Skopje soars, Pristina tumbles, Sarajevo stalls

Skopje Airport closing in on Pristina

Skopje Alexander the Great Airport has seen its passenger numbers soar in April as Wizz Air commenced a handful of new routes and based a second aircraft in the city. Macedonia’s busiest airport welcomed 105.596 passengers during the month, an increase of 42% compared to April 2013’s 74.381 travellers. Wizz Air was the greatest contributor as it launched flights to Hahn, Charleroi, Beauvais and Cologne. The low cost airline itself saw passenger numbers skyrocket by 113% on its Skopje flights compared to April last year. With Ohrid added to the equation, Macedonia’s two international airports welcomed 107.036 passengers last month, up 40%.

In the first four months of the year, Skopje Airport has handled 309.770 travellers, an improvement of 19.1% on 2013. Macedonia is looking to attract even more budget airlines by offering fresh subsidies. This time around the government will stimulate carriers to the tune of 4.9 million euros. Airlines will be offered a one-off 40.000 euro cash injection for each new route launched for the first six destinations. Each subsequent route launch will receive a 30.000 euro subsidy from the government. easyJet is believed to be interested in launching flights to the Macedonian capital under these conditions.

MonthPAXChange (%)
JAN62.362 1.4

Meanwhile, it is somewhat of a different story in Pristina. Once a star performer in the region, Pristina Airport has seen its numbers decline in the first quarter as it continues to feel the effects of Belle Air Europe’s collapse. The airline declared bankruptcy last December. Without its busiest customer, Pristina Airport saw 271.000 passengers pass through its doors during the first three months, a decrease of 22.2% on the same period last year. In addition, the airport saw a 26% decline in the number of flight operations. Pristina is hoping to offset the effects of Belle Air Europe’s departure with the launch of its own subsidy scheme which came into effect on March 30.

On the other hand, Sarajevo Airport has ended its sixteen month run of consecutive passenger growth. The airport saw its figures inch down in April by 0.5% as it handled 56.611 passengers (just 307 less than last year). The numbers came despite a 1% increase in the number of flight operations. During the month, Germanwings launched flights from Berlin. Overall, Sarajevo Airport has welcomed 173.949 travellers through its doors so far this year, an increase of 5.2%.

MonthPAXChange (%)
JAN36.114 8.0


  1. Anonymous09:59

    "In the first four months of the year, Skopje Airport has handled 204.174 travellers, an improvement of 9.9% on 2013"

    something went wrong in your calculation here ; ) ( u forgot April and the total is somewhere around +19% )

  2. Anonymous10:41

    Well done to SKP. But that's pretty disappointing for PRN. I always hated airports that stop reporting their statistics just because they go downhill like PRN. I remember they used to report numbers each month

  3. Anonymous10:42

    Someone care to expalin what happened with Sarajevo? They were doing super duper well until now

  4. Anonymous10:43

    So we have 2 capital airports in ex-YU with growth of 40%+, Belgrade and Skopje. Well done.

  5. Anonymous11:24

    Yes its quite an increase, except with Belgrade there is also a massive increase in flights of around 40%, anyone have any info of the % increase for SKP??

    The other interesting thing is that Skopje could see the number of months with over 100.000 PAX rise from just 2 in 2013 to 7 in 2014. (April was the 7th busiest month last year). That would be quite an achievement!

  6. zoran13:04

    If I try to find reasons for SKP and PRN trends, the only solution is that PRN passengers migrated to SKP due to the better opportunities. SKP will steal some passengers form Air Serbia shit it's service made by Alitalia, mostly from southern parts of Serbia for the most airports in Italy, France, Spain, Holland and Belgium and even USA.

    1. Anonymous16:04

      Belle Air went bust, this is the only reason for Prn numbers, with subsidies numbers should improve in later part of the year.

      Sarajevo might have other issues, no idea why they stagnated, I'm sure Bosnian blogers no know the reason.

  7. Anonymous13:24

    Congrats to Macedonian governmant since their subsidy scheme seems to be paying off big time. Regardless of twho they are , any pax increase will have an impact on region's economy.It would be great if this increase is fueled by more tourists or bussines people comming to the area but i doubt it. I think it's more ex PRN and south Serbia pax as well as all the expats who live in Western Europe.

  8. Congrats SKP. Considering the rate between population of country and pax, which airport is strongest in the region?

    1. Kiza15:10

      Of course, Zagreb, isn't it? Eee, ujaci, ujaci!

    2. Anonymous16:07

      @Ivica Dubrovnik, I think, 1.55 million on 43000 population, Split next, 1.6 million (1.72 million this year) on 221 000 population, Ljubljana after that, 1.64 million (best year) on 280 000 inhabitants.

    3. Anonymous16:17

      I think Podgorica is up there somewhere,

    4. Anonymous16:42

      I think that Tivat is the leader here at 860 000 on 15 000 inhabitants.

    5. Anonymous18:14

      Once Purger put those numbers for catpitals (of courese tourist destinations can not be in same comparation), and Podgorica was 1st Ljubljana 2nd, Zagreb 3rd, than Skopje, Pristina, Belgrade and Sarajevo.

  9. Anonymous15:10

    Wow +42% that is some great result. It means that Skopje had been always capable of handling even more passengers. As someone already mentioned the doubt that this number is triggered not from tourists and businesses but rather Serbia and Kosovo pax, I think it could be both.

  10. Anonymous15:24

    Well done SKP, seems to be punching above it's weight which is good.

    The airport has facilities to handle much more than it currently does. Currently you can get through from check in to the gate very quickly, maybe this will change if the growth keeps going :)

  11. The terminal is designed and made for normal function of 4 Million PAX per year so it can handle over a 1 million without any problem. It's nice to see Macedonian capital growing but i would like to see strong growth on Ohrid airport.
    Regarding to Kosovo and South Serbian passengers , yes they are there but i doubt that the strong growth is just because of them (dont believe that their numbers grew so much lately).
    BTW i heard in the news that TAV's goal is 2 Million PAX on both airports by 2016 or 2017 (i'm not sure).

    1. I think it's probably combination - Serbian pax from the south using routes that were not there before as well as PRN pax becouse connections are not available there any more

    2. Anonymous16:11

      its possible, I see no problem if it continues to grow at current rate. As Macedonia gears towards the EU and the EU economy starts to recover, things should move fast for Skopje, and they have good airport with great capacity.

    3. @SM , tourist capacities are full in Skopje lately and they are growing constantly, same goes to some business capacities (both relying on different routes and class of flights).
      I'm sure that it's combination of tourists, gasterbajters, local people traveling and both Kosovo and South Serbia market. Like i said the numbers of the later are not growing with that intensity to produce 42% growth but they share about 20-30% of that growth with 70-80 % to the rest of the groups.

      Yes sure but first of all Macedonian economy need to move forward and grow if we want growth that will be stable and at the current rate. Trust me when i say Macedonians love to travel but the economy is not allowing the to go everywhere where they want to, and currently Wizz is the only choice that can allow them go somewhere for let's say fair price.

  12. Anonymous17:08

    OT: looks like that there is really strong intention to buy LJU an JP

    Southern Airlines Plans to Acquire Slovenia Airport, Airways

    GUANGZHOU, May 13, 2014 (Menafn - SinoCast Daily Business Beat via COMTEX) --Sources said China Southern Airlines Co. planned to acquire 75% of the Ljubljana airport of Sloven.

    The deal would be finalized in summer this year. After the deal, the buyer needed to invest in building an airport terminal there. In addition to Southern Airlines, over 20 investors showed such intention.

    Southern Airlines expected to acquire Adria Airways locally, too, apart from repair division of the carrier.

    Source: (May 13, 2014)

    1. Anonymous19:06

      That would be great, but not for Croatia Airlines, good luck to Ljubljana Airport and Adria Airways from Croatia!

    2. Anonymous19:21

      @AnonymousMay 13, 2014 at 7:06 PM

      Not good for your stupid brain, you definitely need to examine if there's any brain cell left up there, so far nothing there, looks really bad.

    3. Anonymous20:12

      Anonymous 7:21 PM, it does look really bad... No brain cells left? You're right, our government sucked them out of our country, Kucko sucked it out of Croatia Airlines, thanks for reminding ;))

  13. Anonymous17:13

    Jel zna neko koji su najveci Avioni koji su ikad sleteli na Aerodrome u Skoplju,Pristini Sarajevu.
    Hvala Unapred.

  14. hercules c - all types, Boeing 747, 777, 767, McDonnell Douglas, Airbus A330, 340.... and many other!!

  15. Anonymous20:08

    Nice results for skopje!
    I hope easyjet will introduce new flights to some eastern european cities...
    I think it wont be a bad idea if the goverment would subsidize long haul routes to far east cities like shanghai / bankog because its a underserved market with a high demand if you promote it only right

  16. Anonymous20:36

    Dear admin.....any chance that vintage pics can be enlarged in future??? Would be very nice!

    1. Just hover over it, right click and copy URL. Than copy it into your address bar and vola...

  17. Too bad to see PRN going down after all these good results until BAL went bankrupt. We really need Ryanair.

    1. Anonymous18:04

      You're never gonna get Ryanair - it's simply not their kind of market. The best you can hope for is Wizz Air.. if PRN lowers the charges by a BIG margin.


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