Thursday, January 11, 2018

Wizz Air to expand Macedonia operations in 2018


Low cost airline Wizz Air will offer 1.6 million seats for sale from the Macedonian market this year, representing an increase of 23% on 2017. In addition to the launch of its planned new Vienna - Ohrid service from November 15, the carrier will also boost operations from the Macedonian capital to Basel and Malmo during the summer season, with both routes to run daily. Speaking at a press conference in Skopje today, the General Manager of airport operator TAV Macedonia, Alper Ersoy, said, "As an airline with the largest share of passengers, we expect Wizz Air to continue developing their business on the Macedonian market, investing in new destinations and increasing frequencies on existing services. All of its new destinations in the past have proven to be successful".

Wizz Air's passenger share in Macedonia grew to 59% during 2017, resulting in 1.2 million passengers carried. The figure represents growth of 32% compared to the previous year. The low cost airline commenced operations from Macedonia in 2011 and has since welcomed over four million travellers to and from the country. "2017 was a year of major expansion for Wizz Air. We achieved significant growth in all aspects of the business, making it one of the fastest growing airlines and laying the foundations for continued growth over the next decade. With our proven business model, highly qualified customer-oriented team, young and modern fleet and excellent value for service, we are positioned for consistent and a rapid growth, bringing even more opportunities in Europe and beyond", the airline's CEO, Jozsef Varadi, said in Skopje today.

The Macedonian government plans to start tender procedures for a three-year contract to stimulate the launch of new routes by low cost carriers. The previous contract, awarded to Wizz Air in 2015, included financial support for each new destination amounting to 40.000 euros, followed by an additional thirteen euros for each departing passenger in the first year of operations, twelve in the second and eleven euros in the third year of operations. It will be expire in June. The Macedonian Minister for Transport and Communications, Goran Sugareski, said last week, "The strategic goal of the Macedonian government is to enable growth and development of air traffic. For that purpose, we intend to provide financial support to low cost airlines in the coming period, which will, in turn, offer new destinations to Macedonian consumers. Since the contract with the company currently receiving financial support expires in June, we plan to announce a new public call where all interested low cost companies can apply. At the moment, a strategy is being developed on how to start the procedure in terms of the manner of financing and we should have more detailed information on this in the first quarter".

121 comments:

  1. If we do see any new routes today, which one could they be?

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    1. Warsaw, Geneva, Madrid?

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    2. Seasonal to the Greek islands perhaps as well.

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    3. If they do launch Vienna, I wonder if Bratislava will stay in their network.

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    4. Booking for Skopje-Bratislava are available 'till the end of summer season.

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    5. If they start new routes I hope it won't be more cities in Germany. There is more than enough now.

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    6. If they launch Vienna, Austrian OS would quit service to SKP right away.

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    7. Anonymous January 11, 2018 at 9:17 AM
      or Sweden

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    8. OS won't quite. They are after the transfer pax not the p2p.

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    9. OS can decrease flights for sure

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    10. OS will definitely feel the presence of W6 now in Vienna, since both Ohrid and Thessaloniki will be served from Vienna. For me, living in the south of Macedonia, SKG works out many times better then SKP.

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    11. OS will really struggle because their costs are still relatively high.

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  2. 1,2 million passengers from Macedonia in 2017 :O

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    1. Impressive. Well done Wizz.

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    2. Over the top dominance in my opinion. Why don't they get Macedonian AOC?

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    3. What would be a benefit of having Macedonian AOC?

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  3. Since both the W6 CEO and the General Manager of TAV will be at that conference I do expect some new flights/frequencies for SKP for this year.

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    1. Basing 5th plane maybe?

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    2. If they base a fifth plane Skopje will have over 2 million passengers this year.

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  4. Soon they will chase out most competition.

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  5. I wonder can someone shake them up, Monopoly is never good.

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    Replies
    1. I agree. Macedonia needs more diversity in terms of low cost airlines

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    2. I would like to see Ryan or Easy come to provide some competition.

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  6. I have a feeling about a new plane and new destinations :)

    Greetings from Sofia!

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    1. Hope so. I also think that the CEO wouldn't come for nothing :)

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  7. Will they be adding any new routes from Ohrid except Vienna?

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    1. They could add Malmo or another destination in Scandinavia.

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  8. Good job Wizz. They have made air travel accessible to many Macedonians and increased tourism in the country.

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  9. Does W6 still fly Skopje-Oslo?

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    1. Yes it does. Twice per week year-round.

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    2. Thanks. Must be performing well for them then.

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    3. If it was a stellar performer then they would have increased it by now.

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    4. Considering neither Belgrade-Oslo nor Tuzla-Oslo worked out for them, this is just fine.

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    5. BEG-OSL failed because they flew to Ryyge while DY flew from OSL.

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  10. Hope they announce something new.

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    1. Maybe an A321 being based in SKP :D

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  11. Myabe they start Skopje-Sofia.

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  12. With the amount of buses between Belgrade and Skopje they could launch two weekly BEG-SKP.

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    1. Without a Macedonian or Serbian AOC they can't do that.

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    2. Air Serbia will get mad if Wizz launch BEG-SKP

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    3. how many buses a day there are between BEG and SKP?

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    4. It's not about getting mad, it's about th fact that they can't start flights from SKP to BEG just like they can't start them from SKP to Moscow or Tel Aviv.

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    5. I understand, but Air Serbia loose passengers they head to Wizz Air SKP-BEG cheaper.

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    6. Well Wizz Air shouldn't be allowed to have a BEG base without a Serbian AOC yet here we are.

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    7. So, how many buses a day between the 2 cities?

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    8. 12 buses to Skopje today.

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    9. 12 buses a day. This is huge. What about SOF how many buses are between SKP and SOF?

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  13. PRN expansion is inevitable as well.

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  14. 5th aircraft in SKP would be good to add 1 or 2 new routes and increase frequencies. Most routes are still only served twice per week.

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  15. Ova vest definitivno dokazuje da Makedonija i sve ostale ex yu zemlje moraju imati Nacionalnog prevoznika. Low cost kompanije nisu sposobne ni za sta drugo osim da prevoze putnike za male pare. Svaka ex yu drzavica mora imati Nacionalnog avio prevoznika jer se drugacije ne moze.

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  16. W6 is playing smart, they feel that the competition is approaching this region and preparing really good for them. Also that Vienna base opening is huge for them and I would expect them to increase some of the frequencies today from their base in SKP. We might see some new destination from OHD too, lets just wait and see, it will be interesting day.
    If they decide to expand with 5th plane and if I need to guess, I will target Madrid, Geneva, Warsaw and increase in frequencies on some of the existing routes. On a separate note, which is their biggest base after Budapest?

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    1. They can't launch Geneva as it's not in the EU.

      What's a bit weird is that Jozsef Varadi is coming but I haven't seen any indications of a government representative present. Normally he only shows up when there's a big announcement to be made, but now I'm not so sure. Let's wait and see.

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    2. But how do they fly to Basel?

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    3. It's Mulhouse ;)

      Or in other words, it's a shared airport, BSL / MLH / EAP. So legally both in the EU and Switzerland. Neat.

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  17. It would be nice to see some new holiday destination from Skopje. Maybe Larnaca.

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    Replies
    1. There is already Malta and Barcelona.

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  18. I don't think they will announce new routes. It would be too much growth in just one year. I do think they might increase some frequencies.

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  19. Ovde vlada placa porez od gradjana da bi oni leteli nekoj kompaniji koja ne placa porez u njihovoj zemlji.

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    1. -1

      Moja plata je dobro oporezovana u MK

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  20. Have no idea why is everyone so excited about Wizz's new routes. They are far from being a good airline.

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    1. They get you from A to B at an affordable price and the more Bs they offer the better.

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  21. Today there is some flight of Wizz Air between SOF and SKP. Is it possible that it is connected? May be a possible announcement of this new route or just Varadi is going later on to Bulgaria?

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    1. That is Varadi plane which arrived in SKP in 8:40 from BUD, I'm assuming he will go and say something in SOF later today as well. Today's regular flight from BUD with W6 is A321, I wasn't aware that they have such high loads on this route.

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    2. SKP-SOF will be great!

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    3. what time is the press-conference then?

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    4. Read the article. It says 10am.

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    5. Exactly that is why I'm asking. As it already passed 11 o'clock and we still don't have news.

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    6. News seems to be just updated. No new routes. It would be silly of them to introduce anything new now when the government is going to have another tender and pay for their expansion again.

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    7. Damn't... I was so excited about getting new routes.

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  22. Does Wizz Air now fly from Frankfurt's main airport? If they do this could be a good route for them from Skopje or other ex-Yu bases.

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    1. Yes they do. From Budapest and Sofia.

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  23. Impressive numbers. Well done Wizz.

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  24. If they plan to base fifth plane in SKP they need to introduce some less common routes such as Israel, Russia, northern England and Portugal.

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    1. Forget about Israel and Russia. They can only launch Macedonia to EU routes.

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  25. Regarding the VIE - OHD route, its weird to me that they skip whole summer season and start flying in winter...it would it be much better if they did start before the summer

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    1. Because they will have only 1 plane based in Vienna during the summer and they probably introduced more high priority routes. 2 more planes come in November.

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    2. On the plus side after a week Ohrid will be served by A321 from Vienna :)

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    3. because its primarely catered to gastos. With the exception of Tuzla (which is a switch from BTS to VIE in an last attempt to save the route) all the routes starting in May are leasure routes to Western Europe

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    4. But don't gastos travel the most during summer?

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  26. Like I said above they didn't introduce any new routes from SKP today and they won't until the tender from the Macedonian government for subsidised new routes is finished. Then they will probably base a fifth plane because the government will pay for it.

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    1. You do understand any 'support' is for 5% of the new routes only, which normally constitute up to 20% of the new aircraft? It's a bit of a stretch to call covering 1% of the costs of operation 'paying for it'. Which is also why such a low amount was never good enough for Ryanair.

      I know using actual figures around here is outrageous, but some notions just snowball out of control if kept unchecked. Especially since it's TAV pocketing all the support money anyways.

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    2. Regardless it makes no sense for Wizz to announce new routes if they can get that support by waiting 6-7 months.

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    3. In other words other airlines can forget winning the tender. It will be Wizz Air for a third time in a row.

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  27. Barcelona as new route from 14th Jan - prices one way from 21e

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    1. Barcelona was introduced last year.

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    2. BCN is older then last year

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  28. So there. No news, as expected. Varadi's probably there for a meeting with TAV. Very probably a useless one as well.

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    1. Let's say it's obvious to whoever's had prior dealings with TAV. They are going to milk this one for whatever it's worth since the concession agreement doesn't actually set clear targets for traffic development / penalties if they don't achieve them on their own.

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    2. Let's be realistic, what could have they done? The market is already saturated and a 4 aircraft base is really not bad.

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    3. Well one would say it's smart on TAV's behalf and was a stupid decision by the Macedonian government in charge when they were drafting concession agreement.

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    4. Absolutely.

      Getting away with it and diverting all PR attention to seem as if it's Wizz that's being paid off is pure genius. I hate it but that's the way it is.

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  29. Unfortunately no new routes it seems... for now

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  30. While I am all for LCCs and congratulate Wizz and Skopje Airport, I really think the management at SKP must attract more legacies. There are a lot of people who want to fly to places other than Memmingen and Friedrichshafen and want transfer options.

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    1. The only additional transfer options I would want to see is MUC or FRA and AMS. Both of these would be nice routes for p2p and transfer passengers. Skopje is covered everywhere else IMO.

      I would want to see a second LCC airline however, Norwegian, EasyJet etc.

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  31. It's fantastic news for Macedonia but what about for example Ljubljana? They have been operating 2 routes there for the past 4 years now. Time for them to expand.

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    1. The market is too small for them to expand under current prices.

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    2. Why?
      They could open barcelona or something like that

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  32. I have to ask why on earth did Varadi come to Macedonia today when they had no major announcement?

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    1. To have a pint of Skopsko

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    2. Seems like it.

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    3. rather breath some SKP air

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    4. Lol good one.

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  33. Wizz would have been nice addition to Lufthansa couple of years ago but that didn't happen. With Indigo's insane Airbus order, recent expansion to FRA, VIE and route development outside of CEE, Wizz ambition clearly outgrew CEE and they are now after Ryan and others. Perhaps that's what LH is waiting for, to buy a winner of ULCC war in Europe. LH has enough problems transforming SN, expanding EW, herding OS and LX and will never be competitive against ULCC. They could just melt them all into LH for long haul and replace the rest with W6.

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    1. Nista od toga imali su RA i Izi da kupe poodavno. Jednostavno ne znaju sa malim kompanijama. Cuvanje "malih" kompanija kao LX, OS, SN posle njihovih bankrota nema nikakvog smisla.

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    2. It's more likely for FR to buy LH than the other way round (by means of buying power, not strategic interest). Have you checked FR's market capitalization recently?

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    3. LH ima duplo vecu flotu i samo tu vredi vise drugo je na trzistu. I imaju vise narucenih aviona. Pre ce biti da LH vlasnici manje trguju sa deonicama od vlasnika RA.

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    4. Easy and Wizz msrger would make sense. Common fleet and little network overlap. They could even switch some a320/321 to a321LR and launch transatlantic routes before Norwegian and LCC subs (i.e.Level, Eurowings) take a commanding share Complete transformation.

      my2cents

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  34. OT and controversial but there's a discussion on Airliners.net about Etihad dumping their shares in both Air Serbia and Air Seychelles since last Sunday, and grounding their own A330F fleet since 31.12.2017. Any truth to this?

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    1. The rumour is that Dane was ordered to leave by Etihad so people are just putting 2 and 2 together. I don’t think it would be much of a surprise if they do leave Air Serbia because Etihad is now completely changing their business model.

      Either way the experience Air Serbia gained here and the boost to their business was positive for them. The way Etihad is now I don’t think they are that much of a benifit now to Air Serbia anyway.

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    2. Spot on Q400. What many forget is that EY has been more of a problem for JU than a solution. It's revenue management in AUH is continuously creating problems. They are messing things up and not allowing JU to make its own crucial decisions.

      At this point, EY can walk away. JU would be better off.

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