Friday, September 1, 2017

LOT eyes Macedonia flights


LOT Polish Airlines is considering introducing services to Macedonia next year as it continues to expand its operations across the former Yugoslavia. LOT representatives held talks with the Macedonian Minister for Transport and Communications, Goran Sugareski, in Skopje yesterday to discuss potential flights from Warsaw to Skopje and Ohrid. "The government is offering support to all airlines interested in maintaining services to Macedonia. During the meeting, we also raised the possibility of establishing flights to Ohrid, as we are looking at boosting operations there", Mr Sugareski said. This year, Small Planet Airlines launched charter flights from Katowice to Ohrid, after TAV Macedonia, which runs the country's two international airports, signed an agreement with one of Poland's biggest tour operators to bring holidaymakers to the lake-side town.

LOT has been steadily expanding its operations in the former Yugoslavia over the past few years, with the airline introducing seasonal services to Podgorica and Pula this summer. It also serves Belgrade, Ljubljana and Zagreb on a year-round basis, as well as Split and Zadar seasonally. Within the region, the Polish carrier recently announced it would launch nonstop flights from Budapest to both New York and Chicago in May 2018. Its CEO, Rafał Milczarski, noted that the airline would focus on the Baltics and the Balkans region, which could see similar expansion in the future. LOT has proven popular with passengers from the former Yugoslavia, particularly for transferring through Warsaw to North America and Asia.

Mr Sugareski also held talks with Wizz Air yesterday, urging the airline to expand its operations from Ohrid and presenting it with the government's framework for the development of air traffic in Macedonia. "St Paul the Apostle Airport in Ohrid has untapped potential and we are focusing on shifting traffic to that airport and providing the public with many destinations operated by low cost airlines. It is one of the measures of the government's program. We will continue our efforts in improving air traffic in Macedonia", the Minister concluded. Wizz Air currently runs year-long flights from Ohrid to Basel and seasonal services to London Luton. The low cost airline is the busiest operating out of Macedonia with a passenger share of just over 54%.

112 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I'm just happy it's not Wizz Air!

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    2. It is an wonderful news as Ohrid is so close to Albania

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  2. They would be a great addition at SKP.

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  3. Good news. LOT is a good choice to prove there is a market between Poland and Macedonia, especially Ohrid.

    Expanding Ohrid is the logical next step really, and it might even pull more demand from the East than the West at first.

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    1. (Enter the random Pole reading this blog with a comment that Poland is Central Europe, not East =)))

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  4. Good to see a legacy airline interested in Macedonia.

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  5. Why is the government pushing for Ohrid so much, both with LOT and Wizz?

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    Replies
    1. Because they think it is an undeserved market?

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    2. Surely you mean under-served. ;)

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    3. @Anon 9:07

      because they want to develop Ohrid as a tourist desitnation. If LCC offer flights to Ohrid, it will naturally attract more tourists.

      It would be smart for Wizz to establish flights like Sofia - Ohrid, Poznan - Ohrid, Memmingen - Ohrid, Budapest - Ohrid etc. It would bring a huge number of tourist and will boost local economy

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    4. @9.13 Yes :) auto correct.

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    5. I think Ohrid is doing relatively well. It has an ok number passengers, selection of airlines, as well as year round flights.

      I just hope they don't force W6 to move some flights to SKP because the minister has said a few times about "shifting" flights.

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    6. They can't 'force' Wizz to do anything with current routes. All they can do is shift support for new routes exclusively to Ohrid.

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  6. It is good that the new government is also keen to develop air transport.

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    Replies
    1. why wouldnt they ??

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    2. Who knows. I wouldn't have been surprised if they wanted to reverse everything achieved by the previous government.

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    3. bullsh*t. developing air transport is in interest of every government

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  7. It was inevitable with them expanding to Podgorica recently. They are really becoming a serious player in ex-Yu.

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  8. Good alternative to Austrian for US flights

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    Replies
    1. They are not much different than LOT.

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    2. Much better flying in a B787 than in a 20 year old B767/777 over the Atlantic ;)

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    3. Great alternative to JU. Nice new aircraft. Regular schedule and modern transfer hub terminal at WAW
      Awesome news

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    4. Some people have an unhealthy obsession with JU...

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    5. @ Anonymous September 1, 2017 at 9:23 AM

      LOT really dropped the ball with their dreamliner product in my opinion.

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    6. At the end of the day people will choose the cheapest option. Some people around here ought to realize how price sensitive the entire ex-yu market is.

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    7. I like LOT. They seem to be a professionally run airlines with a clear strategy.

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    8. @Anon at 9:23

      No, it is much better flying Austrian B767 than LOT B787. Everyone knows that.

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    9. Probably last anon tried to be sarcastic but I really like the 763 of Austrian, 772s are practically the same. They are all very clean, modern and comfy - something you sure all don't experience in other carriers like SAS and UIA for ex. Don't have experience with LO.

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  9. Someone did mention last week that W6 will probably first develop out of Ohrid before their next round of expansion from Skopje.

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  10. LOT is doing extremely well out of ZAG and BEG. They are increasing frequencies from both. Not sure how they are doing in LJU.

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  11. I really hope these materialize. Like someone said, it is important for Skopje to have more legacy carriers and LOT would be excellent.

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    1. We don't know if they will come to Skopje. They could launch seasonal flights to Ohrid.

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  12. Can a Q400 make it between Warsaw and Skopje?

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    1. It is more likely that they would operate the flights with an Embraer jet.

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    2. didnt Czech fly (on occasion) to SKP with their Atr?

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    3. It would not be a very comfortable ride in the Dash 8 from Warsaw to Skopje.

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    4. Croatia is operating Brussels - Zagreb with a Dash8 Q400- not a bad thing though. You can soak up the noise in olives & cheese and Istrian wine that they serve

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  13. Fantastic. Next year Skopje will have over 2 million passengers for sure.

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    1. Personally I don't care where the growth comes from - Skopje or Ohrid. It's welcome anywhere. It's not all about one central success story, and there is a shining example of that in the case of Croatia for instance. Not claiming Ohrid is anywhere near as head turning as the Croatian seaside, just that it has tons of potential which could be realized if it got proper attention.

      I am really looking forward to investments in Ohrid region and its proper development to international tourist standards.

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  14. What's with all the interest in Warsaw. In just a few years Belgrade, Zagreb, Ljubljana and Podgorica have all gotten flights to WAW. Is the demand that big?

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    1. No it is not. They want passengers to transfer through WAW.

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    2. yes, the Polish people love the Balkans. they always did

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    3. LOT is doing what ex-YU airlines should have done.

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    4. Yeah it's a bit easier for LOT than ex-Yu airlines for a number of reasons.

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    5. Huge market. Poland has approximately 38 million people, more than half of France for instance. The economy is doing well and business rise is evident. Besides, they already mentioned a couple of years ago that they will do agressive expansion. The US routes are very popular and enjoy great transfers thanks to WAW's modern, compact terminal. Not to mention their domestic market, which is deveoped too.

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    6. LOT is in a different league compared to EX-Yu airlines. Can't be compared.

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  15. Hopefully WAW-SKP will be launched in the spring of 2018, and WAW-OHD summer seasonal. The OHD route will work only if that will be supported by Polish tourist operators. SKP should work since they fly to the gastarbaiter destinations in North America, all with 787. I also noticed they fly both to JFK and EWR, something which even Turkish is not doing. And I know many Macedonians in NJ which are choosing United/Austrian from EWR just because of the proximity to their homes.

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    1. +1

      I hope SKP will stay year round.

      TAV already managed to get Polish tour operators to cooperate so I don's think that would be a problem.

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  16. Seems like the GoM will keep subsidizing airlines and routes.

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  17. I would prefer if they tried to attract BA, AF or LH not LO.

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    1. Okey, i will notice them what you prefer! :)

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    2. There is just no way of pleasing some of you people.

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    3. Has BA ever operated to SKP?

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  18. And to think they were on the brink of bankruptcy just a couple of years ago.

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    1. They ARE on the edge of insolvency. Their forced, unnatural growth rate both in fleet and destination expansion is costing them dozens of millions every year..

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  19. LOT can start SKP-JFK :D

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  20. Great news for Skopje, the more airlines the merrier.

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  21. I'm very interested to see how Wizz operations will develop out of Macedonia after such strong growth over last 5 years.

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    1. They will keep growing but I doubt at the same rate. There are not too many new routes left to open.

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  22. LO today is a serious airline that flies to SEL, LAX, PEK. Their reform was impressive. JU should apply their model by buying smaller Embraers and 2 Dreamliners as a start. 3 daily frequencies to all Balkan capitals.
    SKP-WAW can be easily filled with 3 daily Q400 service instead of their E70

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    1. 3 daily WAW-SKP???

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    2. JU is cashless. I don't think that they will be buying Dreamliner or embraers any time soon

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    3. Just made a quick comparison (Sept 2017)
      BEG-WAW: 9 weekly
      LJU-WAW: 9 weekly
      ZAG-WAW: 10 weekly
      Seasonal: TGD, SPU, ZAD, PUY

      Neighbours:
      CLJ-WAW: 6 weekly
      BUD-WAW: 25 weekly
      SOF-WAW: 18 weekly
      OTP-WAW: 21 weekly

      Seeing all this makes us more than confident that at SKP and why not INI can be easily included. The LO coverage is amazing!
      OHD can be a seasonal destination too.

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    4. I agree that INI would work great for them.

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    5. And who exactly is going to fly between Nis and Warsaw?

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    6. @Anon 11:49am: Serbian disapora in US. Chinese coming to visit southern Serbia. It will also compete with LX or then can code-share both being Star Alliance.

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    7. 3 flights per day to/from Bucharest ? I wonder what % are p2p.

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    8. SJJ would be nice too, but it seems that the market there would be very limited and mostly transfer in peak season.

      I know a lot of people from Toronto area that used them in the past to fly to BEG. Everyone absolutely loved them and they were very competitive on price. Last couple of years AC/JU interline crushed them with price, luggage and other options

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  23. Any other new airlines planned for Skopje?

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    1. Eurowings from Munich at the end of October.

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    2. I meant for next year...

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    3. There are some rumors here at SKP airport that FlyDubai might increase their frequencies beginning from S18 and that the government is progressing the talks with THY about possible IST-SKP-JFK and IST-SKP-YYZ 2 x weekly flights and that THY might base 2-3 airplanes here for flying to the main airports in Europe.

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    4. Fly Dubai would not be a surprised. They increased flights for the winter too.

      The THY deal would be huge.

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    5. I think it is highly likely that Eurowings will launch Dusseldorf-Skopje next year as well.

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    6. 10.52 might be trolling us: THY has no rights to fly from SKP to anywhere in Europe unless they create a 51% macedonian-owned company

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    7. Maybe they will. The new government wants to make a new national airline with a foreign partner.

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  24. Great news. LO should next consider Pristina and Tuzla.

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    1. Why Tuzla and not Sarajevo???

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  25. So they fly to SPU, ZAD, PUY, ZAG, BEG, LJU, TGD and soon probably SKP. Nice!

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    1. LOT doesen't fly to Dubrovnik.

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    2. sorry, that's right

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  26. LOT should take control of the Balkans like it did with Estonia. They should buy Adria and Montenegro Airlines and base a few aircraft in Skopie.

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    1. While they get a lot of transfer traffic from the Balkans I don't think it's such a major priority market for them.

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    2. they should buy also air serbia

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    3. They are not going to buy anyone. LOT's finances are terrible.

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  27. With so much going on in SKP, they'll need to start considering building additional gates, expanding the existing terminal and much more...

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    1. They plan to expand the airport in next 5=10 years according to TAV
      http://www.exyuaviation.com/2017/08/skopje-airport-aims-for-two-million.html

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    2. I'm wondering if they plan to expand the current terminal or build another separate terminal...

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    3. How many gates does the new SKP airport have? I know it's quite a few more than the old airport from experience :P. The last few times I've been there it seems there is lots of capacity still which is good, one of the more pleasant airports to travel to/from in Balkans.

      Also anyone know how many Ohrid has?

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    4. Skopje has 6 air bridges and a couple of bus gates.

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  28. This would be great for either SKP or OHD but I think it is early days still. They just held talks. Let's wait and see.

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  29. Could this route work? Would there be enough demand to fill a plane several times per week between Skopje and Warsaw?

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    1. If there is not enough demand, then they can always stop by in BEG and ZAG, the demand is always there :) Happy Friday!

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    2. oh the "qatar-will-never-happen" guy is here.

      to answer your qustion: i wouldnt be worried too much about the summer half

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  30. Surprising that Wizz did not start SKP-WAW.

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  31. Congrats, great news!

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  32. Great to see another legacy carrier interested in Skopje. Hope these flights begin next summer season.

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  33. Will SKP one day to success to attract, some Russian airline to fly Moscow(SVO, DME, VKO)-SKP? Regarding info from head of TAV company, Pobeda last year was interested to establish airline connection, but they gave condition two touristic agencies (one Russian and one Macedonian) to take a part of the establishing of this route (and share the profit/loss). Nobody was interested to join the call of Pobeda,last year. Now, the government is sailing (their compass) on west direction, so it seems for long time, SKP won't be lucky to welcome a regular flight from Moscow. (as that flights won't be subsided too, and similar)

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    1. 13 years SKP is missing the flights from Russia.

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  34. Any news on Brussels Airlines and their considerations for Skopje/ Sarajevo flights from Brussels Zaventem? I am wondering why the MK government has not approached SN..

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