Macedonia to subsidise low cost flights

New flights from Skopje and Ohrid
The Macedonian Government will offer low cost airlines a total of 1.4 million Euros in subsidies in an attempt to attract more tourists and passengers to both Skopje and Ohrid airports in 2012. The Macedonian Civil Aviation Agency recently announced that it is working on connecting Skopje with Milan, Dublin, Basel, Paris, Barcelona and Dubai. Currently, low cost airlines operating to Skopje do not receive subsidies from the state but are given incentives from airport operator TAV through lower landing and handling fees. The practice has so far proved successful. After Wizz Air launched flights from London and Treviso to the Macedonian capital, Pegasus Airlines, Blu-express, Belle Air Europe and the semi low cost Air Berlin followed. Soon, German Sky Airlines, a subsidiary of Sky Airlines from Turkey, will commence flights from Zurich to Skopje. The Civil Aviation Agency announced that these flights will be launched sometime during the winter season.

Wizz Air could be one of the airlines to take advantage of the government’s subsidies by expanding its offer from the Macedonian capital. Recently, Gyorgy Abran, Wizz Air’s Chief Commercial Officer, said at a press conference that the no frills carrier plans to introduce new routes soon. “We plan to introduce more routes, but we will first wait and see how our current offer performs”, Abran said.

Meanwhile, Ohrid Airport has managed to secure new flights for the coming summer. The mixed Turkish-Dutch airline Corendon will launch two weekly flights from Eindhoven in the Netherlands to Ohrid during the 2012 summer season. Flights will be inaugurated on May 4 and will operate until October 16. The airline has previously operated seasonal flights from Amsterdam to Ohrid.


  1. Anonymous09:03

    Well here we are, didn't someone say that the new terminal will be operated at the expense of the tax payers?

  2. Anonymous09:23

    Very well done Mr. Erdogan! Macedonian tax payers will now pay for turkish megalomania. Local politicians got for sure very nice baksheesh....

  3. Anonymous09:37

    well, if you guys think that 1,4 milion is a lot than you have a problem. with 1,4 milion subsidies last year they got 20000 dutch turists in the country. owner of corendon will build hotel as well,there is 40% increase in the employment in the turistic sector in ohrid and record number of foreign turists was recorded. and most important, citizens get chance to fly with afordable prices!

  4. Anonymous09:45

    Well it all starts with 1,4 million. The fact that they need to subsidize airlines to fly into Skopje shows that the project didn't bear any fruits.

  5. Anonymous09:58

    TAV should run own airline and get more flights to its airports :)))

  6. Anonymous10:12

    as far as I rember, airport was open 1 month ago, so it is early to claim that the project did not bear any fruits. Brussels South, Wieze and the local governments of any other airport in Europe that is low cost hub are subsidizing the operations.

  7. As a foreign investor interested in building call centres and data-entry centres in the Balkans, Skopje is looking more and more attractive than Belgrade every quarter.

  8. Anonymous10:36

    This all but market economy.
    Busines people who NEED to go to SKP will not use Wizzair and similar. Tourists, which tourists? SKP is not a weekend destination for a city break and OHD is served by package tour operators on a weekly basis. So, who will benefit from the "cheap" flights? The diaspora coming home for holidays! Is it worth it....I doubt heavily. This is a hidden subsidy for TAV. Lots of money for a poor country.

  9. ANONYMOUS10:49

    Wow - the degree of stupidity and ignorance on this forum never ceases to amaze me.

    €1.4m is nothing, when you consider the average spend of an incoming tourist that would otherwise go to some other place in Europe.

    Almost all tourist destinations or otherwise 'not so obvious' destinations in Europe have to compete when it comes to subsidies to attract low cost carriers. It is as simple as that.

  10. Anonymous10:57

    who will benefit from cheap flights? for instance me and other 12000 macedonians in holland, or 200000 in germany, or 150000 in switserland, or 150000 in italy. instead of once evry 2 years, all my friens in london went to skopje at list 3 times this year due to a cheap tickets. and we spend like maniacs when there...

  11. I think that the admin should consider forbidding anonymous comments for some time, that way I can reply to real people, not people who pretend that they know everything related to the aviation industry and hide themselves behind anonymous profiles.
    I don't see anything bad with subsidizing low cost flights, that way ppl who really want to fly and experience flying, they cab visit Barcelona or Amsterdam for example, they can afford paying 100EUR plus some cheap hostel, instead of paying 300+ EUR with some legacy carrier.
    MKD is not the 1st and certainly not the last country in Europe which is subsidizing low cost flights.
    To the last anonymous, I don't see why SKP shouldn't be a weekend destination.
    Pretty much every place in Macedonia can be reached with 2 - 3 hours of driving from the airport, and I am sure, if someone wants to spend a weekend in Macedonia there's a good choice of what they want to do.
    Also, can you tell us how do you define 'poor country'.

  12. @ anonymous after me.

    This businessman disagrees.

    I do fly business class maybe 40% of the time, but I'm delighted to take a low-cost if it gets me to where I'm going.

    All I care about is ticket flexibility. I'm just as happy to get a business class ticket, or the cheaper, most-expensive easyjet flex ticket. Or, in the off-season, just getting the cheap ticket and buying another if something comes up and I can't travel that day.

  13. Anonymous11:31

    What about starting up a new national carrier?

  14. Anonymous12:05

    Doot is calling for help. Again!

  15. no, last anonymous.

    Just commenting on this article.

    I'm glad that SKP is getting more connected to the world aviation-wise.

  16. ANONYMOUS13:56

    Why should they start a 'national' carrier?

    Who is going to staff it? Macedonia have NEVER had a 'national' carrier that has been even remotely successful, so those with experience in the country are not appropriate. You would have to fill it almost 100% at the management level with foreigners.

    Wizz Air will become the de-facto national airline, and Macedonia and Macedonians will all be much better for it.

  17. ^ ya. no kidding.

    What normal country has a "national carrier" run by the government?

    Business always does business better than government does business.

  18. Anonymous14:30

    Doot, read all your comments.

    You are sick and dangerous, intoxinated with hate.

    I am not signing my posts for you, because you are psycho. One should take care from you!

  19. @last anonymous
    really? are you kidding?!

  20. Sick and dangerous? psycho??

    Sounds exciting!!

    This "sick and dangerous" person also happens to employ 6 Serbs in Serbia full time (soon to be 10) and 1 employee in Macedonia (possibly replacing the Serbs by this time next year)

    I'm one of these "investors" people keep going on about.

    "full of hate"? I don't think so, but I certainly tell it like it is (as I see it). Sorry if that upsets you :)

  21. Anonymous15:59

    who care you that are investor anywhere???

    You confessed that you hate, being proud of that!
    It doesn`t matter who you hate, but who you actually are!

    It is awfull to have you here!
    This is aviation blog, not hospital!!!

  22. You're the only one that seems to be having a problem here.

    Who cares? I don't know. Someone said something about what "business passengers want" and I threw in my two cents.

    I'm contributing here my experiences here. I travel at least monthly by plane to an ex-yu country and I am excited by the news article that we're commenting on.

    you? you're just lashing out here because you haven't liked words of mine you've read in the past.

    Somebody help Anonymous! :)

  23. to recap my intended contribution to this thread:

    I sincerely feel that Macedonia has a lot of potential in certain sectors for attracting foreign investors.

    One of the things holding them back is a poor and expensive selection of flights to Skopje.

    I think that this move by the Macedonian government is a great step to opening up Macedonia's understated potential.

    Keep this up and I'll be putting my money where my mouth is.

  24. @Doot
    Let me know if you want to move your investment in SE Macedonia, I can help you :)

  25. @Doot:

    I have read many of your comments, it seems to me that you don't get it that airlines were historically, and still are directly or indirectly all about state protectionism.

    Most of the 'traditional' airlines are state owned. Many in Europe are state owned. Aside from basically all Central and East European national carriers, there is France controlling AirFrance and KLM, Turkish Airlines, AirBaltic, SAS, Finnair, etc. IAG and LH Group are also to a large extent state owned.

    European governments also protect their airlines from e.g. Gulf carriers on a regular basis, through airport slots restrictions, sticking to billaterals, etc. It is interesting that Germany has not yet ratified ECAA agreement.

    So there is really little liberal economy and quite a lot of state interventionism in airline business, even in the EU countries. These false success stories of completely liberalising and opening your market are reserved for small banana countries like our own.

    Also one remark on topic - why subsidize only LCC flights from SKP? Why not evenly (in absolute terms) subsidize all flights to/from SKP? This will basically distort the competition at SKP market and favour only certain airlines.

  26. Anonymous20:04

    I am very happy about this. It would be great to see easyjet, ryanair and other LCs to fly not only to Macedonia, but all around this region. Its important not only for tourists but also for diaspora, business people and all others. All countries except Slovenia, Croatia and Greece are very economicaly and financialy poor, so I cannot pay my RT ticket 200 euros to go to Amsterdam or Berlin, but 45 euros is ok. My salary per month is 230 euros and I finished university and speak French and Greek. But I cant go from here. I dont know anyone from abroad but would be very happy to go out from Serbia. And with 230 euros, I really dont want to discuss about the name of Macedonia, cause its not important to me.. Once again, good luck Skopjle. Regards from Belgrade.

  27. Anonymous20:19

    If the macedonian taxpayers pay part of my flight and hotel i will come every year !
    If i have to pay it all self Macedonia will not see me
    ever again !

  28. Spoiled Brat21:00 Macedonians are very angry about people like us ....we dont like you ,because we dont want
    LCC flying to Skopje .

    Maybe there are some ...but most like me are not !

    I am against subsidizing flights
    in Macedonia and elsewhere in the world !

    At the begin you have so much costs
    but thats no problem ,if LF is good
    all costs are paid back.

    Its like flying on credit ,if the flight is profitable you can pay back the credit .
    The money you have earned more is the profit or the interest !

    but what if LF is small,then flight is not can not pay back your credit !

    Subsidizing a flight only means that someone else ,the taxpayer
    has to pay back the credit for someone else !

    Everybody in Macedonia deserves to drive a beautiful car .But what if he buys it on credit but can not pay it back ?
    Would you as his neighbour pay for him the difference ?

  29. Purger21:27

    Now, you really think that Belgrade does not pay subventions? OK that can be ad in magazine or huge discount from Airport... And trust me Wizzair would never fly to Belgrade without huge discount. Stoping discount was prime reason why they left Zagreb. EasyJet is subventioned from Zagreb airport and Zagreb tourist board, most of companies flying to Adriatic cost are directly subentioned... Most of airports in Greece, Spain, Italy, France... pay subventions! And whan they stop LCC just pick up things and move to some other airport. Even on those airports where they had 4-5 planes and more than 1.000.000 pax.

  30. Spoiled Brat21:42

    Gratis ads and discounts you can not call paying subventions !
    Because in the end
    you "pay" nothing !

    With subzidizing i mean financial compensation for losses you have by flying somewhere although you dont earn enough money to pay back your
    expenses !

    Btw ..I am from the Netherlands !
    I have impression you came up with example Belgrade because you think I am an jealous Serb !

  31. Purger22:34

    Oh my god!!! Of course, I am just thinking of "jealous Serbs". All the day I just came here to find one and than try to find something against him! That is my reason of living!

    To pay 500.000 EUR for magazine ad per year is not subvention? You really need that? You will have 200.000 more tourists to come and to spent 2,5 EUR taxes for paying that ad?

    Or to give huge discount to Wizzair to fly to airport is not subvention? What is the diferent to give them 1.000.000 EUR in discount or to ask for full price and than give tham 1.000.000 subventions? Why not to give same discount to Jat, Lufthansa and to others? You will have more pax, more airlines will be motivated, you will force tourism... But if you give discount to all of them you will not get enough money for progress, expending, even for every day costs. And trust me discount that satisfied Wizzair give you so little money at the end that you can not exist with it. That means taxes of other airliners pay for Wizzair discount.

  32. Spoiled Brat23:31

    Come on Purger...what would you all do without Serbs ?
    Someone has to be guilty for all
    problems...or jealous if you achieve anything positive .

    But to stay at the topic...
    what ads worth half a million per year are you talking about ?
    I have heard that Ryanair demands this but Wizz ?
    Something new ...well if you dont want money for those ads
    it is something different than paying for it !

    Here on the blog talking good about LCC is also kind of advertising !
    Do we get money for it ? No...
    do we have any disadvantage of it ?
    Of course not.

    What is difference of giving them a
    million dollar discount and giving them the same amount of money as subvention ?

    Well in first case you refuse to take the is your problem
    in the end .

    But in giving him the million as
    subvention means that you give the discount but you dont pay for it at all !
    Who pays the money then ?
    Well a third one ...the taxpayer !

  33. Purger01:00

    And who pay for discount. Also taxpayers who will not have profit from air taxes + less pax in their company etc.

    I really can not sea any arguments in your discussion.

    "what would you all do without Serbs ?
    Someone has to be guilty for all
    problems...or jealous if you achieve anything positive" .

    That is total bullshit, paranoya, and this way you are xenofob. This is the most stupid sentence I ever heard!

  34. Anonymous02:12

    OT: Belgrade - Paphos flights are supposed to begin today, but they are not on BEG timetable?

  35. Anonymous05:11

    It can not be the same flying from Belgrade, Zagreb or Budapest.
    In Zagreb you need to exempt Wizzair from paying airport fees, in Belgrade you need to give nice discount and in Budapest you can talk with Wizz at same level and expect good deal for both...ok?
    Think about it, do not be angry. That is reality

  36. Anonymous09:07

    @ Doot

    I will also contribute to the other anonymous standing, by recalling on your words, as soon as I found time to quote them.

  37. Anonymous09:59

    About Doot>

    His comments on aviation became irrelevant after the peak of expressed hate of this individual was reached in 2nd half of September. He named it himself.

    In the comments under article published on September 29th, he stated that he is proud in hating Serbs and Serbia. Maybe other people share his standing, but at least they are not so agressive.

    That comment was deleted by the Administrator after other people complaining for "neo-fascism" in his posts.
    That comments of other people are still available.

    So Doot, I am not the only one who remeber on your dangerous appearance!!!

    I invite everybody to ban people like Doot to appear here any more, for the sake of our future!

    It is not about aviation!

  38. Anonymous18:49

    To anonymous before me:
    How can we ban this idiot "Doot"

  39. Doot10:17

    You can ban people from commenting on blogger, you half-wits

  40. Anonymous14:06

    In hindsight, a great investment.



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