing the 5th aircraft in SKP?

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  34. 2MILIOON VERY PROBABLE FOR SKOPJE AIRPORT UEFA SUPER CUP + LOCAL ELECTIONS AND FC VARDAR FOR THE FIRST TIME IN EUROPA LEGUE WILL SECURE THEM

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