Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Wizz Air to station A321s in Skopje


Low cost carrier Wizz Air will replace two of its four Airbus A320 aircraft based in Skopje with the larger 230-seat A321 jets this summer. In a statement to EX-YU Aviation News, the airline confirmed that the first of the two aircraft will begin operations from the Macedonian capital on May 30 and the second from June 15. They will be deployed on a number of routes from Skopje including Berlin, Beauvais, Bratislava, Cologne, Eindhoven, Friedrichshafen, Gothenburg, Hahn, Hamburg, Hannover, Malmo, Memmingen, Nuremberg and Rome. Together, the two aircraft will operate a total of 42 flights per week. As a result, Wizz Air will increase its capacity from Macedonia by 23% this year when compared to 2017, offering 1.8 million seats for sale from Skopje and Ohrid.

Wizz Air has been operating the Airbus A321 since November 2015 and currently has 24 of the type in its fleet, with a further seventeen on order. Furthermore, the carrier has an additional 184 of the more fuel-efficient A321neo jets on order, which are to be delivered between 2019 and 2026. The deployment of the A321s to Skopje, which boast an extra fifty seats compared to the A320 frames, further demonstrates Skopje's importance within Wizz Air's network, as well as the strong demand the airline has seen on the Macedonian market. This year, the carrier will introduce new flights between Vienna and Ohrid, and will also upgrade operations between Skopje and Milan, with services to operate to Malpensa International Airport instead of Bergamo from March 26.

In a statement to EX-YU Aviation News, the airline said that the stationing of the two A321s in Skopje represents a natural development following several years of strong growth on the Macedonian market. "Wizz Air, Macedonia's leading airline, has carried 1.2 million passengers on its flights to and from the country in 2017, representing a 20% increase compared to the previous year. Wizz currently offers thirty low cost routes to fifteen countries from Macedonia: 27 from Skopje and three from Ohrid. Two Airbus A320 aircraft will be replaced by the Airbus A321s, the largest member of Airbus' successful single-aisle family", the company said. It previously noted that The biggest benefit of the A321 for passengers is the lower fares the airline can offer as result of its greater efficiency versus the A320s.

113 comments:

  1. wow well done Skopje

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  2. There is no doubt now that Skopje will have over 2 million passengers this year.

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    1. Good work Skopje & Wizz. I think it surpasses Pristina this year.

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    2. I would say that. It is shaping up to be a really strong year for PRN.

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  3. I wonder have Wizz Air's fares increased over the years from Skopje since they have such a huge share of passengers and not much competition?

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    1. They have become more expensive compared to the early years.

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    2. Fares only increase in year 2 in comparison to year 1 as there is big surge in demand. From there whenever there is increase in demand the adjustment is in added capacity, not increased fares.

      People who claim 'fares have increased' normally only have sporadic anecdotal experience, i.e. not a representative sample to make an informed judgment on.

      You could check what the rps / RASK development is based on their annual reports if you wished to calculate it yourself and confirm / challenge the above.

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    3. Thanks for the explanation.

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    4. Demand is only one aspect. Market condition is the other.

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    5. Yield = Demand / Available capacity, when the target is maximized revenue, which it is. There is zero incentive to push for higher fares if the market will not buy them, especially given the variable pricing model applied by Wizz Air.

      Market condition is an enabler, however it bears noting there are no barriers to entry.

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  4. And there are some people still longing for MAT...

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    1. Don't think so.

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    2. A lot of people were very supportive of the idea for Macedonia to establish a new national airline last year.

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    3. *A lot of Turks.

      There, corrected. :)

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  5. That's impressive. Will the A321s stay during the winter too?

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  6. I think Budapest-Skopje is also operated by the A321 although that is with Budapest based plane.

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    1. I'm shocked at how successful this route has been.

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    2. True Malev was always successful on this route but I thought that was down to all the the transfer passengers but seems like there is healthy P2P demand now.

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    3. Wizz is selling the route for like 20$ so yeah, there is success.

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  7. There aren't too many cities in their network where they have A321s based. This is great news for Skopje.

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    1. Do you know in which cities they have the A321s based in?

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    2. Budapest, Warsaw, Vilnius, Sofia, Gdansk, Katowice, Vienna (from March) and now Skopje. I think that's it.

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    3. Warsaw, Budapest, Bucharest, Sofia

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  8. Smart move. And I believe that they will add more new routes in the second half of the year when they win the subsidy tender.

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    1. If they win it...

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    2. Please, as if that is in question.

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    3. We will see. Personally I hope someone else gets it like Norwegian or Easy jet.

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    4. Through these fixed Wizz tenders the government together with a monopolist airline ruined the free market.

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    5. @10:04 They'd have to apply first, i.e. show an active interest. I'd be stoked to see easyJet operate some routes to be perfectly honest. I'm sure there's a handful of routes to primary airports they can find attractive from a yield perspective, GVA being the most obvious choice.

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    6. Norwegian has said they want to fly to Macedonia. Hope they apply.

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    7. Can someone explain to me how this tender works? Airlines apply to launch new routes but how does the government pick the winner? Based on what?

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    8. @10:50

      I'd love to go into the details, but it's a moot point since only one airline has ever applied. It's worth noting there were no special clauses like in the case of Hungary, that the crew has to speak Hungarian etc.

      Now considering the upcoming tender, your guess is as good as mine, however for the first time I've seen the terms 'supporting new *low-cost* routes/airlines' mentioned, which I don't agree with nor is there a good way to establish this. On top of all this it just feeds the detractors of such policies, so they're effectively shooting themselves in the foot. A bit incompetent to say the least.

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    9. Thank you. I didn't realize that only Wizz has applied to these tenders.

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    10. because the other airlines didnt have a clue there were tenders at all... aka customized for Wizz

      there was no Tender in English!

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    11. Yes they did. And yes there was. The official tender was done in Macedonian, which is unsurprising.

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    12. onyl for the first one. the other 2 were customized for Wizz

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  9. Good news, more seats, might push fares down as well. It's also good to see W6 flying to more and more main city airports from Skopje.

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    1. Additional capacity always pushes fares down.

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    2. Agree more and more main airports being served now:

      Berlin, Copenhagen, Milan, Hamburg, Hannover, Budapest. Bratislava, Gothenburg, Basel, Barcelona and Malta.

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  10. I think we can expect 5th W6 plane based in SKP from the winter season 2018/19 based on the progression of the airline.

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    1. I'm really interested to see what they could introduce. I wonder if they would try and compete against Flydubai and start Skopje-Dubai?

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    2. They won't. TAV's policy is not to have a low cost airline overlap with another airline in Macedonia on the same route. That's why Wizz did not introduce Vienna-Skopje and instead will start Vienna-Ohrid because there is Austrian flying to Skopje. They publicly said it was their policy in 2016.

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    3. Nothing to do with TAV's policy, they have no say in this. It's more about government support of new routes and Wizz Air's strategic positioning - they don't necessarily choose to fight traditional carriers head to head, especially when there might be legal (mis)interpretations of the support they receive.

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    4. If a political deal is achieved between MKD and GRE maybe Wizz might consider some routes between the two countries.

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    5. Athens is then very probable as they are expanding from there

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    6. Remember that Aegean plans also to fly to Skopje. They already confirmed it.

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    7. Not if Aegean are already interested in it.

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    8. Any ideas on which cities we could see then? I think the gasterbaiter are now completely covered. Maybe Larnaca? Is there any demand?

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    9. I'd rather look to Ohrid for new routes, and you might see some repeats there. Perhaps some Polish routes on top of that.

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    10. Most new routes from Ohrid would be seasonal and for foreign tourists I assume.

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  11. So daily A321 ops from Skopje to Malmo this summer. That's crazy.

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    1. 1,610 seats per week each way.

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  12. Well now we know which are their most successful routes from SKP

    "They will be deployed on a number of routes from Skopje including Berlin, Beauvais, Bratislava, Cologne, Eindhoven, Friedrichshafen, Gothenburg, Hahn, Hamburg, Hannover, Malmo, Memmingen, Nuremberg and Rome."

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    1. No surprises there. Mostly gasterbaiter routes.

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    2. Their entire network from ex-Yu cities are mostly gasterbaiter routes.

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    3. Wow, mostly "exclusive" routes!

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  13. Notable capacity increase. Good job Wizz and Skopje. This has turned into a really success story for both sides.

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  14. Just a sign everyone is moving out of Macedonia, pretty much only gaserbaiter routes.

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    1. same as in Hrvatska, Srbija and (put any east european country here)

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  15. Does Wizz has any plans to start TATL flights like Norwegian is doing?

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    1. Pity, they could have done so from Skopje with no competition.

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    2. Hahaha good one.

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    3. AnonymousJanuary 24, 2018 at 9:48 AM: With what aircraft? I very much doubt they will operate anything other than A320 and A321 in the next decade or so.

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    4. Once they get their A359 they will expand from SKP to JFK, ORD, LAX, YYZ, HND and SYD https://forums.x-plane.org/screenshots/monthly_2018_01/6.jpg.ef5dc84e5f8acd7bd1fdd5bf94812f72.jpg :)

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  16. I think it will be fair for another LCC to be introduced in SKP. Not sure how many more routes can be introduced by a new LCC, but healthy competition should make the market better. Can we assume that FR is done for some time with SKP because of their expansion in INI? They are also very active in SOF and SKG in the surroundings. I'm wondering why no real LCC carrier hasn't made a base in Tirana, since they have healthy number of passengers.

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    1. +1000

      But remember whenever another LCC wanted to start flights from Skopje something happened. When Ryan wanted to start Skopje they suddenly changed plans and went to Nis. When Eurowings wanted to start Skopje they suspended sales and said demand was low. Hard to believe Wizz Air had nothing to do with this.

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    2. @9:57

      Of course they had a hand when Ryanair's in question, and an active one as well. They launched Copenhagen, Berlin and Bratislava (obvious Ryanair targets at the time) with no financial incentives, which goes on to show they can indeed act on their own when sufficiently interested.

      As for Eurowings, they're merely a victim of their own incompetence.

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  17. I think the next city to be served by A321 will be INI, being close to SKP and now a competitor airport. INI-MMX and INI-DTM can be candidates as well as INI-VIE next winter.

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    1. I think VIE has the best chance and I actually think that route will be an absolute hit.

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    2. Yes, INI-LHR could work too with A321 of course!

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    3. Vienna-Nis is scheduled to operate with the A321.

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    4. @Anon 5:12pm - OMG that's true! This means we can expect higher than expected figures for INI in 2019!

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  18. Wizzland. Good news for passengers because this will reduce fairs but also for tourism in Macedonia.

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    1. True. They have made air travel accessible to many Macedonians.

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    2. It has certainly brought flying to ordinary people much closer then it was before.

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  19. I must say I'm surprised. I didn't see this coming this early on. Also I was certain they would use the A321 to London but that doesn't seem to be the case.

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    1. When one day the UK abolishes visas maybe we could see bigger equipment on that route.

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    2. and few other other airlines as well ;)

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  20. Wizz added capacity to Macedonia each year since they started flying which is great. I wish them all the best.

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  21. It's time for them to finally acquire a Macedonian AOC.

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    1. Yes. That way they would be able to launch flights to places like Moscow and Tel Aviv.

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    2. A Macedonian AOC would cost them money. Too much to justify the opportunity of introducing maybe 2 or 3 routes they can't currently serve.

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    3. think of cash-cow Switzerland (ZRH, Geneva, Bern ...) plus Tel Aviv which works from every village in EU

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    4. oh and Turkey (biggest country market in Macedonia at the moment!)

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    5. Peanuts in the grand scheme of things. And Turkey is primarily transfer.

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    6. Does Wizz fly to Turkey at all?

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    7. No, not even from Budapest.

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    8. I don't think couple of more routes (let's say they would account for 1 or 2 aircraft) would bring enough revenue to cover the cost of a seperate AOC.

      Wishful thinking I say.

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    9. Turkey only transfer??? have you ever been on TK or Pegasus flight from SKP? Turks are no1 tourist group in MKD every 5th tourist is Turk

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    10. Last anon is correct. I was in Skopje last year for the first time in 10 yrs and apart from there being generally a lot of tourists (I heard more people speaking other languages than Macedonian) there were heaps of Turks. There were even Erdogan billboards and I noticed Turkish broadcaster TRT had an entire building in the city center.

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    11. Hey guys what does AOC mean?

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    12. Air Operator's Certificate. It would mean they would be legally registered in Macedonia and would have to pay state taxes. Only in the Balkans can EU airlines set up bases as they wish. A Macedonian airline would never get an AOC in a EU country.

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    13. AOC has nothing to do with taxes. Wizz Air has Hungarian AOC yet they don't pay (almost) any tax in Hungary. Surprise surprise...

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  22. Maybe this was the reason for why the wizzair ceo came to Skopje.

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  23. and most funny they will close their PRG base because of low demand o_0

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    1. Yes just read it. I'm surprised they failed

      Wizz Air (W6, Budapest) will close its base at Prague effective June 14, 2018, coinciding with the opening of a new base at Vienna on the same day.

      The LCC currently bases one of its A320s out of Prague.

      The carrier will also cut its network from the Czech capital from the current eight routes to only three by mid-June. Routes from the Czech gateway to Milan Bergamo, Naples Int'l, Reykjavik Keflavik, Venice Treviso, and Eilat Ovda Int'l will be terminated. The airline will continue to operate services to London Luton, Bari, and the seasonal route to Kutaisi.

      According to Prague.tv, the base will be closed due to low demand out of Prague.

      Wizz Air is currently a minor player in Prague with 2.9% market share by capacity, the ch-aviation capacity module shows.

      The LCC had previously announced it would open a base at Vienna on June 14, 2018, and plans to launch a total of 17 new routes out of the Austrian capital during the course of this year.

      In other Wizz Air related network news, the Hungarian low-cost carrier will also move two of its routes to Milan Bergamo, from both Skopje and Vilnius, to Milan Malpensa starting March 25.

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    2. No, it is because of the VIE base. Of course it will be much more profitable for them.

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    3. No, they are closing a base in Prague because they have poor loads out of Prague and not because they urgently need a plane in Vienna.

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    4. Ryanair 1, Wizz Air 0. We'll see how the battle continues throughout Eastern Europe.

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  24. This makes sense. There is room for expansion but not enough to bring in a new A320. Like this they add seats without actually adding flights. I mean SKP is not a business heavy destination so there isn't much need for convenient schedules.

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  25. Does anybody know loads to lju?

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  26. Fifth aircraft in 2018?

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  27. Where is the biggest MK diaspora located? Sweden or Germany?

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