ČSA to suspend Skopje flights

ČSA farewells Skopje
ČSA Czech Airlines will suspend services to Skopje at the end of the 2011/2012 winter season on March 25. The Czech national carrier is in the process of implementing severe service cuts as it looks to curb losses and become attractive to a potential new owner. A total of six weekly flights were planned between Prague and Skopje this summer. The airline has relied heavily on transfer passengers on the route. Over the past few years Prague has constantly featured as one of the top ten busiest destinations being operated out of the Macedonian capital on an annual basis. Skopje won’t be the only causality of ČSA’s service cuts as the airline also intends to suspend flights to Athens and Oslo.

Last year, ČSA terminated flights to Belgrade as well, despite having a complete monopoly on the route. It even operated double daily flights between the Czech and Serbian capitals in 2011. Elsewhere, in the EX-YU region, ČSA will be reducing flights to Ljubljana from twelve to ten times per week while flights to Zagreb, the airline’s first international service dating back from 1930, will increase from five to six weekly.

Skopje Airport recently saw another cancellation, as the low cost Italian airline Blu-express terminated its two weekly service from Rome due to poor loads. The route has been operating for only two months. Skopje Alexander the Great Airport handled just over 800.000 passengers in 2011, making it one of its best years in recent history but still short of its all time record of 1.020.000 passengers achieved in 2000. B&H Airlines and Jetairfly from Brussels are the only new airlines to announce flights to Skopje this summer, with Jetairfly to operate only a seasonal service. MAT Airways, which operated regular charter flights from Skopje last year is unlikely to get its license renewed by the Macedonian Civil Aviation Agency. It expires on June 15. The airline has been grounded since September 2011.


  1. Anonymous09:03

    Oh, no way!
    I thought it was the most successful investment in aviation ever!

    btw what is the ROI for SKP? :)

  2. JU520 BEGLAX09:06

    to comfort you, even ZRH lost OK flights last October.
    They have been to ZRH for over 50 years and finally said goodbye to us... :-(

  3. SuisseOuest09:14

    BTW, could it be possible to get a decent connection from Switzerland to Skopje? (and no, I would prefer to fly to SKP, not PRN) The is like a million charters which I have no clue how to book and 2 weekly edelweis services from ZRH which operates in weird times (with tickets being almost always 300+ CHF). I might be spoiled by choice on ZRH-BEG route, but I'd really like to be able to make a weekend hop to SKP.

  4. Anonymous09:15

    Not to mention that OK left the UK market as well after over 74 years of flying there!

    Unfortunately good loads do not mean good yields.

  5. Anonymous09:18

    Belgrade-Zurich is going to be wild this summer with 23 weekly flights. 14 on Swiss and 9 on Jat!

    Why don't you fly with Austrian Airlines via Vienna or with Malév via Budapest.

  6. Anonymous09:37

    Everybody is welcome to fly to any destination over BEG :) We have JAT and WIZZ, and soon Norwegian :)

  7. old news,

    the first who brought this was macedonianaviation.blogspot.com and you waited till airlineroute
    publish it.

    How come you never mention your sources (in this case airlineroute)? Good bloggers DO!

    BTW. the number of 838.164 pax is for both SKP and OHD , so SKP alone is probably bellow 800k

    @SuisseQuest How come you dont know there are 3 weekly Swiss flights SKP-ZRH (its not cheap tho)

  8. @ SKP

    this is a blog not a news agency =S

    We all do not read so many sources so this is new to some of us.

    Thanks for the good work ExYu!

  9. Purger11:12

    CEO of Skopje Airport mentioned on AirArena in Esplanade hotel in Zagreb that their plan is to have 3.500.000 pax per year in near future. Not very real!

  10. essednflogyPoor load factors? How could this be in the new hub of the Balkans?
    Pardon my sarcasm, I really do not wish to insult anyone, but hoping that the new Skopje Airport would turn into some sort of new regional hub was far fetched from the outset.
    This has not happened to Belgrade or Zagreb, cities with much longer aviation history, larger population and/or income but the enthusiast here believed it would. As if the new building alone would attract passengers.
    As it stands now, the pax increase in Skopje is nothing out of the ordinary, I believe they would achieve the same result even with the old building. 800.000 is still quite short of Dubrovnik or Split, or even Pristina.
    Also, the Turks have not really shown themselves to be good business people in the Balkans (think of Bosnian Airlines).
    I am glad that Skopje has a nice new building, no matter how many passengers it does attract it is still nice to fly out of an efficient airport building.

  11. Anonymous13:02

    does anyone know how is Wizzair doing on London-Luton and Venice-Treviso routes from Skopje???

    Alex London

  12. Anonymous13:51

    @Suisse Ouest

    Or if you are more adventurous ypu can also fly on B&H via Sarajevo

  13. @ Last Anonymous:

    It is absolutely NONE of YOUR business what I believe or no, nor is my post related to anything religious.
    Your aggressive tone is not in the spirit of my post. I stated the facts; the growth is small, and the airport still way behind in terms of pax number within former YU.
    When your air traffic grows by some 50 or more percent per year than it will be something to boast about.
    As far as your economic growth is concerned, yes you need it, you were and still are the poorest part of former Yugoslavia. And don't compare yourself to Turkey, a true economic powerhouse whose any midsize city is more economically powerful than whole of Macedonia.
    Incidentally, I have been to Macedonia several times so I do know what I am talking about.
    Interesting baroque architecture your are building there...

    P.S. it is polite to say your name when talking to someone...

  14. GVA_Cointrin14:18

    I share your pain, SuisseOuest. I would have loved to have a properly priced flight from Switzerland to Skopje, considering the ethnics in .ch and success of EZY's BSLPRN and GVAPRN.

    Damien, thanks for the encouraging words. Quite commonplace. It might raise some eyebrows if Macedonia surpassed such expectations in spite of the brotherly support..

  15. Anonymous14:20

    1.If 24 percent growth is modest for You than You should really consider some basic economics literature
    2. Noone compares Macedonia to Turkey but yes I do compare it with other ex-yu republics cause differencies are minor.From western european point of view everything to the south of Austria belongs to a geographical politicala and economical area that is allmost the same-called by a name Balkan
    3. Pax numbers are much bigger than BH for example, which is almost twice bigger than MK, and quantitative simillar to Serbian-Serbia 7.5 mill. citizens 3.3 million pax, Macedonia 2 mill. citizens 840 000 pax
    4. My name is Martin
    Best regards

  16. Anonymous15:52

    Great! So now there are no Sky Team members flying to SKP. Maybe Alitalia can step in and pick up the slack now.

    However, this should be good news for Malev. Maybe they'll go double-daily seven days a week for the summer.

  17. SuisseOuest15:58

    @SKP, anonymouses and others: thanks guys! I really didn't know about possibility to book those charters via airprishtina.com (although times are not great and prices are high) but other connections via BUD and VIE do look fine (both money and time-wise)

  18. Anonymous16:00

    You can fly with BH Airlines via Sarajevo where the transfer time is just 30 min both ways!

  19. GVA_Cointrin16:07

    @last Anon:

    Are you certain? I can't see any connecting options on B&H's website except for Istanbul.. and prices are similarly expensive - ZRH rt avg being BAM 515.


    Malev is not an option from Geneva, though Austrian is, and even their 'redticket' fares to SKP make me cringe.

  20. @ GVA_cointrin..

    I believe the transfer option on flights will be made available in the coming weeks.
    So that SKP is connected to VIE/AMS/ZRH and so on via SJJ.

    ZRH-IST via SJJ is available for 420 BAM on the right dates(taxes included)

    So SKP-SJJ-ZRH vv. shouldn't be much more expensive than that.. I'd say around 200 euros..


  21. GVA_Cointrin16:48

    Thanks a lot Bo, good luck for B&H,


  22. Anonymous17:03

    Martin Anonymous:

    First of all, that 24% rise is for both Ohrid and Skopje, not just Skopje, which makes it all different.

    Second, what use of the high gap growth rate if you have the highest unemployment rate in Europe in Macedonia?

    Third, you can't compare yourself to Bosnia as you got the visa-free regime one year earlier, and you have some low cost carriers flying to Macedonia, unlike Bosnia. Wait few years more, and then compare the two. ;)

  23. Anonymous17:04

    *gdp growth rate, not "gap" typo

  24. Bohemian18:12

    It has nothing to do with either Skopje nor Belgrade that CSA cancels flights to them.
    CSA is in a bad shape and has to cut as many unprofitable routes as possible.This has to happen,
    i totally support this!
    It is also good for Czech taxpayers
    as i think the airline is at a whole or partially government owned.

  25. JU520 BEGLAX18:23

    Bonsoir a GVA et a Berne

    Zürich - Skopje ZRH - SKPFlug Airline ab an MO DI MI DO FR SA SO Gültigkeit
    EDELWEISS AIR 320 06:55

    ZRH 09:00 SKP

    X 22.01.12 - 21.03.12 DetailsDirect
    EDELWEISS AIR 320 12:00

    ZRH 14:00 SKP

    X 22.01.12 - 23.03.12 DetailsDirect
    EDELWEISS AIR 320 06:55

    ZRH 09:00 SKP

    X 28.03.12 - 02.05.12 DetailsDirect
    EDELWEISS AIR 320 11:50

    ZRH 13:55 SKP

    X 30.03.12 - 04.05.12 DetailsDirect
    SWISS 320 06:55

    ZRH 09:00 SKP

    X 02.04.12 - 16.04.12 DetailsDirect
    EDELWEISS AIR 320 06:55

    ZRH 09:00 SKP

    X 23.04.12 - 25.06.12 DetailsDirect
    SWISS 320 14:50

    ZRH 16:50 SKP

    X 09.05.12 - 27.06.12 DetailsDirect
    EDELWEISS AIR 320 17:00

    ZRH 19:00 SKP

    X 11.05.12 - 29.06.12 DetailsDirect
    EDELWEISS AIR 320 11:50

    ZRH 13:55 SKP

    X 12.05.12 - 30.06.12 DetailsDirect
    SWISS 320 17:00

    ZRH 19:00 SKP

    X X 01.07.12 - 06.07.12 DetailsDirect
    SWISS 320 06:55

    ZRH 09:00 SKP

    X 02.07.12 - 22.10.12 DetailsDirect
    EDELWEISS AIR 320 17:00

    ZRH 19:00 SKP

    X 04.07.12 - 12.09.12 DetailsDirect
    SWISS 320 11:50

    ZRH 13:55 SKP

    X 07.07.12 - 27.10.12 DetailsDirect
    SWISS 320 11:45

    ZRH 13:45 SKP

    X 08.07.12 - 21.10.12 DetailsDirect
    SWISS 320 17:00

    ZRH 19:00 SKP

    X 13.07.12 - 14.09.12 DetailsDirect
    EDELWEISS AIR 320 17:00

    ZRH 19:00 SKP

    X X 19.09.12 - 26.10.12 Details

    you can book this on Edelweiss Air website or on Swiss, Air Pristina Reisebüro, swoodoo etc.
    they morning flights u make no connection from BRN or GVA. Make sure you book well ahead especially during holidays and vacation season

    Cheap Charlie: try Easyjet ex GVA or BSL to PRN

  26. JU520 BEGLAX18:28

    Swiss Ouest

    sorry for the bad graphics..but call me if you need help. office 043 816 50 45

    also Belair/Air Berlin flies ZRH-SKP. for example day 6 ETD 1520h
    so easy with train connections ex Bern or GVA

  27. GVA_Cointrin19:28

    Thanks for the details, BEGLAX. Who should we ask for at the number?

    Pozdrav i prijatno vece.

  28. Anonymous19:47


    Alex London

  29. Anonymous19:48


  30. Anonymous20:36

    Six times a week is quite a lot.
    Would be interested in their LF
    and to which kind of passengers
    they served...

  31. Lijepa naša21:20

    Have heard today in German business news(N24) that Etihad considers flying to Zagreb maybe with stopover in SKP!
    Does anybody from there know something more or was that only rumours?
    Especially if you consider Qatar already flying there..

  32. @Bohemian
    Point 1.
    "It has nothing to do with either Skopje nor Belgrade that CSA cancels flights to them."
    The negation of point 1.
    "CSA is in a bad shape and has to cut as many unprofitable routes as possible."

    Don't take this personally, but if CSA has to cut unprofitable routes and flights to SKP and BEG are terminated then I am afraid the decision behind these cuts has "something" to do with the success (or otherwise) of these routes. Your second point states completely the opposite of the first point.

  33. FlyMacedonia21:53

    I'm sureprized with this decision from Czech Airlines. The main reason for that is because there are many Macedonians living in the Czech Republic and often this flight was full all the time.Apart from that, it was important connecting flight for pasangers who were using Skopje airport as a gateway to Prague. In the end, what's done it's done. I hope that some cheap low budget company will take this route

  34. Anonymous22:21

    I would just add that this is an opportunity for Wizzair to start flights to Prague.

    Alex London

  35. Boki22:33

    Bad, bad, bad!!!

    With Prague we had a great connection with other european cities. Anyway Czech Airlines also give more cheaper tickets than Lufthansa, Austrian, Malev, Turkish etc... so it means that we'll have to pay more expensive tickets. Codesharing with Russian Aeroflot and DeltaAir will be disabled.

    So unfortunately if there aren't good news, people will go to Belgrad airport or some closer, and start travelling there.

    Bad, bad, very bad news =(((

    A traveller from Skopje

  36. Anonymous22:50

    Skopje and Belgrade canceled,
    Zagreb more flights per week!


  37. Anonymous22:52

    I've just booked SKP-PRG-SKP in April for 200 Eur. with Malev!
    However much cheaper than OK in the past!

  38. Bohemian23:16

    Dear Visit Kosovo,
    i wrote that it has nothing to do with Skopje or Belgrade that flying there is unprofitable for CSA.

    Today no citizen of Macedonia has to fly via Prague to other cities in the EU.
    You can fly direct now...
    and if not from Skopje than you have there Pristina with a multitude of direct flights.

    Some years ago there were no such alternatives and world was ok for CSA.
    Why flying via Prague to London when you have Wizzair which flies direct.
    In the end it is competition what kicks CSA out of Skopje and Belgrade.

    Look at Belgrade:
    you may think this destination is in decline when seing BA,CSA,Cimber Sterling,Aerosvit kicking out in such a short time.
    But it is the opposite,Belgrade airport grew last year with 425 thousand more passengers!

    I even predict Malev and Adria to give both cities a kick in future!
    And i think this will be a good
    thing as there is no more need
    for these routes.

    Have a nice day!

  39. Anonymous23:50

    Bohemian, I think that BA and Aerosvit could do well in BEG!
    I think Malev will dump BEG route soon

  40. Wow I can't believe that CSA is cutting this route. They must really be in a bad shape. I flew with them twice last month (SKP-PRG-SKP) and both of the flights were almost full, let's say there were about 5-10 free seats. I really hope there will be new airline in SKP that will offer some cheaper and new flights!

  41. GVA_Cointrin09:15

    @Alex London,

    Official stats show Macedonian ethnics in all of Czech Republic account for ~1500. To some it may seem a lot, but I don't think it's a big motivation for any airline to restart the route at all, unfortunately.

  42. JU520 BEGLAX12:27

    GVA cointrin/Suisse ouest

    043 816 50 45 0945 till 1230 and 1315 to 1845
    ask for Alex


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