Country without a carrier

The Macedonian based Airlift Service receives new aircraft
Macedonia continues to be one of the rare European countries which lacks a national flag carrier. No airline is interested in becoming Macedonia’s national airline and the Macedonian Government has shown no interest in setting one up either. The “Daily Macedonia” reports that the Government has concluded that setting up a national carrier would be too costly and would only produce losses.

The owner of Macedonia’s two international airports, TAV, has called on the Macedonian Government to create a national carrier in order for the two airports to profit and expand. The CEO of Airlift Service (which operates charter flights from Skopje under the name Skywings International), Ajan Džaferovski, explains that there is no need for a national airline. “I can’t name a country which has created a national carrier in the past twenty years. Most countries want to get rid of them or sell them, as is the case with Jat”. On the other hand, the Ministry of Transport says that any future national airline in Macedonia will be privately owned and won’t have any state capital.

Airlift Service operates charter flights out of Macedonia and recently received a Boeing B737-300 (registered Z3-AAN). The newly established Mat Airways received its registration code, 6F, but still operates charter flights out of Belgrade, Serbia on behalf of tour operator Kon Tiki Travel.


  1. This airline seems to have many flights to PRN. There are three return flights today only. Does anyone have any idea what's happening?

  2. AirKoryoTU-20403:42

    Charter services is all. Also this carrier had a 737-300 with winglets and in a diffrent livery to the one in the photos, does this mean they operate 2 a/c or did they return the other one.


  3. frequentflyer09:07

    I can’t name a country which has created a national carrier in the past twenty years.

    Look beyond the end of your nose! How about your neighbour BiH? I'm sure JA was set up in the mid-90s and is flag carrier...

  4. Aleks01114:12

    Indeed, omg, what a dumb-ass. Obviously, old countries have not been establishing flag carriers as they already have them. All new countries, though, have. It seems that Macedonia, Lithuania and Slovakia have had the worst experience in that, followed by Bosnia.

    Furthermore, the guy is confusing 'having a national airline' with economic aspects thereof such as mergers (air france - klm), ownership (malev/aeroflot) and privatisation.

  5. Anonymous00:54

    This man is indeed confused, Macedonia desperately needs a reliable national airline, with a new fleet, good regular schedules and a decent network.

    How is TAV meant to get a reasonable return on the money the are spending on both Skopje and Ohrid airports with only around four airlines flying into Skopje airport.

    Also why can't Ohrid airport be fully operational rather than an alternative airport. This was something that needed to be resolved when Macedonia became independant.

    I just wish that the Ministry for transport just wakes up.

  6. Anonymous02:15

    The best option for the Macedonian Government is to go into a joint venture with Richard Branson and establish Virgin Macedonia.

  7. ANONYMOUS00:56

    Why this obsession with 'national carrier'? If there is ONE thing that is dead in the airline industry globally, it is this outdated notion that every country must have it's own airline - DEAD DEAD DEAD!

    In the whole of Europe, there should be no more than 6 airlines in total. Air France/KLM, Lufthansa (+ affiliates), British Airways/Iberia, easyJet, Ryanair and Wizz. I don't include Turkey in Europe.

    EVERYONE else, including all the ex-YU carriers will either be swallowed by one of those, or go bankrupt.

  8. Anonymous09:47

    Establishing a national airline may be dead, however a reliable airline is what Macedonia desperately needs so when people say national airline, I would say they mean a reliable airline.

    I can't see Europe scaling down to around 6 airlines but then again if it did get to that 1 airline for the ex yu nations would make sense

  9. ANONYMOUS19:15

    No. The ex-YU region even in it's entirety can NOT profitably support one airline, *unless* it's within the structure of AF-KL or Lufthansa. It simply can not, and will not happen. For too many reasons to even start to list here, but first of all - a large self supporting network airline here would need a 'hub' airport with the size and scale to compete with Istanbul, Munich, Frankfurt & Paris, and Vienna & Rome as secondary hubs.

    Shorthaul (ie. intra-Europe) point to point travel (non-connecting) WILL be dominated by low cost carriers, namely Wizz. Those idiots on here who for years have been saying "Oh no, those in the ex-YU are too nationalistic and will always choose Jat/Croatia/Adria so that they can say "Zdravo" when they board the plane or receive a free Noblice biscuit" are completely and utterly WRONG.

    Once presented with fares that are often less than HALF what the high cost 'national carriers' charge, due to the massive inefficiencies throughout their organisation, they will migrate to the LCCs in droves. It has happened everywhere else in Europe, there will be NO difference in the ex-YU.

    Therefore - ALL Macedonia needs is 2 things to fully take care of their needs:
    1) Wizz to setup a base in Skopje with at most 2 based a/c to handle point to point intra-Europe demand
    2) Other network carriers like Turkish, Luftahsa, Alitalia and Austrian to offer connectivity to long haul points through 1 or 2 daily flights to their respective hubs.

    That's it.

  10. Dear ANONYMOUS, you are clearly wrong with your post. There will be people (quite a %) who will never choose LCC to fly ... not to mention that MANY TIMES LCC is more expensive than "normal" airline ...

  11. Not to mention:
    "Wizz Air was rated the European airline most likely to next go bust"


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