MAT name change requested

MAT Macedonian Airlines unacceptable for EUROCONTROL
MAT Macedonian Airlines is under fierce pressure to change its name in order to resolve problems with EUROCONTROL, which has banned the carrier from flying to Germany and Italy due to “interest debts”. This was stated by MAT’s management protesting due to these conditions. They say the Greek lobby is responsible for such pressure, adding the company would never give in. Both Macedonia (internationally referred to as The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and Greece have been engaged in a long running feud as the Greek government believes that the country must change its name as one of the Greek territories has the same name, implying that the Macedonian Republic has territorial aspirations.

According to MAT, EUROCONTROL’s decision to ban flights until interests dating back from the 2001 military conflict are paid is irrational and inappropriate at this time due to the global economic crisis, which first hit the air traffic sector. MAT’s management further states that financial damages would reflect on the employees, whose number is to be reduced by at least 40%. Costs will also be reduced through fleet redesign (that is the use of smaller and more economic planes). MAT leadership stated that the Greek lobby is obviously too strong, thus neither MAT nor the Macedonian Government's efforts for the problem's settlement have resulted in success. "Although Macedonia is a EUROCOTNROL member-state, this institution has not responded to the Government's letter dated December 18, 2008 in which it gave support to MAT in settling the problem", the airline’s representative commented.

MAT seems to have more pressure on its hands. Serbia’s Jat Airways will be increasing its existing daily flights from Belgrade to Skopje to 13 flights per week in order for passengers to connect to onward flights from Belgrade to Western Europe. Jat will also be commencing flights to Ohrid, Macedonia’s second international airport with hopes of creating new international flights from the city.