Wednesday, February 7, 2018

LOT to commence Skopje flights in June


LOT Polish Airlines will launch seasonal summer flights between Warsaw and Skopje this June, with the Macedonian capital becoming its eighth destination in the former Yugoslavia. The Star Alliance member will operate six weekly flights between the two cities, Mondays through Saturdays, with its 82-seat Embraer E175 jet. "Skopje in Macedonia is a completely new destination in LOT's network. This country is becoming more popular with tourists year after year. It can also be used as a base for trips to neighbouring countries such as Greece, Bulgaria and Albania", LOT's spokesman, Adrian Kubicki, said. Talks between the Polish carrier and the Macedonian government concerning the new service began back in August of last year.

Flights between Poland and Macedonia were established in 2017 when Small Planet Airlines launched charter operations from Katowice to Ohrid. They will resume this summer with services from Warsaw also expected. Apart from LOT, Skopje expects to see its passenger numbers continue to grow this year with Wizz Air to replace two out of four of its Airbus A320 aircraft with the larger A321s, as well as boost frequnecies on some routes. In addition, Greece's Aegean Airlines has confirmed it too will commence services to the Macedonian capital as soon as a political agreement is reached between the two countries, which is expected in the coming months. The Macedonian government has also held talks with Arkia Israeli Airlines over the potential introduction of flights between Tel Aviv and Skopje.

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

Tickets for the new Warsaw - Skopje service are available for purchase, while further flight details can be found here.

110 comments:

  1. Impressive that they start with 6x weekly straight away.

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    1. They probably expect some strong loads from tourists as well as some transfers. They are starting off Dubrovnik with six weekly as well. Regardless, great news for Skopje.

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  2. Their presence in ex-Yu is growing each year.

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    1. I do hope they consider Sarajevo next.

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    2. It's crazy how much they expanded. I wonder where all the demand is coming from. Transfers I assume?

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    3. Transfers. That's why their finances are not performing nearly as well as their expansion strategy.

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    4. They have managed an impressive comeback.

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    5. As I've said, fleet and route wise yes, financially no.

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    6. Government will help them, which is OK. EU will never be able to shut them down like they do with the small fish. Good luck.

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    7. I thought the same for Malev. The EU has already disciplined them once.

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    8. Malev's bankruptcy came as a result of a deal between Orban and Wizz Air. That's how Debrecen got flights, it was a prerequisite for the deal to go through.

      There is a reason why MA was closed but OU, JP, BT... weren't.

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    9. Yes there is: OU, JP, BT made it by the rules of EU (self participation like cutting frequencies and fleet, credits etc) and Malev did not. You can do it once in 10 years by those very defined rules.

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    10. @10:31

      Yeah, that's why it was actually Ryanair who got the boost to base 6 aircraft right away (from 0) and not Wizz.

      On the Balkans there's nothing sweeter than a nicely cooked up conspiracy theory.

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    11. Maybe Serbian regulator should try and block them?

      Now may one person tell me that JU was right in terminating WAW.

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    12. They can't since it is in the EU. Yes they were right if they were loosing money.

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  3. Great addition for Skopje. Especially since it's a legacy airline.

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    1. And a star alliance member too.

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    2. It's a good alternative for flights to the US. I hope they have some competitive fares from Skopje.

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    3. +1 it is important for Skopje to have more legacy carriers and LOT is an excellent choice.

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    4. Total Star Alliance dominance in SKP.
      Wit LOT and Aegean commencing flights (and Brussels in OHD) only SAS and TAP are missing now

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    5. And Lufthansa is not missing?

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    6. I would say the biggest missing link is Lufthansa.

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    7. LH is the big one missing. Since they don't fly to Pristina either I don't know what they are waiting for.

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    8. Adria is flaying for them from Priština on 2 routes (Frankfurt and Munich)

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    9. It's a shame Alitalia quit SKP. They had great fares to the US.

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    10. Alitalia usually have great fares for practically every destination. Only problem - they are bankrupt.

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  4. I hope they extend them to year round.

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    1. If the results are good I assume they will.

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  5. With the decision from yesterday to change the airport name to Skopje International Airport I expect Aegean to announce their flights between ATH and SKP very soon.

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    1. I think Aegean also plans early June launch. And they will definitely fly year round.

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  6. Tickets are a bit pricey. Lowest fare which doesn't include any checked in luggage is 220 euros.

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    1. Depends on which month you looked. They are expensive in June, July and August.

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  7. LOT is becoming a serious player in ex-Yu.

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    1. During the summer. During the winter they only serve three cities. That's less then airlines like Fly Dubai and Qatar Airways.

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  8. How you mean Seasonal, Admin???

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    1. The airline indicated in its press release that the route is seasonal.

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    2. its tottal crazy seasonal with 6x weekly :D

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    3. They fly to Podgorica also 6x per week seasonally.

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    4. Dubrovnik too. They will be flying WAW-DBV 6 weekly but only during summer unfortunately.

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    5. schedule is til the end of summer timetable (end of Okt)

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  9. This will come as really bad news for OS and TK which have abused the local market with extremely high fares for many years now.

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    1. Especially Austrian for so long.

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    2. LOT is not cheaper! check their fares first before writing here

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    3. I am regularly checking OS fares' from SKP to VIE and I can only confirm what anon 10:03 wrote.
      There has never ever been a SKP-VIE fare for less than 250 euro return.
      Its become even more expensive now, with the "hang luggage only" fare, because previously it was 250 euros with 1 piece of luggage, now this price if for hand luggage only meaning with 1 piece of luggage you need to pay 300 euro in total. (2x25euro).
      how OS manages to fill 2xdaily flights to SKP with these prices (majority of flights is with A320 btw) really escapes me.
      With more competition, I do hope they come to their senses.

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    4. Wizz Air's new Vienna-Ohrid route will surely hurt them a bit.

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    5. This is not true. OS's fares to SKP are very reasonable. I've flown many times with them AMS-SKP return, for around 160 eur.

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    6. It's much cheaper these days to fly with OS from Skopje. In the past it was ridiculously expensive. Still, OS and to some extent TK are the best airlines that fly to Europe daily. OS never stopped flying to Skopje and that is for many sign of reliability.

      I hope Eurowings, if not LH will one day start to fly to Skopje...

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  10. Great news, Skopie!
    Greetings from Sofia!

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  11. I guess this is one route Wizz Air was not quick enough to launch and see the potential. Which is surprising since they have a base in WAW.

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    1. P2P potential is not that big. If this one does work beyond expectations though they can launch KTWSKP.

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    2. Perhaps they could have tried Katowice-Ohrid this year. They are going to fly this route to Podgorica.

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    3. Even SOF can't sustain P2P traffic to WAW. LOT are after the transfer pax.

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    4. How many weekly flights does LO have to Sofia?

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    5. I doubt TAV would now encourage Wizz to launch the same route. They try not to overlap routes.

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    6. TAV have no say in any of it. The government might provide support or not, and Wizz will decide what they want to do.

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    7. Or rather, let me rephrase, just to make it 100% clear. TAV consistently intentionally choose not to provide any relevant traffic development financial incentives, regardless if it's incremental capacity and/or new routes.

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    8. @Anonymous February 7, 2018 at 9:48 AM
      SOF have 18 weekly, but most of the passengers are transfers and not P2P

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    9. wow 18 weekly is impressive.

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    10. lol i love when people here claim "most are transfers". As if thy know the numbers

      When you read the CEO'S statemnet they are clearly after polish tourists visiting the region

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    11. no P2P??

      hah, every 10th tourist in Macedonia in August is from Poland ...

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    12. @ 10.26 then you will be even more impressed with 21 weekly to Bucharest!

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  12. Good to see them in Skopje. I'm happy that there will be more of a focus on legacies this year in Macedonia. If Arkia also starts flights for Israeli tourists that would be fantastic.

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

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  14. Hope they also launch WAW-OHD.

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    1. It says that flights from Warsaw to OHD are being negotiated but I think it's probably Small Planet as well. Those are just for Polish tourists and tickets are sold through tour operators.

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

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  16. Nice. LO should next consider Pristina and Sarajevo.

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    1. Not sure there would be enough demand. Sarajevo would work but Pristina I don't think so.

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  17. So this year LOT has two new destinations in the region - SKP and DBV.
    Last year they started TGD and PUY.
    The year before they launched ZAD and SPU.

    Looking forward to see what they start in 2019.

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    1. And this year they are increasing ZAG and BEG too.
      http://www.exyuaviation.com/2018/01/lot-to-boost-zagreb-and-belgrade.html

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  18. It's interesting that the government negotiated this route and not the airport operator.

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  19. I think this is the year when SKP will overtake PRN.

    1. Wizz is increasing frequencies, increasing capacity, and I do expect to announce new flights once the government will send fresh round of subsidies.
    2. Croatia and Adria are increasing frequencies
    3. LOT is starting from June, I expect Aegean to do the same in very near future
    4. If Arkia announce SKP, I would assume they will start around June as well
    5. Qatar wil be full year present in SKP. This is the only unknown for me, how Qatar is performing this route, does anyone have any input?

    If all this come true, SKP should be well over 2 mil this year.

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    1. Very strong year ahead.

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    2. I've heard mixed news about QR's performance. Mostly that their loads are not that great but these are are still very early days. I have had a few friends and family fly and they always said there were plenty of free seats. But I'm not worried about them. They stick to their routes and develop them nicely.

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    3. if QR has plenty of unoccupied seats it wouldn't surprise me at all.
      For this winter and long-haul (Asia) the best fares were/are with FZ/EK, then TK and QR came at the end.
      Furthermore, there were I believe at least 2 QR travel festivals this fall/winter and SKP was not even once included. (whereas for example, SOF is regularly included)

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    4. Also should be remembered that FZ has established itself well on the Macedonian market and with tour operators as well.

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    5. I wonder whether QR starting SKG will impact their SKP business much.

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    6. Could be. I live in Macedonia, but SKG is closer to me then SKP and if the prices are right I have no issues using SKG with QR instead. Comparing the prices for both airports currently, SKP has cheaper option with QR for same destination compared to SKG.

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  20. Does the scheduling suit transfer to pax to the US?

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    1. Yes they do. That's why they have the split scheduling.

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  21. Congrats, great news!

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  22. The next two airline they should work on getting in my opinion is Aeroflot/Pobeda and Brussels Airlines.

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    1. Brussels starts flights to Ohrid this summer
      http://www.exyuaviation.com/p/brussels-airlines-brussels-ohrid.html

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    2. I know that but it's seasonal and a replacement for Thomas Cook.

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    3. Does Wizz fly from Skopje to Charleroi?

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    4. At this point I don't see much need for a second airline to fly this route. Maybe as Macedonia's EU process progresses someone might jump in on the Brussels National route.

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  23. I think ZAG is their top performing route in the region. This year they are going double daily but next summer we might see almost three daily flights. LOT is popular with tourists from all over the world but especially with Koreans and Canadians.

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    1. Well they do have the most flights, so it is to be expected.

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  24. Flights WAW -OHD are not neagotiated. They are on sale since Nov. last year!

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    1. Tour packages are on sale. The airline has still not been chosen.

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  25. Thank god they didn't use the Dash on this flight :)

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    1. Why? Dash is a great plane.

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    2. Because no one likes sitting in a turboprop for over 2 hrs.

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    3. And most of travelers have NO idea which plane they are flying when buying tickets.

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  26. Any data on how many Polish tourists visited Macedonia last year?

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    1. There were 1 plane and 1 bus per week. Now, it's all out - planes and buses, as there are many other tour agencies in the mix.

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    2. from June-Sept Polish tourists are N.2 after Turks in MK

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  27. Fantastic news. Welcome LOT!

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  28. Now Macedonia is amazingly connected both with Western Europe (almost all european countries except Portugal) but also with Central and Eastern Europe (Budapest, Prague, Talinn from Ohrid and now Warsaw). Hopefully soon with Athens!
    Nobody could have imagined this just 5-6 years ago.

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    1. It was imagined ten years ago, then fortunately eventually put to production a few years later. It took some time but we're getting to a more proper utilization of the market potential.

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  29. To be honest, my first thought was that the air is going thinner and thinner for Air Serbia in Skopje. Adria is now connecting to DUS, which is a HUGE market for Skopje and LOT is clearly aimed for the transantlantic and scandinavian markets. Both JP and LO are technically bancrupt but have backing from LH to attack where they are needed. If you don't believe that LO is a dead man walking you shoud read how close they were to the Malev scenario. They survived with financial acrobatics (selling their ground handling, catering etc. to the state for HUGE money) and due to backing of the right wing government. I don't think that there will be more than 10 local passengers between WAW and SKP. Everything will be YYZ, JFK, ARN etc.....

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    1. Yeah, true. Also true is that JU is doing nothing about that.

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    2. Hey, what are you talking about? LO is a healthy company earning a lot of money and with a positive ebita for the past 3 years. LH has no impact on LO at all. Look how they grew into Germany, Scandinavia, Far East. They are a Central European leading air carrier. LH may start to worry, as LO simply follows TK way how to do business.

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