MAT goes from bad to worse

MAT Boeing B737-500 flying high...but until when?
The national carrier of Macedonia, MAT, has truly had the most difficult beginning to the year. Its troubles started in the finishing stages of last year when EUROCONTROL announced that the carrier has been banned from flying to Germany and Italy due to unpaid loans to the European sky control agency. Beforehand MAT has been banned from flying to neighbouring Greece due to a continuing decade long name dispute. Recently, the carrier had also had to deal with the global financial crisis. It had to reduce frequencies as its fleet number plummeted to only 1 aircraft (a Boeing B737-500). The newish CRJ900 delivered only 3 years ago has been stored in the European Bombardier base in Ljubljana. In order to keep up with its flights MAT is constantly leasing aircraft on a short term basis (weekly and monthly). Recently an MD80 and a Fokker 100 have been seen operating services for MAT. This puts a big question on MAT’s ability to operate this summer season. The carrier’s scheduling shows that in the summer (starting in late March) it will have a CRJ900 back in the fleet however this is impossible as the aircraft will be stored in Ljubljana at least until June.

MAT is known for having debt problems and not paying off aircraft. It is facing a million Euro court case as Jat Airways sues the Macedonian carrier for not paying the aircraft it leased from Jat. MAT also It purchased an Embraer aircraft in 2005 however had to return it to the Brazilin aircraft maker after it did not pay the needed sum. Recently it has had problems with EUROCTONROL as well. On top of this 70 out of 180 employees at the airline will lose their jobs in order for the national carrier to reduce costs.