Thursday, November 9, 2017

Arkia plans Tel Aviv - Skopje service


Arkia Israeli Airlines intends on launching flights between Tel Aviv and Skopje next year following talks with the Macedonian government. The carrier, Israel's second largest behind El Al, said it wants to reach a cooperation agreement with the state before introducing the service. The Macedonian Minister for Transport and Communications, Goran Sugareski, noted, "We had a fruitful meeting during which we explained our policies in the aviation sector. They [Arkia] presented their plans to spread their wings in Macedonia by establishing this new service. If we reach an agreement in the coming period, these plans will be implemented. We hope for a positive outcome and for flights between Skopje and Tel Aviv to be established".

Arkia has a limited presence in the former Yugoslavia and Macedonia itself. The airline maintains seasonal flights from Israel's largest city to Ohrid, as well as year-long operations between Tel Aviv and Belgrade. Furthermore, it runs seasonal charter flights to Ljubljana and also operates services to Dubrovnik and Rijeka on occasion. "The development of air traffic is a priority for the Macedonian government. Measures have been taken by the Ministry of Transport and Communications to secure a wide range of European and global destinations from Macedonia", Mr Sugareski noted. This year both Wizz Air and Qatar Airways introduced new flights to Skopje.

The development comes following a recent visit by the Macedonian Prime Minister, Zoran Zaev, to Israel together with a delegation of over sixty businesspeople. Bilateral trade between the two countries stands at forty million dollars, although growth has been stagnant in the last few years. "Our two nations want to improve ties in agriculture, high-tech and tourism, especially through the set-up of year-round nonstop flights", the Israeli Ambassador to Macedonia, Dan Oryan, said. A string of airlines have recently held talks with the Macedonian government over the launch of flights to Skopje and Ohrid, including LOT Polish Airlines and Onur Air, while Aegean Airlines has announced plans to introduce services from Athens to the Macedonian capital.

129 comments:

  1. I'm impressed with the government's approach with all of these airlines. In just a few months we already have a few new companies planning to start flights from unserved markets. Good job.

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    1. And finally it's not just Wizz Air! The previous government was so focused on them.

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    2. Well thanks to them there are now 4 Wizz planes based in Skopje and over a million passengers at SKP.

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    3. It was rather the other way round. It was only Wizz Air who was focused on Macedonia. Now that the others have seen the light too it's a bit easier.

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    4. They value diversity more then the previous one. In every aspect!

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    5. The new sandwich eaters have appeared.

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    6. of coure the Wizz_anon is not too happy about it

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    7. Bots are never welcome in any shape or form, I'm afraid.

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  2. Good news. It should bring Israeli tourists to Macedonia. For example in Belgrade where they started flights last year there has been a massive boom in Israeli tourists. I think they are now in the top 5 foreign visitors and another Israeli airline has also started all year round flights. Israelis like it because its relatively cheap for them and safe. It will be the same for them in Macedonia.

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    1. Actually as for Israeli tourists and BEG they said that they feel very welcome here and because Serbia was never hostile towards them. They visit their graveyard in Belgrade, their synagogue which is quite large and so on...

      Three airlines operate 9 weekly flights between BEG and TLV. JU does really well, very often the A320 is sent.

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    2. What's interesting is that both Arkia and Israir fly on the same days, thursday and Sunday. I guess because of Sabbath.

      I think El Al bought Arkia so we might see them also expand in the region more and more.

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    3. oh well its weekends spend in Belgrade. This is how you start to test a non gastarbajter market in general

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  3. Do we know what is the support that the government is offering since they talk about "reaching an agreement"

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    1. haha, you are asking too much :)

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  4. So Aegean confirmed for next year, possibly Arkia, and LOT. Hope we see some others too.

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    1. Those are for Skopje. But Nordica and Brussels Airlines are confirmed for Ohrid which has been developing quietly but nicely over the past year.

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    2. Anonymous 9.10
      You forgot Onur Air which will also most probably start IST-SKP flights next year.

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    3. Onur Air more likely IST-OHD, and LOT to both SKP (YR, WAW) and OHD (S, to KRK, P7 started KTW charters this summer with 321) from what we've heard in the media.Would be good if any of this materialises...

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  5. They have Embraers in their fleet which are perfect for the ex-Yu markets.

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    1. They also send the B757 if the demand is there. They sent it once each week to Belgrade this summer and they have also used it on some charters to Dubrovnik.

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    2. Yup, also to Zagreb and Rijeka. Their B757-300 have capacity of 265 seats.

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  6. I'm surprised Wizz Air never took up the opportunity to launch this route. Seems like a good fit for them.

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    1. Even if they wanted to they couldn't. As an EU registered airline, Wizz can't fly between two non-EU countries unless its Switzerland or Norway.

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    2. Both countries are outside the EU, thus bilaterals apply, which makes it impossible - or highly improbable - for Wizz to serve this route.

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    3. Time for Wizz to register a plane in Macedonia.

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    4. You won't see them doing that. They don't want to pay for anything.

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    5. It's not just about the registration of the aircraft, you need the whole structure for an airline, which makes little sense to do just so you could fly one or two extra routes.

      It is a low cost airline in the end...

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  7. Have there ever been flights between Skopje and Tel Aviv?

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    1. I think MAT used to fly to TLV at one point didn't they?

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    2. Mat Airways which was established by Kon Tiki after MAT went bankrupt planned its first route to be Belgrade-Ohrid-Tel Aviv but they never got off the ground.

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    3. Whatever happened to their plane? The B737-500?

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    4. It's parked at Skopje Airport. I have no idea who owns it and why its been there for years.

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    5. They used it for airport safety exercises this year.

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    6. It still has Kontiki titles on it.

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    7. @ Anonymous November 9, 2017 at 9:24 AM
      It did get off the ground. They flew some charters out of Belgrade but seems they never got a permit to fly out of Macedonia. In the end Kon Tiki realized it was a huge waste of money.
      https://www.ekapija.com/news/327684/poleteo-prvi-kon-tiki-sky-kompanija-mat-airways-obavila-svoj-prvi-zvanicni

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    8. Air Serbia might take the plane. I don't see how can a plane be grounded for so long. Why they don't sell it? Why not to Air Serbia or any other regional airline?

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    9. @10.02
      They got a permit to fly from Macedonia but they ceased flying 2 days before the OHD-TLV flights were supposed to launch.

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    10. It's unfortunate that it took 4 years since then for an airline to start flights between TLV and OHD.

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    11. That's the downside of not having a national airline. A lot of unserved routes which can be very successful.

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  8. Seems like SKP is following BEG's steps. First it was the Wizz Air base, now the Israeli flights... I guess next is PEK-SKP. :D

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  9. Will they keep their Ohrid flights if they start Skopje?

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    1. yes, Ohrid is for paket aranzman tours for Israeli tourists

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  10. Next we need a Russian airline to start Moscow-Skopje!

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    1. Pobeda was very interested in starting flights a year ago but nothing in the end.

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    2. With the current political relations between Russia and Macedonia at a low, don't expect any flights between these two countries any time soon.

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    3. By that logic there should be no flights between Russia and Montenegro yet the number of Russian tourists visiting Montenegro was again among the top foreign visitors. The Mont. govt accused them of planning a coup and there are still scheduled and charter flights. So your conclusion is wrong.

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    4. its sad because the demand is there. However, you put too much into this just look at nearby Montenegro. Did they stop flying after Montenegro joined Nato? Nope. So sit and relax

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    5. Pobeda has publicly said they are considering Nis flights. If they start flying there I doubt they will launch Skopje (and same if the opposite happens).

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    6. I actually think that if a Russian airline does start flights to Macedonia it will be to Ohrid not Skopje. A lot of Russians are visiting Ohrid lake.

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    7. I don't think that flights to Nis would impact Pobeda starting OHD.

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    8. Of course not, it's two completely different markets.

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    9. I rather expect KBP-SKP to be honest

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    10. @ Anonymous November 9, 2017 at 10:37 AM
      I was saying that if they flew INI, I'm not sure they would launch SKP in the near future. Ohrid is a completely different story.

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    11. Do Russians need visas to enter Macedonia?

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    12. but we need (voucher and invitation from some travel agency)

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    13. and who goes to Russia? I don't know much people who do...

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  11. This Sugareski chap seems to be focused a lot on aviation which I like.

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    1. its funny how the vmro-bots are suddenly quiet aboout him. so amusing.

      Aviation is important for every country

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  12. Does Wizz have any plans to expand next year from Skopje?

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    1. I think that at the moment their expansion possibilities are rather limited.

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    2. If they were they probably would have announced it by now.

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    3. I think they will mainly focus on increasing frequencies if they make any changes to the schedule next summer.

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    4. There might be a new route from Ohrid. The government is trying to get them to focus more on OHD since they want both airports in the country to offer a good choice of destinations.

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  13. Great to see so much development in Macedonian aviation lately with Qatar coming and negotiations with so many airlines.

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  14. Great news! Well done, Skopie!
    Greetings from Sofia!

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  15. All we need are those long haul flights to the US :D

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    1. True the Ex-Yu hat trick US-China-Canada.

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    2. Hahaha so true

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    3. Or FRA, LHR, CDG....

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  16. This is all well and fine but I'm still waiting to see all these flights scheduled and on sale. For now only Nordica and Brussels to Ohrid are on sale. Aegean still hasn't put on sale, it's all just plans.

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    1. Not true. Aegean went on record to say they are launching Skopje next year. They are launching many new destinations and most are still not on sale.

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    2. They are probably still waiting for the government to execute the change in the airport's name.

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    3. Somehow I doubt they will do that.

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    4. Local elections are over now. We will see.

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  17. I'm waiting for the Croatian guy to write how it is crazy that a topic like this for Macedonia has so many comments and for him to complain how this is an odd site to have so many comments about Macedonian aviation.

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    1. Yes :D he complained on the news about Aegean and on news about Onur Air.

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    2. Don't invite the troll.

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  18. Does Macedonia plan to launch another round of tenders for subsidies?

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    1. Someone wrote in the comments a few weeks ago that they will next year.

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  19. If all of these plans materialize - Aegean, Onur, Lot and Arkia, Skopje will have another huge year of growth in 2018.

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  20. This addition of airlines was really needed to diversify the offer.

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  21. Nice to see something exotic for Skopje for a change :)

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    1. I would prefer Air France, KLM, British, SAS to be honest.

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    2. Beggars can't be choosers

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    3. anon 11.04 stop being a papagal

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    4. Sure I would prefer some of those too but the realistic list is also good too.

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    5. Are you serious anonymous anon 11.54?
      Air France flies only to ZAG and LJU in ex-Yu. ZAG is under French concession so no surprise. KLM and British also only fly to ZAG if I don't include the seasonal cities. SAS only flies seasonal to Croatian coast and no capital cities in ex-Yu except for Sarajevo for a few months next summer because of the huge diaspora and no links between Sarajevo and Scandinavia. At the same time Wizz Air covers several cities from Skopje to Sweden.

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    6. not to mention that Wizz is struggling with their BVA fligts

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    7. SKP-BVA? give more details pls

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  22. Next we will see Montenegro Airlines resume Skopje flights :)

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    1. Well, there was those announcements for Skopje-Podgorica-Sarajevo. It makes sense Montenegro Airlines to be the one operating them.

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  23. Smart strategy. After helping Wizz build up its route network and make its flights from Macedonia sustainable, the government is now looking to add more verity and broaden the offer. Good move.

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    1. +1 I think we will be seeing a few more airline come to Skopje soon other than the ones already mentioned.

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  24. Excellent news for Macedonian tourism industry. Israelis are holidaying more and more in the Balkans.

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  25. Get ready for extremely rigorous security checks which start at check-in if you are using these flights.

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    1. you are mixing ElAl with Arkia or?

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    2. Nope I mean Arkia. All Israeli airlines have the same security procedures when departing foreign airports. You will see a special lane at the check in counter with tables and security guards checking baggage on the spot. That's why checkin lasts so long for these flights.

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  26. I expect Ukraine Airlines to start Kiev - Skopje

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    1. I'm wondering which other airlines could potentially fly to Skopje in the near future?

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    2. I don't see UIA coming to Skopje. There are far bigger markets such as BEG, OTP, ZAG, SOF where they don't fly.

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    3. Bulgaria Air, Montenegro Airlines, TAROM, Eurowings, Vueling, Transavia

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    4. People here contently talk about potential between Skopje and Sofia but I just don't see it. Wouldn't Wizz launch the flights if there was demand. I mean they have bases in both cities.

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    5. there must be potential considering the stronger ties now plus all the destinations sof offers for cheap, so why not
      it takes ages by bus

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    6. @ 3:48

      The demand is there and is very big.

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    7. Anonymous November 9, 2017 at 9:06 PM
      +1000

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  27. It is possible that they will fly TLV-SKP-OHD

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    1. How long would the SKP-OHD flight be?

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    2. JU did the triangle route years ago (from beg obv)

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    3. Also Conrendon or TUI (not sure which one) used to fly triangle flights from Amsterdam I think. AMD-OHD-SKP-AMS.

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    4. Dutch carriers newer flew triangle flights like that.Corendon and TUI basicaly newer landed in SKP.
      But Jetairfly used to do that, maybe you got confused, as above but BRU instead of AMS once a week and the others were direct.

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    5. And by the way, why would Arkia fly triangle flights if they have full Embraer to Ohrid?Maybe if they switch to 757 which is highly doubtful, as its capacity is more than double and I dont believe they can fill 265 seats at least 2pw.
      Would be better if they fly different days from OHD and SKP and not to forget, OHD is seasonal and SKP would be year round.

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  28. I like Arkia's new livery. Looks much better than before. Looking forward to seeing them in Skopje soon.

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  29. Bravo Macedonia! ;)

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  30. Stamp in Israeli means ban in Dubai and elswhere....

    We are in Europe we need desperetaley Europe only. Not 'Moscow's cows.

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    1. You don't get a stamp in Israel in your passport you get it on a piece of paper so you can travel to the Arab world.

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    2. Dont fool me little kid. I had old relatives who were there on a visit a had stamps. But they didnt know just like any uneducatd here.

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    3. nice try. as anon 6.44 says they dont stamp your passport.

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    4. They issue cards, not papers.

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  31. I can't see the market between TLV and SKP being significant enough for flights between these two cities.

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